Growing your own food and preserving the life cycle of your outdoors is critical for those eager to adapt into an active green state of mind. Making the effort to start practicing sustainable gardening begins with utilizing organic methods for growing plants and vegetables.
This means avoiding the use of any chemical solutions to temporarily boost the vitality of your collection of plants, vegetables, flowers and more. These chemical products are completely unnecessary. Composting enriches the life of your soils to a degree that sprays and other liquid alternatives never will. Using compost will have one of the biggest impacts for creating a sustainable garden. Recycling and reusing materials in your garden is another easy first step in sustainable gardening that will guarantee a cleaner and more efficient garden for your yard in the long run.
It’s important to know that Colorado is ranked 9th in the U.S. for sun impact and Denver is tied for 7th sunniest city. Boulder County homeowners who are considering solar should know that roofless solar is now a viable and convenient solution offered by the Clean Energy Collective. The organization itself has been making progressive strides in environmentally sustainable practices that are having a national impact. Since establishing the country’s first community-owned solar array near El Jebel, Colorado in 2010, CEC has built or is currently developing more than 175 RooflessSolar™ projects with 32 utility partners across 17 states, serving thousands of customers and representing more than 400 megawatts of community solar capacity. The collective also maintains community-owned solar gardens that are expanding the possibilities for solar technologies to even greater heights.
Colorado is an energy leader, if not THE leader, and is accredited for being the first state in the nation to adopt renewable energy standards, way back in 2004. Colorado Energy Office Director Jeff Ackermann stated, “Colorado has always been a leader in renewable energy, and now we take another innovative step forward as we create community solar models that are more affordable and available to Colorado rural electric cooperatives and the low-income communities they serve,” Cost of Solar reported. That is, solar cooperatives are working together to have broad, positive impacts on homeowners who can’t afford solar on their own.
Living a BoCo lifestyle is as much about what we take in as what we put out. This means we have to take time to acknowledge our waste and how we deal with it. So let’s talk compost. Did you know the city and county of Boulder have curbside composting? It’s up to you to set it up with your trash hauler, but it’s readily available. The city of Boulder’s Universal Zero Waste Ordinance has made it a requirement for businesses and residents to comply with recycling and composting efforts. After the city enacted a full-scale curbside compost program, businesses such as Western Disposal expanded the size of their compost yard from 4 to 7 acres. This displayed the widescale impact of the composting initiatives put in place by city policy. Why should you compost? Well, let’s see, cost savings, trash reduction, garden improvement, the list goes on.
Green building is defined by the Colorado Green Building Guild as “the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources – energy, water, and materials – while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle – design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.” You can visit their website, coloradogreenbuilders.org, for tips and tools anyone could benefit from, from the DIY homeowners making changes to the home they love, the corporate businesses hoping to cut costs and do some good for the world, and the professional contractor building toward a sustainable future. You can sign up at Boulder Green Home Tours for a self-guided tour of glorious energy efficient and environmentally sustainable properties in the area for inspiration and a reason to get out, not that Coloradans need one.
LotNetwork.com has a list of increasingly popular green building options. One of my favorites include roof cooling (like having a green “living roof”). In fact, living roofs have numerous ecological and aesthetic perks for Colorado homeowners. Intermountain Roofscape Supply is one leading living roof organization in the Rocky Mountain area that has attracted several Boulder residences. The business is family owned with over 15 years of professional horticulture experience. Intermountain has a keen eye for understanding the appropriate plants and vegetation that can be grown on residential rooftops while withstanding Colorado’s dramatic seasonal temperature fluctuations. A few of the benefits for having a living roof include noise reduction, extension of roof life, fire prevention elements, water conservation (can reduce stormwater runoff by 90 annually), and an overall greater attractiveness to your home.