Fall is fast approaching, which means cooler temperatures and beautiful colors!
In many parts of the country, lawn care is just as important throughout the autumn season as it is any other time of year.
While you may not have to use as much water to keep your lawn looking plush during the fall, there are still a few things you can do this season to conserve water while keeping your yard looking pristine and green.
Water Less Often and at the Right Times
Unless you live in an extremely hot area that doesn’t get a lot of rain, you can usually get by on watering your lawn less-frequently in the fall. But, it’s still important to water it at the right time. This will ensure that the water permeates the soil and you get the most out of each watering session.
A good rule of thumb is to water twice a week. Try to water as early in the morning as possible. If you have an irrigation or sprinkler system that can be set on a timer, setting it sometime between 4am-5am is ideal. If you’re watering by hand, just try to get it done first thing in the morning.
Know When to Stop Watering
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow each winter, you’ll want to make sure not to water after a deep freeze. For most people, this means stopping sometime in October or November. Pay attention to the weather and how cold/solid the ground gets. You don’t want to waste water by pooling it on ground that has already frozen!
Sharpen Your Mower Blades
After a long summer of mowing the grass, autumn is the perfect time to remove your mower blades and make sure they’re sharp. What does this have to do with saving water?
When your lawnmower blades start to get dull, they leave a serrated edge on each blade of grass instead of a smooth one. As a result, it often causes browning on the top of the grass. It can even lead to lawn diseases. When people start to see their grass turn brown, they tend to think it’s just dry. So, they overcompensate by watering more than usual. Unfortunately, that only makes matters worse. Not only is it easy to over-water your lawn and “drown” it, but you’re also wasting a lot of water that doesn’t need to be used!
Rake Your Leaves
The brightly-colored leaves that fall from the trees are beautiful to look at, but don’t let them rest on your lawn for too long! Leaves block moisture from penetrating the lawn, which can leave it looking ‘dead’ and brown. Again, this might cause you to overcompensate by watering more. Instead of wasting water, rake up leaves as often as possible so they don’t get a chance to block your lawn from key nutrients and moisture.
As you can see, conserving water while taking care of your lawn in the fall is fairly simple! By keeping a few of these tips in mind, your lawn will look great through the season, and you can feel good about reducing your environmental impact.
It’s hard to believe, but colder temperatures are right around the corner. Now is the time to transition your home from Summer to Fall, and that means doing what you can to conserve and save on energy as the weather turns chilly.
Thankfully, you can still soak up the last bit of summer even as the air gets cooler. As a result, you’ll be using less energy and end up paying less on your electric bill!
Keep these tips in mind to make a smooth transition to the next season, and reduce your environmental impact in the process.
Soak Up the Sun
As the seasons change, it can feel like a permacloud sets in. Save on energy during these last few weeks of extended sunlight by letting it into your house as much as possible. Even if it gets cold outside, the sun can help to heat your home so you don’t have to crank up the thermostat.
Open the curtains during the day, and close them at night to help lock in the heat.
Now is the perfect time to find any air leaks in your house and seal them up. This is something you can do at the end of every summer to prepare your home (and furnace!) for colder weather.
Common areas for air leaks include:
- Unfinished spaces
- Around chimneys
- Utility cut-throughs for pipes
You know your home better than anyone. Think about where any gaps might occur and where any cold air could leak in. Taking a few minutes to patch up these leaks before cold weather hits can make a big difference.
Get Your Furnace Serviced
Along with doing your own home checks at the end of every summer, it’s the perfect time to get your furnace serviced. Even if it seems to be running well, it may not be running as efficiently as it should. An inefficient furnace has to run more, use more energy, and it will cost you more money!
By giving your furnace a tune-up before winter rolls around, you’ll ensure it’s in top shape and will keep you warm all season while running efficiently.
Lower Your Thermostat
Did you know that for every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save 2% on your heating bill? Think about how much energy that’s saving along the way! We all like to be cozy and warm as the weather gets colder, but consider how many degrees you can actually “spare.” Even a few degrees cooler can make a big difference.
Cover Your Windows
Check for any drafty windows around your house, and make sure they’re properly sealed to keep cold air from coming in. Clear plastic tape works very well to seal up any leaks. You can double up by installing insulated drapes or curtains. These help to keep cold air out and keep warm air from escaping.
There are also specific window covers that can be purchased at your local hardware store, if you feel your windows are exceptionally-drafty.
The good news? They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
As you can see, it’s not difficult to get your home ready for the changing seasons. With a few adjustments and tune-ups, you can continue to save energy all year round.
California has already proven to be a pioneer state when it comes to big moves in energy efficiency and water conservation.
