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  • Frazil ice
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2016 sustainability goals
« on: October 01, 2015, 02:53:50 PM »
I worry that COP21 are too far into the future. To get momentum we need some goals for next year. Bruce wrote : "I have new solar panels powering my pumps this year but in the interests of conserving water I am planning on reducing water ( metered use) by 33% from two years ago." . Thank you Bruce - you got me thinking and so:
So for 2016 I'll use 10% less water, use an electric motorbike charged by solar instead of my inefficient petrol one, run 50% of washing machine cycles on solar, 50% of my cooking on solar rather than gas.


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  • First-year ice
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Re: 2016 sustainability goals
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2015, 03:12:21 PM »
Hey, it's not even December yet!  ;)

We've just moved in last January into our new eco-house (hate the word, but it's the best description). Right now I'm collecting data every month, and then somewhere next year we're going to start saving on the savings. Things like turning appliances like washing machine, heat pump, dish washer etc. on when the Sun is shining on the solar modules.

This winter is another moment of experimenting with heating. If it costs too much electricity, we'll build in a water/air-heating wood stove next year.

All in all I expect us to use around 4000-4500 kWh per year, total energy use (including heating), half of if from the solar panel array. About 1000 kWh more than I had initially anticipated, but we'll shave some of it off again once we optimize things.

As far as transport is concerned: As soon as I find the energy to build a carport, we'll invest in good bicycles and take the car off the road (to save on insurance etc) as much as we can, only put it back for travelling abroad etc. We hope to be able to do without it at some point. Right now we most of all for transporting building materials. That should end somewhere in the next 2-3 years.

Increase yields from garden year on year. Buy stuff second hand as much as possible.

That's about it for 2016.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin


  • Grease ice
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Re: 2016 sustainability goals
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 01:20:31 PM »
I plan to reduce my meat consumption and cycle more.


  • Frazil ice
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Re: 2016 sustainability goals
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2015, 01:27:20 AM »
Thanks for asking this OrganicSu!
Now I have the opportunity to tell (rave on to) someone else about my new revolutionary plans for our garden.
(Our friends aren't quite as garden/self sufficiency-obsessed as we!)

Each year around this time (it's spring here) I plan some type of household 'improvement', originally I thought in terms of these as money-saving ideas but really they have all been about living more sustainably;
eg. one year I bought a bicycle & use it to go to work & other errands locally, another was getting our house insulated, then setting up a worm farm, cold water for laundry & making our own detergent, 2 meatless days/week....

The last few years we have had 'use what's in the cupboard' as our theme. We interpret this in the broadest sense from not overstocking up on groceries, eating from the garden & the freezer, fruit wine making, repairing stuff we already have, using our own skills or learning how to do things etc etc & also trying to make full use of all that grows here for compost making & shredding our prunings for mulches, & firewood...

I seem to have finally digested some of the ideas from permaculture, & about food forests in particular. It all makes sense (my degree was in Ecology) & pulls together things I have experimented with in a piecemeal kind of way up til now.
So now the goal is to incorporate our existing free standing fruit trees & plants & develop them into more of a food forest. I've been learning about plant Guilds & have already made a start around some of the old freestanding citrus trees that were set in lawn.
I've laid down layers of newspaper & cardboard & fertiliser + compost, mulched heavily with all sorts of garden trimmings & started surrounding them with supportive plants (which I already had seeds of or growing elsewhere, had no need to buy any!) from their guild doesn't look so tidy for now but I am delighted with the progess so far.

In time all of the fruiting trees will get linked together into my version of a food forest! So suddenly I am looking at cardboard & 'weeds' with completely new eyes!
& DH likes that we have less & less lawn to mow. His project is a wildflower meadow under the dwarf fruit trees where lawn once was.
In the vege garden I have adopted the ideas of 'no dig' (its quite a change to be weeding with secateurs, leaving the roots behind to rot!) & 'keep the soil covered'. I always mulched a lot but have started planting sacrificial green crops between the rows of seeds & seedlings too.

Long term I hope this 'revolution' will also reduce the heavy work as there will be less digging, weeding & mowing to do. Well that's the theory!
Then next is to try & reduce the amount of plastic coming in to this house...
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 02:31:59 AM by Clare »


  • Frazil ice
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Re: 2016 sustainability goals
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 09:11:20 AM »
Thank you Clare for "The last few years we have had 'use what's in the cupboard' as our theme." After reading it, my wife and I started 3 days of no shopping (relatively easily done in this quiet hamlet). We plan to do the same for the first 3 days of December and each month of 2016. In 2017 we plan to not shop for the first 6 days of each month, 2018 the first 9 days etc. In 10 years we will be at 30 days. As the cupboard is already fairly bare, Why? It nudges us to ensure we always have surplus from the garden and solutions for electricity, medicine etc if society broke down thereafter.
I won't tie myself in knots with fanatical adherence to this plan e.g. only pay insurance or fix a broken arm on certain days of the month.
The 11th year could be the most interesting...


  • New ice
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Re: 2016 sustainability goals
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 05:23:21 PM »
This is a great topic!  We had a great garden this year, but there's always room for improvement.  My main problem is that since both my husband and I work, we're time-stressed for some of the garden work.  This year, a lot of our broccoli went to seed because we didn't harvest in time. 

I'm in nursing school now and will be for all of next year, so next year's garden might be scaled down.  But I love it so much; I love cooking with the produce that I grew.  And I'm learning, learning, learning.  Every year, I get more out of the garden.