Summer is great for outdoor living and enjoying the sunshine – it is also a great time to be more sustainable.  Think about it, if you save money on utilities, you can spend more at your local pop-up beer garden or go on a vacation!

  • Keep your utility bills under control.
    • You probably turned down the A/C to fend off all that heat outside! Keep your bill under control by raising the temperature setting two to three degrees. Make it a game: manually Very Cool and Very Smart Very Cool and Very Smart

      adjust the temp when you leave and return OR, to make it more fun by investing in a NEST Thermostat and watch it automate your comfort settings.  As it ‘lives’ in your house, it will ‘learn’ how you live and help to optimize your electric bill.

    • Your clothes dryer uses an enormous amount of energy – take Deck Laundry With Bag 4advantage of the long, hot days of summer and hang your clothes out to dry. Toss them into the dryer for a minute or two to take out any WaterHOGstiffness.
    • Avoid a higher water bill by capturing rainwater in a rain barrel and using it for irrigation inside and out. These are rainwaterHogs
  • Live a colorful life.
    • Eat fresh, colorful, locally grown fruits and vegetables – including those grown in your very own yard!
    • Ditch the hip black outfit in favor of bright, vibrant colors.
  • Connect with nature.
    • Go for a daily 20 minute walk in the sunshine. Not only will you get exercise, you build up your Vitamin D ‘bank’, will be in a better mood, and you will be able to sleep better.
    • Adopt a tree and visit forests and start a practice of forest bathing.
    • Live a more biophilic life by surrounding yourself with plants. If you plant herbs and SunShaft Gardenvegetables you will be happier by just looking at them and healthier by using them in your cooking. Just starting growing plants? Try lettuce, parsley and nasturtiums – they are almost foolproof and they taste yummy.
  • Make your house healthier.
    • Move the electronics out of the bedroom or at least 6 feet away from your bed to help you get a better night’s sleep. Studies show that the electromagnetic radiation from electronic devices interferes with our sleep.
    • Open the windows and let in fresh air!
    • Open the shades and let the sunshine in.
    • Get involved with your house to control temperature by manipulating the blinds and drapes.
    • Adopt Sunshine Cleaning methods. Check out the GreenBeams Sunshine Clean Recipes!
    • Go Solar. Have a solar photovoltaic analysis done for your home – and then have it installed! Too much? Try cooking with a solar cooker. Still too much? Get a solar charger for your electronic Solar Living in the Gardendevices and reduce your plug load.  You may find that you really love an ‘off-the-grid’ life.
  • Get your friends and neighbors to join you in a sustainability savings challenge – see how much you can all save on your utility bills by reducing consumption. Celebrate your savings with a block party at the end of the summer!


Forget the Gym, Start a City Garden

June 10, 2016

Our city garden is growing by leaps and bounds. Our house is 4 stories tall on a 17’x80’ piece of ground with townhouses on either side.  We have a busy sidewalk and street out front, and an active alley out back.  So where does our garden grow? In our sidewalk tree box, in a few […]

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Sustainable Travelogue – 14 Secret Philly Garden Parks

June 1, 2016

Sometimes – especially when you are touring – you just need to sit down or swing on a swing or take a nap in a quiet park.  Luckily Philly is teeming with places to sit and watch the world go by.  A surprising amount of these places are right next to the crowded, benchless areas […]

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Sustainable Travelogue Hints – Live the Local Life

May 21, 2016

Traveling is wonderful.  Living like a local as you travel is even more wonderful.  Go out and see the world with your whole self fully immersed in the places you see and the cultures that surround you. Get on a bike – it is one of the best ways to see a city.  Many places […]

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An Energy Snoop Surprise

May 2, 2016

So, in my Energy Snooping post, I suggested that you do an inventory of your plug loads.  Then I thought, hey wait a second, you haven’t done your own inventory.  Sorry for that. Then I followed my own instructions: walked around with a pen, paper, and added a ladder. Then I wrote down everything that […]

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Energy Snooping

April 25, 2016

At first I thought that the easiest sustainability project was to unplug appliances and other devices when not in use but then I thought about what is entailed in all that unplugging.  You need to understand electricity and how it relates to your electric bill.  You need to figure out how to unplug and you […]

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Sustainable Travelogue: Capital Bikeshare

April 18, 2016

I had a great weekend visiting our daughter in DC.  Instead of driving I decided to be multi-modal.  The result was a relaxing, stress free, surprisingly easy, and exercise filled travel experience. Biked to the train – I biked over to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and locked my bike up at the very convenient bike […]

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Simple Small Sustainable Steps

April 13, 2016

Adopting a sustainable lifestyle can seem intimidating.  Everywhere you look – magazines, TV shows, the cleaning and produce aisles at the grocery store – it seems like living sustainably is complicated.  But it isn’t.  If you take a single tiny action each day, you can make a big impact on your utility bill, your health, […]

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Harry Potter Would Have Been a Great Leak Sleuth

April 7, 2016

I was in town hall the other day paying our real estate taxes.  First I was struck by how efficient the system was – a lot of what goes on in Philly is not so efficient but the city seems to have perfected accepting money.  I was also struck by the professional, informative exhibits that […]

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Pollinators Need Your Help

February 16, 2016

When we lived in the country we used to have beehives in the yard. It was fascinating to watch the hives work. Unfortunately they were too often empty because of colony collapse. It is a very, very sad moment when you pry open your bee boxes in anticipation of finding bees busily zipping around filling […]

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