One of its newest laws is taking the influence of the state one step further.
Recently, California became the first state to pass a specific water law. This law limits household water use when it comes to things like flushing toilets, and taking showers.
If it sounds extreme, don’t worry – it’s actually much more reasonable than you might think.
But, it’s important to know just what this law entails, because it might be coming to your state sooner than you think.
Gauging the Gallons
Of course, no one from the government is going to be able to come into your home and monitor how long you’re taking a shower each day. So, starting in 2022, the state will limit home water usage to 55 gallons per person each day.
That might sound like a lot, but an average shower can take anywhere from 15-20 gallons of water. Flushing a toilet? That usually takes about 7 gallons each time. Throw in things like running the dishwasher or doing a load of laundry, and it isn’t hard to surpass the 55-gallon mark very quickly.
Understandably, some people are concerned that the law is too harsh, or even nearly impossible (especially in homes with children). But, there are many ways to make it easier to achieve, and less overwhelming.
Water Conservation in the Home
One of the biggest ways to lower the amount of water you use each day is to switch to appliances that naturally use less water. Low-flow toilets, for example, typically use just over one gallon of water per flush. That’s a savings of 6 gallons each time!
Other options are to install aerators on faucets, or low-flow showerheads in the bathroom. These simple changes can make a big difference in how much water is being used doing everyday tasks.
Personal changes need to be made by everyone living in the house, too. Some practical things you can do to lower the amount of water used in your home each day include:
- Cutting down your shower by a few minutes
- Waiting until the dishwasher is full before running a load
- Doing full loads of laundry
- Shutting off faucets when washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc.
These simple changes can really start to add up once you get everyone in the family on board.
Finally, you can save a lot of water by making sure all of your appliances are in good working condition. Most people are surprised to learn how much water they waste each year in leaks. It’s a good idea to periodically get your appliances checked out. Toilets, shower, sinks, etc., should all be tested for leaks. When you’re trying to make the most of every last drop, you don’t want to go over your water limit because of a pesky leak!
Will the Water Laws Spread?
Though it will likely take some time, don’t be surprised if water conservation laws start to spread to other states. As you can see, it’s not impossible to make the adjustments needed in order to save water.
The great thing about these laws is that they start small. They depend on individual households to all do their part. As a result, big changes can occur.
As that idea continues to grow and spread throughout the country, imagine what we all can do to reduce our environmental impact.
California recently became the first state in the country to require solar panels on all newly-constructed homes.
While the rules aren’t in place just yet (they will be starting in 2020), many people are wondering what it will mean not only for homes but how will it impact the environment?
The goal of this new law is to make at least half of California’s used energy renewable. This goal goes hand-in-hand with a bigger climate change goal that the state is trying to achieve by 2050.
If you live in California, what can you expect from this kind of construction? And, how will it impact the rest of the country?
What Does it Mean for Housing Costs?
The problem some Californians have with this new initiative is that it’ll significantly increase the cost of building a home. Unfortunately, it already costs quite a bit of money to build and/or buy a home in California. So, it’s understandable why some people are concerned about the increasing prices in the housing market.
This isn’t just a problem for home builders and buyers, but for anyone who has to deal with new home construction. A prime example is Habitat for Humanity, who relies on donations to construct new homes.
The good news?
In the long run, the costs will likely even out. With solar panels installed on a home, energy costs for the people living there will be significantly lower. While this is a savings that will add up over many years, you will eventually get that money “back” in what you’re saving each month.
What Does it Mean for Renewable Energy?
The pros and cons of this new law will likely be dragged out for quite some time. Obviously, the biggest drawback is the cost to homeowners and anyone who is affected by home construction. But, California is taking a huge step in renewable energy.
The state already leads the country in solar energy with about 16% of its electricity coming from solar panels. This law shows the rest of the country that it’s not good enough to remain stagnant when you can do more.
California is setting an example for the rest of the country, and this law can create an incredible impact for the state. One of the major accomplishments that is expected with this law is the reduction of greenhouse gases. The state has a goal of decreasing greenhouse gases by up to 40% by the year 2030.
The Future of Home Construction
California truly is leading the way for construction projects with solar panels. Construction companies that focus on solar energy are starting to see an increase in production for other states as well, and it’s likely no coincidence when California is acting as the trendsetter here.
Thankfully, this is a trend all states can (and should) get behind. Imagine how much we could lower greenhouse gas emissions if every state put this law into effect? We may be able to drastically reduce the effects of global warming in a relatively short amount of time.
While it’s a bit of an investment up front, solar panels on newly-constructed homes is a simple way to make a huge impact on the future of the planet.
