Saturday, June 22, 2024

New Windows on the World

I've noticed that in our sustainability community there are several camps that concentrate on different aspects of sustainability. Some excel at recycling or zero waste, others avoid fossil fuels by installing solar and driving an electric vehicle, yet others choose a vegetarian lifestyle. We fit snuggly into the rainwater harvesting, water conservation camp, but we try our best to practice a well rounded sustainability lifestyle. We take alternate transportation, enjoy a mostly vegetarian diet (though we occasionally eat fish), we  have reduced our plastic and food waste and participate in low-water desert gardening and native tree planting. We do what we can. But if I'm honest, we have fallen behind in one area - solar power.

Some years ago, Robert Bulechek conducted an enlightening presentation at a Sustainable Tucson meeting. He suggested that when it's time to replace gas powered appliances, replace them with electric ones. Then they can be run off of solar power.  Well, some of our appliances are on their last legs, so we will be replacing them soon. We have already replaced our air conditioner with a more energy efficient heat pump. And we finally got on the list to get solar from our respected local solar installer Technicians for Sustainability. But our progress was stalled when they asked how much energy we will be using. We needed to factor in energy efficient windows that we hadn't installed yet.  

We are excited to announce that we finally got our old leaky windows replaced. It was some effort to remove the furniture 3 feet from the windows. 

But it was so worth it. We just love them! Since they block UV light and people can't see in as easily, we were able to get rid of our hard to dust blinds and heavy curtains. What a view!  It's almost like being out in the desert habitat (that is our yard) without enduring the extreme heat. 

Now we can watch a variety of birds splash in the birdbath or rest in the shade of our native plants and trees in our rainwater harvesting basin while enjoying breakfast in comfort.

I wish my phone could catch our lovely view out the dining room window.

I look forward to watching the rain fill up our slimline tanks - when the monsoon storms finally roll in. Who am I kidding? I will be out there in the rain! 

Here is the view I get to enjoy out of our kitchen window while doing the dishes. I look forward to getting a better view of the baby squirrels wrestling in our greywater basin.

Every morning I greet the day by watching the birds out of our bathroom window. So glad that we didn't put in privacy panes! 

One unexpected benefit of the energy efficient window is that they lessen the noise from the traffic on nearby Speedway (which is living up to its name lately.) So we get a better night's sleep. 

And because of the UV protection we got to remove the old, dusty blinds behind our black out curtains that were needed to block out the sun in our south facing room. 

And now we are able to easily open up the curtains to enjoy the light of the day instead of being stuck in a dark cave or turning on a light! And we can actually open up the windows to cool off naturally in the evenings. 

It's not a bad view from outside either...

Quality windows weren't cheap, but at least we will be getting a break on our taxes. 

Next up...replacing our kitchen appliances with (hopefully) energy efficient electric appliances and having solar installed. Then we will be proud members of the energy efficiency camp! 

What Kind of Climate Champion Are You?

Later this afternoon...

I took this out of the bathroom window 3 days later. 



  1. When you replace your kitchen appliances, get an induction stove. I LOVE ours. Energy efficient, faster than gas but none of the gas health/environmental downsides, super-easy surface clean-up.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this, and I'm inspired! 😊