Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's on Betty's (Sustainably Harvested Wood) Coffee Table??

Enjoy this month's Abode Column from Better World Betty here or online or on newsstands

Coffee table reads

This month Betty shares with you some of her favorite green reads to place on your sustainably harvested wood coffee table!

The first choice for local tree-huggers like myself is The Remarkable Trees of Virginia: a beautiful culmination of a four-year effort to “locate and describe the state’s most interesting and significant trees.” It includes photography by local Robert Llewellyn.

More practical would be The Better World Handbook, a comprehensive guide to green living subtitled “Good Intentions to Everyday Actions.” Its simple cover and pragmatism makes it a classic and part of Betty’s inspiration.

I also like The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices.

Cradle-to-Cradle is a must, written by local eco-visionaries William McDonough and Michael Braungart, who also launched an international product certification program.

For a wide audience including kids, How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: 365 Simple Ways to Save Energy, Resources and Money by Joanna Yarrow is colorful and engaging, raising awareness with a call to action.

The former English teacher in me loves Recycle This Book, a creative compilation of 100 top children’s authors’ tales of going green.

Feeling funny? Put out a tongue-in-cheek title like Wake up and Smell the Planet or How I Save 1/16th of a Billionth of the Planet by James Glave. As a former “cul-de-sactivist,” I can’t wait to crack this one open for some laughs.

Finally, what coffee table would be complete without a copy of Dr. Suess’ The Lorax?

I suggest buying these books from our local independent booksellers (Over the Moon, for example) for that Betty or Baldwin in your life!

After writing this column I found the amazing book: The Treehouse Book by Peter and Judy Nelson with David Larkin.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Do you want more local food at convenient locations??

Take this survey...

A friend of mine is considering opening a locally-owned, full-service grocery store in Charlottesville, with a commitment to sustainability and local food, and a focus on finding food justice solutions in our community. She asked Betty to get the word out to BWB peeps about aLOCAL FOOD SURVEY because she wants wants to serve the our local needs. In her words, "Your honest feedback would help us to determine the viability of her vision. Please only respond if you regularly shop for food in the Charlottesville area. Thank you!"

It’s here:

Thanks Rachael and friends!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Betty sheds some light on the subject...

Enjoy this month's Abode column here or in the newsstands or online:

Show me the light
Lighting accounts for 20 percent of the average monthly electric bill, so this month’s column promises to turn you on with cost savings!
By now you’ve heard of CFL bulbs, but LEDs are getting a lot of ink, too. Which is greener? Here’s Betty’s comparison:

Compact fluorescent lighting (CFL)
It’s true that if every American changed just one incandescent bulb to a CFL bulb, that would be the equivalent of taking 800,000 cars off the road. At $4 each, they offer three to four times the energy savings of an incandescent. They are readily available nowadays, and aesthetically are able to mimic the lighting effects of the old ones. The cons: They contain trace amounts of mercury (which collectively adds up), and some complain that their warm-up period to reach full brightness is too long (instant gratification, anyone?).

Light emitting diodes (LED)
These bulbs are pricier at $30-40 each, but imagine never having to change a light bulb again. They offer 10 times the energy savings and create less heat (they’re even cool to the touch), which results in lower home cooling costs. There is no mercury in the manufacturing or the bulb itself. The cons are the upfront cost and the fact that they’re not as readily available; both should continue to improve.

Don’t forget motion sensors as a smart alternative to leaving lights on for long periods of time, and solar lighting if you enjoy outdoor lighting accents.
Energy efficiency is the key, so just remember to “turn on the darkness” when you leave the room.


Monday, November 8, 2010

BRAG Campaign kicks off with a splash (of coffee in a reusable mug, of course!)

Friday morning the BRAG team was out and about catching acts of greenness throughout Charlottesville. We had a blast!

*We started off in from of the Darden School of Business at their bike rack (we counted 8 bikes) but we must of missed the bike owners, unfortunately (I was there at 7:55am!) But we'll be back and at other local bike racks this month.

*We caught Charlotte getting off the UVA bus transport - way to use PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!

*We caught Gary in his slick suit and tie and REUSABLE MUG ready for big important meetings. We tried to talk him into changing into the high fashion Betty T, but he passed.

*We caught Marianne with her REUSABLE MUG at local java spot, Greenberries.

*We caught a sweet older gentleman, Sam, who thought we were UVA students with his REUSABLE MUG. His buddy ratted him out, saying that was "the only thing Sam does do for the Earth!" That's O.K. We trust in the Betty-Earth karma he helped generate!

*We caught a Western Albemarle High School student heading into school with her ZERO-WASTE LUNCH BOX - (stainless steel snappy containers)!

*And Betty Lou (aka my mom) got caught with this email announcing we are going forward with a 100-mile Thanksgiving Meal with her purchase of a local turkey! From North Carolina:

Went in to a new store today called “The Meat House” which has been open for a little over a year. Almost everything fresh in the store is grown locally.

A friend suggested ordering the turkey from them which I’ve done. The turkey is from North Carolina and dressing which is made locally as well. I think we can pull off this 100 mile Thanksgiving. Can’t believe I haven’t been to this store before.

You’ve got to see this store. I will be a regular customer, for sure. Mom

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Betty's tips for furnishing

Enjoy this article in your local Abode magazine, online, or here:

As you read this, you are probably sitting on something comfortable but substantially less “green” than Mother Nature’s floor (the dirt) or a Caveman’s favorite chair (a rock). We spend hours upon hours sitting or laying down on objects that are made of a combination of wood, glues, finishes, foam, and metal springs fashioned from materials from around the globe. Betty offers the following tips for green furnishings.

*Choose furniture with the least-toxic finishes and glues. Avoid formaldehyde and other flame retardants which off-gas, compromising your indoor air quality.

*Buy FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood, or products shaped from reclaimed materials. I spied a beautiful bench crafted by John Shumate, a Barboursville artisan, at Artful Lodger.

*Ask lots of questions about the product material and manufacturing process. Beware of greenwashing. Betty advocates going local, but you may have to purchase online.

*Think durability. Natural fibers are great, but can wear and tear and stain more easily.

