Success Stories

I have been on the Menlo Green Challenge since it began in 2016, and have completed many of the actions on the website. 

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce Carbon footprints is to change eating habits. I cut red meat out of my diet since the carbon footprint for beef is 28 times its own weight and lamb has a footprint 35 times its weight. 

I also take alternative forms of transportation.  I’m a long-time bike rider and use a bike on most trips under 5 miles. Using bikes for short trips has enabled our family to share one car and save lots of money. Some folks say biking isn’t for everyone though; for two-car families, I highly recommend having one of the vehicles be electric!

I've installed solar panels on my home, which cut my electricity bill down to $10/month. That is the lowest bill a customer can receive from PG&E to support the electric grid. I work with a non-profit called SunWork, and they were able to help me install solar, with a 30% discount because our household was already energy efficient. If you’re efficient and your energy bill is less than $100 per month, you could also use Sun Work and their local volunteers to help install low cost solar.

I also installed a heat pump water heater in my house, replacing the gas one. After tax credits, the heater was $500. It is an electric heater, so together with solar panels, it’s great to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to heat our water.

I enjoy finding creative, innovative ideas that help my household become efficient and sustainable. I developed a system that delivers waste heat from solar panels back into my home, recycling the excess heat and making it purposeful. This solar heater is still a prototype; I’m still figuring out the best way to prevent leaks in the system.

Taking shorter showers is a great way to save water; you can save energy too, with lower water temperatures, starting by turning your water heater setting down. My shower has a covering that traps steam in, preventing drafts that makes you cold. The cover has the added bonus of allowing you to shower comfortably at cooler temperatures.  

Whether you’re handy at home or not, everyone can take actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Getting started is easy with this Green Challenge site.