We use this thread to post the things we are working on each month to live a greener lifestyle. Feel free to post what you're working on, what you've already mastered, or even the things you're just thinking about working on!
I'll try to keep our roll call in the next post up-to-date but please PM me if I mix something up or miss something entirely.
If you want more green living talk, check out the Living Green forum or the Green Living Tribe.
A special thanks to rainbowmoon for starting the first ever Green Living Challenge!
2007: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, December
2008: January, April, May
Expecting #2 in May 2013!
Updated through post 2
~*Jaime; 2babybees; 2Sweeties1Angel; AaronsMommy; abharrington; Aguazul; aidanmom; aircantu1; almadianna; AlwaysByMySide; Ambrose; Amoreena; amydawnsmommy; AngelBee; anniebee; arwenevenstar; AuntLavender; AuntRayRay; Awaken; babymakesthree; Beachlivnmom; Benji'sMom; berkeleyp; Berty; Bex80; blizzard_babe; boigrrrlwonder; boobybunny; BornInSeptember; brittneyscott; cafechi; calicocj; cam&kat's_mom; captivatedlife; Carlyn; chloeM; cilantromapuche; cking; clothdipemomof2boy; cloudswinger; counterGOPI; Crunchie; Crunchy Doula; dbsam; delfuego; Deva33mommy; Eaglevoice; Earth Angel; earthmama369; Earthy Mama; eco_mama; eden/averymum; edensmama; eirual; emski4379; ErikaLeigh; Fiestabeth; flapjack; flatheadjane; flowers; frogguruami; G-love; GenB; goddessgold1; granola_mom; greenmansions; Gumby; heathenmom; heatherdeg; helen_emily; hibana; hlkm2e; Inquiringmind; ItyBty; Jay'smom; Jenlaana; JenLove; Jennisee; jillibug; Jojo F.; katheek77; Keeta; kellid; kellybelly; kellykins; kimberlychapman; KKmama; krabigirl; ktog29; Lady of Z Lake; LeighB; leomom; lexapurple; Leylla; lilsishomemade; lioralourie; Livi's Mama; Lohagrace; lumott; lurable; madskye; mama_bee; mama kate; mamaley; MamaRabbit; Mamatohaleybug; marlyninla; maxsmum; maybemom05; mchalehm; mean_jeannie; MelanieMC; melissa17s; mightymoo; moderngal; momaste; MonkeyPrincess; MorganRiley; mousemadeslings; mrsalf97; MrsMike; MrsMiller; mudmama; mugglemom; MyLittleWarrior; mystic~mama; nathansmum; Naturecraft; Neth Naneth; New Mama; Nico DeMouse; nina_yyc; norcalmommy; normajean; oceane; olliepop; papschmitty; Peppermint Poppies; PixelDust; pixiesmommy; pixiewytch; QDB; rachiem; Radish4ever; rainbowmoon; razbrue; roostery; saratc; scbegonias; ~Shanna~; simonboy'smommy; Slabobbin; SneakyPie; snowbunny; snozzberry; sophi4ka; StormySar; straighthaircurly; stretchmark; streuselmama; sunanthem; sunflwrmoonbeam; superstella; SusanInItaly; sweetirishCT; swimswamswum; talia rose; thomlynn; triscuitsmom; turnipmama; utopia760; Valkyrie9; vannienicole; VeganCupcake; VeganLove; velochic; vermontgirl; wateraddict; whitedoyle; xekomaya; zenenlightened
Ideas for Goals
- Teach DC what wasting energy means
- Remind family to not open the fridge, turn lights off when not in use, etc
- Reduce junk mail
- Get off credit card offer lists
- Use less paper products
- Decrease garbage
- Have 2 trash cans (one for paper and one for plastics)
- Use less toilet paper
- Practice elimination communication (EC)
- Keep the thermostat set low or turn it way down at night/when gone
- Adjust the thermostat one degree up/down each day, week, or month
- Use a geothermal heat pump
- Use a wood-burning furnace
- Use cheap/free sources of firewood or trees that have been felled by natural forces
- Hang curtains with thick liners to keep out drafts
- Use an attic fan instead of AC when possible
- Clean air filter monthly
- Add weather stripping around doors and windows
- Close vents upstairs during the day
- Put appliances on a power strip for easy on/off or unplug when not in use
- Shut down/unplug appliances when not in use
- Configure automatic sleep/hibernation settings for the computer
- Turn computer off when not in use
- Use rechargable batteries for everything that takes batteries
- Watch less TV
- Use energy-efficient appliances
- Microwave instead of starting the oven/stove to warm things up
- Don't use the microwave or don't own one
