Most of the time it’s greener to do things the old fashioned way: by yourself. But every rule has its exceptions. The next time your car is looking dirty take it to a professional car wash. Commercial car washes require 45 gallons of water per car, while the average for a do-it-yourself job is 80 to 140.
Posts Tagged ‘water conservation’
Earth Friendly Car Wash
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Local Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation Measures
Friday, October 9th, 2009
Do you live in Los Angeles? If so, you’re lucky enough to benefit from all the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) energy efficiency and water conservation measures. They’re all great for the environment, but many are good for your pockets, too.
The LADWP offers a “Save Water—Save a Buck” rebate program to encourage water conservation efforts. You can receive rebates for high efficiency plumbing fixtures, landscaping equipment, HVAC equipment, and more. The LADWP also offers free water-saving aerators that can reduce your water usage to 1-1.5 gpm in your bathroom and kitchen faucets.
Los Angeles is suffering through one of the driest years on record, and 80% of LA’s water is imported. Due to the ongoing drought, the LADWP has instituted more extreme water conservation, and wasteful water use is now prohibited. Please water your lawns before 9AM or after 4PM, and only on Mondays and Thursdays. And if you do not find water offered to you at a restaurant, just ask. They’ll be happy to give you a glass.
LivingHomes has its own philosophy for reducing water and energy, as part of our larger “Six Zeros of Sustainability”. All LivingHomes include low-flow and Energy Star appliances and they come graywater-ready allowing you to reclaim water from your sinks, baths, dishwasher, and washing machine for irrigation. In addition, we work with you to integrate native landscaping (drought-tolerant for areas where that’s an issue) and cisterns that capture your rainwater.
The LADWP is also focusing on energy efficiency. The “New Construction Program” promotes sustainable, energy efficient buildings through incentives based on performance or prescriptive measures. Rebates are available for qualifying Energy Star products, refrigerators, air conditioners, windows, and washers under the biggest rebate program ever in Los Angeles. The city also offers free compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and refrigerator recycling.
LADWP will also assess and install energy efficient lighting equipment in local small businesses. The “Commercial Lighting Efficiency Offer” (CLEO) provides rebates to non-residential customers for a wide variety of lighting improvements. Rebates are also available for efficient chillers, refrigeration, and other measures that exceed Title 24 and standard practice. The “Trees Program” even provides 15 shade trees to businesses that complete an on-line workshop. To learn which programs you qualify for, visit the LADWP.
A LivingHome also aims for Zero Energy through the installation of energy-efficient heating, lighting, appliances, windows, and insulation and a photovoltaic system that produces energy from sunlight.
Don’t live in LA? Many of these programs are not unique to Los Angeles. Check out the websites of your local government and utility providers to see what programs are available to you.
Fix Leaks to Conserve Water
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
You may have learned to sleep through that leak but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. A single leaky sink faucet can waste up to 3 gallons of water a day! When you picture all the leaking faucets in America this can be catastrophic. Leaks can be fixed quickly and painlessly, so don’t hesitate to bring that silence back into your life!
Emergency Gray Water Usage Adopted in California
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
As an emergency drought measure, California has adopted gray water usage! Starting on August 4, 2009, code changes allow for simpler, more inexpensive gray water systems in residences. Clothes washer and one single-fixture systems no longer require local building permits for use in single-family and two-family dwellings.
Gray water is washwater left over from dishwashing, showers, sinks, and laundry that can be repurposed for landscape irrigation. A three bedroom home typically generates 160 gallons of gray water per day. That’s 58,400 gallons each year! With the newly approved systems, a family could divert about 22,000 gallons of water each year just by diverting gray water from their laundry. Using gray water for irrigation lowers fresh water use, limits strain on septic tanks and sewage systems, reclaims wasted nutrients, encourages plant growth, and more. Gray water recycling is also very safe.
In the first LivingHome in Santa Monica, CA, ground-level landscaping is watered with gray water from the showers, tubs, bathroom sinks, and clothes washer, via a subterranean irrigation system. The system was the first of its kind to be permitted in Los Angeles County. Hopefully, with these changes, they will become a lot more common!
