Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dreaming of Green

Although being a CIO is my passion and my lifestyle, there may come a time when I want a less operational role, a focus on the simple pleasures of living, and to apply my energy on leaving an environmentally responsible legacy for my daughter. She will inherit the earth I leave her.

The engineer in me wants to pursue a low impact, off grid, eco-friendly life using all the tools and technologies available. Here's my list of Dreaming of Green lifestyle ideas

1. Pick a location with temperatures that vary between 20F and 80F to minimize the need for heating and cooling energy sources. My early research suggests that Portland, Oregon is a good choice for its mild climate, bicycle paths, vegan restaurants, and environmentally enlightened culture.
2. Live in a home under 1000 square feet. That should be more than enough for 2 people and their stuff.
3. Build with sustainable materials such as rammed earth walls, bamboo flooring, and a living roof.
4. Use geothermal heat pumps to heat and cool the house using the fact that the earth maintains a constant temperature across the seasons. Radiant floor heating is another technique that can be used that is more energy efficient and forced air or radiators. Wood pellet stoves use renewable fuels and are energy efficient.
5. Use photovoltaic solar panels, hydroelectric energy and windpower to generate electricity for the home.
6. Use minimal electrical appliances and choose devices that have minimal use of resistive heating elements.
7. Use natural light and compact fluorescent bulbs for illumination.
8. Wear sustainable clothing made from linen, hemp, and rayon. Avoid leather and any animal products.
9. Use an on demand water heater to eliminate the energy needed to keep a tank of water hot.
10. Use the Japanese technique of washing with minimal water outside the tub, then soaking inside the tub, changing the water every few days.
11. Recapture sink wastewater via grey water recycling for plants.
12. Use composting toilets.
13. Eliminate junk mail and strive to purchase items with minimal packaging.
14. Be vegan. Eat local/regional foods. Grow your own when possible. Compost your biodegradable garbage. Recycle everything you can. In Wellesley, Massachusetts, we recycle over 85% of our solid waste.
15. Use public transportation, hybrid vehicles, bicycles and walking to get around.

Thus far, I've done as many of these as I can in Massachusetts, including many IT related efforts described in my previous blog entries Kill a Watt, Some Like it Hot, and A Green Approach to Storage.

I look forward to the opportunity, in retirement, to make green living my lifestyle and my job. I know that I'll never truly eliminate my impact on the environment, but the journey to minimize it will be very rewarding.


Johnnysmooth said...

John, you may have an even bigger impact if you apply the green philosophy to your IT department and more broadly, how BIDMC uses IT internally. An enormous amount of waste here for most organizations and may be a nice way to meet your desire to give your daughter a healthier environment without have to move to Portland - just yet.

As for me, well usually I ride my bike into work year-round here in Boston, but with the rain this morning, it's off to take the T

chalohyd said...

The correct URL for Living Roof is
I echo the other John's sentiments as well. But you have the right intent. Some things I did was I always asked my staff to power off computers and monitors when going home (unless it is running a job or something), turning off lights when not in use etc and buying low power CPU's and efficient power supplies for PCs.

Unknown said...

I agree with living roof in the BIDMC campus would be worth so much more to your daughter's future would replacing all the light bulbs on campus over time. But, I am with you on the direction for my own peace of mind and state of being. I felt like I had found my guru when I found the "Not So Big House" concept - and those aren't 1000 sq ft.

Introduction said...

As an IT Director of a manufacturing plant I've strived to reduce our carbon footprint and utilize more cost effective energy methods. As a Vegan this is a natural path for me to take, and it is a joyful experience to find alternative methods surfacing in our industry.

Portland, OR

Susan Warthman, Public Service Librarian said...

Hello, I will be chairing the 2010 North Atlantic Health Science Libraries, Inc. (NAHSL) annual conference in Newport, RI (hopefully). This is a regional organization of medical librarians belonging to the Medical Library Association. I am getting a head start on perusing web sites, bloggs, articles and talking with people. None of the planning committees are formed yet and I haven't officially been voted in as Chair, but I am really excited about planning a conference similar to SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING GREEN HOSPITALS 4/23-4/25/2008, Boulder CO..
I got inspired when I heard the owner of Stoneyfield Yogurt, Gary Hirshberg, speak at Bryant University. Then I read an article in Body & Soul, April, 2008 page 84, entitled "Greener Hospitals," by Andrew Lawler. Now, I just noticed I missed the conference in Boulder. The kinds of strategies discussed at that conference are exactly what I am hoping to do at the NAHSL 2010 conference. I would like to have the keynote speakers, continuing education classes, events, donations, everything revolve around these topics. If you can advise me in any way, I would appreciate it. I have never done anything like this. Thanks, Sue.

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