*If you have budget limitations, consider going green with just one aspect of the product. Or get creative by upcycling a yard-sale find, or buy vintage so that the off-gassing is done. Also consider refurbishing or reupholstering with natural fibers like hemp.

*Look for the Greenguard certification or Cradle-to-Cradle certification (from local eco-firm MBDC) where the complete life-cycle of the product is considered.
Finally, when you are done with that old couch, be sure to visit Betty’s hard-to-recycle online search tool (web address below), or call a local charity.

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sleep easier and greener...

Green living tips from Better World Betty
Sleep smarter

Given that we spend approximately one-third of our lifetimes sleeping, it’s important to consider exactly what you’re sleeping on. This month Betty helps you green your sleeping quarters, knowing you will rest a lot better after taking care of the planetary as well as the personal needs.

Historically, mattresses have been a major offense to the eco-world, with added toxins like formaldehyde, various flame-retardant chemicals, and petroleum-based polyurethane foam contained in most conventional mattresses. A mattress is an important purchase in the big scheme of things (even eco-varieties contain various natural products from all over), so it’s important to make a choice that helps you sleep at night!

Locally owned Artful Lodger sells various green lines of mattresses as well as an all-organic mattresses. Natura brand’s “Tranquil,” made in North Carolina from latex rubber trees, bamboo, cotton, and bio-soy foam (prices start at $1,300), is popular.

A local company, The Savvy Sleeper, sells its own line of Savvy Rest natural mattresses using natural latex and organic wool. No off-gassing chemicals, no pesticide residues, and no flame retardants, thank you. If the cost is holding you back, inquire about green lines from the big names.

As for pillows, organic cotton, wool or latex varieties work well. Sheets are now widely available in organic cotton or bamboo—but keep in mind most bamboo products will be coming from China, which increases the embedded energy of the product.
Last, but not least, grace your nightstand with a copy of Conscious Style Home by Danny Seo.

Voila: a brighter, green bedroom!
Better World Betty

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dead tree home tour: August's Abode Column

This month Betty takes a home walk-through to find any dead tree, replacing it with some tree-friendly alternatives.

Entering the home, we are likely standing on hardwood or surrounded by wood columns (i.e. 4x4s) that were once trees growing outside amongst the elements, but now wear a coat of drywall, insulation, and paint to protect us from the weather. Done deal.

The first thing we find in the entryway: junk mail. Put a stop to this dead tree by going to Betty’s easy links for eliminating junk mail at www.betterworldbetty.org. Share your magazines and recycle newspapers.

What do we find in the kitchen? No paper bags because you use reusable bags. Paper towels are unnecessary, but if you insist on having them on hand, the brown recycled variety will do. Cereal boxes and other food containers made of mixed brown paper (once trees) make great flash cards, art project materials, and can be recycled.

Stepping into the living room, we find a coffee table, dining set, and guitar—all former trees. Make your next furniture purchase FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or reclaimed wood, or second-hand.

Next room: the office. Remember to purchase 100 percent post-consumer FSC-certified bleach-free paper, have a recycle box readily accessible (paper still tops the list as the number one recyclable throwaway), and go paperless when possible.

We finish the tour with a bathroom break, finding Green Forest or Seventh Generation toilet and tissue paper using 90-100 percent recycled content and a chlorine-free manufacturing process.



p.s. photo from one of my favorite books: The Remarkable Trees of Virginia, photo by local Bob Llewellyn

Monday, July 12, 2010

Betty's BUY LOCAL reading list

Hmmm. It's a rainy summer day... too wet play outside, too boring to stay at home inside, yawn... yawn, there's NOTHING to do (isn't this the beginning of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books?). Betty has a solution for you... Take a walk/bike/ride to the WEST side and go to the newest indie bookstore in town: Over the Moon Bookstore & Gallery in Crozet! Just two doors down from Crozet pizza, this is an all-out indie effort that is community-minded, e-conscious (check out their reclaimed wood book tables) and cozy. (I promise to take pictures next time!)

Break the big box book chains (which shall remain nameless) and be a LOCAL book buyer: pick up one of the essential summer reading musts.

The Better World Handbook; Plenty; Growing Local Value; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; and Deep Economy are just some of the books about making and keeping local economies vibrant. Find the full list at here: http://www.bookweb.org/files/open/pdf/shoplocal/200909local_first.pdf

WHY is this important? You might ask. From the www.indiebound.org website, here's why...

"The Economy
Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.

The Environment
Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community
Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.

IndieBound supports Independent Business Alliances around the country. To find an alliance near you, visit AMIBA or BALLE."

Bookstore hours are 10 to 7pm Monday through Saturday, Sunday noon to 5pm. Call 823-1144 for more details!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Betty believes in MAKEOVERS!


Today was the opening announcement of Charlottesville's Home Energy Makeover Contest today at City Space and Betty was there among industry leaders, politicians, environmental activists, several Betty board members, and press to hear about the program. Energy is a 'hot' topic these days, so let Betty tell you how to 'cool' your energy costs and possibly win a makeover!

*Is your cooling system running when it doesn't need to be?
*Are there cracks in your doors and windows that are letting the cold/warm air escape thereby increasing your home heating/cooling costs?
*Are you running humidifiers or fans 24/7?
*How tight is the flue on your chimney?

These are among the important questions to be answered when looking at home energy use. LEAP and the home energy contest aims to raise awareness among Cville about the comfort and value of reducing energy use and cost in your home! So enter so that you have a shot at winning a FREE energy assessment (audit) and MAKEOVER.

If you haven't heard by now, LEAP is a community-based non-profit formed by a joint initiative between the City and the County of Albemarle and they recently garnered 1 million dollars in funds to increase energy efficiency right here, beginning with you!! The cool thing about this is the huge amount of money LEAP wants to give right back to the community, to YOU for making positive changes to your home! Whether your home need a lot of help or some help or A LOT of help, please sign up. It's EASY. Just fill out the EASY form online at www.cvillesaves.org

The other cool thing about this is that BETTY has a chance to get funds for her programs!! All you have to do on the application is enter the non-profit, BETTER WORLD BETTY. More details:

*Entrants will be selected to receive a free professional home performance assessment and energy makeover worth up to $10,000.

*Typical retrofit measures include: air sealig, duct sealing,adding insulation, tuning or upgrading heating and cooling equipment. Their goal is a 20% or better efficiency gain for these homes.

