Our journey in sustainability for the home started more than twenty years ago after we moved to a townhouse in Northern California. With home ownership came the opportunity to make substantial changes in order to use less energy and create less waste. Each step we took was part of a series of steps, none of which was hurried or difficult and in fact was quite fun and satisfying.

We started with composting, and soon found ourselves brainstorming about other steps we could take, both large and small. We moved on to other simple changes like installing a programmable thermostat, air drying clothes and buying local produce at the nearby farmers market. In our last few years in California we graduated to solar panels, a super-efficient HVAC system and an electric car.

It’s important to start small and make only one or two changes at a time to enjoy the process, check off “wins” and become energized and proud with each step. You may also find that changes are much easier to make when you have a “sustainability buddy” to work with, whether this be your partner or a friend.

Now we live in a house in Massachusetts, which has new challenges of colder weather, a yard and living responsibly while close to a tidal marsh and the ocean. We have continued our established practices, and now grow vegetables and so have choices to make about how to fertilize and grow native plants to make our yard more supportive to local wildlife.

We wish you all the best on your own journey of curiosity, experiment and reflection in sustainable ways of life. Start with one improvement, observe the results and then move to the next as you become more aware of how every choice we make affects the whole, fragile set of ecosystems we call Earth.

Andrea Lewis

Andrea earned a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of Connecticut and has a lifelong interest in all areas of nutrition and health. For the past twenty years she has been active in evaluating and selectively adopting sustainable practices, with an emphasis on solar energy in all its applications, particularly solar PV and solar cooking. Andrea is the proud owner of a Kia Soul EV, which will soon be charged by solar energy on Cape Cod.

Fírinn Taisdeal

Firinn holds a B.A. in Film from the University of California, Berkeley and worked in film and video before beginning a career as an inventor and software engineer. He has been actively studying issues of sustainability for more than twenty years, with emphasis on personal responsibility for adoption of sustainable practices. His interests include radical reduction in use of fossil fuels and of plastics, automated carbon footprint calculation, solar cooking, locavorism and human-powered transportation in all its forms.