Monthly Archives: November 2013

Back To Basics Monday – Running Water

Don’t forget that whenever you are letting the water run you are not only consuming water, but energy as well.  Letting water run at the bathroom or kitchen sink until it is warm; not turning off the water while you are washing dishes, or preparing food; lingering for long showers all uses plenty of energy. 

Not only is the heating of water an energy user, but pumping it to where you are using it uses energy as well. So, just because its cold water doesn’t mean you aren’t using energy. If you are on a public water system, there is the added energy used to treat that water to make it safe to drink.

This week, as you are preparing festive foods; cleaning the house; and, getting dressed up to welcome guests or be a guest at someone else’s gathering – relax, enjoy, indulge in tasty things and good company – but don’t forget that tens of millions are doing the same. If we all could get behind using just a little less water during this busy week we’d not only save significant volumes of water but conserve significant quantities of fuel as well.

Back To Basics Monday – Go For a Walk

It’s getting to be that time of year. Too much to do; too much to eat; too much stress. Combat these excesses with a good brisk walk. Clear your mind and recharge yourself to return home (or to the office) ready to begin again. While on that walk, complete an errand or two; make a mental list for what else you will do that day (or tomorrow); before and after your walk drink water and stretch.

Give yourself the gift of clarity everyday—but especially these days. Do not overspend —  ratcheting up what to give, what to serve, what to do in response to the well intended but oppressive onslaught of “holiday ideas” that are coming at us at every turn.

Let’s Get This Party Started

Last month the United States pulled more oil out of the ground than we imported from other countries. This is reported as a huge step toward energy independence—and it is, but the celebration surrounding this fact is extremely short sighted.

The U.S. has ramped up its fuel extraction work in a big way. People generally approve of this, and why not? The result is jobs, lower gasoline and heating fuel prices, less dependence on foreign countries, improved trade deficit numbers, and a general feeling of relief or reassurance. It’s hard to put your finger on it exactly—but the sense of, yes we can take care of ourselves, we do have the great minds to develop technology that will get us out of this mess.

Why be the killjoy that rains on this party? All you need to answer that question is to look at two simple facts:

1. Climate change and all that comes with it, e.g., Typhoon Haiyan; and

2. Fossil Fuels are a finite resource; the faster we consume them the closer we are  to no longer having them as an option.

Conservation and renewable energy are the only long-term options. When we “waste” a gallon of gas on todays convenience, we forever take that gallon of gas out of the picture for use toward something essential—say a tractor trailer bringing goods to market. We know how to make passenger cars that can use solar powered electricity to run and get us to work, to the grocery store etc. It is not nearly so simple to get a fully loaded 18-wheeler around on battery power. When we heat and cool our homes using high performance building materials and systems that allow little or no coal or natural gas use to keep them comfortable—that is when we should be celebrating. That is when we can feel proud of our ingenuity.

The knowledge and products are here, now. It is up to each one of us to seek it out, to embrace it as though it were the latest mobile phone or video game player – just gotta have one of those….

Back To Basics Monday – Which Way is North?

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. From that, you can determine which way is north and south. North facing is the coldest and shadiest side of your home; south facing is the warmest and sunniest. Open the window treatments in your home to allow in the warmth and light giving sunshine during the daytime and close up the window treatments to keep out the cold and for privacy in the evenings. High performance windows and insulated window treatments are ideal, but not everyone is lucky enough to have these where they live.

 If you do not have the time, or the patience, to open and close all of the window treatments in your home each morning and evening; focus on the sunny south facing windows for warmth and protecting your home from the colder north when the weather is cold. If you are in a home with drafty windows, consider a few options: shrink-wrap plastic window cover kits are available from most hardware stores (but then you cannot open the window if the weather is nice), putting up your own plastic (use bubble wrap, the trapped air greatly improves the insulation effect), or use Window Draft Stoppers (made in the US and sold by Energy Shift, go to our web site to view sizes, colors, and prices).