Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Go Green - Use low or no-VOC paints

Use low or no-VOC paints.
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are potentially toxic gases that leach from paint, paint strippers and other household products. They're a leading cause of indoor air pollution and smog and can cause serious illness in people who are exposed to them for extended periods. Paint can release these chemicals into the air for months after it is applied. Low or no-VOC paints contain significantly lower levels of toxic chemicals and can reduce indoor air pollution. Most major home-improvement stores carry them.

You'll likely pay a premium for these products, compared to their traditional counterparts, but will be reducing hazards in your storage closets and in your community.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Go Green - Mind the lawn

Mind the lawn.
Americans dump an estimated 70 million pounds of fertilizer and pesticides on approximately 40 million acres of lawn each year, using 10 times more chemicals per acre than farms. Few homeowners are willing to ditch their grass altogether, but you can plant more drought- and disease-tolerant grasses, or simply cut fertilizer and chemical use. You'll just have to deal with the occasional brown spots that are part of grass' natural life cycle. To boost the health of your lawn, add clover, as it naturally fertilizes the soil and is drought-tolerant. Let the lawn grow a little longer before cutting it -- longer grass chokes out the sunlight weeds need to grow -- or switch to a natural lawn-care service such as NaturaLawn.

Natural fertilizers actually cost less, and using fewer chemicals can save you money and reduce the level of pollution in local waterways and around your home

Monday, August 29, 2011

Go Green - clean your air filters

Clean air filters.
Check air conditioning filters monthly to either clean or replace them. This will help the unit run more efficiently. Better yet: buy a permanent filter that can be washed and re-used. This will save you money over the long run and keep all those disposable filters out of landfills. If your unit is outdoors, check to make sure the coils are not obstructed by debris, plants or shrubs.

Clogged filters can make electric bills skyrocket and eventually cause extensive, expensive damage to your air handler.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Go Green - use commercial car washes

Use commercial car washes.
Getting your car washed at a commercial car wash is better for the environment than doing it yourself. Commercial car washes not only use significantly less water per wash -- up to 100 gallons less -- but they often recycle and reuse the rinse water.

If every American who currently washes a vehicle at home chose instead to go to a professional care wash -- just once -- up to 8.7 billion gallons of water could be saved, and some 12 billion gallons of soapy polluted water could be diverted from the country's rivers, lakes and streams.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene - Update 8/27/11 9:00am

 Well I decided to take off back to the boardwalk after breakfast this morning when it started raining to get some more pictures. They had blocked the roads off so I had to park and walk.

The local grocery store parking lot.

The parking lot at a local restaurant

A tree snapped in the woods this morning before things even really started

Go Green - get picky on phosphates

Get picky on phosphates.
Pick laundry detergents without phosphates, which deplete the oxygen in water and as a result kill aquatic life. And while you're at it, buy only powdered detergent in cardboard packaging as opposed to a liquid in plastic packaging. The liquid contains water, which you already have, so it takes more fuel to ship that heavier container of detergent and water, not to mention the energy and petroleum used to manufacture the plastic container. The cardboard container also requires energy and resources to produce, but many are now made from post-consumer recycled paper and the trees they originate from are a renewable resource.

The cost-per-load comes out pretty much the same for powder and liquid, so going with the non-phosphate powders give you the chance to help the planet without any real cost to you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

On September 18, 2003 our little town was hammered by Hurricane Isabel, but she was actually a tropical storm when she hit us with 4-5 foot waves. Last night and today I was looking through my scrapbook of photos that I took after the storm. I really wish I had taken before shots to compare the damage. So......tonight I took the kids to the boardwalk so I could get some before Hurricane Irene pictures. We are expecting 6-8 foot waves with Irene. Hopefully I will be able to get some after but most importantly I hope they are not much different.