*Eight runners up will receive free home performance assessments (a $400 value) conducted by certified local contractors.

*Entrants must be City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County residential property owners.

*Registration is open now through August 20 (postmarked or email by midnight)

So take FIVE MINUTES and apply and be sure to put BETTER WORLD BETTY as your favorite non-profit because they will be awarding $1,000 to the organization that brings the most applicants!

THANKS everyone!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Betty floors everyone!!

For the floor

Most builders, architects, designers and homeowners now incorporate sustainable flooring into their home projects, whether it’s for LEED or EarthCraft certification, or simply at the homeowner’s request. Sustainability considerations include use, durability, and aesthetics and your budget. Fortunately, we have many great local options to choose from, living in the heart of Appalachia.

Reclaimed wood is a prime choice. Mountain Lumber Company (founded locally by Willie Drake) carries reclaimed flooring. As for new lumber, the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label assures conservation of natural resources and fair work conditions. Sustainable Woods only harvests diseased trees from Virginia’s FSC forests (we actually have two FSC-certified forests here), uses animals to pull the trees out, and uses a solar-fired kiln to dry the wood. Other FSC-certified wood floors are an option, but could be coming from Northwest Canada or South America.

Many carpets are now made using recycled products—plastic bottles or cork—or renewables like bamboo. Carpet Plus is the local frontrunner. I recommend asking lots of questions about the materials’ origin and the manufacturing process.

Other options:
Ceramic tile is a durable option, and local manufacturing lessens the embedded energy cost of the product. Linoleum and marmoleum are biodegradable (check for the GreenGuard certification). Concrete floors are hip and definitely long-lasting. They retain cold and heat, which can save on home energy costs. Questions remain about possible pollution in the production process, however.

An expert’s opinion: Charles Hendricks, architect with The Gaines Group and chairman of the Shenandoah Valley Home Builders Green Building Committee, suggests “a sustainably harvested wood floor from Southwest Virginia, with a fallback of a locally harvested wood floor from the Shenandoah Valley.”

I do so like GREEN floors and hope you do too!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A friend of Betty has something to say!

It's late. I'm checking email and I'm really not "reading" any of them in my current state. But I see one entitled "Climate Change Legislation" and which perks my Betty radar. I need to read this one, I think, and I'm delighted that it's 1) brief (hey, I'm being totally honest here) and 2) it's impassioned and true and 3) it's from one of my favorite local community activists - Glenn Short.

I served on the Unitarian Universalists Green Committee one year with Glenn and he is just an amazing force. Silver-haired, a proud and slightly hunched 5'8" (and last year had a fall that forced him to walk with a cane, much to his dislike), he always greats me with a big smile, a big hug, and a passion for change that is so strong in him, you can see it in his quick step. I believe he's well over 70 --I don't know his exact age-- but he certainly doesn't act it, which is delightful. The first green meeting I attended I remember his little black book that was so ink-splotched with dates and times and numbers for community meetings, public hearings, state legislator phone numbers, that it looked as though a pen exploded on it!

By way of that explanation, I MUST share with you his impassioned plea...

"Climate scientists report the uppermost safe limit for CO2 in earth's atmosphere is 350 parts per million, while today we're at 392 parts. Melting glaciers worldwide, Greenland's & Artic ice meltdowns prove we're in the danger zone now. Yet fossil fuel energy producers call for-- Drill Baby Drill! The only way to stop this status-quo, castastrophe-bound trend is to put a legal carbon limit on all greenhose-gas-emitting industries and vehicles. Even billionaires living on this finite-resource planet breathe the same air, drink the same water as the rest of us. Please, for the sake of future generations, tell Senators Warner (202) 224-2023 & Webb (202) 224-4024 we need a Climate Change law NOW, while there's still time."

Glenn Short

Please support Glenn and steps toward turning the tide of Climate Change by being active and involved in legislation aimed at solutions! Betty thanks you for your passion for change.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Betty's summer reading list title #1: Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last week I had to take a staycation, welcome-to-summer roadie to Richmond to see the new addition of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and visit one of my favorite trees at Maymont AND a new discovery: indie bookstore in Shockoe Slip FOUNTAIN BOOKS. Ahhhh. It was a great half-day excursion, but the highlight just might have been sitting in that quaint little bookstore for an hour, perusing new titles, favorite authors, a stellar tree book I MUST acquire soon but DIDN'T write down the title, and Ralph Waldo Emerson's book NATURE. Between grant-writing, mothering, working, and going to school I'm not sure when I'll get to "summer reading" lists, but I've started. Emerson's writing are his life are passionate expressions of his love of the natural world. He was radical in urging Americans of his time to be in the joy of beauty and Nature by walking, noticing, breathing.

I share this quote with you:

"The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection... the lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food."
from Ralph Waldo Emerson's (1803-1882) book Nature, Penguin Books (printed on FSC certified paper)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A More Perfect Patio this Summer....

Deck yourself out with these summer ideas from Betty's June Column for Cville Weekly's Abode Magazine

There’s nothing better than a relaxing summer evening with friends on the patio enjoying great music and great food. This month, Betty reveals eco-friendly ways to make your deck the in place to party outside.

Invite nature-lovers—like butterflies and birds—to your patio party with strategically planted butterfly bushes and bee balm. Find drought-resistant plants grown locally at the farmer’s market or area nurseries. Recycled glass bird-feeders are decorative and eco-minded, or make your own using a cardboard milk carton covered with a collage of old magazines and newspapers.

Lighting sets the mood. I like to get creative with candles: Mason jars filled with soy candles surrounding the edge of your patio offer a natural glow. Solar-powered lights create enchanting illuminated pathways. Energy-efficient options would be outdoor LED or motion sensor lights.

Of course your guests need comfy places to sit, so how about upcycling a great yard sale find (an old wicker chair or paint-peeling patio set) into a patio treasure with a quick new spray low-VOC paint job? Or you could splurge on a pair of Adirondack chairs made of recycled milk jugs, available at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop in a variety of joyful colors ($275; see p. 10).
If you have a wooden deck, a soy-based, zero-VOC deck stain (Velvet CDF, for example) seals the wood for 10 years’ worth of outdoor fun.

