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Old 06-04-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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Hi everyone! I was hoping to get some feedback on a question I have.

I want to know what are some challenges or difficulties of going green, living sustainably, and/or reducing your carbon footprint that is specific to where you live, or directly affected by where you live?

I'm curious to see the smattering of answers from across the US!
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
5,915 posts, read 7,241,482 times
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I buy green electricity and use public transportation extensively. We support Community Agriculture as much as possible. I'm installing rain barrels to reduce runoff and have weatherized my 80 year old house.

None of it really crimps our lifestyle.
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:52 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,202,288 times
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Most of it is mental. An unwillingness to change or live a bit more simply. But then it dpeends on how far you plan to go with it...if you go full blown off the grid, it does mean more work, etc., but nothing unmanageable...
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
5,915 posts, read 7,241,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Most of it is mental. An unwillingness to change or live a bit more simply. But then it dpeends on how far you plan to go with it...if you go full blown off the grid, it does mean more work, etc., but nothing unmanageable...
Going "off grid" has nothing to do with "green." It's a political statement, not an environmental one.
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:32 PM
 
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I have diesel-powered electricity but use the grid during off-peak hours.

The dumpsters are too far away, the nearest town is 50 miles away so we burn our trash.

We grow a lot of our own vegetables, bake our own bread. I run steers so meat is never a problem.

In short, I haven't changed the way I live at all.
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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what they mean by going off the grid is by producing all your own utilities and being as self sufficient as possible. at current i would say the biggest difficulty is cost for alot of the projects. solar/wind power is extremely expensive so initially instal and if you aren't using grid power for the nights expect on buying batteries every few years depending on your usage after dark. i currently have a pretty decent solar array that provides my daylight power with a wind setup to help augment on cloudy days but still use the power company during the nights. aside from that its just takes time and commitment to live you life differently. give up the convienence of driving down to the store for a soda or driving everywhere and plan the extra time for public transportation. remember to put your trash in the compost/recyling instead of just tossing it out. those type of things
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:09 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,253 posts, read 15,281,477 times
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Point #1 would be cutting back - the whole reduce, reuse, recycle thing. We've gotten pretty good at it, going to the landfill with one or two bags of actual trash about every 7-8 weeks.

We recycle what we can, but there are a number of things our small county doesn't take for recycling - batteries, antifreeze, electronics (they accept electronics, but they don't actually recycle them, so we take them elsewhere). Those have to be stored up and recycled when we make runs to larger cities.

As we've been expanding the gardens and the orchard, we do a lot of composting. This year we'll starting on building a green house to extend our shortish high desert growing season (June to early October). The plan is to grow a larger percentage of our own food.

We designed our house around general passive solar principals and we use solar thermal panels for as much of our domestic hot water and radiant floors as we can (we average between 220-280 days of enough sun to generate some to all of our hot water). With the exception of our stove top, everything in our 1,900 sf house (including the water-heater and the backup boiler for the radiant floors in electric) is electric - our low summer bill is around $25 and our high winter bill is around $100.

At the time we built the house, our local electric utility did not participate in an energy buyback program and the costs of going off-grid didn't pencil out, not even if the electric rate was an order of magnitude higher than it is now, so we skipped it. Recently the utility changed and now offers a 1-1 exchange of generated kwh for used kwh, so we'll be watching grid-tie systems and waiting for them to get more efficient and drop in price. I suspect we have at least a decade to wait.

We put in a concrete cold storage room to store fruits and veggies and that works surprisingly well, as it stays between 40-45 year round - it's also great for brewing beer.

We live out of the "city" and we try to share rides and errands with the neighbors, which has resulted in a pretty close community, despite the very different backgrounds we have here.

We have one CSA in town that supplies leafy green, potatoes, peas, carrots and root vegetables - for a rural agricultural area, much of the focus of agriculture here is large commercial crop for export and it's surprising how very little of the local food is produced here, although it COULD be. I hope to see that change.

We're fortunate that both of us can work remotely - the spouse is an electrical engineer by trade and I am a geologist and editor (prior to that an EE), so we don't have a daily commute.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:08 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,202,288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlchurch View Post
Going "off grid" has nothing to do with "green." It's a political statement, not an environmental one.
Going off grid in some locations is the only way to do what they wish to do.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
20,517 posts, read 26,304,395 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwgFI View Post
Hi everyone! I was hoping to get some feedback on a question I have.

I want to know what are some challenges or difficulties of going green, living sustainably, and/or reducing your carbon footprint that is specific to where you live, or directly affected by where you live?

I'm curious to see the smattering of answers from across the US!
I don't really do the whole "green" thing which I think is a fad. I do try to live by being less wasteful. My DH do live off grid and we produce 100% of our own power with just solar panels. It was actually not very expensive as another poster said and we use golf cart batteries to store our power. We are new to this so we still use propane appliances.

We conserve. We have a small house. We have one car that we share. I am learning to grow and preserve our own foods. I bring my own bags to the grocery store. I pass on any books and magazines instead of throwing them out. Most times I use the library. I buy used clothes.

Our life is not lacking because of our changes. The thing I miss the most is using a hairdryer anytime I want. It's a simple thing but there it is.
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Charleston, WV
3,105 posts, read 6,624,845 times
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While I'm sure a few go off-grid for political reasons, most go off grid for other factors.
Reports say that in 2006, there were 180,000 families living off-grid and that this figure was a 33% inrease in a 10 year period.
Bet that figure is higher now and will continue to increase.

Going off grid:
Quote:
"The term off the grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities. Off-the-grid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Howstuffworks
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