'Early Show's' 'Clean and Green' Family Takes Extravagant Carbon-Curbing Measures

     The global warming fearmongers apparently claimed more casualties – but this time the victims, a Florida family of seven, have taken extraordinary measures to ease their consciences.


     “We’re truly concerned about what we are doing to this planet right now,” said Bill Weinaug on the September 27 CBS “Early Show” “Clean and Green” segment. “If we keep on the path we’re going on, it’s not going to be good for our kids’ kids.”

     What have the Weinaugs done? They’ve managed to reduce their carbon footprint by 90 percent, the show said. Judging from the report, it wasn’t cheap – and CBS contributor Danny Lipford didn’t disclose how much they spent.


     The Weinaugs built an elaborate rainwater harvesting/irrigation system that includes three large cisterns and a system of downspout gutters and irrigation conduits.

     “We redirected all our gutters, piped them to big above-ground tanks,” Bill Weinaug said. “We’re actually changing all the planter beds around the house to a drip-mist irrigation system that actually just waters the plant, not like the entire area. That will save a considerable amount of water.”


     But how much money will it save? Lipford said it will save “a lot of money,” but that doesn’t seem add up.


     Specifics of the Weinaugs’ rainwater harvesting system weren’t clear from the report, but such a system can range anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000 to install according to the City of Portland, Ore., Office of Sustainability.


     However, the average residential water bill for the family’s area, nearby Hillsborough County, Fla., is only $33 a month – suggesting it might take awhile to recoup the initial investment of the rainwater harvesting system.


     The Weinaugs also purchased a hybrid vehicle. That can be expensive as well. A Toyota Prius has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) in excess of $22,000. The MSRP of the comparable 4-door, 5-passenger Toyota Corolla is $14,405.


     Their other vehicle is a diesel Ford F350 and that “isn’t necessarily the greenest vehicle on the planet,” according to Bill Weinaug. So how will he rectify that carbon-belching indulgence? “[W]e’re seriously looking at biodiesel, either from a retail pump or we’re even looking at vegetable oil,” he added.


     According to CarJunkie.com, bio-diesel conversion kits are priced from $650 to $1500. And if Bill Weinaug wants to purchase bio-diesel from a retail pump, he’ll have to drive 23 miles from his Apopka, Fla., home to Groveland, Fla., the nearest bio-diesel pump according to Biodiesel.org.


     The Weinaugs have also taken some other measures that included considerable expenses. They bought new appliances.


     “This is our high-efficiency washer and dryer,” Mary Weinaug said. “This commode is a dual-flush commode. We bought an Energy Star refrigerator and also an Energy Star dishwasher.”


     And what about the small stuff?


     “Recycled paper for paper towels and then our garbage bags for our garbage cans are made of corn,” said Weinaug.


     From one company, the cost of one carton of 500 13-gallon bioplastic, biodegradable trash bags is $77.91.


     The lesson from this CBS “The Early Show” report: If you want to “go green” and reduce your carbon footprint – bring your checkbook.