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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So this is called grazing?

As I type, I have a lot more food in front of me than usual. My office assistant and I decided to start making coffee in the morning rather than getting the usual take-out stuff. Reusable mugs, less cost, just as good. Additionally, my spread includes a container of plain roasted almonds, half a bag of baby carrots, a home-made muffin, and the yogurt is in the fridge behind me.

So this is the new munch-all-the-time-on-food-that-is-good-
for-you plan. Lunch yesterday consisted of a big bag of carrots and broccoli.

We won't talk about last night's supper just yet.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eco-Friendly Dorms Are Coming

I'm just arriving back at work and I find this in my inbox:

How green is the College?

Very neat to see that a little bit of competition can go a long way...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An Eco-Friendly Diet

I've decided that it is time to shed a few pounds and start eating better. Thus, today I started putting together an eco-friendly diet with a purpose: The Diet for a Lazy Wanna-Be Vegetarian. We all know that eating locally and eating vegetarian are both smart and good for the environment, but I have to be perfectly honest. I'm damn lazy when it comes to food. I work 40 hours a week, take classes, have a busy and active social life, and at the end of the day, if I even get home by supper time, I'm not prepared to start cooking anything dramatic. Did I mention I hate and routinely waste left-overs?

I do love to cook. I just don't make time for it unless I'm having guests or am really craving something specific. But if I'm going to be realistic about this effort, I'm going to have to make it foolproof. As inspiration, my houseguest Meg has eating habits that are very similar to mine: quick, infrequent, uncomplicated, but the difference is that she's much more likely to make a three item salad, while I'm more likely to order the pizza.

For starters, I'm replacing the usual snack items in the house (chips, chocolate, etc) with better choices. A short trip to Pete's this morning got that much done.

Any suggestions? Recipes? Foolproof strategies?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Low Flow Shower Head

As you may have noticed, I've been away from the blog for a bit. I was volunteering at the IIHF World Hockey Championships which left little time for much else. Community involvement is part of this project for me.

Anyway, on with the eco-friendly stuff: Today, I installed my new low flow shower head. It was part of the kit that I was given with the energy audit last month. Needless to say, this was a super-easy project that involved only about ten minutes, a bit of plumber's tape, and a pair of channel locks. Wham bam, done.

Testing it out was a bit more fun. It has three settings, excellent pressure, and all in all, makes for a very nice shower. The benefits are many: less water usage, less hot water and electricity used, improved pressure. As far as green projects go, this one is cheap and easy!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bike to Work Day?

According to Wired, today is bike to work day! I totally missed it!

My bike needs to get into the shop, then I will see about biking in. My guess is that it will be very good for me, fitness-wise. There are a lot of ups and downs between home and work.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Questions about the Pop Can Furnace

I had a nice note from Mark in Ontario and I thought I'd share his questions and my answers about the pop can solar furnace... It's been cloudy for a few days, so I'm not getting any free heat this week!


I saw your popcan solar furnace on your lowerfootprint.blogspot.com blog , and thought it was unique because all the other solar furnaces are for exterior installation and drilling holes in the house etc. Since we don't have any blank wall space on the south side, those plans aren't too useful. However your window version would work for us.

I'm hoping you wouldn't mind answering a few questions.

Did you put any covering over the pop cans?
What kind of hole did you put in the bottom of the cans and what tool did you use to make it?
Did you make a larger hole in the top of the cans?
What kind of glue did you use to join the cans together?

Thanks for the info.

I had the energy audit too (it cost me $375 in Ontario), and will be adding insulation to bring my attic to R50 this year.

Here's my response:

Hi Mark...

My second version will be a vertical window one, so I'll post more when I do that one...

1) Currently no covering on the pop cans. They're painted with heat-heat black bbq paint though.

2) The bottom of the cans were punched out using a "churchkey"... the can opener you'd use for opening a can of apple juice. The excess was simply folded into the can.

3) No extra hole in the top. It was part laziness, but also helps to cause some turbulence in the airflow, helping to pick up more heat perhaps. They weren't lined up or anything.

4) I taped the columns from side to side with black electrical tape. This first model is shockingly crude, but hey, it will built in about two hours, start to finish.

The new model will be an enclosed box, sized to fit vertically into a window in my solarium. It will have a glass or plexi front and top and bottom vents. I'm considering a set of shelves inside it, made of perforated material for airflow (possibly wood and my drill). The shelves would allow me to experiment with cans filled with water. I have a row of them on the windowsill and they get quite hot, but of course, keep the heat much longer.