Saturday, May 30, 2009

Low flow shower heads and the long, hot shower

I'm a great lover of a long hot shower. It rejuvenates sore muscles after gardening and gets my mind moving in the morning. I tried the 5-minute shower approach to saving water and knew it wasn't going to work for me. What's a girl to do?

Several years ago I installed a low flow shower head -- quite advanced for the time -- that had a 2.5 gpm output. I never even noticed the difference in the switch. Progress marches on though and I started to notice that there were much more efficient ones out there... but for a gigantic price. I resisted.

But then my stepdaughter moved in with me and suddenly there were two lovers of long hot showers in the house. Often that wanted to shower at the same time! The shower in her bathroom was an original to the house full blast model and she was a lot closer to the water heater. It became a race to see who could start their shower first in the morning.

And how much water were we using? I don't even want to think about it.

So I picked up a new shower head. I ended up with the Earth Massage 1.5 gpm Shower Head because I'd seen good reviews and it was a 10th of the price of my second choice. I put it on "my" shower and the old 2.5gpm on my stepdaughters.

The end result is that even though I have an extra shower lover in the house, our water consumption has still dropped with an amazing side benefit -- she and I can both take our showers at the same time without running out of hot water.

I still feel bad about how long I shower, but it's a step in the right direction.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Emerald Ash Borer Spotted in St. Paul

The destructive Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in St. Paul.

Star Tribune article here:

How to Identify Ash Trees flyer

After identifying your ash trees, look for:
- upper branches that are dying
- trees that are sprouting "suckers" along the trunks
- show woodpecker damage
- have D-shaped holes in the bark

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Minneapolis Community Education

If you're like me and I am, I need a little bit more than an article on the web for me to grasp the physical motions required for the energy conservation pieces needed in my home. As if to answer my soon-to-be-chilly prayers, Minneapolis Community Ed now has a Home Energy Savings Series.

Tuesday, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM; 5 sessions starting October 14, 2008, ending November 11, Location: Minneapolis - Roosevelt Cost is $15 per session or $60 for all.

Try community ed!

Home Energy Savings Series: Insulation, Ventilation and Ice Dam Prevention [670017]

Gain practical information regarding insulation, proper venting and where to look for attic bypasses. Know how heat travels and how to control it. Find out if you need insulation and discuss benefits of using blower doors and infrared scans.
Tuesday, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on November 11, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Lower Your Heating Bills! DIY Furnace [670018]

There are a number of simple maintenance items that you can do regularly to keep a furnace or boiler running efficiently. Gain important maintenance tips. Discuss the basics of new and old heating systems and compare technology and heat efficiency.
Tuesday, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on October 28, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Mold, Moisture & Air Quality Problems [670019]

Control of mold requires solving moisture problems. Discuss common causes of excess moisture. Control humidity levels and water vapor movement. Know causes and common sources of poor air quality.
Tuesday, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM; 1 session on November 18, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Window Repair & Weatherization [670020]

Focus on do-it-yourself techniques for stopping air infiltration, repairing of sash cords, reglazing, double-glazing and painting. Gain up-to-date information on cost effectiveness of retrofitting windows. T
Tuesday, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on October 21, 2008

Home Energy Savings Series: Plug Leaks and Increase Comfort [670016]

Wasting energy is like throwing away money and it’s harmful to the earth. In addition, you are paying more money to be less comfortable. Find out about energy flow and ways that cold air seeps into your home. Learn how to plug leaks and get rid of those nasty drafts. Covers caulking, weatherstripping and much more.
Tuesday, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM; 1 session on October 14, 2008 Fertilizer Spill Leaks into Minnesota

DNR investigates N. Iowa Fish Kill

Solar Home Tours - October 4th & 5th

It's two, two great tours in one weekend!

On October 4th, the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society is hosting The Minnesota Solar House Tour in the Greater Metro. On October 3rd and 4th, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association is hosting it's annual 2008 Wisconsin Solar Tour (many of the exhibit homes are quite western). These tours are a tremendous opportunity to talk about solar with the homeowners themselves. I have found these knowledgeable and experienced solar users to be a tremendous resource. If nothing else, they can talk about the process without trying to sell you something. Win.

ETA: By western I mean on the west side of Wisconsin close to the Twin Cities, not in the style of a John Wayne movie. Although that would be pretty bad ass as well.

MPR: Wind Power

Minnesota, 4 neighbors plan for wind power