Thursday, July 31, 2008

Use Sprinklers Wisely

I don't know where you live, but here in Virginia it gets hot in the summer. The sweltering weather means...well, plants are thirsty! Sometimes the seasonal thunderstorms and cloud bursts just aren't enough to maintain a green yard.

People in my neighborhood always turn on their sprinklers during the hottest part of day, the early afternoon. Their reasoning? "Well, plants need to cool down too, don't they?"

This strategy not only may harm the plants, but is also extremely wasteful. With such high temperatures, a lot of the water from the sprinkler evaporates away before it can even reach the plant roots. Having a pivot system makes this even worse, because the water droplets have further to go before falling to the ground.

The best time to irrigate is during early morning or early evening, when the sun's rays aren't so strong and overhead. More water actually is able to reach the plants, so therefore you can conserve more water.

An even better idea would be to buy a different type of sprinkler that drips water directly into the ground, eliminating a lot of evaporation. If you don't want to go out and buy it, and you have an old hose, you can also poke little holes on the side of the tubing and lay it out where your plants/grass are. Simple solution for a big change!

This image is courtesy of CmsGardens.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Universities and Being Green

Yes, I know, this isn't a post with a tip, but I just wanted to mention the trend of colleges and universities going green. I'm visiting campuses right now, and just about every place I've been to has some sort of environmental initiative going on.

The University of Richmond has the one building called Weinstein, and in all of the bathrooms the lights are sensor-activated. When you walk into them they light up. It's really nice and saves them a lot on their electricity bill, but it can be a bit scary if you aren't used to it.

At Duke, they built this Smart Home Dorm that has various features such as solar power systems and rainwater collection systems. I personally did not tour the dorm but it seems very interesting so I encourage you to go visit in case you are ever in Durham.

William and Mary also recently had a dorm building built that was certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

It's a great trend, especially with engineering/science students helping with the construction in some of the buildings and other students experiencing living and learning in them. I hope other campuses follow soon and spread awareness!