Saturday, April 9, 2011

Becoming Environmentally Friendly

To reduce our energy use, our family decided to take advantage of our electric utility's renewable energy program. We pay a little bit extra every month, but all our energy comes from renewable (solar and wind) sources. This makes me feel a lot better about running the kiln to over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit or running it overnight when I need to candle load of bisque! Check with your electric utility to see if they have a similar program.

Another way of saving energy is to drive a hybrid vehicle. I have 2005 Prius that gives me an average of about 50 miles to the gallon and I usually only need to fill the tank twice a month. Although the car might look small, it is actually very roomy. I have no trouble packing it with all my tables and boxes when I go to shows.

This year I invested in a pug mill to make it easier to reclaim and reuse all the clay from trimming pots and from the slop bucket. There is no wasted clay going into the landfill!

When it comes to paperwork, I use 100% recycled paper from my office supply store. And for shipping my pots, I get bubble wrap and peanuts from our local organic market, helping them recycle it and keeping it from the landfills.

At home, we also compost and have changed all the light bulbs to more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. We have also invested in a hybrid water heater, which uses significantly less energy.

I'm sure that I'll continue to find more ways to be more environmentally friendly both at home and in the studio. I'd love to hear what everyone else is doing to run an environmentally friendly studio.


Gina said...

Excellent post; I think no matter how much we are doing to reduce, reuse, recycle, we can always improve. I need to work on finding sources for used bubble wrap rather than buying new. We try to avoid purchasing products that use unnecessary packaging, buying in bulk whenever possible and 'boycotting' the wrapped veggies on Styrofoam trays at the supermarket.

Graciela Testa Lynt said...

Gina~~ Check in your area for sources of free packaging materials (bubble wrap, peanuts, boxes)... That's how I found that the organic market was more than happy to give all they stuff they collected from their deliveries.

Denise said...

Contact freecycle .org for your area and post for packing materials.
I use the biodegradeable packing peanuts.
A heated slab in our studio has cut our heating bill very nicely. Up at the house we run our water heater on off peak electricity that costs less because we use it when the grid has less demand. We still recycle clay by hand. It's not that hard when we all try to do our part, is it?

Gina said...

Thanks, I have just signed up at FreeCycle.

Madmud said...

Good ideas! Freecycle is great for packing peanuts and occasionally bubblewrap (but the latter is pretty popular, so not as available). I recycle by hand, but have many bags of scraps that I haven't gotten around to. Pug mill sounds like a dream. There are probs, however, with some of the solutions--the compact fluorescent bulbs have mercury in them and the cornstarch peanuts melt, so can't be recycled indefinitely. If we can keep the other ones cycling, the energy for manufacturing is only used once!