Mar 30 2010

Buy antiques to lower your carbon footprint

photo by kotomigd on Flickr

One of the easiest ways to go green is to reuse old home furnishings.  The United States and Canada ship huge amounts of wood to China where it is processed into furniture and furnishings made primarily from particleboard.  Not only is this a giant waste of energy, but quite often the stuff sold in retail outlets is of inferior quality – it’s cheap-looking and cheaply-made.  Particle board contains melamine, expands if exposed to water, and chips easily.  Particle board has it’s uses, but I’ll take solid wood, real glass, and metal for my furniture any day.

When I buy something like an antique coffee table, I know I’ll probably have it for at least 30 years – maybe more.  I have found that many antique furniture items are really no more expensive that the furniture you would get in a big furniture store – most times they are less expensive – especially if you haggle!  I have seen new dressers selling for $1000 that use particle board underneath or hidden away somewhere.  I’d rather spend the $1000 on a much nicer antique.

Bottom line: By purchasing an antique, you are recycling and therefore lowering your carbon footprint.

So, later this week I’ll be headed out to Roundtop Texas for the quadrannual Antique Festival.  For those who don’t know, this is a huge event.  The large shows are in the spring and fall, with ‘smaller’ shows in the summer and winter.  Dealers come from around the country and setup in massive tents all over the Roundtop area.  It’s gotten so big that ranchers rent out their pastures.  I hope it’s going to be a good trip.  I’m hoping to find great deals on nice reusable furniture.  If I see enough interesting items related to energy, or energy efficiency, I’ll post another gallery.

Mar 25 2010

The Greening of Johnson Space Center

If you take a tour of Johnson Space Center, you’ll notice firsthand that the facility is old.  Most of the buildings are out of the 1960s and are completely insufficient for the needs of the agency. Despite this, the people working there have made it home.  There’s a lot of forward thinking still happening at NASA, and I’d like to give credit where credit is due.

Since work takes me to JSC quite often, I have been able to see a lot of changes recently in the way of energy efficiency.  One of the first things I noticed one day were the street lights being changed out for energy-efficient fluorescents. Then I noticed some solar panels and wind turbines being installed near the day care center.  Within a few months several new buildings were going up.  I made a guess that all the new buildings were going to be LEEDS certified – I was right (pdf file).

Today I decided to drive around and take some photos of just a few of the projects NASA has been working on to go green: