Gail of Green Living

Green Resolutions

How far have you come in the last year?  What new green practices have you added to your business and family life?  At the end of the old year on the brink of the new year, we always find ourselves evaluating the past and figuring on how we can make the future year a better one.

One resolution I had for 2011 was to create this blog in order to share my thoughts and ideas, as well as create discussion.  It has caused me to research other bloggers and learn from them.  It has made me more aware of green efforts around me, because each one could be an opportunity for a blog.  It has also made me more accountable, as though my readers are looking over my shoulder making sure I put food scraps in the compost container on my kitchen counter top instead of the disposal.

I’ve added compact tote bags to my traditional stocking stuffers for the second year.  I found myself trying to buy products made in the U.S., but had great difficulty.  Maybe next year will be easier.

Let me know how you have progressed over this past year, in making an effort to live a more sustainable and healthy life.  I’d love reading your ideas and perhaps, I could learn something, too!

Happy New Year and have one full of green living!


Fast Food a “no-no”
December 28, 2011, 9:23 am
Filed under: Green Business, Green Living | Tags: ,

In a previous post (12/17/11), I mentioned the philosophy behind the Filament Theatre Ensemble in Chicago.  Part of their mission to make it a sustainable and green business has motivated them to develop some uncommon practices that are worth mentioning.

Actors and the staff do not bring fast food into work or rehearsal.  The reason behind this is it breeds an enormous amount of trash and garbage, most of which is not able to be recycled.  What a great idea for all businesses!  They have a crock pot on hand for slow-cooking food for the cast.

No more styrofoam cups and containers, non-recyclable plastic containers, plastic bags, and on and on!

Does your workplace discourage fast food?

Knollwood Fall Color
December 17, 2011, 11:13 am
Filed under: Houston Neighborhoods | Tags: , ,

I think this is a type of Maple.

On my walk yesterday, I noticed the fall color in Knollwood near the Medical Center is spectacular this year!  Thank goodness I carry my phone with me and I am able to share with you the fact that Houston, Texas indeed has fall color; it’s just at Christmas time instead of October!

Chinese Tallow

This tree redeems itself of it’s past bad behavior in the fall!

I think this is type of maple.  The red color was brilliant!

Two beautiful Tallow trees near the corner.

Mimosa tree

 This tree has pale clay-colored clusters at this time of year.

Flowering Pear which will be an early bloomer in the Spring

All these beautiful leaves are great for your compost pile!  If you don’t have one, start one, or put the leaves in biodegradable bags and maybe a neighbor will pick them up from the curb!

“GREEN” Theatre

Creating a green business that works doesn’t happen overnight or without much thought and motivation.  Julie Ritchey, Founding and Artistic Director of The Filament Theatre Ensemble in Chicago has recently hired my daughter as the Managing Director of the theatre.  This is how I heard of their mission and motivation for being green.

The idea of a small theatre ensemble brings to my mind things like financial struggles, actors bringing in fast food purchased on the way to rehearsal after their last audition of the day elsewhere, and often times, working for less then they value themselves.  Actors dream of the day they can leave their “day job” to make a living where they are one with a community of fellow actors who stretch each other to be their best and who share in their belief system.  Well, The Filament has succeded in making this concept work!  I am presenting their mission statement for the theatre and will provide examples in future posts of how they live and work within their belief system.  Below is a portion of the mission statement from their website.

“A Note About Community, Imagination, and Sustainability These three ideas are inextricably linked to both each other  and to the values of the Filament Theatre Ensemble. One cannot build  community without celebrating the unique imaginations of the individuals who make that community. Communities are enriched when consumers support locally owned businesses, which is an important aspect of  sustainability. We strive to make theatre a sustainable lifestyle for  our community of artists, and always provide monetary compensation for  their extraordinary and imaginative work. Producing a show in an  environmentally responsible and sustainable way demands a great deal of  imagination and non-traditional approaches. With all the work we do –  whether during a production, audition, meeting, or outreach event – we  strive to make an investment in our audiences, our artists, and our  world. Through building and strengthening community, engaging and  challenging the imagination, and the use of sustainable business practices, we endeavor to leave the world a little better than the way  we found it.

Sustainability is a particularly tricky word, and one that gets  tossed around a lot these days, so we’re going to take an extra moment  here to focus on that word as we mean it. There are a couple of definitions in particular that strike a chord with the Filament Theatre Ensemble.  The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development  describes sustainability as “meeting the needs of the current generation  without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their  own needs,” and the Center for Sustainable Communities says that  “sustainability emphasizes relationships rather than pieces in  isolation.”

The Filament Theatre Ensemble ceaselessly ventures to connect with  and explore the vast world around us. We value and honor this  interconnected web that makes up our relationships with each other and  with our world.  By emhasizing community, imagination, and  sustainability in all our work, we strive to make choices that have a  long-lasting positive impact across a broad spectrum, and not just  “pieces in isolation.””

Let me know of green businesses you own or support.  I am pleased to discover new ones more and more often these days!

Green Townhome
1414 Southmore

I have this property listed in the Museum District, which is just adjacent to the Medical Center.  It has some green features you can usually count on finding in a property built since 2005.  Several of these features would be easy to put in an older townhome to make it more efficient.  One is low-e windows.  There are more windows placed on the north and south exposures than on the west, where intense heat can add to energy use in the summer.

Another feature that is easy to add to any home is a digital programmable thermostat.  Set it to be warmer in the summer while you are at work and have the house cool by the time you return.

A feature of this home that you don’t see in many green articles is the flooring.  All floors except the two bedrooms on the second floor, are Italian carerra marble tile.  In Houston, this creates a cool floor that is very comfortable in the summer.  The second floor living area has very high ceilings that trap warmer air at the ceiling and make this living area more comfortable.

Ceiling fans throughout the home allow the thermostat to be set to a warmer temperature in the summer.  In the winter, the fans can blow the warmer air toward the floor for added comfort.

A North-South exposure is another feature that makes heating and cooling this home more efficient.  In the winter, sun will come in the south windows to heat the home.

Another green feature of this home is its location.  It is within walking distance to the Metro Rail that can take you to downtown venues or south to the Medical Center, Rice University and Reliant Stadium.  You can also walk to Hermann Park, lots of museums and Miller Outdoor Theater.  You can park your car in the garage and improve our air quality and gasoline.  This feature is beyond reality for most Houstonians!

Look at other pictures and information for 1414 Southmore  and let me know if you or someone you know might be interested in this stunning property.