Things our family does to be kind to the environment

Green Building

(See house Web site at )

Green roof on 600 sq ft addition installed June 05, see NBC Nightly News segment at  (installer

Solar hot water installed February 09 (installer

Solar photovoltaic installed March 09 (installer

Home renovation done with a green builder (John Dunn,, local and sustainable materials, low VOC, 75+% of construction waste reused or recycled

Permeable pavers in drive to eliminate runoff to bay

IR pictures of house to identify places we have heat leaks

Energy survey of house to identify air leaks

Added insulation and blocked leaks per above surveys

Replaced leaky windows with new, energy-efficient

Energy Star appliances


Until December 2008, for several years, we bought 100% wind generated electricity from Pepco, with Dominion still as our distributor.  Pepco no longer offers renewable energy in Virginia.

Arcadia handles our Dominion bills; they pay Dominion for our power, with a surcharge to buy RECs from active developing wind farms.

Drive an all-electric BMW i3 (used to drive a Prius for the last 12 years)

Carpool to work intermittently

Telecommute 2 days per week

Carpool my kids to school, and they take the bus home

Carpool to kids' activities where possible

Use fluorescent light bulbs, some LED

Use LED Christmas lights

Maximize time that we have heating and A/C turned off -- goal is 3 months in spring and 3 months in fall

Use a whole house fan and solar-powered attic fans

Don't dry clothes all the way in dryer -- hang dry after short time in dryer

Turn oven off before end of cooking time

Offset plane flights by purchasing carbon offsets (,,

Belong to Hampton Roads Solar Tour Group; helped design their Web page and Facebook page.

Gardening / Water use

3000-gal rainwater collection cistern that supplies our sprinklers for watering the lawn, dock water, hoses and downstairs toilet flush (John Dunn, )

Compost all food and yard waste (rotating composter

Plant/landscaping with native plants (by )

Minimized lawn area

No chemical fertilizers or herbicides etc on yard or garden beds

Mulch-cut lawn instead of bagging clippings

Rake rather than use blower (goal)

Food / Kitchen

Garden for growing some of our own food (small)

Buy organic where possible

Eat low on the food chain; meat only once or twice a week

Member of a CSA (community supported agriculture) to get produce from local farmers

Buy meat from Polyface Farm (sustainable farming methods, – except not since they took away Virginia Beach drop-off

Don't eat shrimp (after I read Stolen Harvest by Shiva)

Started healthy snack program at my kids' school where we buy all organic whole-grain snacks, and serve fresh produce (bought from

Participate in soup kitchen for homeless (donate cases of fruit, sometimes cook eggs); save holiday candy for that rather than discarding (or eating!)

Use non-petroleum, non-phosphate laundry detergent and dishwasher soap

Make own natural cleaners when possible

Grind own flour, use natural sweeteners

Prepare food fresh, rather than canned, frozen, or pre-packaged

Buy bamboo products rather than wood or plastic (many sold at Target)

Recycling / Reuse

Use all recycled paper products, including toilet paper, paper towel, napkins, copy paper, sticky notes (many available locally at, or order from  We strive for 100% post-consumer recycled for everything – our copy paper is 100% post-consumer recycled, non-chlorine, and made from 100% wind energy.

Use tree-free compostable paper plates (don't use often, available locally at or order from

Use recycled toothbrushes that we send back for re-recycling into plastic furniture (Preserve toothbrushes locally at or order from

Grocery shop (and other shopping) using cloth and string bags

Recycle all feasible materials (including yogurt containers to Green Alternatives, bottle caps to Aveda)

Save and re-use, or take to packing store, all bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts

Re-use plastic grocery bags

Re-use egg crates (take back to store for re-use by poultry farm)

Recycle all home appliances and electronics at e-cycle days (rather than throwing in trash)

Use rechargeable batteries (saves lots of $,

Use reusable water bottles instead of disposable plastic, see

Save children's clothes/toys and offer to three other families, then take rest to second-hand clothing store

Buy some of kids' clothes from second-hand clothing store (The White Rabbit, Norfolk)

Use scrap paper where possible

Print double-sided

Recycled CD cases at

Helped get our kidsŐ school to compost all food waste at their 2010 Field Day event; now they compost lunches year-round


Have a huge lending library and reading list of environmental books

Send environmental books to selected political leaders

Submit shareholder's resolutions every year to Dominion Resources to try and get them to use more renewable power sources

Invest in socially and environmentally conscious funds, invest in community notes, give to Heifer International, RyanŐs Well and similar groups

Kids ask for donations to charitable groups rather than birthday presents at their birthday parties

Give blood

Volunteer for elections where environmental issues are at stake

Give environmentally related lectures to various groups (Girl Scouts, NASA LaRC, garden clubs)

Clean the Bay Day – cleaning up our local waterfront!

Hosted party for Mothers Out Front,

Work with organizations like Virginia Community Capital to do no-interest loans for organizations to install solar

Items in the media,

2013 CCAN documentary: (at 18 and 28 min) Sea of Change  (Dec 12, 2010)  (Solar Tour)