September 2011 
Home Green Home News
Autumnal Equinox Edition
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Greetings!
Well, another beautiful summer in the Finger Lakes is drawing to a close. I particularly enjoyed this one. With the rest of my household consisting of 2 students and a teacher, I didn't want to be the View across pond at EcoVillage at Ithacaonly one who wasn't kicking back a bit and enjoying the long sunny days, so I worked harder on working less. Thanks to our wonderful and competent HGH staff, I was able to spend more hours jogging woodland paths, carrying food scraps to the chickens, and sitting watching children and other wildlife cavort in the pond. This experience of "downshifting" helps me to feel more hopeful about our society's long-term future. As fossil fuels fade away, we're likely to become materially poorer, but we'll also gain the many benefits and pleasures
(not to mention six-pack abs) of a slower, more local, and more hands-on lifestyle.

---Joe
HGH 4th Birthday!
cupcake image
My failure to send a newsletter in August means that our 4th anniversary of opening slipped by rather quietly. We'll save the big celebration for next August, but meanwhile, I just want to express my deep gratitude to all of you Home Green Homies out there who have kept us afloat during the early years of getting established.

 

With your support, we've helped grow the market for sustainable materials like organic cotton and kapok fiber. We've helped support dozens of small companies that are on the leading edge of designing and sourcing healthier, more sustainable products. And we've created another small channel whereby central NY folks can Buy Local.

 

Congrats to the HGH community! 

LED Lighting Coming of Age
Move Over CFLs

LED bulb image

For years I've been eager for LED bulbs to evolve to the point of replacing compact fluorescents as the eco-choice, and it seems like they are finally on the verge of winning the battle. It seems that issues to do with light quality, performance over time, startup time, and issues around the mercury content and recycling have all conspired to hinder the replacement of incandescents with CFLs. In the past few months I've experimented with several types of LED bulbs (reflector for recessed cans,regular A19 style), and been pleased with the quick start, brightness and light quality. At this point, the name brand LED bulbs can cost $25-45 each, which can be hard to wrap your head around for a light bulb. Some articles about LED lighting seem to be hyping technologies that are still on the lab bench, such as efficiencies twice that of typical CFLs, whereas the bulbs I've actually seen provide more like 20-25% efficiency gain. But with an expected life that's more than double that of typical CFLs, it seems reasonable to guess that the overall lifetime cost of the LED will be similar or less compared to the CFL on an annualized basis. In buildings where air conditioning use is significant, this efficiency gain will produce savings at a faster rate. As old bulbs die, I think it's now worth thinking about replacing them with LED bulbs.

Should HGH carry LED bulbs? Or are people more likely to grab them at Wegmans or Home Depot? Are they ready for prime time in your opinion? Your feedback is welcome - please shoot me an email

Cool New Stuff

Image: Acacia sofa by Cisco Brothers
New this week is organic yoga apparel from Stonewear Designs. Erica has tested a few pieces and reports their clothing is well made and comfy.

New furniture floor models from Cisco Brothers are in - the Acacia Sofa (pictured at right) and a Betula Chaise. Both feature durable and beautiful flax linen fabrics, and the usual green construction featuring natural rubber, wool, jute webbing, and sturdy FSC-certified hardwood frames.

In the Trash Free Lunch Dept., we've added some colorful lunch sacks hand-made from 100% recycled cotton canvas, and printed using plant based inks, from Kids Konserve.

 

Book Review:

Plan C - Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change by Pat Murphy 

 
cover photo Plan C book
Pat Murphy has organized a number of Peak Oil conferences and is the co-creator of the documentary film "The Power of Community - How Cuba Survived Peak Oil" (which we have in our Lending Library). I've read a number of books in the Peak Oil genre, and "Plan C" is perhaps the most solution-oriented one I've come across. Rather than spend a lot of ink convincing us of the gravity of the situation, Pat soberly reviews the facts and figures, and goes into some depth on long-term solutions and temporary "bridging" solutions. He has a quantitative bent, and a strength of the book is its wealth of tables, charts and graphs, where you can find everything from the BTUs per passenger-mile of Amtrak (2,760) to the protein content of kidney beans vs ground chuck (24:20) to the per-capita military spending of nations (USA $2069, Indonesia $6). Pat makes the important point that strengthening community will be an essential foundation for many of the adjustments that will likely be necessary, such as saying goodbye to the private car. Like many Peak Oil authors, Murphy has a lot of skepticism about solar and wind power, and he mainly focuses on how we will muddle through the "energy descent" rather than tackling the more murky topic of what life will be like after fossil fuels are truly gone. I'd like to see more analysis that builds a from-the-ground-up view of "the good life" as it could be lived post-fossil-fuel. In sum, this book provides a lot to chew on for the eco-geek who enjoys a data-rich number-crunching approach to sustainability.

Got a suggestion for a book we should carry? Let me know.

 

Thanks for reading, and check out the coupon below for your organic nest feathering needs! (Feel free to pass along to friends & family).

Still have another four minutes to spare? Check out this short video on creating a Plenitude Economy over at The Center for a New American Dream.

 

Sincerely,
Joe Nolan & the HGH Staff

 

 
Save 20%
Cozy up for winter with a 100% organic cotton honeycomb blanket or throw from Coyuchi. Comes in 10 colors. These blankets have a nice weight and pair very well with a wool-fill comforter for winter. The throw size is perfect for cocooning on the couch with a good book, or a DVD from the HGH Lending Library, or a supplemental bio-heat source (romantic partner).

Mention this coupon for 20% off through October.

 

Offer Expires: 10/31/11