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30 Days of Solar Energy

We celebrated our 1st 30 Days of Solar Energy this week!  So, you ask, how did the 1st month go?

We had our CT Clean Energy Fund inspection (after all, if they are providing grant monies, the job has to be done to their satisfaction) which went well.  A few nit-picky things (sorry, but needing stickers?  I'm sure it's important, but the poor electrician from Sunlight Solar had to go up on my roof this morning with temps in the teens!) which were corrected very quickly.

Here's the inspector checking out the roof.  Anyone else tired of seeing pictures of my roof yet?


We were pretty excited to learn that in 30 days (MANY of them cloudy - but hey, that's November for you) we had generated over 600 kWh.  We also surpassed the 1000 mark for pounds of CO2 saved!  I've been using the Mohlers in West Hartford as my benchmark, and I think we'll surpass their 12,000 lbs saved in a year.  We might also have better orientation and sun exposure than they do.
The CT Solar Lease…

MAMA GONE GREEN is my Guest!

I'm so happy to share a guest post/quick tip with you today from one of my favorite daily reads, MamaGoneGreen.  Special thanks to Taryn!  Please stop by her blog - I know you'll enjoy reading her as much as I do :)
Quick Tips: Handwashing  Tis the season for germ spreading and hand washing, right? Here are a couple of quick tips from Mindy Pennybackers Do One Green Thing that will help you make some more informed choices when choosing what to wash your hands with.

When possible, avoid regular handwashing with antibacterial soaps containing triclosan because this chemical spreads antibiotic-resistant bacteria (which means that when we actually ARE sick and really do need those antibiotics, they may no longer work!). Also, washing with antibiotic soap is no more effective than soap and water at killing germs anyways, so it is really unnecessary. Lastly, the production of triclosan (to put in the soap) releases dioxins into the environment, which can cause cancer. Yuck.

One last q…

My GREEN Ireland

Guess who went to Dublin for a long weekend?  Oui, c'est moi!  (We're just crazy like that!)  As usual, I tried to be a GREEN traveler & observer along the way :)

The first GREEN aspect of the trip was that all 6 of us squeezed into one car, luggage and all, to carpool to the airport.  We nicknamed it the GREEN MACHINE.

There were some pretty cool and different (for me) environmentally-friendly things in Dublin that caught my eye.  Like these cool solar compactor trash cans.  This one sits outside the entrance to the Book of Kells Exhibit at Trinity College.


Another day while walking near the campus we came upon this display in a window which we all thought was fabulous.

It's a flower grenade!  Ha ha!  It was part of this really cool cafe/shop/science exhibit which was closed while we were walking by and unfortunately we didn't manage to make it back for the time when it would be open.

We also saw lots of opportunities to buy and eat locally grown vegetables and meats…

ReStore Comes to Middlesex!

I really wanted to smush two topics into one short post today: GREEN beers and the ReStore...it's just that they're both timely and so very important (that's me being cheeky.)

Alas, I recognized that GREEN beer deserves it's very own post, and next week is just as timely as today would be.  I'll tell you why next week in a special post :)  Exciting things happening around here! (Well, exciting for me.)

Have you heard of Habitat for Humanity ReStores?  We're getting one in Cromwell - to be opening soon, as in this month.  You can donate materials from your building/remodeling projects...for instance a friend is remodeling a perfectly good bathroom just because she doesn't love the color...she could donate her cabinets or fixtures.  How it works is you call or send an email to jdoyle@habitatmiddlesex.org or call 860.343.9179 and they set a date to pick up your items if they can use them.  Those items are sold in the store, and reused (very GREEN!) and proceed…

While I Wait for the GREEN Light...

Waiting for the GREEN light...could that have 3 meanings?  The first might be waiting for the go-ahead to power up the solar electric system from my local utility company (CL&P) once they've installed their new electric meter outside my house.  The 2nd would be the actual GREEN light on the inverter that indicates we're generating power.  The 3rd is a little more obscure, kind of like waiting for the light to dawn on me, only in the environmental sense?  My GREEN awakening?  Yeah, I guess that's already happened.

Our solar installation was finished on Monday, with a final walkthrough and all.  On Monday, which was bright & sunny, we were generating close to 8.2kw during the test reading!  (BTW, I've said it before and I'll say it again - the entire crew over at Sunlight Solar, especially Kevin & Will who spent a good part of 2 weeks here, have been very professional and excellent to work with on this project.  I would recommend them without hesitation.)…

Solar Project Moves Along...

Day 6 is pretty exciting chez nous!!!  We have Kevin and Will, plus 2 other great guys from Sunlight Solar here and the panels are going up.  Today they expect to put up 28 of the 40 panels we'll have.


While they unloaded the panels from the trucks they told me that Evergreen Solar, the manufacturer of the panels we're using, is a company out of Massachusetts and their panels are U.S. Made.  Also, they told me, the company has a low carbon footprint.


