Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Conservation Tips

Summer is upon us and we all know what that means: time by the pool, kids home from school, and relaxing.  However, summer is also a time where conservation of resources is of utmost importance.  Don’t get me wrong, it is important to be a conservationist year-round, but certain pollution problems tend to be worse in the warmest months of the year.  So here are some tips to have some fun this summer, but feel good about the resources you are saving and the positive impact you are having on the environment.

1.  Carpool to work or other destinations.  Air quality is worse in the summer due to the warm temperatures.  One particularly hazardous air pollutant in the summer is ozone.  Ozone is important in the upper levels of the atmosphere, but in high concentrations in the lower atmosphere it can cause respiratory problems. Ozone enters the lower atmosphere when some pollutants from car emissions react with sunlight. 
2.   Wash your car on your lawn.  I know I mentioned this in a recent blog post but it’s an easy step to reducing runoff pollution. Now that spring is almost over, your car is covered in pollen.  And with summer fast approaching you want to keep your car free from bug splatter and bird droppings.  By washing your car on your lawn instead of your driveway, some of the grass and soil will prevent the dirt, grime, and soap from entering waterways.
3.  Go easy on the A.C.  Especially in the South, summers can be absolutely sweltering, and it’s tempting to turn the air conditioning way down to stay cool.  If you are in the South, the electricity for your air conditioning may be supplied by coal burning power plants.  The burning of coal sends harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and can cause other environmental problems.  The methods by which companies obtain coal are also very damaging to the environment.  While evenings are still in the low 70s, try turning off the AC at night and opening some windows.  Once it gets too warm to do that, keep the thermostat set to about 75-78 degrees.  It may seem too warm, but it will still be about 15 degrees cooler than the outside temperature.  You will also be saving money on your electric bill, and who doesn’t want to do that!?
4.  Use a rain barrel for your garden.  If you are a home gardener, try using a rain barrel to water your plants.  It’s another money saver that’s also a good conservation action.  You won’t have to pay for the water coming out of the hose. 
5.  Water your lawn at cooler times of the day.  During hot summer months, the warm temperatures increase evaporation.  To minimize evaporation and ensure you use water on your lawn more efficiently, water your lawn early in the morning or late in the evening.  

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