Gail of Green Living

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!


My Green Business

This week has been Keller Williams Green Week.  The mission of Keller Williams for its agents is to create careers worth having, businesses worth owning and lives worth living.  A life worth living would be one that includes a healthy environment, is money-smart and sustainable.  So this week we have celebrated our company’s growing environmental initiatives.  We have recently launched the book, Green Your Home,  that can help you develop a plan for making your life, your home and your lifestyle more green.

Our real estate listings and contracts are all turned in to a paperless system.  And we are transitioning to an online system that will allow both sides of the transaction to sign digitally and have the documents all saved and stored permanently online with permanent access to the transaction, even if the other agent is not with Keller Williams.  eEdge was designated the Most Innovative Technology for a real estate company by Inman News for 2011.

For my real estate business, I office at home and save miles on my car and in gasoline.  I have enjoyed classes online, called Webinars, that allow me to receive the latest technology education possible.  In line with this week’s theme, I have had classes on “Getting Green with Google” and “Building a Green Lead Generation System”.   This helps me stay ahead of the pack when it comes to marketing my listings online and generating leads to sell them.  The transaction can be handled online as well.  Title companies and mortgage lenders are also communicating and sending documents by email.

As I am sitting in my home office in Knollwood near the Medical Center, working by the light of my cfl lamp bulb, and feeling the comfort from the low-e windows, I wish you a healthy, green and fun weekend!  If you are interested in the Green Your Home book, please write your name and email address and/or phone number in the comments, and I can make sure you have a chance to get one.

Thank you, Target!

Thank you, Target for being a business encouraging green living!  As I walk into my Knollwood neighborhood Target, near the Medical Center,  I see their recycling bins for (1) cart wipes, (2) trash, (3) glass, plastic and aluminum, (4) plastic bags, and (5) MP3s, cellphones, and ink cartridges.  How handy is that?  If your apartment or neighborhood recycling system does not collect these items, bring them next time you shop.

And if you bring a reusable shopping bag, they will take 5 cents off your shopping total for each bag you bring.

Thanks again, Target!  What stores do you know that encourage green living?

Knollwood Water Main Breaks

Because of our extended drought in Southeastern Texas, there have been an unusual number of water main breaks.  I think the City of Houston was repairing 100/day and the backlog was 900, and they decided to get the private sector involved.  They are working around the clock to keep water from just flowing down the drains!  Some people have purchased pumps and pumped the water out of the street gutters and on to their lawns.  Hurray for these resourceful people!

The street pictured is in my Knollwood neighborhood and I think there were at least three breaks in this one block.  City crews arrived today and I caught a worker repairing the last one in this block.  Thank you, City of Houston, for hiring people who are willing and able to work in the intense heat and around the clock, to save water!

Do you know of others working in the heat every day to make a difference in the quality of life of your neighborhood?

If we just had rain!

My Knollwood neighbor has the most amazing rain collection system you could ever imagine!

4 tanks, each holds 650 gallons of rain water

About six weeks ago, we had 3″ of rain in one day and my neighbor’s tanks were 60% filled!  That is the only measurable rain we have had since…well I can’t remember!  The rain runs off the light-colored metal roof into various places that keep leaves and other rubbish out of the water.  They chose the metal roof for their new home, not only for the rain water collection, but because it would reflect heat and have a long life.

The condensation from the air conditioner runs in to this 80 gallon barrel, and he figures the air conditioner produces a gallon per day, at least.

The water in these tanks is meant to take care of watering all the yard and landscaping.  In case we ever have a few days of rain, there are two 1,000 gallon reservoirs on the other side of the house.

Notice the foundation required for the tanks.  Now, if we could just get some rain, we could gather around and watch it work!

Do you know anyone with such a sophisticated rain water system?  I think this is incredible!

Hot Water on Demand

An example of the Pex Plumbing System

My neighbors in Knollwood Subdivision chose to install a Pex plumbing system in their new home instead of a tankless water heater.  I had not heard this, but it takes a long time for the tankless water heater to go from the source to the faucet.  There is lots of water waste with this system.

Pex plumbing systems have been around for 30 years. Because I am not a plumber nor an engineer, I investigated this system further and found great explanations from the owner/architect and a builder who uses the system in his homes. It is a very durable system, not breaking in sub freezing weather, because it is able to contract and expand.  The material does not corrode, or experience mineral buildup.  And the methods used to construct the system do not call for blow torches.  It is easier on the contractor and the homeowner.

The owners also have installed filters that take the chlorine out of their shower water, their ice maker water and drinking water.  I really like these ideas!

What other water-saving construction methods do you know?

The picture above was found from my web search on BuildIQ.

The “Bird Feeder”
July 18, 2011, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Gardening, Houston Neighborhoods | Tags:

The Bird Feeder

This is an unplanned feature of my Knollwood neighbor’s backyard.  They call it “the bird feeder”, because House Finches have found it to be perfect for their appetites.  The sunflowers are about 3-4″ in diameter and when the seeds are mature, the petals fall off and the fiches use their delicate beaks to retreieve the seeds.  When they are finished, they almost look like a dandilion.  When this routine is finished (probably not until a winter freeze, if we get one), the owners will replant their citrus trees they had removed for construction of the new house.

This photo shows a “after” and “before” the finches:

From left, after the finches and before the finches