Friday, February 25, 2011

Practically Green

I saw a blog post at Sprout's Green Family regarding a website called Practically Green and knew I had to try it out.  The goal of practically green is to help you become more green.  When you sign up you are asked to complete a survey that can be a bit lengthy but stick to it.  You will then be rated on how green you are.   Then you can play around on the site, with the different areas, and view ways to be more green.  You can update your green status by marking different things that you already do, add some to your list of things you plan to do, and mark others as not applying to you.  This can increase your green status.

I started out being Fairly Green.  Which actually made me a tad upset because I feel I do a pretty good job of being green. I know I'm a lot more green than most people I know.

The different areas you are graded on are broken out like so:

Water is by far my worst area.  My points are only 30.  Energy is my best at 790, Health comes in at 430, and Stuff is 460.

You can also earn badges based on the things you do.  I've earned the bronze badge in energy and stuff right away.

I decided to see how  high I could increase my score by going over the different things recommended and marking all the ones that I have already completed or already do as Done.   I found several things that just aren't applicable to me or aren't going to happen for awhile.  One example is to buy or build a LEED house or apartment.  Since we don't plan to move until we are old and gray, I marked this one as "not applicable".  Another example is the option to install a dual flush toilet.  We recently replaced two toilets with low-flow toilets but not dual flush, I'm marking that one as not applicable as well since we aren't going to replace them again.  However I did get points for having a high-efficiency toilet installed. Another example is to replace our water heater with a tankless one.  We don't plan to buy a new water heater for another year or two so I marked this one as "add to my plan" and we'll research options when the time comes.

Don't get me wrong though.  There's a ton of stuff suggested that I think is somewhat easier and cheaper.  Example, one suggestion is to turn the water off when you brush your teeth.  Done!   One of the things I believe will be pretty in-expensive is to install low-flow valves on all faucets.  I did a brief search and it looks like it would cost $6 or less to do this for each faucet.  Even better, the website Practically Green links you to a video so you can see just how easy it is to do this.  I added this one to my plan. In fact, this was something new the website taught me. I knew you could buy low-flow faucets but I never thought about seeing if I could convert my current ones to be so.  Since we have replaced all faucets (except 1) in our house, fixing the faucet is the way we will go.   Another simple and easy action is to switch to a reusable water bottle. Done!

As you can see, the steps you can take to be even more green range from being major (replace your water heater) to simple (use a reusable bottle).

I'm off to play on the website and see how high I can get my numbers and what I can add to my "plan" so I have a list of things to work on changing.  I'll be sure to do another post and let you know how I did.

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