Archive for January, 2014

New Years Resolution Jan. 2014

January 7, 2014

Analysis of 2013 Resolution and Results

As with 2013 it took me awhile to formulate a resolution. I learned from the last one to be more concise and more specific to help the subsequent assessment.

What is not clear in my previous goal is if a main goal can be met by meeting one of the subgoals (eg. examples) or if the goal required meeting all the subgoals. [Previous resolution is here]

Perhaps my biggest gain was not in meeting my specific goals but sharpening my conceptualization of the problem in this analysis of how I can eliminate my direct carbon footprint.

Review of 2013 goals
Substitution. I did make headway on substituting technologies. I started Avista Buck-a-Block on the house and Barn to use offset renewables in place of fossils for my electricity generation. I’ve been exploring LED lighting and buying sample bulbs from TMart and on eBay. The CREE 60W (equiv) is the best of all of them but at twice the price. I think I have replaced half of the most commonly used bulbs in our house, started on the Barn and committed to making the Cookhouse LED from the start. The biggest wattage gain was finding this 5W LED spotlight to replace some 50W halogens.  I also researched with an electrician swapping out the gas water heater and gas dryer in the Barn for electric ones. Wiring is not in place but the breaker panel has enough capacity and the distances are short. Major de-cluttering of the barn’s basement is required to make the task feasible. I’m not sure I understand what I really intended by the local food substitution goal. I’ve certainly fiddled with that, but it needs to be re-phrased.


Progress — we reduced our total driving by 25% (measured as miles driven) compared to 2012.

2012 miles 2013 miles
Krista’s car (red) 7927 6313
My car (white) 5241 2336
My pickup (blue) 1059 2078
totals  14227  10727

Green Production. I have built a solar air heater in the Cookhouse and its reducing some heating demand. The solar water preheater is still under construction, but its part of the plan. And the Cookhouse itself is all electric with Buck-a-Block in place, so it has carbon offsets for all its utilities. My cooking experiments have been sporadic, but I’m better at using the Crockpot, with several soup recipes that I make as a batch and re-heat for my lunch. The next leap here will come with an installed and easy to use solar cooker to replace the crockpot. That has to wait finishing my current building project. Similarly, the mud oven needs a permanent home and roof to become more than a novelty.

Path to a Steady-state Economy. This was a rosy goal, but I don’t know what it means. Perhaps it was really an overarching goal to the others.

Upgrade my Bike Trailer. I’ve been riding my bike and even using it for some shopping, but my only progress on the trailer was finding a place to buy a better tow bar/hitch.

Resolution for 2014

What I should have named in 2013 was that the Cookhouse would take much of my energy for projects. The goal for 2014 is to: (1) finish the Cookhouse (which means getting a Certificate of Occupancy for at least the lower floor and at least one commercial cooking use); (2) implement the solar water pre-heater, and (3) instrument the building so that I can begin documenting its performance.

Time and energy allowing, another goal is to get the solar water pre-heater on our house finished and a solar air heating system implemented in the Barn. Each of these is partially started and each has run into various hurdles that work on the Cookhouse is informing.