Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blog Action Day

You can read about it here. The point is to devote some of your blog space to how the environment affects you and what you are doing to help make a difference. It's a consciousness-building exercise, and luckily my cousin the cowgirl was kind enough to fill me in on it!

Given that I've got my new house on the brain, I've decided to write about the role that our environmental concerns played in our homebuying decision.

Location: We currently live right downtown in Ottawa, walking distance to many of our friends' homes, walking distance to work, to 2 farmers' markets, right in the thick of things, you get the idea. Location was the biggest determining factor in our decision-making process. We looked casually for a year, and then seriously for another, and it's hard to find affordable starter homes in established neighbourhoods close to downtown. LB will be walking to work, I will ride the bus in the cold weather and ride my bike in the nicer weather, it's only 6.1km to my office. The other bonus is that we have two grocery stores, restaurants, shops, coffee shops, and a farmers' market all within walking distance. So while we may be a little further away, I actually expect our car usage to decrease.

Age of Home: This was an important factor. We wanted a mid-century or older home, something built with more wood and natural fibres than plastic and compounds. Again, not as easy to find as you might think.

Small Garden: We wanted a small garden in order to have a composter for our organic waste. Since we started composting (even in our little apartment we bring our scraps to my parents'), we've managed to cut our waste output in half.

Small House: We wanted to have a small home, to keep our personal footprint relatively small. We do not need a ton of space, and by having a yard and being in a neighbourhood with community centres and parks, our kids will hopefully understand the importance of public spaces and not feel the need for a monster dwelling. At 977 square feet including the basement, I feel that our house met that requirement.

Making Do: We are planning on using all of the current fixtures, except for the two lights and the door pulls in the kitchen which are 80s and do not match the 50s feel, and the showerhead which is grungetastic. The lights and door pulls will go to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.
The showerhead will go to the dump. yuck. We are also planning on using our current furniture (most of which is either redone hand-me-downs or garbage/ yard sale finds) but are purchasing a new sofa. I crave the Hutton sofa, but cannot bring myself to purchase it.

This is what works for us. Everyone makes a contribution in their own way, and no one way is better than another.

No comments: