Living eco-friendly has never looked so good—or been so easy! Madisonians share how they've smartly gone green.
Living eco-friendly has never looked so good—or been so easy! Madisonians share how they’ve smartly gone green.
The Eco Designer
Janette Glassmaker fashions her life around her committment to the environment, at home and as an interior designer and project manager at Lerdahl Business Interiors.
Friendly Skies I use NativeEnergy to offset carbon emissions. On my trip to Europe this summer I calculated my impact, which was four tons of carbon, and invested fifty percent in renewable energy projects and the other half in their biomass projects.
More than Skin Deep I choose all of the products I use on my body—lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and soap—carefully. Cosmeticsdatabase.com is a great resource that ranks products based on potential dangers to the body.
Waste Not Recycling is important to me. It’s so simple! It bothers me immensely when I see items in the trash that could be recycled.
Breathe Easy I use a yoga mat made from jute and PER (polymer environmental resin), which is phthalate-free, biodegradable and doesn’t contain any human-made additives. Jute is a natural vegetable plant that takes only forty-five months to grow to maturity. It seemed like an oxymoron to be practicing yoga, benefiting my mind and body, and then using a mat that could damage it with the chemicals with which it was made.
Inbox Inspiration I receive daily green tips via email from Sierra Club’s “The Green Life” and Ideal Bite. The Sierra Club has a book titled Hey Mr. Green, which is a compilation of a column in Sierra magazine and contains an amazing amount of information about green living.
Hip to Be Square One of the carpet manufacturers I’m really into is InterfaceFlor. Their carpet tiles create less waste, as one tile can be replaced if there is a wear or stain issue. The Flor portion is for residential applications. It’s a different look for the home, with some really fun patterns.
The Natural Man of the House
Stuart Utley is an “EcoBroker” with First Weber Group Realtors who enjoys the out of doors as much as environmentally friendly homes.
Check it Out I make extensive use of the Sequoya Branch Public Library, located only about a block away from my house, stopping in about once a week to pick up new items.
Piping Hot I recently installed inexpensive foam rubber insulation around all the hot water pipes in my mechanical room and crawlspace. And I regularly replace the furnace filter for optimal airflow and efficiency.
Great Outdoors I use the trails in the Arboretum, city golf courses, Lakeshore path and Picnic Point, and often take my dog out to Indian Lake County Park, which has an off-leash area and great trails, too. I mountain bike in Quarry Park on the near-west side of Madison, and also like to go canoeing or touring kayaking in any of Madison’s lakes, but especially in Lake Wingra, a no-motor lake.
Veggie Tales Last year I started picking up a biweekly subscription half-share of produce in a local CSA from Vermont Valley Farm. I not only get to try many tasty items that I might not otherwise discover, but I support a local family farm, too.
Road Work As a real estate broker who must rely on a personal vehicle for many aspects of my work, I drive a Prius and try to minimize trips and hauling unneeded loads—like heavy open house signs when they’re not in actual use.
Push It I compost most of my yard and kitchen waste. And I mow and water minimally and only as needed.
The Energy Star
Charles Warner, a residential and community services specialist at MGE, makes saving energy a priority in his life.
Spreading the Word On my personal blog— ladolcegangster.blogspot.com — I interject basic energy conservation ideas. And on my Facebook page I try to get the message out.
Reduce, Reuse I don’t buy a lot of clothes. I have enough in my wardrobe now. I don’t see any point in wasting new resources. So far I’ve been able to stay up with the trends.
Chill Out I wash clothes only in cold water and I use a cold-water detergent—Tide Coldwater—that I read about in Consumer Reports. It works wonders and reduces the need for hot water.
Shop to It I try to keep it local, especially on the grocery bill. I walk to the store, bring reusable bags and try to buy as many local items as possible.
Tune In I am a big music fiend but my CD consumption has drastically been reduced in the last two to three years. I buy CDs at Strictly Discs or download music on iTunes. And I try to support artists who are using their music as a stage for promoting renewable energy—Jack Johnson is a good example.
Get with the Program I do a lot of workshops on energy conservation, and what I preach I definitely practice at home. I program my home thermostat to go to sixty degrees when I’m at work. A half an hour before I get home it bumps up to sixty-five degrees and when I go to bed it goes back down to sixty.
The Fresh Foodie
Terese Allen, a cookbook author, chair of the REAP Food Group, Isthmus columnist and Organic Valley food editor, is what she eats—green!
Fungi Fun I go morel hunting. I’m just a fanatic. Every weekend and sometimes during the week in May, we’re out in the woods. I never buy mushrooms. I always use dried morels.
Keep it Simple I used to run a restaurant kitchen, and as a chef I was always looking for the most efficient way of doing things. How to cook simply—simple sauces, polentas and omelettes that you can alter any way you want based on what’s in season.
Dig In I don’t have a green thumb but I still like to grow the things that are easy: beans, tomatoes, fresh herbs, raspberries. I bike a lot in the summer and always have a few containers with me. I pick lots of mulberries, juneberries, pears and plums.
What’s in Store I’m not a shopper but my three favorite places are Bargain Nooks (they’re operated by the Hodan Center in five towns in southwestern Wisconsin), St. Vincent de Paul and Pink Poodle.
Season’s Eatings I’m really big on eating seasonally. Anything can be picked and frozen. In the freezer right now I have tomato sauce, pesto, chicken stock, six or seven kinds of frozen fruits, hot salsas, lots of frozen corn—I’m crazy about corn in the winter—roasted red peppers and edamame.
Food for Thought I have a new cookbook out this month called The Flavor of Wisconsin: An Informal History of Food and Eating in the Badger State. It’s a second edition—Harva Hachten was the original author. A hundred and fifty years ago everyone was eating green. They didn’t have a choice! That’s what I write about in the newer section. In the last twenty-five to thirty years, Wisconsin has emerged as a forerunner in the local and sustainable food movement.
Raise a Glass Last year I found blackcurrant at the Farmers’ Market. I made cassis, a liqueur, and used it in champagne on New Year’s.
Park It We became a one-car household. I work mostly at home and I walk a lot for exercise. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. I can get to the grocery store, library, shoe repair shop, hardware store, yoga studio and many restaurants.
Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.