Changing our own climate

Despite being surrounded by climate change sceptics climate change is a reality to us and one of the challenges we need to strive to meet. Our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint include; driving a small fuel efficient diesel car, using gravity fed rainwater for all our household needs, growing most of our own fruit, vegetables and poultry and installing a large Solar System that feeds into the grid. By the way we got out first cheque from Country Energy the other week, $464 for two months and no bill, our bill would normally be about $250 for this amount of time so we produced $ 714 worth of electricity in two months, months that were quite wet and cloudy at that. We are trying to reduce our electricity usage as well so will be interesting to see how this goes. We  were fortunate that we had installed this system while the feed in tariff was at 60cents kwh and it remains at this.
On another level we are literally trying to change our climate. Our house is very hot and exposed. Veranda's had been enclosed and clad with a plastic type of material and previous occupants relied heavily on air conditioners to cool the house. There were seven small air conditioners when we came here. We are in the process of   restoring the veranda's and removing the plastic cladding to replace it with weather boards and insulating as we go. Our biggest project though is the garden. I have read that you can lower the temperature of your home significantly by planting trees. We had only a few trees in the garden here and none that shaded the house. In order to get the garden and the trees established we have needed to lessen the exposure and create wind breaks. Saltbush has been planted around the perimeter fence and we have also planted lots of medium sized shrubs, China Bells and Buddleias
are going well.

We have planted grape vines on trellises to shade the sides of the house where there are no veranda's and this summer they are providing significant shade. When you walk into the kitchen of an afternoon you can really feel the difference that the shade makes. It has also created a nice shaded area to sit in and for my pot plants.
the vines on the Western side of the house should cover the trellis this summer and give us a nice harvest of grapes.  

There are lots of small cedar trees coming up around the big old tree and these have created a nice shady space.
The trees and shrubs in the front strip are growing really well and now throw a bit of shade
as do the little trees at the back. These are deciduous and will still allow the winter sun in.

The vision is for a garden that is surrounded by trees and has many shady spaces. Natural air conditioning.
 Writing this gets me wondering just how many trees and shrubs we have planted here, I will have to walk around and see!


Christie said…
You are doing such wonderful things, so interesting to read about your beautiful surroundings.

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