How green are you? | Guest column

How green are you in your life? With Earth Day just a few weeks ago, I am sharing with you the myriad of ways we attempt to live lightly on our planet. Perhaps you will be inspired to make some changes in your life from what you read here.

We moved to the Eastside about eight years ago when we purchased a cute “not so big house.” It was built in 1950 and we bought it with the goal of remodeling it into the cozy home. Our goal was to create a place that honored its original roots and would also include many “green” features.

Throughout the remodeling process, we frequented The ReStore in Ballard to find reclaimed building materials to use in our home including doors, window trim, tile, stair railing and light fixtures. We even rescued materials from a nearby house slated to be torn down and included them to enhance the character of our home.

Our light blue metal roof is designed to reduce attic heating and improves rainwater quality for collection. To make our home energy efficient, we added solar panels on our roof that heat water and produce electricity. Previously existing large, cylinder hot water tanks were replaced with on-demand, tankless heaters that take much less space and are far more efficient. Our bathrooms have radiant heat sources that warm the floor for toasty toes, especially in the cooler months.

To lessen our use of resources, we installed aerators on all our faucets and low-flow showerheads. In addition, we replaced 98 percent of incandescent lighting with fluorescent, CFL and LED lighting.

Another feature is our European style front loading, water efficient washer and dryer. We save energy by hanging clothes to dry on racks. During the warmer months we use an outdoor clothesline to dry clothes for that lovely fresh smell.

In the backyard, we transformed existing lawn into planting beds for natives, vegetables and small fruits, including a rain garden/swale, qualifying this yard as a Certified Backyard Habitat to be a welcome respite for various birds and other critters.

We take full advantage of the wonderful services of Waste Management by utilizing all three bins provided. We currently use the smallest grey waste bin along with the blue bin for recyclables and the grey bin for compostable materials and yard waste.

Nora Carlson is a Kirkland resident in the Central Houghton neighborhood.

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