What is your favorite eco-friendly product that you own and how do you use it?
My BMW i3. It’s all-electric, and was made in factories that use hydro and wind power. I use it for commuting, naturally, but also have taken it out to the track several times. It’s a lot of fun to drive.
Does your house have any design elements that keep your carbon footprint low? If so, what are they?
Yes, our whole house is designed to minimize our environmental footprint. The prairie-style design maximizes natural light while excluding direct sunlight. The walls are “SIPS”, or fully insulated structural panels, and the windows are also high-efficiency. We have a ground-source heat pump which uses coolant loops that go 95 feet underground and use the earth’s constant temperature to more efficiently heat and cool our house. And we recently installed solar to further reduce our carbon footprint.
What are two small things you do around the house to live more sustainably?
We try to compost or recycle everything we can, and only end up putting out trash every other week on average. We also use harvested rainwater to water the lawn and plants.
What kind of car do you drive?
See above – a BMW i3.
What is your best piece of advice for others who are interested in living a more eco-friendly lifestyle?
"Eco-friendly" doesn't mean "hair shirt". You can have a really good quality of life without giving up comforts or small luxuries – you just have to be intentional about the choices you make, particularly in the products you purchase.
Have you made any diet changes that allow you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle? If so, what changes have you made?
I’ve long given up red meat and pork, and we try to buy locally-sourced food if possible.
What is one lifestyle change you’ve made to reduce your carbon footprint?
Buying an EV. While it hasn’t introduced any considerable inconvenience in my life, it certainly changes my relationship with my car and requires me to be more intentional about travel & plan trips in advance.
Who do you think is making a big difference in the renewable energy industry that the public should be keeping an eye on?
The obvious answer is “Elon Musk”. But I actually think people should be keeping an eye on local solar installers. There are thousands around the country, and they’ve contributed to making solar increasingly affordable for homeowners, businesses, and utilities alike. It’s gotten to the point where renewable technologies are competing against other generation sources on price, not just environmental benefits.