Finally, to avoid pesky mosquitoes, spray your patio area with a natural and locally made insect repellent: St. Gabriel’s, which lasts four weeks. Scented citronella candles are another good solution.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nature Play

Enjoy Betty's article in Abode magazine or here:

May’s arrival could have parents contemplating the long summer days with kids. A close-to-home solution for getting them outside and experiencing nature is to create a sustainably-minded backyard play structure or treehouse.

If you have an existing structure (pre-2004), a green remodel is in order because your lumber is likely treated with arsenate CCA (chromated copper arsenate), which leaches carcinogenic toxins. You could seal it with a water-based sealant to keep the CCA trapped in the wood, or replace the old wood with EnviroSafe lumber found at Nature Neutral (975-2002).

If you’re starting from scratch and feeling adventurous, choose a D.I.Y. treehouse plan online or design your own. Keep it simple. Look for FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) wood treated with a nontoxic stain. If you scout local lumber yards, ask lots of questions. Better yet, call Harry Groot at Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative (540-392-8081) which services a wide area, including Charlottesville, and tell him Betty sent you.

Too busy to build? There are many online companies that sell 100 percent recycled plastic, PVC-free play structures. I found Earthscapes structures, Timber Form’s “RePlay,” and Big Toys (they tout U.S. Green Building Council approval and plant three trees per purchase) online—alas, no local dealers.

Stay away from recycled-tire surfaces for underneath play structures, because of possible off-gassing. Pesticide-free grass, pea gravel, natural wood chips, play sand (avoid sand with tremolalite, a type of asbestos), or good ol’ dirt work well.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Better World Betty's Earth Week Recap

What an amazing week of celebrating the Earth. I was blessed to be a part of many Earth efforts around town where I was SERVING the Earth (last photo). One of Betty's fans commented: "Whoa - isn't Earth Day like Betty's "Christmas?"" It's true that it is a very special week. A time to CELEBRATE the efforts you are ALREADY doing to help the Earth or to RENEW efforts that you have been putting off because of your busy life or REDEDICATE time or energy or money to a new effort to help save our planet and its precious resources. Isn't this what every holiday is really about? Celebration, renewal, rededication.

My favorite part is connecting with the community members and other organizations and talking about more ideas for positive change. We are all on this bouncing ball together.

(PHOTOS: Me and the Bagel Lady at UVA's Eco-Market; Eric, Me, Sharon - community volunteers/change makers; Bruce Edmonds of the Rivanna Solid Waste and McIntire Recycling Center; Me serving the Earth)

BWB Highlights:

**Sunday: My very FIRST visit at Betty's Booth on Sunday's kickoff of Earth week at the Pavilion was a homeless man who wanted to start composting in his temporary housing. That was inspiring! He also told me about receiving a water kit from the city and installing it to the amazement of the other tenants.

EVERYONE, I mean everyone is making a difference out there.

**Sunday: Jen donating 15 dollars for one of my remaining BETTY T-shirts. (Still have a few left: email me...)

**Sunday: A listener of the Bruce and Betty radio show (it seems a tad hyperbole to call 12 minutes of radio a show) came to my booth and said, "So, are you Betty?" and I turned around to see if anyone besides me was standing there and oops no Betty. I looked at him rather sheepishly and said, "Betty is me." He looked so disappointed. No offense taken. I can totally relate. It's like reading Confederacy of Dunces and really wanting to sit down with Ignatius Reilly (OK, sorry Betty, not the most flattering of comparisons). But you get the idea. Betty is lovable and most times I wish she were real too. Now she is with me and all of us in spirit helping us take action - big and small ones everyday - to help the Earth.

**Tuesday: UVA Earth Week Garden Tour. I enjoyed listening to two landscape gardeners for the Pavilion Gardens at UVA at 1pm. They had some real wisdom as far as the impact he is seeing from global climate change. Even just a one percent shift in the Earth's temperature widens the distance insects are able to travel, thus creating a problem for investations of trees such as the hemlock in the area. One decried the folly of planting non-native plants year after year, only to watch them die, especially considering the drought-like conditions we've had in recent years. Boxwoods aren't native to the region, for example. They are a shallow rooted plant and therefore don't handle series of dry days where the moisture is deeper. Tradition at UVA is one thing, but "Good gardeners plant and watch, plant and watch." Continuing to plant non-native trees because of tradition is a waste of time and money, according to one landscaper, but so far it's an uphill battle getting anyone to listen. hmmmm. Talk louder?? (That's what Mother Nature is doing)

**A Betty faithful fan told me that on Spring Break she and her husband took "Betty walks" on the beach to pick up trash, sometimes asking "What would Betty do?" upon finding trash with mini bug inhabitants!

**Thursday, 40th Earth Day: UVA was loads of excitement as Bruce Edmonds and I did a remote broadcast in front of Newcomb Hall and then at the Amphitheater by the lawn - the Ecomarket with students, faculty and staff. LOVED Bruce's ECO-radio with a hand crank! The local bagel ladies were there as well as Retail Relay, Beer Run, Edible magazine, Habitat for Humanity, farmers, Feast! Earth lovers at large, let me tell you. THANKS to those of you who signed up to volunteer. Betty needs YOU!! Thanks for the interview Myles Henderson: http://www.newsplex.com/video?clipID=4725265&autoStart=true&contentID=91838494

**Friday 8:50am: Bruce and Betty show on 1061 the Corner on greening your lawn, Betty-style

The only regret: not hugging more TREES. Trees on Fire, that is, at their launch party this evening at Charlottesville's Paramount at 8pm. I cannot believe I am missing one of my favorite Organica Earth-loving bands tonight!

Thanks for another great Earth Day everyone,

p.s. Thanks Eric B and Howell B (volunteers), Bish Bailey at Bailey printing for doing some quick printing on recycled paper, and Pack N Mail on Pantops for cutting Betty a special on a way cool banner!

Monday, April 5, 2010

D.I.Y. green cleaners

Check out this month's column in Abode magazine here or on their website!

Mix up your own green cleaners

Time to spring clean! This month Betty gives you simple recipes to save greenbacks, and our green planet. These phosphate- and petroleum-free, biodegradable cleaners outshine harmful and unnecessary specific cleaning products. All you really need is baking soda, mild detergent (Dr. Bonner’s), lemon, kosher salt and (optional) tea tree oil.

