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.
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.
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