- Sweep and/or dust daily so vacuuming isn't as necessary
- Use a clean-burning wood stove
- Turn off freezer during spring/summer
- Have a no-TV/computer week
- Use a Kill-A-Watt meter to track energy use
- Proofread documents on the computer to avoid printing several drafts
- Get rid of the TV
- Home Improvement
- Get an energy audit
- Insulate the attic
- Add UV film to windows to cut down on sun exposure
- Install low-e windows with fiberglass frames
- Install a photovoltaic/solar panel system
- Build a greenhouse off the house to help heat with solar
- Use clothesline/hang clothes for drying
- Reuse/rewear linens/clothes that aren't dirty
- Spin laundry again before moving to the dryer to save on dry time
- Do only full loads of laundry
- Wash with cold water
- Hook up dryer vent to vent into the basement to provide moisture and heat for the house
- Use natural light as much as possible
- Turn lights off when leaving a room, even if it's for just a few minutes
- Install a motion sensor light in areas where the lights usually get left on
- Switch lightbulbs to compact fluorescent/energy efficient as they burn out
- Replace inefficient track lighting
- Use aerators
- Turn water off while brushing teeth
- Use a cup for toothbrushing instead of running the tap
- Rinse dishes immediately after using them
- Handwash dishes when possible
- Be mindful of how much water we're using
- Put a half-gallon jug of water in the toilet
- If it's yellow, let it mellow
- Use an energy-efficient or solar hot water heater
- Fix water leaks
- Take shorter showers
- Take fewer baths
- Use a water-saving showerhead
- Replace main bathtub faucet/spigot with a water-saving showerhead to ease shallow baths
- Use a spray bottle to wet baby wipes
- Make sure sprinkler system has a rain indicator so it doesn't run after it's been raining
- Find new ways to reuse what we have
- Reuse grey water and/or collect shower water
- Search for items around the house that can be gardening containers instead of buying new items
- Reuse old windows
- Use the library and/or go to used bookstores
- Convert old trash cans into compost bins instead of buying new bins
- Use a reusable Teflon-coated paint roller pan
- Use the back side of paper as scratch paper or printer/fax paper at home and work
- Install a reusable air filter for AC/heating system
- Use canvas bags or basket when shopping
- Keep an extra bag in the car for unplanned errands
- Reuse produce bags or use cloth produce bags
- Take in no new plastic bags
- Rinse/reuse plastic bags for food storage/freezing
- Buy recycled garbage bags
- Collect plastic grocery bags from friends and cut into strips to weave into reusable bags
- Stop using and/or hide paper towels and switch to reusable linens/rags
- Use rags for daily sink and toilet wipe down (no more clorox wipes)
- Use paper bags for trashing kitty litter
- Take plastic bags from the recycle bin at the grocery store to use as poop bags for dog walks
- Eliminate all disposable plates, cups, and silverware
- Use cloth napkins
- Make own wine and reuse wine bottles
- Buy milk in returnable bottles
- Pack lunches with reusable materials and water bottles
- Bring coffee/tea from home in reusable mugs
- Bring reusable takeout containers when going out to eat
- Hygiene Products
- Use cloth hankies not tissues or increase hankie use
- Use cloth mama pads
- Sew mama cloths with old towels/pajamas
- Use a diva cup/keeper
- Use cloth tp/family cloth
- Cut down on or set a limit for tp usage
- Buy only recycled tp for non-cloth tp family or visitors
- Use cloth diapers
- Use cloth wipes
- Sew cloth training pants
- Recycle at home
- Recycle at work
- Take plastic bags to store for recycling
- Pick up recyclables on the ground
- Sort/store trash for recycling
- Set up an organization system for recycling
- Use recycled paper goods
- Use freecycle when possible
- Simplify, declutter, sell, donate, repurpose
- Don't buy anything new unless absolutely necessary/only buy necessities
- Think before buying (Do I really need this? Can I make it? How will I have to dispose of it some day?)
