You live in a very sustainable home. What are some ways you have made your home more sustainable?

Ed Begley Jr.: For years I set about making the old homes that I lived in more sustainable, with great success. But, a few years back, I decided to build a passive solar home from the ground up. Here's what I did:

  • Recycled steel frame construction

  • Passive solar design

  • 12" thick walls

  • Sierra Pacific double pane windows.

  • 8 kw of Panasonic Solar PV

  • A.O. Smith solar thermal for hot water needs

  • 10,000 rainwater tank

  • Grey water system

  • Lutron lighting controls

  • Kohler low-water usage fixtures throughout the house

  • Lifesource water filtration system

  • Daikin super efficient HVAC units

  • Icynene super efficient foam insulation

  • North CAL Wood Reclaimed Lumber

  • Eaton EV charger

  • Drought tolerant garden

What are a few simple ways that our readers can live more sustainably?

I always suggest that people do as I did in 1970 when I was 20 years old and totally broke. And, that is to pick the low-hanging fruit first. What I mean by that is to do all the stuff that's cheap & easy first:

  • Energy saving light bulbs

  • Energy saving thermostat

  • Weather stripping around doors and windows

  • Public transportation

  • Bike riding

  • Home gardening

  • Home composting

  • Recycling

Then, if you save money on that, you can move up the ladder and do other things that cost a bit more––things like a solar oven and good insulation. And, if you save money from that, you can move up the ladder again, and who knows, perhaps one day an alternative fuel car, or maybe even solar panels. The point is to do something—one thing—for today. Then, tomorrow, do some more.

What has been your largest commitment in living a sustainable life?

The solar electric system that I put in, in 1990. It was expensive back then.

Where have you seen the biggest improvements in the recent years occurring in the fight against climate change?

Information. NASA, NOAA, National Geographic, and many other trusted organizations offer a great deal of easy to understand facts about climate change.

Where do you see the fight against climate change in 5 years?

Though I think there will be a great deal of unavoidable damage, there is still much that we can save. We need to set about doing it now.