The rainy weather slowed things down a bit, but it's coming along.  This is the view from my fabulous neighbor's yard.  You can see the panels won't cover the entire roof - we have enough room to add panels later for solar thermal!  (Woo!)
I would have waited until later in the day to share photos of how it will look in a few hours, but I'm heading to the hospital to spend time with my dad this afternoon.  Hoping he's getting strong enough for surgery soon.  Please send good thoughts our way.

O Canada I'm With You on This One

Cheers go out to the Canadian Government for making it the first country to officially declare BPA (bisephenol-A) toxic to human health and the environment.  I've been on a mission to limit my family's exposure to it since I first learned of the possible dangers (specifically the disruption to endocrine system, diabetes, heightened risk of breast & prostate cancer, heart disease & reproduction abnormalities) of BPA.  That meant getting rid of the many sippy cups we had, a few baby bottles, and reusable containers that might not be BPA-free.  Now if I have to buy something made of plastic, I look for the BPA-free label or go with glass or stainless steel.  (When we ditched the sippy cups for Sigg bottles, my kids never missed them!)

(This is my arsenal of BPA-free stuff, minus the rest of the Laptop Lunches bento box and water bottles which the little guy has with him at school right now!  Cute stuff, right?  Besides the Siggs, we have Resnackit, Lunchskins, and Laptop L…

The GREEN CT Realtor in Photon Magazine

When a package arrived at my office on Friday from the Netherlands, I just assumed that one of my readers had sent me a magazine that I would enjoy.  (I'm always amazed at how many different places I have readers following from - it's very humbling to see that in just a few days I might have visitors from China, Moscow, Singapore, Berlin, Canada, Australia, Norway, London, etc.)



It wasn't until later that evening when my husband was reading it that we figured it out...Photon Magazine wrote about my blog!  I've been featured on other websites (NE Conserves) and blogs before, but this was my first time in print media as The GREEN CT Realtor.  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about it.



I'm also excited about the magazine, which is published in San Francisco.  I'm looking forward to sitting down with a glass of one of my organic wines (yes, I'm still trying a new organic wine each week!)  and reading it cover to cover.  I'll let you know what I thi…

Your New Green Blog Friend

Confession time.  Between taking care of sick kids for the past WEEK, trying to work full-time hours from home due to a very busy real estate schedule, collecting signatures for a town political coup, keeping my commitment to trying new organic wines (someone has to do it!) and patiently waiting on my solar panels, I've also found time to blogstalk a new favorite GREEN blog!  (That sounds like a pretty exciting week though, doesn't it?  Plus tomorrow I have the new video shoot - yes, shoot #2 - for my listing at Knowles Landing!  There exists the remote possibility that a celebrity guest might be there - yes, my 2nd celebrity associated with this listing and I'm SO excited about it!)

Let me introduce Mama Gone Green, who might just be my West Coast GREEN counterpart/BFF/soulmate.  OK, that might be going overboard, but we have a lot in common as far as our choices in living an environmentally-friendly life and parenting.  She's an environmental studies instructor at a…

Solar Panels on Monday

Just as my beautiful sunflowers were beginning to fade...
I opened the email that the solar installation begins Monday morning!  The project we began back in January is finally coming to fruition and I'm SO excited.  It's a good thing the support beams for the attic were delivered yesterday.

 This is the delivery from our local lumber yard.  (Funny story about the lumber yard - their phone number is written on the outside of our house - we're talking eye-level as you walk up to the front door.  We think hubby's grandfather wrote it there 267-2565 and it won't come off.  It's been there for at least 15 years already!  Because of that, we decided not erase the smiley face Julien drew below it a few years ago when he entered his Picasso phase.)  Seeing as how we now have only the weekend before work starts, I can see hubby will be spending the weekend in the attic sistering up those beams for added support.

By the way, local friends, did you notice that our local …

GREEN Events...Coming Up!

Hola Greenie Friends!  Happy 1st day of Autumn!

Anyone else get the invite to "Out of this World 2010 the green gala" at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford?  The details: Saturday, Oct. 16th from 7-11pm ages 21 and over.  It's an eco-chic evening with food, celebrating the mission of the science center and the first CT gala powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, plus THE GREENIES, awards for various Green fashion statements.  Love it.  There are also various auctions for some very chic prizes like trips - you know how I love to travel!  Sounds like fun, eh?  Tickets are $150 pp.  Click here for more info.

Another eco-event coming up even sooner is the National Solar Tour.  In Connecticut, the event is Saturday Oct. 2nd from 10-4.  This is the open house of homes running on solar power  - there are 21 sites throughout the state open that day with representatives or site owners there to discuss the types of installations, systems, and technologies used.  It's a free …

Modular & Pre-Fab Housing has a GREEN Lining

The truth is that I'm conflicted when it comes to new construction.  When it comes down to selling existing homes vs. new, I've always picked existing because it's been the GREENER choice.  If we have plenty of housing inventory, then why muck up more of the ridgeline overlooking the lake (just an example from my town) with clearcutting for mcmansions, which not many can afford in this economy?  Why ruin the view for the rest of the community?  At the same time, I firmly believe people have a right to do what they'd like on their own property, as long as it doesn't conflict with local planning & building codes.  I don't deny anyone that right.  I've handled this personal dilemma with choosing not to sell subdivisions or seeking out new construction business.  Plenty of other realtors are out there who would be thrilled for the business.

