Greening Our New Home – So Far, So Good…Mostly.


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So here we are in week #4 in our new home, 1000 miles away from our old home. Back in California, we had our “green-ness” down pat – we knew where the good stores were, we knew how much water we were using, we watched our energy usage and knew what to expect when the utility bills showed up. But now it’s a different story as we have to re-learn the different ways we can be green here in Taos, NM. Starting over is both very exciting…and a lot of work at the same time.

The Little Green Things

One of the first things I did when we got here was to run out to the local grocery store and pick up a cheap reel of clothesline rope and set it up outside. It is discriminate and low enough that the neighbors don’t see it (nothing worse than being that new neighbor), but long enough that I can hang an entire load of laundry outside, saving both electric use and carbon emissions. Plus, the sun likes to provide free bleach for our whites, which is always nice.

We continue to wash all of our clothes in only cold water, for 3 reasons – 1. the cost of heating water just for the laundry machine, and 2. the waste of natural gas to do so, and 3. the wear and tear on our clothing from hot water. We want our clothes to last as long as possible, and cold water helps that. (Although, I will admit to washing out our sheets in hot water when we first arrived – you never know what could be living in there after a big move like that!)

Once I found the box with all of our CFL bulbs in it, I went to town finding the lights that I could use them in. Strangely enough, there weren’t that many of them! Our floor and table lamps took them, but track lighting seems to be very big here in New Mexico – it’s everywhere we go! It is the better kind with the smaller 11 watt little lights, (not the full-size incandescents) but there were so many of them that I removed a couple from both the front living room and the kitchen, saving both energy and money. We just don’t need that many lights up there and they were easy to take off the track, so we put them aside for a bit. Also, the kitchen has a giant skylight, so during the day it doesn’t need light at all. If I ever build a house, I am definitely putting skylights in the kitchen and any bathrooms we have – it’s really a no-brainer to get that much light for free all day.

The Big Green Things

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  1. Good for you! I was laughing at your laundry line dilemma (hanging it low). That’s what I do now. When we went to our (hopefully) new house for the inspection, I looked out the kitchen window and saw a big laundry line, complete with hanging clothes, in the neighbor’s yard. I was SO happy!

  2. Hey, congrats on the new place!

    For lights, I love the ceiling light covers that are warmer colors and cover the whole bulb… to counteract that sickly glow that cfl’s give off =)

    Good luck with the rest of the new house projects!

  3. I hope you have an HE washer (I’m sure you do) – I can’t believe how much water, energy, and detergent we save with these. Especially being on a septic tank, I couldn’t keep up with the laundry if we still had the old top-loaders. I’ve also invested in making thermal, ligh-blocking window shades. They keep the house nice and cool.

  4. Hi, Neighbor! I live in Ranchos De Taos. I share your concerns about plastic recycling. I moved here from Colorado last fall and where I lived there I could recycle #1 and #2 plastic. The Taos city recycle center at 201 Bertha St. will take newspapers, glass (any color), aluminum (cans and pie plates), steel, and tin cans, corrugated cardboard (but not flat cardboard like cereal boxes and 6-pack containers, although I have seen those in the bins), brown paper bags, junk mail, magazines and catalogs, phonebooks, and white office paper. Also, there is a bin for electronics. I hope this helps !
    I’m getting better mileage here, also, with my 4wd Escape Hybrid. Got 28-30 in the Denver are, running ethanol the whole year. Get 30-32 here with “real gas”, not ethanol, except in the winter when the mileage goes down anyway because of colder temps.

  5. Hi Pam! Why is it that they wont get involved with plastic? Is there anyone or any group trying to get that started?

    Thanks for the info on recycling, glad they take most of the stuff. But not cereal boxes? How weird…

    And the mileage is amazing here, isn’t it?

  6. Thanks Pam. I tried them, and their website has not been updated since 2007. I just sent them a direct email, we will see if they respond. I think they could be a valuable service here in Taos!

  7. Congrats on your move to Taos! It’s one of my favorite places (although I admit Santa Fe is really my favorite place). I visit every year – I live in CO and one of my closest friends lives in Taos for sev’l years and knows everyone and everything about that town. Email me if you would like his contact info – really, he’s like a mini mayor and knows everyone – he’s a lawyer, too.

  8. I was out for a very long vacation. Checking back. You have moved to Taos, NM. Wow! Congratulations. That’s amazing.

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