Practically Green quiz asks: How green is your life?
This comprehensive quiz from Practically Green will give you a measure of how you are doing and provided food for thought and ideas for additional steps.

Reclaimed wood table inspired by nautical furniture design

The challenge of providing informal eating space and flexible seating in a high-traffic corner is met by a table designed to hinge for storage against the wall. Reclaimed antique oak was obtained locally from Longleaf Lumber. The unique patina is enhanced by a “skip plane” finish on the top. The underside has been sanded for a lighter and more uniform appearance.

A continuous piano hinge secures the tabletop to a block bolted into the existing brick. The tabletop is secured to the wall with a double-jointed hook commonly used for cabinet doors aboard sailing vessels. The leg is attached with a Posi-lock Folding Leg Bracket which locks in place for table support and then again flush against the underside between cross-planks when stored against the wall.

Reclaimed antique oak was also used for a box shelf which spans the existing brick opening between the Kitchen and Porch. Due to the thickness of the plank and the intention to use the shelf for decorative display, no intermediate supports were required to prevent the shelf from “bowing” across the opening.

All the reclaimed wood will be finished with a semi-gloss coat of PolyWhey from Vermont Natural Coatings. The use of recycled whey proteins provides a durable and low-VOC finish and an outlet for whey as a byproduct of local Vermont cheese production.

Super-charge your Prius (or Ford Escape)

If hybrid fuel efficiency isn’t enough eco-consciouness for you there are now plug-in kits to add battery power and life and further reduce fossil fuel consumption. This is just one of the many technological advances presented at the Solar and Wind Expo this past weekend in Marlboro, MA.

ConVerdant is a Concord, NH-based business that provides plug-in conversion kits for some hybrid owners. At the moment they are only compatible with Prius and Ford Escape hybrids but more are in development. Residents of Western MA who are still out of power from the freak October snowstorm may want to look into their plug-out kits which allow the vehicle to act as an emergency generator with minimal fuel consumption.

A plug-in Prius is slated to roll out “around Spring 2012” in 14 states but who knows how long it will be until that is a widely available option. According to the ConVerdant rep at the Expo, their product is compatible with the existing computer software in the Prius and Escape and plugs into a standard residential outlet.