All across the country, kids of all ages are heading back to school. Some have even already started!
If you haven’t already implemented some water-saving techniques in your home during the summer, back to school time is a great opportunity to ‘start fresh.’
Most kids have a routine they develop when they go to school. It usually includes things like getting dressed, having breakfast, brushing their teeth, etc. So, why not introduce some water-saving options into your child’s morning routine?
It’ll help them to start the school year off right, and can develop conscious habits that will last a lifetime.
Use the following tips to make saving water and reducing their footprint part of your child’s daily routine.
Set a Timer for Their Showers
One of the best ways to get your child to take a shorter shower is to turn it into a game! Set a timer for them (or have them do it themselves). You can either see if they can continuously beat their time, or challenge them to complete their shower in a certain amount of time, like 10 minutes.
Check Your Plumbing
Back to school time is a great time to make sure all the plumbing in your house is working properly and efficiently. If you have multiple people vying for the bathroom at once each morning, every day, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any leaks, running toilets, etc. Not only will that add up on your water bill quickly, but it’s a huge waste that can be avoided with a little maintenance!
Be Conscious of Your Laundry
Between school uniforms, casual clothes, sports gear, and more, it can seem like your washing machine works on overdrive when school gets started. It’s important to be mindful of your laundry and how you’re doing it. With a few simple changes, you can save a lot of water.
First, don’t wash what doesn’t need to be washed. Towels are a great example. Instead of throwing a towel that was used once into the washer, hang it up to dry. It’ll be as good as new the next day and your child can use it again. You can get several uses out of one towel if it’s dried properly.
While it’s not a good idea to overcrowd a washing machine, try not to wash just a few items at a time. Instead, wait until you have a full load to wash everyone’s clothes. This will help to prevent filling up the washer drum again and again just for a few articles.
Encourage Healthy Eating
When you’re packing your child’s school lunch, think about what you’re including. Did you know that most processed, pre-packaged foods take a lot more water and energy to produce? Send your little student off with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. It’s an environmentally-conscious choice, and will also teach them the benefits of healthy eating habits.
We hope you can start working these back to school tips into your daily routine, and your child’s routine. It doesn’t take much extra effort to start the school year off with water conservation in mind.
Once these tips start becoming a part of your regular routine, you’ll see just how easy they are to work into your life.
Aerators for sinks are specifically designed to help reduce water flow and conserve both water and energy.
Of course, that just covers the basics. There are actually many different benefits to using aerators that you can take advantage of.
Faucet aerators are considered ‘green’ hardware. They’re easy to install and extremely cheap. Sometimes, you can even find them for just $1.
If that’s not a good start to the benefits of these energy-saving devices, we don’t know what is!
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the additional benefits you can expect when you install aerators on your home faucets.
You’ll Use Less Water
The main purpose (and biggest benefit) of using an aerator on your faucet is to use, and waste, less water. With an aerator on your faucet, your water flow will reduce to around two liters per minute. That’s a huge reduction to a tap without an aerator, that allows about 20 liters of water to be released per minute.
As you can imagine, that’s not only a huge savings when it comes to the amount of water you’re wasting, but it will end up being huge savings to your wallet if you pay a monthly water bill.
An aerator can also double as a type of filter. It’ll help to catch excess dirt and debris that might be coming through your water. Because of this, you’ll have to either clean or replace the aerator once in a while. You might notice a scaling buildup on it if you have hard water. They can usually be cleaned quickly using a solution of vinegar and water.
Even if you have to periodically replace the aerator, they’re extremely inexpensive and easy to install on your own in a matter of minutes.
On top of cleaner water, an aerator will also give you ‘quieter’ water. An aerator helps to control the stream of the water coming from the tap. As a result, the released water doesn’t make as much noise, and won’t splash back on you as easily as water would coming straight from the tap. This might not seem like a big deal, but once you notice the difference, you’ll love it.
You’ll Save on Energy Costs
Since you’re using less water in general with an aerator, you’re also using less energy to heat that water, when needed. As a result, you could end up saving a lot of money on your utility bills. So, not only are you conserving water, you’re conserving the energy you’d typically use to heat up your water.
The best part? You can install aerators on just about every sink in your home – including your showerhead! You’ll love seeing the money you save each month when your bills come. But, you can also take pride in knowing you’re doing something great for the environment.
Aerators are inexpensive to buy, easy to install, and easy to replace. Unfortunately, there’s still relatively unknown as an energy and water-saving option for many people!
If you’ve never considered installing these green little resources in your own house before, don’t hesitate! They’re one of the quickest and easiest ways to help the planet and save money at the same time.