The Importance of Ironing

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I know many of you will not read this post and others will shake their heads in disbelief at the title but please bear with me.

Ironing is an aspect of homemaking that seems to be almost universally hated but there is a valuable aspect to the task.  I have mentioned before about the importance of taking care of what you own to get the maximum use from it and thus reduce the overall carbon footprint of any item.  This applies to clothes and keeping your clothes in good repair makes good economic and environmental sense.

Taking the time to check each garment while you are ironing can identify problems before they become too extensive to repair.  My previous post about my black linen top highlights this point.  I noticed they fraying at the hem and have repaired this by using a wide satin stitch (zig zag) along the edge that had frayed.  I have checked the remainder of the hem edge and cannot see any signs of similar problems, however, I will keep a close eye on it in the future.

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The mend is not invisible but reasonably well-disguised so I am happy to continue to wear this top.

Today when I was ironing I discovered 2 other issues.  The first was one of GMan’s business shirts.  There was a small yellow stain on the back near the armhole and I have no idea of the origin.  It is about the size of a 20c piece and not terribly noticeable as it is a dark checked shirt.  However, I have soaked the shirt in the hope that the stain will come out.

The other discovery was another minor mending job.  I have a pair of white trousers with a centre back zip and a few stitches of the seam had broken just below the zip.  This is not a huge issue at the moment but could be if I wore them and split the seam further.  I repaired the seam and they are as good as new.  This is a classic example of the saying “A stitch in time saves nine”.  It could also save me from a potentially embarrassing and costly situation if I had to rush out and make an emergency purchase.

Obviously, I do not iron everything but hanging out washing or folding clothes I also take time to make sure they are in good order and ready to be worn.

Taking Responsibility

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I stumbled upon this article online today.  It is about a study showing the correlation between age, gender, race and political ideology to belief in the reality of climate change and the impact caused by humans.  The content did not surprise me greatly, however, I was bitterly disappointed by the following couple of paragraphs towards the end of the article.

“But accepting climate change did not necessarily make you greener, at least in your home life, the study also found.

While those who accept human’s role in climate changes were more likely to take more public action, such as signing petitions or joining demonstrations, that was not necessarily replicated in private action, such as cutting energy use at home and using public transport over the car.”

I find this very sad indeed and downright depressing.  It is yet another example of the overwhelming apathy which so many people display.  Everybody wants ‘something to be done’ but expect that it is the responsibility of someone else, usually the government, the mythical ‘they’ or in the case of climate change, the global community or, at the very least, another country.

Australia may be a small player in the global sandpit in terms of population but we create far more than our share of mess when it comes to environmental vandalism.  Yet, our governments consistently drag the chain when it comes to making real changes that will tackle climate change and benefit the planet.  Sadly, government policy by all parties seems to be limited to the interval between the present time and the next election.  This is not limited to addressing climate change but policy in general.

In the absence of clear government action, the driver of change must come from each and every one of us.  Remember the saying, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.  We can and should all play our part in changing everyday habits.  Addressing the problem of climate change is not just about legislation, coal mines and power stations.  It is about each one of us doing our bit.

Can’t afford solar panels?  Live too far from public transport?  Organic food is too expensive?  This does not mean that you cannot make a significant contribution by reducing your carbon footprint.  In fact, many of the actions you can take to save money will also save the planet.

Buy second-hand – clothes, furniture, tools, toys
Do not waste anything – use up leftover food, finish the last shampoo in the bottle
Consider re-usable alternatives – cloth serviettes instead of paper, lidded containers instead of plastic wrap, refillable drink bottles instead of bottled water

These are just a few examples.

What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint?

Sustainable House Day 2013

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Sustainable House Day 2013 is an opportunity to check out a variety of dwellings in your area with sustainable features.  You can check out the website here.

We have chosen to be involved and are included in this list.  If you are in the area and would like to see ‘The Castle’ in real life please come and say hello.

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I am looking forward to being able to show people some of the features of our house and garden which reduce our impact on the environment and invariably save us money at the same time.

Silent Green Giants – An Update

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In March last year, during the first couple of weeks of this blog, I posted this entry about our ‘big 3’ – the solar panels, solar hot water and rainwater tanks.

Today I finally received our statement from our electricity company for the meter reading which was done back at the end of November.  This means that we now have the statistics for a full 12 month period of having solar panels and exporting generated power, which is excess to our requirements, back to the grid.

In one year of having our solar panels connected to the grid we will receive a refund of $1,244.33 as well as having $0 in power bills.  This represents a total turnaround of costs over 12 months of $2,392.17.  I am really pleased with the result as it was achieved despite one of the wettest summers on record (and next to no sunshine) in the first 3 months after the installation of the panels.

We have a 3.7kW system which cost nearly $14,000 after the rebates.  We anticipated that we would recover our costs (in refunds and no bills) within about 5 years.  We will go close to achieving this and my goal for the next year is to reduce our electricity consumption even further by being more vigilant in monitoring our usage.  I will also endeavour to make sure that more of our necessary consumption is at night, thereby maximising the power being exported to the grid.

I am pleased that we can minimise our costs as well as making a positive contribution to reducing our carbon footprint.

3 Months On….

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It is now a little over 3 months since the details of the carbon tax were released and now the proposed legislation has been passed in the House of Representatives.  It is almost certain to to passed by the Senate and will become law in July 2012.

I am very pleased to see that something is finally being done to ensure that the biggest emitters of carbon in this country will be held responsible for their emissions.  This may mean that some of us end up paying more for some goods and services.

If you want to offset any perceived or actual increase in costs, now is the time to change your habits and consume less goods and services.  If you consume less you will pay less – it is that simple.

Things that you might consider include:

Drive less – plan your trips and combine errands.

Buy local products where possible – save on transport costs.

Reduce electricity use – dry clothes on the clothesline, do not leave appliances on standby when not in use.

Then there are bigger changes that will make a difference in the long-term.  A perfect example of this is the solar PV panels which we had installed nearly 12 months ago.  We are a household of 2 adults and we chose to install 20 panels on our north-facing roof.  Since they were connected to the grid we have had 3 credit statements from our electricity provider.  As well as paying $0.00 for our electricity we are on track to receive about $1,000 credit in the first 12 months of exporting electricity to the grid.

This has required us to make some changes to our habits.  We try to minimise our use of electricity during daylight hours so that we maximise the amount of power which goes to the grid at the feed-in tariff versus what we use at night which is billed at the standard tariff.  I have never made a habit of washing at night but that has now become my routine because it saves us more money.

Change of habit is what is at the heart of the carbon tax.  As a nation and as individuals we have to stand up and be prepared to make some changes.  Those politicians, individuals and businesses who refuse to change and are determined to selfishly continue on the same course are giving no consideration to the future generations.  I hope they will show some generosity of spirit before it is too late.

Meanwhile, I will continue to do everything I can to reduce my personal carbon footprint and encourage others to do the same.  Time to hang the washing out.  There is enough moonlight not to turn on the outdoor light.

What changes have you/will you make?  Are you interested in reducing your carbon footprint or just offsetting any extra cost?