We mentioned several months ago that we were preparing to move to San Francisco. About 5 days before we were going to leave, it just didn’t feel right to us, so we decided to stay in Dallas near our family and friends. We are really happy about our decision and are now looking for our next home together. We fell in love with all the eco-friendly practices in San Francisco, so we decided to create the life we imagined living there, here. I want to share with you some of the eco-friendly living aspects of choosing our next home. If you’re in the market for a new home, maybe some of these can help you find a great place as well.
In thinking about and looking for our next new home, one of the things that’s important to us is having access to the DART rail (Dallas Area Rapid Transit). The DART is relatively new in Dallas, so all the stations are beautiful, and the trains feel brand new. When my family visited recently from England, we took the DART into downtown Dallas and then rode the trolley to the Arts District. It was a lot of fun and gave us a taste of the lifestyle we’re creating.
Our second big priority is quick access to Whole Foods, which happens to be on the DART rail as well. Whole Foods is the place in Dallas to buy fresh, organic produce and bulk bin items. We don’t have real farmer’s markets like (sigh) San Francisco or Portland. However, Mark and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Whole Foods. I’m not sure why they haven’t asked us to be their poster children, because everyone who works there thinks we should be. We traipse in with our fabric produce bags, fabric grocery bags, reusable containers for bulk bins, and our smiling, happy faces. No other grocery store compares to the experience we get from going to Whole Foods. Apart from their super friendly staff, they have so many cool eco-friendly practices and products to check out every time we visit. We’re not paid by Whole Foods for loving them, but I wish we were. I would sing their praises all over the world. If you have a connection to Whole Foods, let me know, because I would love to create little videos about all the great things in Whole Foods…or anything else…I just really love them. I never thought I’d be so passionate about a grocery store Actually, I’m very passionate about eating real, healthy, organic, fresh food, and Whole Foods is the place that provides it for us.
Okay, moving on…
We’re also looking for somewhere with double-paned windows and thick insulation in the walls. The thick insulation is REALLY important to us because in our last apartment, we could hear our neighbor snoring, sneezing, talking, and whatever else every night. That’s a big privacy concern for us, but it’s also better for energy conservation, obviously.
We want to continue using Green Mountain Energy for our electricity, since all their energy comes from renewable sources. Texas produces more wind power than any other state. When we drive to see Mark’s family in West Texas, we drive by the farms with all the wind turbines, and they look amazing against the desert landscape. Farmers put the wind turbines on their land, creating extra income for them while not compromising their crop production. Most of the farmers there grow cotton, which in many cases is very damaging to the environment, although more farmers are branching into organic cotton. There are also many oil fields leading up to Lubbock, and the air there smells horrible. It’s a remote area, but there are some homes. I don’t know how anyone could live there. Just another reason to find alternatives to oil.
We also want to find somewhere that has a great recycling program easily available. In our previous two apartments, we collected our recycling and drove it to the recycling dumpsters throughout Plano. It would be much easier if the apartment offered recycling. We also want to compost.
One of the things we’re considering is the quality of construction. It’s not eco-friendly to buy cheap things that will only fall apart and need to be replaced often. If we choose an apartment, we want somewhere that cares about the tenants enough to provide a quality home for them to live in. So this is an eco-friendly and self-loving decision we’ve made.
So how’s our hunt going? We’ve actually found an apartment building that meets all of those requirements. The few downsides are that the porch is small, so I’m not sure how we would compost, and I really want green space. I crave a little garden to grow our own fruits and vegetables. Also, I know Cosmo would love to roam around in the grass. She loves being outside.
We’ll keep you updated on our progress and let you know when we’ve found somewhere. We have a lot of updates, we just haven’t been writing as much on this blog because we’ve been focusing on other projects. Mark is preparing a wrap-up of our year without (hardly any) plastic, which he’ll be posting soon. I also wrote on our Twitter account for the first time in forever (or ever), so if you’re a twitter fan, I’ll be posting more on there as well. I’m learning how to use it because I’ve been shunning it for a long time For some reason, yesterday I woke up and was excited about learning how it works. Maybe the Twitter Fairy visited me during the night.
If you live in an apartment, what’s your best composting and gardening solution? What do you consider when finding a new home in order to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle?
I hope you all are doing well, and thank you all for your lovely, informative comments throughout this past year.