Going Green…So You Don’t Have To?
Two years ago, Susan Carpenter, writer of the Los Angeles Times’ Realist Idealist column, made herself a guinea pig and her bungalow the laboratory for an experiment that looked "at environmentally promising home improvement projects through the eyes of a budget-minded consumer.” This past weekend she wrote up her conclusions, with an eye toward what worked (for her) economically and practically. “The idealist in me finds value in every improvement, but the realist can't deny that some have been far better in terms of payback — if not financially, at least morally. The systems that easily fold in to my busy life are the ones I've enjoyed most,” Carpenter writes.
Among Carpenter's top picks: a gray water system, solar power, and rain barrels. Those efficiencies that cause her to have “second thoughts” include a waterwall, edible landscaping, a composting toilet, and backyard chickens.