- Buy all clothes secondhand or make them
- Have a no-buy week
- Shop at thrift stores more often
- Buy items to make from scratch rather than premade
- Buy in bulk when possible
- Make more purchases locally, from small stores and/or avoid big box stores
- Buy fair-trade when possible
- Buy products from companies that are environmentally conscious
- For parties, decorate with items from nature
Safe Home and Body Care
- Use non-toxic cat litter
- Train cat to use the toilet
- Rid home of all chemicals possible
- Rid home of all plastics possible (storage bins, kitchen items, plastic packaging, etc)
- Have wooden/natural toys
- Use reusable, non-plastic water bottles and take them when eating out
- Use non-plastic sippy cups
- Buy only natural fiber clothes and other items when possible
- Install a shower filter to get rid of chlorine and other toxins
- Install a water filter to get rid of toxins
- Body Care
- Use all natural and/or homemade body care products
- Wash face with honey
- No-poo (use alternatives to shampoo and less frequently)
- Use all natural and/or homemade cleaners
- Cut down on bleach use
- Use all natural air fresheners
- Use wicker laundry basket/hamper instead of plastic
- Use soapnuts/washnuts for laundry
- Replace all Teflon pots and pans with stainless and cast iron
- Replace plastic tupperware with glass storage containers
- Avoid using plastic wrap for leftovers
- Use butcher paper and tape, unbleached parchment paper, or unbleached waxed paper bags instead of plastic bags
- Use wooden plates and utensils for DC instead of plastic
- Use homeopathic remedies
- Make Kombucha to stay healthy
- Home Improvement/Furnishings
- Buy houseplants to help clean the inside air (see book How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office)
- Use low/no-VOC eco-friendly paint
- Use more green/recycled building materials and furnishings
- Replace mattress with natural latex mattress
- Get rid of particleboard furniture in the house
- Test furnishings for lead
- Use pillows filled with natural fibers
- Use rugs made of natural fibers
- Replace carpet with non-toxic flooring, such as bamboo, cork, or mud
- Use mud plaster on walls
- Replace furniture that contains foam cushioning (treated with flame retardants) with furniture that does not
- Replace bed and bedding with non-toxic versions (cotton/wool or latex mattresses, organic bedding, non-synthetic pillows, etc)
- Eat more (or all) organic/natural
- Budget to afford more organic
- Eat more raw
- Buy produce at farmer's markets
- Buy local foods when it's an option
- Buy whole foods with minimal and/or recyclable packaging
- Buy more fresh produce
- Buy more in bulk
- Plan meals before shopping to avoid wasting unused food
- Keep foods with additives out of the house
- Don't eat foods with high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils
- Eat at home more/eat out less
- Cook from scratch as much as possible
- Learn about eating in a way that's good for the environment
- Reduce grocery spending
- Reduce amount of junk/highly processed foods bought
- Eat vegetarian/vegan more often
- Become vegetarian/vegan
- Join a CSA (community-supported agriculture)
- Join a co-op and shop there
- Can, jar, dry, and freeze food
- Avoid canned products that contain lead and bisphenol-A (BPA)
- Make own food when possible (jelly, relish, mustard, etc)
- Make homemade pizza
- Make own bread products
- Make homemade yogurt
- Drink raw milk
- Keep goats for milk
- Keep hens for eggs or get eggs locally
- Switch pets to better food
- For parties, serve local and/or in-season food
- Compost, compost more, or improve composting setup
- Build a worm bin
- Start or expand a garden
- Start an herb garden
- Practice native gardening and limit watering
- Practice organic gardening
- Create a wildlife habitat
- Plant fruit trees or trees for shade
- Limit water used for gardening (use rain barrels, bath water, etc)
- Practice green lawn care (use reel mower, pull weeds manually, no herbicides or weed 'n feed)
- Come up with a green solution for fire ants
- Plant one tree a month
- Walk more, drive less
- Find local family activities instead of driving a long way
- Carpool when it's an option
- Start a carpooling group at eRideShare
- Take the bus/train more instead of driving
- Ride bike more often/use trailer for packages and kids
- Have no-drive days every month
- Drive easier
- Check tire pressure monthly to improve mileage
- Combine errands and drive less
- Plan grocery trips so going less times a month
- Use a personal grocery cart to walk instead of drive
- Take a train trip instead of driving
- Track mileage in preparation for reducing driving
- Convert diesel vehicle to run on used vegetable oil
- Drive a small, fuel-efficient, and/or used car
- Drive a hybrid
- Make biodiesel
- Lead by example for friends, family, co-workers, etc.
