Sustainability Begins at Home


Casa Coco

I try to be mindful of my individual impact on our shared planet, lessening the negative impacts and increasing the positive.  Below are some deliberate examples of how my continuing evolution manifests in my personal life. 


My house currently has a total of 52, 225-watt photovoltaic panels on my roof.  which account for more than 100% of my home’s power needs. In 2013, my system generated almost 17,000 kWh of energy.   That is 26,293 lbs of CO2 emissions avoided.  (Equivalent to  27,465 miles not driven in a car or 306 trees grown for 10 years.)

Solar Fan

It can get HOT in Hawaii.  Most of us don’t have the luxury of air conditioning in our homes.  I’ve invested in a solar fan for the hottest room in my home which has reduced the temperature by some ten degrees during the hottest summer days.

Organic Garden

I dug up some of the landscaping along the southfacing perimeter of my property, replaced the fence with material that maintained privacy but allowed sunlight to come through and then MA'O Organic Farms! came by and created a large, bountiful organic garden for my household, friends, family and neighbors to enjoy.  


Vermicomposting is a composting method whereby you feed your organic foodwaste to earthworms housed in a special container.  Once the worms eat the organic foodwaste, you can harvest the odorless worm manure as an excellent source of nutrient-rich composting material for your garden.  I got a vermicomposting system called “Can-o-Worms” from Mindy over at Waikiki Worms.  Once my worm colony reaches full maturity, my system will be able to process up to one pound of food waste per day! Update: Strong winds blew my system over and the worms escaped!

Water Catchment

I have a 900-gallon system in my basement, catching rainwater from my roof and then watering my yard when there is no rain.  I calculated the size of my system based on how often it rained, how many inches or gallons of rain and how much water my landscaping and garden needed inbetween rainfall.  Because we are charged for every gallon of city water that comes into our property, and then charged twice that amount per gallon with the assumption that it all goes into the city sewer - I have been able to cut my total bill from the Board of Water Supply by 50%.  The investment in products and services was paid off in savings within three years.