Basic all-purpose cleaner: 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 gallon of water (many spray bottles are this size) and a lemon’s squeeze for aroma and anti-bacterial benefits. Use this in bathrooms (on tub and tile) and all countertops and appliances. For tougher stains sprinkle baking soda and kosher salt and apply elbow grease.

Natural disinfectant: 2 cups water, 3 T liquid soap, 20-30 drops of tea tree oil.
Clogged drains: ½ cup baking soda followed by 2 cups boiling water (unless you have plastic pipes). Still clogged? Add ½ cup of vinegar and watch it fizz, set, then flush.

Bathroom mold: 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) with 2 parts water. Spray; wait an hour before rinsing.

Carpet spills: If club soda fails, pour corn meal or corn starch, wait 15 minutes, and vacuum.

Hardwood floors: Local hardwood expert Will Rainey says you really don’t need to use anything special on hardwoods, just warm water (optional: a splash of vinegar).

Windows: 2 T of white vinegar per gallon of water. Wipe with newspaper (no need for paper towels).

Stubborn clothing stains: After a red wine stain on new white linens, I discovered this trick: hydrogen peroxide. Let it pull the stain off, then wash.

Happy green cleaning!

Friday, March 19, 2010

TAP into the global solution to safe water this weekend

Spring has sprung, y'all and it's time to be outside! Perfect time to enjoy a fresh glass of water and support Unicef's Tap Project right here in Charlottesville as a part of World Water Week. At the following 16 Charlottesville restaurants, pay just $1 for the glass of tap water you usually get for free. The money funds UNICEF drinking water projects around the globe.

Ariana Kebob, Aromas, Bang!, Blue Moon Diner, Bluegrass Grill, The College Inn, Eppie's, Fleurie, Horse & Hound Gastropub, Hotcakes, Ivy Inn, Orzo, Petit Pois, X Lounge, Zinc, and Zocalo.

This weekend is the second anniversary of the TAP Project, a nationwide event to bring awareness and solutions to safe, clean drinking water needed around the globe.

You know, the stuff you brushed your teeth with this morning and didn't even think twice about. Now I'm not pointing fingers here - I did the same. But it's a fact that here in America we take for granted fresh, clean water. So let Betty splash a little cold water on your face this morning...

Water Facts and Stats:

*Water-borne disease is the second highest cause of childhood death in the world – killing more than 4,100 children every day.

*UNICEF’s goal is to reduce the number of people without safe water and basic sanitation by 2015. Since 2007, the Tap Project has provided clean drinking water for more than 1 million children.

*Nearly 900 million people lack access to clean water…that’s the population of New York City multiplied more than 45 times over. With $1, UNICEF can provide a child with access to clean, safe water for 40 days, or 40 children with access to safe water for 1 day.

*All money raised via the Tap Project has gone toward UNICEF’s water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Since 1990, UNICEF has helped 1.6 billion people gain access to clean water and sanitation.

*UNICEF works in more than 100 countries around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices.

*A staggering 40% of the world’s population – more than 2.5 billion people – lack basic sanitation facilities.

*About one out of five people in sub-Saharan Africa rely on a clean drinking water source that is more than 30 minutes away.

*So I talked to Gwen Goodkin about how she became involved in Unicef's Tap Project, the exciting 16 restaurant participating this year in Charlottesville, and the important and tres easy thing for you to do: DONATE the money you would have spent on a drink and GET TAP WATER INSTEAD.

*Gwen is excited about the great publicity this year. She’s had help from Channel 29 TV Channel 29 TV, Chuck Baer of Black Baer Sealcoat (Ivy and Crozet folks, have you seen the billboard on Ivy Road - you know the one I'm talking about), and the folks at Lighthouse Studios Lighthouse for putting together an AMAZING PSA, and UnicefUnicef. I LOVE this woman! She gets things done. "All you need is a computer and laser printer and things just happen!" Betty loves positive thinking like this. Her 13-yr-old son (pictured above) has been a huge part of this year's campaign and commenced calling area restaurants while on vacation in Chicago!.

So your part is easy- here's all you do:

1) Take your and your friends and family and your LOCAL GREENBACKS out to a participating restaurant (the first pat on your back - way to keep your green here in the 'ville)
2) Tell them Better World Betty sent you (second pat on the back for supporting a local non-profit - thanks)
3) Then instead of having tap water (you usually have for FREE) or drinks, donate THAT money to the Tap Project! (third pat on the back for personally investing and taking action to solve the world's fresh water drinking problem! You rock.)

The Tap Project continues through next Saturday, March 27th. So you have all week!

Loving water, loving you!

P.S. From their website:

"What is the UNICEF Tap Project?

In 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project was born in New York City based on a simple concept: restaurants would ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free, and all funds raised would support UNICEF’s efforts to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world.

Growing from just 300 New York City restaurants in 2007 to thousands across the country today, the UNICEF Tap Project has quickly become a powerful national movement.

During World Water Week, March 21-27, 2010, the UNICEF Tap Project will once again raise awareness of the world water crisis and vital funds to help the millions of children it impacts daily. All funds raised support UNICEF's water, sanitation and hygiene programs, and the effort to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Painting with Betty...

This article can be found here, at Abode newsstands around town, or on Cville Weekly's website:cville abode

I’ve stared at enough white this winter, including walls—it’s time for color! And green painting can be fun and economical.

Pick the right paint, the first time!
If I wasn’t picky about color and material, I could head to Ivy MUC (Materials Utilization Center) and check their PEP (paint exchange program) paints; but I want to ensure a low-VOC or zero-VOC brand (like Natura from Benjamin Moore) to protect indoor and outdoor air.

Easy-to-clean latex-based paint with satin or semi-gloss finish is vital for my boys and me (outdated oil-based are higher polluting). Request Green Seal certification to limit and prohibit some toxins. My post-1978 home is lead-free, but be safe and visit www.epa.gov/lead for your project. I get 2-4 oz. samples and paint a 12x16 square behind a door: Colors can appear darker inside.

