living green in willow bend


Living Green in Willow Bend

(From Willow Bend Life)
By Susan Plonka, Willow Bend Lakes

When you arrive at the Chudnow's lush and beautiful home with its large shade trees, lovely flowers and graceful greyhound statues; the last thing you're thinking is that it's environmentally friendly - but it is.

The solar panels on the roof power the swimming pool, air conditioning and the rest of the house.  The Chudnow family is pioneering green technologies.  "Some people spend their money on expensive cars," Robert says, "I like to try out the new green technologies."  Admitting the green initiatives don't pay for themselves, the solar panels do cover 25% of the electric bill.  Sharon Chudnow said, "Sometimes there's not a big cost savings, but we're doing the right thing to save the planet."

Selling back electricity when the sun is shining is an exciting change.  "It's changed our habits, our family does clothes and dish washing during the day when the sun is shining and sell back electricity."  It wasn't necessary for them to reinforce their roof when the solar panels were installed; the panels only weigh 8 lbs.

"It's also changed our driving habits," she said of their electric car, the Nissan Leaf, "we go for a joy ride feeling good that it's free."  On sunny days, the car is charged from the solar panels.  The Leaf can go to Lone Star Park and back on a single charge. Sabrina, the Chudnow's teenaged daughter is learning to drive the Leaf, complete with a tape mark on the door to help with parallel parking.  The Chudnows like to go to Cinemark and Whiskey Cake restaurant because they have electric charging stations. "When an internal combustion engine car parks in a charging parking space, the term is you've been 'iced'," Sabrina explains.  When he can, Robert leaves his Lexus at home and rides his bike the 3 miles to his medical office getting the added bonus of exercise.  "During the school year," Richard explained, "some people just do not have the patience to share the road with a bike and get aggressive."

Recently their upstairs hot water heater leaked over the downstairs kitchen, providing the opportunity to replace their 4 hot water tanks with 2 tankless water heaters.  It doesn't save water, but the showers are hotter.  To research the tankless option, the Chudnows attended the Live Green initiative held in the Plano Event Centre.  As a result of the information gained from the classes, Robert installed a drip irrigation system and a rain barrel.  Their gardener hooked the rain gutter to the rain barrel and now they use the water for starter plants, vegetables and the soaker hoses.

Both Robert and Sharon are passionate about green living and they want to provide a better environment for their kids.  Please reach out to them if you would like to explore green alternatives for your home.