In my local real estate market, there isn't very much modular or pre-fab construction.  I've heard people say t…

Solar Panel Update!

Since this is not an organic wine blog, I'll be brief about the wine I tried last week.  I like some whites, but I have to say I REALLY enjoyed the Bonterra Viognier.  So far that's 2 out of 3 bottles I'd buy again!
I haven't mentioned our solar panel project in a while, so here's the update.  We've been approved and our install date is in October!   Seems like it kept getting pushed farther and farther out, but there it is.  Scott has some support work to do on the older part of the roof so it will withstand the weight.  Since he'll be doing work in the attic we've decided to purge the attic (yet again) and host a tag sale which, when combined with the contents of the garage (we'll be tearing it down next Spring to make way for one which will be less critter-infested and might actually fit our cars,) and the goodies in the basement, should be quite the interesting assortment.  

Connecticut Light & Power, our electric company has already sent u…

Biodynamic Wines? Yes, Please!

My introduction to organic wines continues!  Last week I drank a Sterling Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was fruity as promised, but a little less full-bodied than I prefer.  It grew on me after a few sips, and I think it grew on hubby as well, because I think he finished the bottle on me!




The De Martino Cab - wow.  The label was right on with the full-bodied and long lasting finish.  Yum.  I'll be drinking more of that.





I thought this would be the week to try out my first biodynamic wine (at least that I'm aware of - it's entirely possible I've had some from French friends who drink organic.)  Turns out it's kind of hard to find in my little town.  Maybe it's because I didn't find the word "biodynamic" on any of the labels.  I suppose I need to go into the store armed with the names of the labels I'm looking to try.

What does biodynamic wine mean, anyway?  My understanding is that it is wine produced on a vineyard/farm where not on…

Back in the US with Organic Wine on my Mind

Let me begin with a thanks to all my readers, coworkers, friends & family for helping us get through a very difficult and scary medical ordeal with my dad.  This week I'm finally back to work, and thrilled to be here.  I'm sorry to announce my new iMac isn't here as the hard drive is somehow toasted and it is being repaired at the Apple Store.

I'm a bit of a planner.  That's an understatement.  I'm a huge planner and it only got worse when I had kids.  It applies to most areas of my life.  While I wish I were more of a neat freak, I'm more of a planner and goal-setter.  It is what it is.  So I'm looking at my upcoming Fall quarter, and while I have work goals, family goals, travel plans (hello, we're going to Ireland!) I also have GREEN goals.  (Does anyone else make quarterly GREEN goals?)

Somewhere on the Internet I caught a line that struck a chord.  It said something like, if you're eating organic, why aren't you drinking organic win…
Dear Readers,

My apologies but there is no post today due to a family medical emergency.  Best wishes to all of you, and I will post again once we have gotten through this.

The Green CT Realtor

My GREEN Experience in Europe

The jet lag has worn off, and the Japanese house guests left this morning, so what else is there to do (don't mention the laundry or lack of food in the house) but put up a new blog post?  (I suppose it's time to stop crying about the lack of good baguette or St. Julien cheese, and don't even get me started on the coffee or I'll break down for sure.)

Do you remember when I went on and on about how much GREENER things are in Europe?  (I mean in the ECO way.)  Well I certainly kept my eye out for those kinds of things as we traveled for the month of July across France and Italy (Belgium was such a short stay but I do have a note about that too) and I was surprised at my findings.


I went in expecting everything to be super GREEN.  I wasn't disappointed when we arrived in France and were greeted both there and in Belgium by GIANT, futuristic-alien-like looking wind turbines.  France has the 3rd largest European resource of wind power after Germany and the UK.  (*Stat an…

Monica Seles & Knowles Landing!

Sorry about the absence!  It's crunch time chez nous, and with a BIG LISTING comes a BIG WORKLOAD - especially when you're getting ready to go on vacation!  Preparing for and working on these 2 wonderful things in my life has left little time for blogging, or gardening, or cooking, or cleaning :)

What exactly have I been doing?  Falling in love - and not just with the Portuguese soccer team - with a dreamy property on the CT River that we call Knowles Landing (....sigh.)


http://www.knowleslanding.com/
Some of you may know how much I love historic homes.  This one is  historic with a twist - it has many of the features & characteristics I love in an antique home, but it has been renovated with modern conveniences.  I'm fine with that - I'm not a purist.  Just take one look at those gables, the upper deck and sunroom, the gorgeous wrap around porch...it's enough to make a girl swoon.  Then turn around and check out the view...


It's pretty spectacular, isn't …