Despite a few spring rains that have helped ease drought conditions in Texas, residents should still consider conserving water in all they do, because the world’s most important resource is not getting any more plentiful. Austin remains a candidate for future “water stress,” and so in honor of World Water Day (March 22) here are some uncomfortable facts about how we abuse water and could run short of it.
Don’t let the Grease Blob win. Recycle grease, fats and oils, before they end up breaking pipes and contaminating water. Follow these Austin Water guidelines.
If you’re still converting your old incandescent bulbs over to CFLs, you can stop now, and move directly ahead into LEDs. They’re dimmable, pleasant, energy-efficient, long-lasting and surprisingly affordable.
The arid Southwest, extending to Central Texas, is well ahead of the curve when it comes to rain barrels. People here get it. But still not everyone has a rain barrel. There’s no reason to wait.
Drought-tolerant landscapes are an idea whose time has come. Many homeowners in Austin get this. Here’s a look at several non-lawn lawns that may inspire you. While they almost all require getting rid of that pesky turf, they’re easy to maintain later on. Most importantly, they’re not overly thirsty.
When you have to carry water to the garden in buckets, you innovate. That’s what ancient peoples did. Now you can adopt their technique for a self-irrigating, water-efficient garden.
Are you a great water conservationist? There’s a contest for that. The Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation gives away dozens of prizes to the residents of winning cities. Find out more…
Bamboo, that renewable, quick-growing wood that’s really a grass, has been expanding across product lines, turning up on floors, in furniture, and towels. But let’s get back to where we started: Bamboo works great in the kitchen. Remember those bamboo salad bowls? They’re still around, but there are many more ways attractive, durable bamboo is being tapped for kitchen ware.
At home football fans can feel a little less guilty about their big screen TVs. A new report says they’re surprisingly energy efficient. Now about those chicken wings…
Here are 30 ways to save water courtesy of some extension agents who cooked up a program called “The 40 Gallon Challenge.” Take a look. There are several things on this list that you could do right now. Then email us your ideas and we’ll make this list a bit longer.
Our tired plain concrete patio becomes a testing ground for an eco-friendly make-over using soy- and water-based stains, sealers and etchers that we found at Tree House in Austin. See how the project came out!
Stage 2 watering restrictions are not the most restrictive, but you still need to know when to water (at night if you’re using a sprinkler system). In Austin, you’ll also get distinct perks for Installing more efficient watering systems…
Eventually every gardener realizes they may want to save some seeds, or experiment with growing red carrots or purple tomatoes. Here are some resources for picky seed consumers.
Austin Water is serious about rain barrels and catchment systems — so much so that the utility’s customers could qualify for hundreds, even thousands in rebates by looking to Mother Nature for their irrigation needs.
Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy lives on, with a state full of wildflowers and a center that can help you pick the right native plants for your home landscape. Want to help bees and butterflies? The LBJ Wildflower Center makes it easy.
Stop the inhumane poisonings! Here are five ways to safely shoo and deter rodents, all of which are more eco-friendly than spreading poisons that endanger children, and kill pets and wildlife.
Americans consume a lot of water as a result of their food and lawn choices. Read Danielle Nierenberg’s blog about how we can lower the stress we’re placing on dwindling water supplies. Ms. Nierenberg, co-founder of Food Tank, has traveled the world, studying food and water scarcity, and can tell you how many Kenyans survive on the same amount of water consumed by one American.
So many options, so little time. At least the choices for washers (though not dryers) have become ever more energy and water efficient. Here’s our advisory for 2013.
In an effort to address Texas’ ongoing drought, two state lawmakers have proposed legislation that would free thousands of homeowners from having to water and maintain conventional sod lawns.
Here’s a scary thought just released on Halloween, what if your smart meter were leaking information about you to the world?
Automatic Meter Reading systems may need better security, according to a USC team.
With millions of so-called “smart meters” being installed in the U.S. annually, utility companies are getting closer to creating a smart grid that can target energy delivery where it’s needed and thus avoid having to run extra capacity at power plants. It’s a potential win-win that could help keep energy prices affordable.
It’s getting easier to track your home or business energy use and find ways to reduce your energy consumption and costs.
Yes, there’s an app for this.
When the Environmental Working Group released their scorecard on green cleaners last month, I sprang from my chair to check the label on the case of Ecover Limescale Remover that UPS had just delivered.
I don’t usually buy by the case, but this was the only way I could get this cleaner, which I adore because it transforms my shower door from an icky, opaque bacteria-generator into a sheet of glistening glass, without using toxic ingredients. Or so I believed.
Fortunately, my limescale remover skated by with a solid “B” on the EWG 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Whew!
But some of the other products I’m using did not make the grade, despite being sold as “green” or “natural” products.
That’s right. Amazingly, many green cleaners contain endocrine disrupters, suspected carcinogens, toxic ingredients with unknown effects and needlessly harsh ingredients, like sodium laurel sulfate, according to the EWG review of more than 2,000 cleaners .
Nothing quite says “soaring electricity bill” like the sound of the AC kicking on as you wake-up, heralding another broiling summer day.
Whether you’re suffering in the usual seasonal heat of the Southwest, or simmering in the extraordinary heat wave cooking the mid-section of the nation, it’s likely the AC is running 24/7 now as record daytime heat overwhelms night time cool temperatures no longer worthy of that adjective.
Molly Earley Callahan didn’t set out to have a green wedding. She just wanted a casual but memorable affair, a special day filled with light and color, and happy relaxed guests.
Like all brides, she wanted good memories for herself and her groom, Dan Callahan, the wedding party and guests. She also didn’t want anyone to “break the bank” trying to dress for the day.
Drip line irrigation is a great idea for gardeners who want to save water and grow plants successfully.
By soaking the ground with water, the drip line approach mimics the effect of a gentle soaking rain, instead of battering leaves with a harsh jet of water like so many sprinkler systems do. More importantly, by slowly delivering the water to the soil and plants and not spraying it overhead the air, a drip line system can better target, and thereby reduce, the water needed for landscape or edible plants.