Stick to the basics
After rummaging my garage, I need one high-quality brush, an angled brush, a roller, painters’ tape, and a re-usable aluminum tray. I’ll borrow a step ladder and protect floors and furniture with old sheets or newspaper. Calling—instead of driving—around for prices and selection, I head to Nature Neutral, prep my walls with castile soap and water rinse (or a primer base) and I’m set! A paint calculator on the web tells me exactly how much I need.

If you have less than 1/4 can, let it dry outside. More? Use kitty litter or sawdust to soak up excess, and then dispose as trash. More than a gallon? Call local schools, Discovery Museum, other kid-centered places, or head to the Ivy MUC. (Notice the stunning red at Discovery Museum the next time you're there. That's my friend Kate's "Old World" - hysterical story behind that. When ordering her paint, she accidentally left off the "Romance" in "Old World Romance" and instead of a buttery, creamy color, she came home to vibrant cherry red!!) Reselling on craigslist is another option.

Happy painting!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Congratulations Cville Foodscapes

I was delighted to attend Sunday's launch at Random Row Books of a great new local business in town: Cville Foodscapes!

Built on the idea that there is too much lawn, not enough fresh garden food, six passionate individuals came together to help residents design, install and maintain home veggie gardens. Inspired by a love of gardening and a desire to see more food, not lawns (I love that book!), Wendy, Angel, Cassia, Sky, Sam, and Patrick have spent the past year creating a worker-owned cooperative business that helps Cville with their foodscaping! Besides offering a range of great services around gardening, they also will help you with your water harvesting and composting.

Wendy and I talked at length about the winding business path that lead them to this exciting day. And to our meeting - her friend Betsy has been raving about BWB and Betty's website and her husband actually attended January's Green Drinks and helped celebrate Betty's birthday! So we finally meet. Yeah! And what a light Wendy is! Well-spoken and enthusiastic about spreading their business. I was also happy to be reunited with smiley and completely huggable Angel Shockley. She and I communed in the dirt together while I was doing a work share at Roundabout Farm a couple years ago -- she was part of their on-site farm crew. I also met Patrick, who has an ultracool handout on how to make a flowerpot holder for your bike. I made one onsite (pictured here). Ruby (my bike) is so excited to have her very own marigold (from the seed exchange) blooming this spring if my thumb is as green as I want it to be!!

In talking with them both, I was impressed that they are not only creating a great business - helping people who don't know how or don't have the time or for other reasons just haven't taken the leap to having a home garden - but also the cooperative business model is forward-thinking and innovative enough to hopefully inspire other businesses to grow. They also have an already built in way to give back to the community and serve people who may not be able to afford their services: a "garden grant" program with QCC as their sponsor. A portion of their monthly revenue will go to support garden grants, which helps low-income families take advantage of fresh local food as well. Love it!

So if you've been thinking about taking the plunge into gardening, but are not quite sure how to start or what it entails, call the folks at Cville Foodscapes for a free consultation (their info should be in Betty's directory under Landscaping and Food shortly) (434) 806-6255 or email info@cvillefoodscapes.com or go to their website: www.cvillefoodscapes.com

Here's too edible lawns everywhere!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Bruce and Betty show on 1061 w/ Paige Mattson: Gardening

This spring is going to be in full bloom before you know it! (Thank the heavens, right?!) I know I am feeling like one of those tightly closed buds just waiting for enough warm days and sunshine to bloom brighter than ever. So it's time to PLAN, then PLANT, then GROW your garden.

1- Preparing the soil:

I love to use the compost from my bin (though this year I moved into a smaller place with no room for an outside bin. Therefore, I'm not going to have as much need of compost because my gardening needs will be confined to pots and containers this year. I may just do smaller batches using a bin that can fit on the countertop or under the sink nicely). Composting can be done in a bin or if you have a big enough yard can be as simple as a pile covered with kitchen wire. The other essential ingredient is Panorama Pay Dirt from Steve Murray's booming business out in the county. Last year I found it at Southern States.

2- Seed selection:

Paige tells us it's time to start NOW if you plan on using seedlings. I need to confess that I may be better world Betty, but my thumb could stand getting greener for sure!! Two years running I've tried to start my seeds indoors with an embarassingly dismal success rate of about one plant out of every 30 seeds I plant. YIKES. I have had more success with starting herbs from seeds indoors - so I'll try that this year. I love Southern Seed Exchange - available at I.Y. (Integral Yoga) and I've even seen those at Whole Foods from time to time, who is carrying more and more local produce and other items.

3- Planting and Growing:

I recommend a LASAGNA GARDEN (pictured above). This is an ultra-cool way to garden and it's SO easy. First layer is newspaper (or thin cardboard, though I've never tried it so can't vouch for it) laid directly on top of the grass (or even weeds), then wet it down a bit. This is a 'brown' layer and now you want a 'green' layer: compost, coffee grounds, tea leaves/bags, fruit and veggie scraps, grass clippings, pay dirt. And then add another layer of newspaper or junk mail clippings or dry leaves and then another layer of 'green.' Top it off with pay dirt, plant your seedlings (after the threat of frost is over - around Mother's Day) and surround with some mulch.

The great advantage to lasagna garden is that you have:

- fewer weeds
- better water retention ( so it really cuts down on the water use)
- no back-wrenching digging (especially is this famous red clay of Virginia)

Now even if you don't have room for a big garden, you can opt for a patio garden using pots and large containers for herbs and tomatoes - consider a salsa garden. A pot of tomato, a pot of your favorite spicy hot pepper, and green pepper, and cilantro (I have to again confess that my cilantro has always gone to seed before I get a decent crop).

A word about deer and other varmints: the trick we have used is saving my boys' hair cut clippings and we hung it in bags around the garden (as well as urging them to pee around it -- Hey! I have two boys under the age of 10, what do you expect?)

Need more help? The barefoot gardener is part of a fundraising event at the Haven on Sunday, Feb 28th at 4pm (first and market) - he'll help you get started. Seeds, t-shirts, good people will abound.

Side note on mulch: the Ivy Muc facility has MULCH, aka organic vegetative material that is decent and economical (and not treated with nasty dyes and chemicals like some of the commercial brands) and for a fee you can have it delivered. I say decent because it's not thick - not the perty, fine chopped, dark kind. It's good for large areas.

Happy Gardening, from Betty and Bruce and Paige!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It goes without saying...

