New Years Resolution, Go Green

Story From KYA Springfild IL. PM CST

Story Updated: Jan 2, 2010 at 9:49 PM CST

You may have a New Year’s resolution to get fit or stop smoking, but if your resolution is to go green this year, one Springfield couple makes a great example. Many of us recycle, but Rick Scarlett and Gloria Johnson have done much more to reduce their energy use, shrink their carbon footprint, or simply go green in the past year. “I’m amazed at what we’ve done in a year,” says Gloria Johnson.

Over the past year, Scarlet and Johnson have gone green, and they think it will save them green in the long run. “The way the economy is, you’re not sure if you’re going to make any money, so we’ve decided it’s better to lower your outgo instead of raise your income, so that’s kind of the goal we’re working toward,” says Scarlet.

They own an electric vehicle for trips under forty miles, charging it with only five dollars a month. “It may not be a perfect technology right now, but somebody’s gotta be the first on to do it,” says Johnson.

They drive a Toyota Prius for longer trips. To cut down on trips to the grocery store, they’re growing plenty of fruits and vegetables right in their own yard. “We’re just going to redo it completely into a little farm back there,” says Scarlet.

They use rain barrels to save water, and speaking of water, the strange looking thing on their roof is a solar water heater. “The gage shows the temperature in the solar water heater on the roof, and it’s in Centigrade,” says Scarlet. For cloudy winter days, there’s a backup in the basement. “It comes back down to the tankless down here, and it runs through the tankless, and the tankless bumps it up to whatever temperature you have it set for- 115,” Scarlet says.

They’re also installing chili pepper pumps that eliminate that waiting for the water to turn warm. “You don’t run a bunch of cold water down your sink,” Scarlet says.

The couple will also soon get much of their electricity from the sun. “During the winter, it’ll probably be 50% of our power, and during the summer, it’ll do really well- probably take care of most of our needs,” Scarlet says.

They’re happy to be helping the environment. “I just feel like I want to do what I can,” Johnson says.

Plus, they’re cutting their costs for the future. “I think down the road, it’s gonna pay off really well,” says Scarlet.

They also have a dual-flush toilet with a smaller flush and a stronger one, and they’ve ordered a SunFrost refrigerator that is supposed to use only 20% of the energy of a regular fridge.

They also have double-pane windows, and are putting extra insulation in their 90 year old house to increase its efficiency.

Of course, most of us won’t be able to do it all, but Rick and Gloria suggest going green one piece at a time. One simple step is to unplug or use power strips to turn off things like microwaves or TV equipment off when they’re not in use to prevent the use of phantom electricity.