8 Tips for a Sustainable Vacation
Friday, June 19th, 2009
Sleep Green: Check out this registry of environmentally friendly hotels: http://www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com/ before your plan your trip. You can either locate a hotel near your intended destination or use the hotel locations to inspire your vacation’s itinerary. Either way you’ll rest your weary head every night in a hotel that cares as much about the environment as you do.
Hop on the train: The days of coal-burning locomotives are over! Today’s trains still offer the nostalgia of crossing the country by railroad and at the same time they’ve become one of the most eco-friendly ways to see the world. Whether you are taking a train journey across the United States or simply taking a trip 45 minutes away, a train is an enjoyable and eco-friendly way to accomplish your route.
Book Direct Flights: Everybody hates a layover, and now you have an excuse not to book one! Flights with stopovers use much more fuel for multiple take-offs and landings. So help your environment – and your sanity – and try to find a flight to take you directly to your destination.
Hang Up Your Towels: Leaving your towel on the floor is a signal that you want it washed. Each year hotels use up phenomenal amounts of energy by washing towels alone! Do the Earth a favor and use a towel for a couple of days in a row…we promise nobody will notice!
Book Locally: Fall in love with the place you live! One great way to “green” your vacation is to stay close to home. Not only does this cut down on carbon emissions from your travel but you are also likely to save a considerable amount of money. One great rule of thumb is to plan a “one-tank” vacation. In other words, limit your traveling to a distance that will only use one tank of gas.
Local Souvenirs: Let’s face it…you really don’t need another touristy t-shirt in your closet. Instead, opt for a unique souvenir made by local artisans. Not only will they illicit better memories of your trip but they will also leave less of a carbon footprint. When you take into account all the shipping and manufacturing effects your standard plastic toy will cause on the environment this becomes a no-brainer!
Fly Virgin: Virgin Airways chairman, Sir Richard Branson, has gone a long way to attempt to make air travel more environmentally feasible. He has committed all profits from Virgin’s transportation to help discover a renewable energy source. In addition, he’s put up a $25 million dollar prize for a greenhouse gas removal solution. You can fly easy knowing your money is going to such a good cause! Just don’t go to the bathroom on the plane…a single airplane flush is equivalent to wasting six gallons worth of gasoline!
Record your memories digitally: No vacation is complete without a slew of pictures to bring home to friends…but invest in a digital camera. Picture it now: no energy spent developing the film, no hard copies that will be headed to the landfill in a couple of years and no gas wasted driving to the developers. When you take into account the better picture quality, a digital camera is the clear choice to record your family’s trip.
As always, sustainability is not just about hype, it’s about what you do. So when you’re on vacation follow these rules of thumb:
BYOB: Bring Your Own Bottle: To avoid waste and minimize resources, bring your own refillable water bottle on vacation. It will help you save money (often buying food and drink on vacation can be expensive), it can help your health (many plastic products leak toxins into your drink when heated) and it reduces the amount of waste you produce on your green vacation.
Bring a solar charger – charge your electronics with the power of the sun to minimize your energy load on the road. As much as 40% of the power we use on a daily basis can come from polluting sources like coal.
Bring the ‘good’ green habits you may already have at home! The little things you can do to conserve energy and reduce your impact such as re-using hotel towels and sheets Hang up your towels and request that the hospitality staff don’t change the sheets — it saves water and reduces energy and chemical usage. Use water sparingly — it’s very precious in many countries and tourists tend to use far more than local people. Take local transportation. And look for organic food and products.
Monday, August 25th, 2008
There are now 25 million acres of
impervious surfaces in the United States
where rainfall runs off rather than soaking
into the ground. That’s equivalent to a parking lot the size of Virginia. The water runoff carries fertilizers, pesticides, eroded soil and organic material into storm sewers, and from there into waterways.
Many cities (746 of them across the country) have old sewer systems that can overflow in heavy storms, contributing to local drinking water problems and to the giant dead zone that forms each summer in the Gulf of Mexico.
You can reduce the amount of storm water running off your property with a rain barrel. Some cities are starting to subsidize the cost of rain barrels for residents. By using your rainwater to hydrate your plants and lawn you’ll be helping the sewers…and your utility bill!
More information on rainwater collection can be found at: