May 10 â€" A UK Family Models Green Housing That Saves Cash

The Telegraph (a UK–based paper) released a story last week on a family that has converted their house to an environmentally-friendly structure this past year, and are beginning to save dollars as a result.  The remodeling includes increased natural lighting, increased natural insulation, re-using grey water, and a roof that grows flowers in spring.

The Barthels make sure non-compostable waste - such as paper, plastic, tin foil and glass - is all recycled. So are batteries when they come ready-fitted in a new appliance, but they are replaced with rechargeable ones as soon as possible. In over two years, they have got through just a handful of batteries. That's not to say that the Barthels forsake the pleasures of modern gadgets. But their fast-expanding collection of iPods, for instance, have solar-powered chargers.

One of the family members cast their remodeling, and life changes, in an interesting and perceptive light:

The couple don't see themselves as being anything out of the ordinary, just practical. "I cannot see a single disadvantage to living a green life and, of course, much of the time we are no greener than anyone else," says Pauline. "Recycling and reusing are good habits to re-acquire. I say 're-acquire' because almost everything I now do to be green, my parents did in their day because that's how you did it: you re-used your shopping bag; kept useful bits of string, screws; put vegetable peelings on the compost heap; used loose tea and composted the dregs - I could go on."

The full article, full of many ideas for home rennovations, is still available online.  Green building policies often conserve water and electricity and frequently use recycled materials - we’ve even found insulation made of old denim blue jeans!

CAW is an advocate of Green Building, and this year is supporting AB 2160, authored by Assembly Member Lieu.  The bill requires state agencies to develop statewide residential green building guidelines, as well as provide information to local jurisdictions on how to evaluate and use different green building strategies.  The bill is currently awaiting a hearing date in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.