- Go to a Sierra Club meeting
- Write to representatives about green issues (for example, cut tax breaks for the oil companies and use the money to fund alternative energy and tax credits for people and businesses that install energy upgrades, buy efficient cars, etc)
- Write one letter a week to an elected official
- Be greener for birthdays and holidays (use LED lights; give homemade gifts or buy locally made or with minimal packaging; reused or recycled wrapping paper, cloth wrapping paper, or gift boxes; shred junk mail to use to pack gifts; no plastic presents; buy less stuff; request less stuff)
- Participate in utility company's green energy program or powersave program
- Get children's books to encourage DC to follow in footsteps
- Offset family's carbon footprint
- Write a Green Living article for work, neighborhood, or church newsletters
- Donate subscriptions/books for green-minded materials to local library (such as Mothering and An Inconvenient Truth)
- Write a letter to grocery store asking them to charge for disposable bags and/or offer a credit for bringing reusable bags
- Move closer to workplace
Expecting #2 in May 2013!
My current goals:
No a/c until July at least, hopefully we can make it to august. It' tough - it's in the mid-90s in Georgia these days. My MIL and I have a friendly contest to see who can hold out the longest. Pride - not wanting to lose to a woman in her 50's - is a big motivator.
No clothes dryer. Every load dried on the line. So far so good other than the sweater I washed today to wear to dinner tonight
I just bought a (used) bike and a (used) trailer. My goal is to bike commute to work/school starting in the fall, and to bike the kids to the pool, park, grocery store and even farmer's market this summer. But first, I have to get back in bike-riding form (and I mean "back" as in back when I was 12). It's kicking my butt! And I haven't even gotten the trailer yet.
We are installing radiant heat in the LR, MBR, and den.
I have ordered shades and drapes for the west facing windows that get so much afternoon sun.
Not so much a green thing for the planet, but green for our bodies, we are installing a whole house water filter to remove chlorine and an RO undersink system for our drinking water. We are designing it so that both the backwash on the main filter and the waste water from the RO will go to our irrigation supply.
We are looking at installing rain barrels but since our rain only comes between Nov and April, when we don't really need irrigation, they would just fill up once -- we would need a zillion of them to get any value out of 50 gallon barrels -- and at $100 a barrel -- just not sure...
We got our clothesline about a month ago and haven't used the dryer once since!
My three-year old is obsessed with turning lights on and her daddy and I are working hard to get her to understand why that is not good!
Our garden is growing nicely and we continue to plant and sow new seeds.
My husband planted about 10 new trees this past weekend.
Hmm, I'm sure there is more...
I am good about taking my reusable bags to the grocery, but not anywhere else. So my goal is to use my reusable bags more.
Trying to use my bike w/ trailer for all local transport. I tend to wake up too late to get to the library in time for preschool story time on my bike, so it is often a last minute get in the car. I can do better.
Teaching my son (20 months) that turning the lights on is not a game. We have excellent natural lighting in our living spaces, so lights are not needed until after 6pm, but that little man loves to play with the switches!
we want to pretty up our new apartment and we have already bought color that is certified to be safe and I'll try to find out what wood our new bathroom stuff is made of. we'll also plant new organic herbs and tomatoes now that it's warm.
My plans for June:
Try to get as much previously-owned/borrowed/gently used baby stuff as possible (clothing, diapers, furniture, etc.) instead of buying new.
Continue telling DH that our current strategy (mow and manicure the weeds, pull out the really awful ones) is working great in order to stop him from getting out the nasty chemical weed killers. Also, I will do my part in the mow and manicure project so that he doesn't get too disgusted.
Paint baby's room with no VOC paint.
Take better care of the compost pile by adding water and brown matter when necessary.
Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11
May was a good month:
- our icky gas lawn mower died and we replaced it with a push mower (also Freecycled the broken mower for someone to repair or use for parts)
- replaced DD's plastic cups with a stainless steel Thermos straw cup
- carpooled to work a couple times, had a couple no-drive days, ran errands on bicycle a few days, walked DS to school about half of the time
- shopped very little, resisted some tempting purchases
Goals for June:
- find greener option for kids' shampoo/conditioner
- focus on reducing water use- I have already started using bath water for plants, am working on being more conscious of turning water of when brushing teeth etc. I want to investigate grey water or rainbarrel options and also reconsider the vegetable garden- most of our seeds didn't "take" this year so I think we are using a lot of water to sustain just a couple of plants.
- as always, try to improve meal planning- if I ever accomplished this I think it would reduce our trips to the grocery store, reduce eating out, reduce food waste at our house, and lead to health benefits too.