It goes without saying that a Better World, in my vision, includes the 55 million school-age young people in America. I've spoken about the numerous environmental steps that the city and county have implemented in recent years here in Charlottesville. From large-scale recycling and energy-savings to integrated pest management programs, they have been taking steps toward a healthier planet, beginning with the inside and outside of our schools. As important as these programs are, I believe they are at risk and to be perfectly honest are probably considered ancillary compared to what the schools are facing right now.

So tonight I am going to take a broader, big-picture approach to green: the sustainability of our future as a nation by urging you to take action and raise your voice to support properly funding our schools.

One of the most important collective endeavors we do as Americans is provide for an equal, dare I say excellent, education for all young people.

As a mother of two school-age boys, I am very concerned about the future quality of our schools here given the budget cuts (I read tier one, two and three last night here) that are looming large right now in Albemarle County. I won't go into excruciating detail, but as a middle school teacher I was stunned to see one of the proposed cuts was the elimination of a middle school vice-principal position (You all remember middle school, don't you?? Enough said)

I urge those of you with TEN extra minutes to sit down RIGHT NOW and write the board of supervisors and then write/email Delegate Rob Bell who is on the appropriations committee at the state level. My friend Brian Wheeler takes an in-depth look at the cuts, the ramifications, etc on his blog: School Matters http://schoolmatters.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/budget_situation.html. (Brian, how do you do it all? You are amazing!)

As an involved mother with a background as an educator, I've seen the system from both sides and I don't envy the board and the state this difficult task of trying to make the budget work in these tough times, but we as a people, as a region, as a society need to remember the value of our future citizens and leaders of our nation: the young people.

I quote Hubert Humphrey when I say,"...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children."

Please don't let our children down, our future, our hope.

Below is a list of ideas and talking points from a concerned PTO member:

The Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, March 3, for a public hearing on the county budget, including the budget presented by the School Board. The SB voted to present a needs-based, rather than a balanced budget; the gap between what is needed (after significant cuts effect every building and program in the system). If we want the BOS to fund our schools, they need to hear from us, starting now. Many, many groups have already begun making their appeals to the BOS. As we saw from the redistricting issue, the people talking get heard, if enough of them speak to the same point.

You do not need to write anything long--a short and to the point message can be plenty persuasive, especially when a lot of them are received. "I am a taxpayer and voter in (fill in name of District here) and I believe our public schools are our community's most valuable asset. Do what it takes to fully fund the School Board's budget request."

Below is information gleaned from several web sites (which are noted below). The info can be used when you write, or when you talk to friends. If each of us encourages three or four people to write, we can make a difference. I suggest that you write a message to your supervisor, then send the same message to the rest of the BOS, so that all members have a sense of the strong feelings in the community for this.

the basic situation:

1) state revenue pays for almost half the cost of local education BUT:
state revenues, which are mostly income and sales taxes, have sharply fallen because so many people are out of work (thus less income to tax) and the rest are being cautious and cutting back on spending (thus lower sales tax revenue).

2) local revenues pay for almost half of the cost of local education BUT:
local revenues, which are mostly property taxes and sales taxes are also falling. sales taxes are falling as noted above.

3) property tax revenues MAY fall:
but property tax revenue does not have to fall: property tax revenue is a tax on the assessed value of the house. so as housing prices fall, the same tax RATE yields lower revenue. falling prices will shave $4million off county revenue if the rate is unchanged.

1) The only thing the county controls in this situation is the local property tax RATE.

2) what's the math on property taxes:

the current rate is 0.742% (less than 1 % of assessed value, and well below the rate of 0.96% prevailing inthe 1990s)

if the county does nothing, and leaves the rate alone, revenue will keep falling and the school system will be implementing what they call "tier 2 and 3 reductions," which means eliminating entire programs.

if the county simply raises the rate to about 0.766%, property taxes stay the same for any given homeowner. this would close half the LOCAL $4 million budget gap, by retaining $2million in revenue for the county.
=> this is called an "equalized tax rate"

the county could also raise rates to roughly 0.786% and close the entire LOCAL gap.

3) what about the drop in STATE revenue, though?

In the best case state funding scenario, a property tax rate of 0.819% would balance the budget and increase ANNUAL tax payments by $146.19 for the median priced home (about $276,000) as compared to 2009. (you can multiply 0.053 * your NEW assessment to see what this means for you)

With the worst case state funding scenario (new reductions of $9 million), a property tax rate of 86.5 cents would fund the budget with only Tier 1 cuts implemented. That rate would increase ANNUAL tax payments by $272.08 for the median priced home as compared to 2009. (you can multiply 0.0985 * your NEW assessment to see what this means for you)

Can we afford to pay for our own schools? YES
Albemarle county is one of the richest counties in VA, but also one of the least taxed.
** Albemarle County in 2006-07 ranked 16th out of 134 localities in "revenue capacity" - how large is the property tax base - with 134th being lowest capacity
** Albemarle County in 2006-07 ranked 96th out of 134 localities in "revenue effort" - how much is that property tax base actually used - with 134th being lowest effort
** which is why Albemarle County in 2006-07 ranked 123rd out of 134 localities in level of "fiscal stress" - with 134th being lowest stress. this is not a high tax location relative to its amenities, quality schools, etc. and the fact is that good schools help keep property values high by making albemarle an atttractive place to live. most places with low property values have low property values because no one wants to live there.

Who to write to:
All of them in one easy address: bos@albemarle.org
Ann Mallek, White Hall : amallek@albemarle.org
Dennis Rooker, Jack Jouett: drooker@albemarle.org
Rodney Thomas, Rio: rthomas@albemarle.org
Ken Boyd, Rivanna: kboyd@albemarle.org
Duane Snow, Samuel Miller: dsnow@albemarle.org
Lindsay Dorrier, Scottsville: ldorrier@albemarle.org

Where the information in this email comes from:

Brian Wheeler’s post on what it would take to fund schools, with spreadsheet so you can run your own assessment through:

Jim Duncan’s post on the correlation of property values and quality of schools:

Report on the Comparative Revenue Capacity, Revenue Effort, and Fiscal Stress of Virginia's Counties and Cities 2006/2007 (most recent year available)

Write a letter to bos@albemarle.org to reach all of the county board of supervisors.

Then forward it to Delegate Rob Bell:
General Assembly Building P.O. Box 406
Room 812
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1058
Fax: (804) 698-6758
Constituent Viewpoint: (800)-889-0229
Email: DelegateRobBell@embarqmail.com

Albemarle Square
Mailing Address: 2309 Finch Court
Charlottesville, VA 22911
Phone: (434) 245-8900
Fax: (434)245-8903
Email: DelegateRobBell@embarqmail.com

Here's to a better-funded budget!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Home and Eco-Hearth

Home fires burning

February's Abode Column - read it here or there

Warning: Betty is about to put a serious damper on your cozy fireplace scene (pun intended).

Most fireplaces and woodstoves are energy losers, sending heated air (and money) right out the chimney—not to mention air-polluting carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), PMs (particulate matter), and other toxic emissions.

You can, however, reduce wood smoke pollution and get more heat for your fuel dollar. Consider using fire heat by installing a heat air exchange system and tempered fireplace glass doors. A gas or electric fireplace or fireplace insert can save money on heating. Check out EPA-certified ultra-efficient wood appliances. Not using your fireplace? Seal the damper permanently or purchase a fireplace draft stopper (95-98 percent sealed).

Can’t break the habit?

Keep the damper tightly closed when not in use. Caulk around the hearth and anywhere air could escape. Creosote buildup reduces efficiency and increases the threat of chimney fire, so hire a local chimney sweep for yearly cleaning. Darker smoke means more pollutants, so check your smoke plume from the outside regularly.
Always use seasoned firewood (dried for 6-12 months) from sustainably harvested forests (FSC label) or locally felled wood (check Munson’s at Whole Foods). Tree-free options are Dura-flame or Enviro-logs made from recycled cardboard. The absolute cleanest burning fuel alternative (virtually no particulate emissions) is pellet fuel made from sawmill waste. It’s easy to store and lightweight for transport. Check manufacturer’s instructions for compatibility.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Important Community Clean Energy Meeting!

As I mentioned on the Bruce and Betty show on Friday - 60% of our energy here in Virginia is generated by dirty coal burning power plants. Our political leaders are feeling the HEAT from big coal and oil companies and therefore need OUR help!

Do you care about clean air? Do you care about becoming energy independent? Do you care about our planet?

You can do something tomorrow night... Attend this important COMMUNITY MEETING at CCDC's City Space on the Downtown Mall from 7-8pm (TUESDAY, JAN 19th)

According to the Sierra Club's field organizer, Ryan Doyle, whom I met on Thurs evening at Betty's two-year anniversary, America is still sending 1.2 BILLION dollars overseas for foreign oil, not to mention the impact on our environment and the threat on our climate.

We DO have solutions and Ryan along with Sierra Club members are excited to share and make a difference by passing KEY legislation which would bring Virginia CLEAN ENERGY JOBS - bringing economic prosperity, protect national security, and cut pollution at the same time.

Take action, attend tomorrow night. Steps to a better world, y'all!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Betty says, you are so NOT terrible!

The other day I went to pick up some necessities at the local grocer and as I got out my reusable bags and placed them on the counter, the woman in front of me got a sad look, sighed and said to her husband, "I'm so terrible! I'm always forgetting my bags! I feel so guilty!"

I wanted to scream out loud You are so NOT terrible. You are lovely and wonderful and human. And for Earth's sake, stop feeling guilty and use that as fuel for change! Clearly this person CARES or she wouldn't have had such a strong reaction.

Is feeling guilty really going to help her remember her bags next time?

Now, I'm no social scientist, but likely if she that's the reaction she feels when she sees others doing a green action, no wonder she is not remembering her reusable bags!

Here's the truth y'all. Forget your bags? Left the light on again? Forgot to turn the thermostat down before you left on vacation? Let it go in the moment AND then put something in place to help you make the right decision. I.E. Take action. Give yourself a pat on the back for caring and renew your effort at change.

Research says it takes less than 90 days to formulate a habit. I was just reading up on it, because I have some habits of my own I desperately need to curb (uh-humm the hot shower buzzer goes off and I'm still lingering in the steam with this FREEZING weather we've been having). Try ...

*use 100% recycled paper post-it notes
*tell people your intention/goal - you are more likely to do it
*consistency builds habit Always hang your bags on the exit door or put them in the passenger seat of your car.
*feel the internal reward when you DO remember
*buy a LOCAL, farm-fresh yummy treat as an external reward when you DO remember

Hope that helps!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Betty's help in the kitchen, saving energy

This article appears in this month's issue of Abode magazine. Read it here or on their website: www.c-ville.com
Let’s take a tour of your kitchen, where refrigeration and appliances use 17% of home energy, and see if Betty can create an energy saving recipe for the New Year!

Your biggest energy loser in the kitchen is the refrigerator.

*Does your fridge door hold a dollar bill in place? If not, seal those gaskets

*Up the temperature to 37 or 38 degrees and the freezer temp as high as 5 degrees (don’t have a read out - stick a glass of water in the middle of the fridge w/an appliance thermometer and read it after 24 hours)

*If possible avoid putting the fridge in a warm spot

*Regularly defrost your freezer

*Let hot foods cool and keep your freezer full

*Finally, keep dust bunnies on the coils in the back at a minimum


*Reduce your cooking time by microwaving and skipping pre-heating

*Match your pot size with your heating element

*Defrost frozen foods before cooking

*Avoid peeking in the oven

*Toaster ovens use a third less energy than regular-sized ovens

I for one cringe when a well-intentioned friend offers to wash the dishes and proceeds to chat while the hot water is running full blast. More studies are proving modern dishwashers outperform even frugal dishwashers (are you reading this, mom?) Also, scrape, don’t rinse, and wash only full loads. Take advantage of the energy settings and if you haven’t already, turn down your water heater to 120.

Finally, keep the kitchen faucet lever in the cool position – when it’s turned to the hot position it uses energy even when it’s not running. Remember to unplug all surface appliances when they’re not in use so they don’t waste energy.

Happy Savings!
Better World Betty
Green living made easier in the Charlottesville Area
website: www.betterworldbetty.org
blog: www.cvillebettyblog.blogspot.com