Sustainable Living Taos New Mexico
Living Green, Building Sustainable, Thinking Toward The Future
Green takes on many faces. Solar energy, passive & active, re-cycled materials, off-the-grid, sustainable. It’s about being friendly with your environment and being pro-active in thinking about the future.
Taos can claim itself the Solar Capital of the Southwest with 360 days of sunshine, where the radio station is solar powered, as well as the Internet provider with solar wireless connection. Taos is a place where ecological sustainability has made the news since Mike Reynolds introduced his first beer can house and earthship. The original adobe mud hacienda built centuries ago were made from the earth with thick walls keeping cool in summer and warm in winter.
All of us can help to sustain our environment. It is available and affordable. Rain catchment systems taking gray water to your garden & trees, tram walls capturing heat with southern exposure windows, vents & heat mass, alternative building materials such as tires, pumice, rastra block & strawbale, all are adaptable means of being energy efficient. The Taos Pueblo and today’s condos all have common walls, common space, shared heating/cooling systems, shared water, rain water cisterns & solar panels. Condos are affordable, planned communities allowing for open space to sustain natural habitats, air quality & water resources.
Xeriscaping adapts to the natural climate & environment. We live in a high mountain desert, where thoughtful landscaping can bring natural cooling. The initial trouble of establishing your plants would be well worth it. Check with a landscape architect for plants that are suited best for your property.
We are not re-inventing the wheel. We are re-learning for economic, ecological and sustainable living. Consider Taos Land Trust who fosters open and productive lands for future generations. We have a chance to make a difference.
Definition/information of LEED standards:
Look for the green logo throughout our printed materials: website, newspapers, real estate guide, advertisements.
This signifies a property that has taken thoughtful steps in being energy efficient.
Five Tips for a Green Home
Eco-friendly. Carbon footprint. Global warming. Energy-efficient. These catch phrases have become part of our lexicon as we’ve become more aware of our impact on the environment and our role in protecting it. As a homeowner, there are some simple, inexpensive steps you can take to make your home energy-efficient. Get started on the road to being “green” with these five tips:
Change Your Light Bulbs
By replacing just five incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, you can save $100 per year on electric bills while using up to 75 percent less energy and removing greenhouse gases from the environment.
Buy ENERGY STAR® Appliances
ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, such as refrigerators, washers and air conditioners, meet a higher level of energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy than standard models. According to ENERGY STAR, if just one in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, the impact could be compared to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees. And, switching to these appliances is not only good for the environment, but easy on your pocketbook. Although these appliances may costs more, you can reduce your energy bill by $80 per year.
Cracks and air leaks represent cash seeping from your doors and windows. Get rid of air leaks in doors, windows and other areas by caulking gaps and cracks. This will help decrease your heating and air conditioning bill. But make sure you use silicone sealants. Acrylic caulk tends to shrink, while silicone sealants are waterproof and won’t shrink or crack, creating less waste.
Use Less Water
Did you know that roughly 60 percent of a home’s water consumption takes place in the bathroom, according to the California Urban Water Conservation Council? The largest culprit is the toilet, which accounts for 27 percent of your household supply every year. By installing low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets, you can save thousands of gallons of water each year. In addition, replace leaky fixtures. That slow-dripping faucet can waste as much as 2,400 gallons of water per year.
Adjust the Thermostat
When adjusting your home’s thermostat, the rule of thumb should be: turn up the dial in the summer and down in the winter. Lowering the temperature by just one degree will reduce your electrical costs. And if you use a programmable thermostat, you can program your air-conditioning and heating systems to reduce output while no one is at home or at night while you sleep. Ceiling fans are also helpful in circulating the air to keep the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Going green doesn’t have to be overwhelming or costly. By making just a few small changes within your home, you can help decrease energy consumption and help make the world a “greener” place.