- planted giant garden
- milking goats (using galss jars)
- driving less (carpooling)
- not buying new things or things in packaging
- salvaged 18 steel drums on their way to the dump for water storage in our greenhouse
- built milking stand out of 100% salvaged wood
- house uses no A/C
- participate in 2 acre community garden
That's all I can think of now.
Get walking to work at least a few days this month. I wilt in the heat, but I'm really going to try walking on the cooler days.
Reduce car usage by taking walks in the neighborhood when we get the itch to go out.
Keep beating it into DH that he needs to shut the lights off when he leaves a room.
Clear out the remainder of the plastic in the house. Just about all of our containers are glass now.
Keep putting pretty flowers and herbs in my garden because it makes the Earth happy.
Use bathwater/greywater to water flowers.
Buy even more local stuff.
Limit the AC. It's in the 90's today and will be for about a week and we're going to hold out as long as possible. It's hard because the apartment does get hot and my four little kitties don't appreciate it, but we're trying.
I just started using a Diva Cup this month so my next step is to get mama cloth.
Change our shower curtain liner. We have a plastic liner so we're going to get a fabric one next.
Jenn mama to MonkeySquishy& River(8wks)Wife to Mike See you at the Bridge, Abigael and McKenna
We've gotten chicks and a chicken to start collecting our own eggs. They're nearly grown.
Chicken coop/pen built almost entirely from dumpster-dived wood and salavaged tin roof.
It's time to "eat the pantry" - cook and eat the canned/boxed items out of the pantry and freezer rather than buying what we want in the moment. When we do this, it takes at least a month or more, our grocery bills plummet (only perishables and must-haves, plus we'll be getting garden veggies soon), and my cooking gets tremendously creative.
I felt so good about recycling and getting my kids involved. We dropped off our recycling and I was surprised because they don't take everything. Like I thought they took plastic utensils (especially this because I made sure to buy the recycled kind) and aluminum foil.
I drove 1 hour round trip to take dd to her 1 year checkup. I used cruise control and stayed at 55 mph. It really takes a lot of patience and willpower. I so wanted to keep up with everyone else that passed me.
What i'm working on:
~Doing a bit of container gardening.
~Clothesline as much as possible. We are even brainstorming a good spot for one in the house for wintertime. We've been getting a lot of rain here in WI, to the point of flood issues, so this is challenging to work around, but i'm hanging them when I can!
~Switching to all-natural cleaners. Our feed mill just went out of business, so i'm going to miss the 50# sacks of baking soda for $7. Will have to find another source and stock up. B. Soda/Vinegar and I are renewing our friendship, and starting to bond with essential oils.
~Switched to all-natural skin care. KMF olive oil soap, honey, witch hazel, TTO, and again, b.soda are my staples. I've stopped using eye makeup and am down to only mineral makeup to even out my complexion.
~Switching my dishsoap/handsoap/laundry/dishwater to naturals. Still working on this one.
~Holding out as long as possible on the A/C. Right now the weather has been cool enough, it's not an issue.
~Slowly changing food habits. Switching to homeade/natural cereals and snack items.
~Getting my lists figured out for the next chico bag and frontier coop. I'm going to be ready next time!
~working on the reduce/reuse/recycle. We have been very good at the recycling part, and the reducing, i've cut way back on lots of things. Going to keep on that path and work on the reusing as well.
~Biking more to destinations.
Lastly, peruse this forum more often. I get the best advice here.
Things I need/want to work on:
line drying laundry
biking more, driving less
rainwater collection for watering yard
not buying anything plastic and/or buying more locally vs everything coming from China-oy
all of this kinda falls under reducing carbon footprint, but I also want to offset it more, especially when I fly or drive long distances.
Recently I switched to family cloth and am loving it. Also in the process of switching to home made toothpaste and wondering about no-poo
Have used a diva cup and all natural cleaning and personal care products for years so I'm good there. Also recycling as much as possible always, wish they took more here-grrr
I've noticed I'm being more conscious of light/electrical usage. Want to get power strips to turn things off at night like puter, modem and router especially. Those little lightys just don't need to be on all the time!
Oh I've also started taking bathwater out in buckets to water the yard when I have a bath. In the wondering stage about doing it for showers too.
Oh and I've stopped completely getting plastic bags everywhere I shop. I either take in my canvas ones or carry out what I buy in my hands. Sometimes I'll get paper, which we use for our trash bags for things that can't be recycled or composted.
Sheesh that's a lot of new things for me in the past few months. Yippee!!
Congrats to all of you striving to be more green!
this sounds similar to the compact I have been on for a about a year.
sleep now, post later.
oh wanted to drop a craft idea cause it can be used as a recycling tool as well. You can take your old cereal boxes cut them up and make them into a childs puzzle they put it together and if they loose a piece then you just recycle the whole puzzle. just a thought.
Again thanks for starting this thread. It is always giving me great ideas. I have copied the goals and will be printing them off so that i can have a copy and check them off as i fulfill my goals . Thanks again I this thread.:::
*Installed two rain barrels
*Bought a HE front-loading washer
*Use mason jars to store all dry goods
*Use vinegar solution to kill weeds in driveway
*Used a downed tree to make lawn furniture
*Sent old plastic lawn furniture to be recycled/gave away
*Crack windows to create air draft (rarely use a/c units and only in bedrooms)
*Dry diapers and sheets on the line outside
I'll be back
~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger
I have been using totes at the grocery store instead of plastic.
This month I am:
getting rid of shampoo
building my compost
making family clothes (this will completly eliminate paper from our house)
Put my bike back in working order and just got a trailer for free off of freecycle. ( I am SOOO excited!)
Trying to line dry when possible
We have been working hard at getting greener since we moved into our own home a year and a half ago.
I reduced our water bill by 60% the first bill we got was huge enormous even the same for the electricity that has been reduced by nearly 70%.
we have an a+frontloading washingmachine. I only wash on cold short cycles enless clothing is very dirty/smelly
no ac dishwasher microwave or clothesdryer
breastfeeding only no bottles
reuse glass jars for food and non food storage
preserving our homegrown foods
using organic local farmbox scheme
our own chickens (on organic pellets & foodscraps ) for eggs
composting currently conventional & vermicompost researching bokashi
cutting up rags atm to crochet into cleaning cloths and a separate pile for family cloth (dh doesn't know this yet lol)
learning new skill just last night taught myself the wonderful art of sprang
buy second hand
shower instead of bathing
use green cleaningstuf (vinegar bakingsoda soapnuts)
cloth nappies for the twins some from ds1 some from freecycle
wool wraps for twins
handmade remade clothing
all food from scratch
biodynamically reared meat
waterbarrels in the garden
yello mellow for the loo
reusing neighbours newspaper for animal bedding
reduce hoover use
digital camera instead of 35mm to reduce on printing & dev waste
weekly shop done in a dutch handcart (boldercar)
grow our own herbs salad green and soon more
fruittrees for food & shade
recycle, freecycle & upcycle as much as we can
*green roofs to be installed onto extension roof
* new chickenrun with greenroof
*new bunny enclosure with greenroof
*rockry out the front for herbs
*finding & installing ollas for irrigation
*porch at the front of the house with green roof
*built a covered "run" so the cats can not leave the garden
*increase houseplant for better air (green walls?)
*spread the greenness to our neighbours
I might come back to add more later......
My current indoor goal is to take a wait-and-see approach to the air conditioning. We usually install a window unit as soon as the summer hits, but we're getting smarter about air flow and room usage. We made it through that heat wave a couple of weekends ago with just a couple of box fans, and it stayed about 76 inside. It rarely goes above 80 where we live, so I'm thinking we may be able to do without the window units altogether.
Green living challenges: We're planning several home improvements that will hopefully pay off in the long run and continue to reduce our fuel needs. We're doing some creative things with the hot water, thinking about where we might go with solar (one of my FIL's hobbies), and considering adding another woodstove or a fireplace insert to the house. I also have laundry ideas turning over in my head (because I am so totally getting a second washing machine before having my next baby, and you can take away my treehugging icon if you must, LOL). Basically, we are assuming that energy costs will triple in the next 5-10 years. My goal is to be totally off oil and 50% reduced in our electricity use in 3 years.
After many years of DIY patching, we're probably going to get a new roof sometime in the next year, and we're thinking about going with metal so that we'll have the option of a rain catchment system.
Lots of other lifestyle changes in mind, some more radical than others. We're thinking of getting even more out-there in some areas; just waiting to take the plunge. And then in other areas, I've learned which shortcuts are totally worth the ease and convenience to me. I bet my six-years-ago self would have thought that some of the things we've embraced were completely beyond the pale, and now I'm looking ahead at some even wilder ideas.
I'm a never-ending work in progress!