Dolley Madison Garden Club
Conservation and Beautification Committee
Please email us to let us know what interests you in the field of Conservation.
•Install a programmable thermostat and set it to lower the temperature at night and whenever the house is unoccupied. Lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees at night can reduce your heating bill by 10 to 20 percent. •Make sure your programmable thermostat is: oInstalled properly. oProgrammed appropriately – a programmable thermostat only saves energy when it is programmed. oNot located in an unheated space, a poorly-sealed or seldom-used room, or in direct sunlight near a heat source. The thermostat should be able to sense the average temperature in your home. If it is not in the right place, contact a heating and air conditioning professional about having it moved. •Lower your thermostat and wear socks and a sweater in doors. Lowering the thermostat by just one degree Fahrenheit can reduce energy use by 3 percent. •If you have a forced air furnace, inspect your filters at the beginning of the heating season and monthly during the season. Clean or replace them if there is significant dust build up. •Get a humidifier to add moisture to the air. The air inside your home can be very dry, especially in New Mexico. Moister air feels warmer, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable even though your thermostat is set at a lower temperature. •Install foam insulation gaskets behind electric outlets and switch plate covers.
Windows and doors
•Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible. That includes overhead doors on attached garages. •Install do-it-yourself plastic-film storm windows. Find them at a local hardware store. •Seal off unused rooms (as long as the room is less than 100 square feet and isn't the room where the thermostat is located). Close the floor or wall registers and return air vents, and keep the doors closed. •Open south-facing window curtains, drapes and blinds during the day. Close window coverings at night to keep the heat in. •Weatherstrip and caulk windows. Check window frames for cracks and fill them with caulk that contains silicon. Putty-like "rope caulk" can help seal large cracks and save you up to 5 percent on your energy bill. •Check all exterior doors for air leaks and weatherstrip and caulk as needed. A one-eighth-inch gap around a door is equivalent to a 6-inch-square hole in the side of your house and causes a lot of energy loss. You can check doors two ways: oHave someone stand on the other side of the door and shine a flashlight around the door's perimeter. If you can see light through the cracks, your door needs sealing. oHold a piece of paper between the door and the frame and shut the door. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you should weatherstrip around the door.
•Make sure the water heater is set no higher than 125 degrees. •Drain off a bucket of hot water from your water heater annually to remove sediment that will interfere with the heater's long-term use. •Install a water heater blanket if your water heater is older than 5 years. •Insulate the pipes around the water heater with inexpensive, easy-to-install pipe insulation. This is particularly helpful if the water heater is in an unheated space.
•Never use a traditional fireplace for supplemental heating. A fireplace sucks heated air out of your home to fuel the fire and exhausts it through the chimney, and then your furnace has to turn on to replace that warm air. •Close the fireplace damper and seal the opening shut when not in use.
From the Conservation Committee!
Save money. Save the planet.
DIY Cleaner Basic Ingredients
If you're starting a DIY green cleaners pantry, the following are the top ingredients you'll want to have around. Some combination of these ingredients will make you almost all of the recipes you find below!
• Baking Soda
• White Vinegar
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Essential oils, like tea tree oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, or lemongrass oil
• Castile soap (like Dr. Bronner's)
• Fresh herbs, citrus, or citrus peels
• Olive or vegetable oil
• TUB AND TILE CLEANER: In a jar or spray bottle, combine 1 2/3 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup vegetable oil-based liquid soap. Add 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Shake before using. Apply with a cloth or sponge and rinse well.
• SCOURING POWDER: Combine 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup kosher salt in a jar. Sprinkle on area to be cleaned, wipe with a sponge, and rinse.
• TOILET BOWL CLEANER: Mix 1/4 cup borax or baking soda and 1 cup vinegar in the toilet. Let it sit for 15 minutes (or longer, if necessary), scrub, and flush.
• GLASS CLEANER: Combine 1/4 cup vinegar and 4 cups warm water in a spray bottle. Use to clean glass or mirrors with a dry cloth or piece of newspaper.
• DRAIN CLEANER: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into drain followed by 1 cup vinegar. Let it sit and fizz for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot or boiling water. May need to repeat or leave baking soda and vinegar in overnight.
• FLOOR SANITIZER: In a bucket, mix 1/2 cup borax with 2 gallons hot water. Apply with a mop or sponge. Rinsing is not necessary.
• SOAP SCUM REMOVER: Sprinkle on baking soda, scrub with a cloth or sponge, and rinse. Vinegar or kosher salt also work.
• CALCIUM OR LIME REMOVER: For calcium or lime deposits on a chrome faucet, soak a towel in vinegar and wrap it around the faucet. Let it sit for a couple of hours or overnight.
• MOLD OR MILDEW REMOVER: Mix 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 cup vinegar to make a paste. Scrub with a brush or sponge and rinse with water. For tough mold, let it sit for an hour before rinsing with water.
• Where to find ingredients at the grocery store: baking soda – baking section, borax – laundry section, castile and vegetable oil-based soaps – cleaner section, vinegar – salad dressing section; essential oils – health food stores, kosher salt – spice section.
• Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance and/or cleaning power. Eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, tea tree, and thyme are among the essential oils considered to be antiseptic and antibacterial.
• Using a label or permanent marker, write recipes directly on jars and bottles for future reference.
100 ways to save energy.
Some are really easy to do and and the cost benefit to you and to the environment are immediate. For example: plug all your electronics into a power strip and then just turn the power strip off at night or when you leave home; set your thermostat fan switch to "auto" to save energy, leaving it in the "on" position keeps air running constantly. See below for many more tips and check back over the next few weeks to discover more ways to save energy... Also let's all stop using plastic bottles, a home filter on the faucet and reusable cups are 100% more efficient.
•Cooling •Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction In the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise. •Close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the AC is on. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans. •Change or clean your AC's air filters at least once a month to keep your system running at peak performance. •Make sure your AC has a rating – or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – of 15. Not only will your AC be more efficient, you could also be eligible for a rebate. •Make saving automatic: Set your thermostat fan switch to "auto" to save energy. Leaving it in the "on" position keeps air running constantly. •Block the sun from overheating your home! Inside, use shades, blinds and drapes. Outside, use awnings, trees and shrubs. •Insulate your walls with injected foam insulation to help you save energy by keeping hot outside air from seeping through porous block walls – check with your local building supply company for details. •Give your AC tune-up. Running an inefficient AC system can result in high monthly bills. Plus, you could qualify for a rebate. •Open interior doors so that cooled air flows freely throughout your home. •Repair leaky ducts to reduce heating and cooling costs and qualify for a rebate up to $120 toward repairs. •Install attic insulation rated R-30 and sealing any attic leaks to reduce high home cooling costs. You’ll save money each month and may qualify for a rebate. •Check for household leaks to make sure air isn't escaping through openings such as fireplace dampers, doors and windows. •Decorate for a cooler home by hanging light-colored curtains that allow light to enter a room while blocking some of the sun’s rays, and light-colored paint to reflect heat. •Close unused air vents. If you have central AC you can close air vent in rooms you're not using so you're not paying to cool them. •Plant trees to provide shade on the sunny side of your home. •Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light bulb. However, be sure to turn fans off when you leave — they only cool people, not rooms. •Install more ceiling fans. Because the breeze of a fan can make you feel three to four degrees cooler, you can raise that thermostat and still stay comfortable. •Raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees to save on your cooling costs. •Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your temperature during the day.
Get to know the Top 10!
Recycling is one of the most important things we can do to preserve our planet. On a daily basis, more than 100 million Americans participate in recycling used and old materials in their household and offices.
Are you one of them? Or are you trying to sort which items you can recycle and which ones belong in the compost or the garbage?
To help you out, the National Recycling Coalition has put together a list the top ten most important items to recycle.
#1: Aluminum. This is because aluminum cans are 100 percent recyclable and can also be recycled over and over again. Even better, turning recycled cans into new cans takes 95 percent less energy than making brand-new ones. So how about starting with all those soda and juice cans?
#2: PET Plastic Bottles. Americans will buy about 25 billion single-serving bottles of water this year, according to the Container Recycling Institute. Worse yet, nearly 80 percent of those bottles will end up in a landfill. Let’s put a stop to that. Making plastic out of recycled resources uses about two-thirds less energy than making new plastic. And because plastic bottles, more than any other type of plastic, are the most commonly used type, they are usually the easiest to recycle.
#3: Newspaper. This is a pretty obvious one, right? It seems like a no-brainer to set up a recycling bin next to your garbage can for newspaper and any other scrap paper. So why should we recycle paper? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper makes up about one-third of the all the municipal waste stream in the U.S. That’s a whole lot of paper, and since we know that recycling all that paper conserves resources, saves energy, and doesn’t clog up the landfills, there’s no reason not to do it. #4 other types of recyclable paper.
Once you have those in place, let’s move on to the rest of our list.
#5: Steel cans. Just like aluminum, steel products can be recycled over again without compromising the quality of the steel. We’re talking about steel cans, but maybe you have some steel auto parts or appliances ready for recycling too? More than 80 million tons of steel are recycled each year in North America, and recycling steel saves the equivalent energy to power 18 million households a year. You can learn more about steel recycling by visiting the Steel Recycling Institute website.
#6: HDPE plastic bottles (HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene, a common and more dense plastic, which is used for detergents, bleach, shampoo, milk jugs.) HDPE plastics are identified by the logo on the bottom of the container. (Three arrows in the shape of a triangle.) Check the number inside that logo: numbers 1 and 2 are recyclable almost everywhere, but 3 through 7 are only recyclable in limited areas. And don’t forget to rinse and clean all of your HDPE containers in the sink. Any remaining dirt or food particles can contaminate the recycling process.
#7: Glass containers. Recycled glass saves 50 percent energy versus virgin glass, and recycling just one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours. Recycled glass generates 20 percent less air pollution and 50 percent less water pollution, and one ton of glass made from 50 percent recycled materials saves 250 pounds of mining waste. Wow!
#8: Magazines and #9: Mixed paper. There are so many reasons to recycle all kinds of paper that it makes no sense not to. First, recycled paper saves 60 percent of energy versus virgin paper, and also generates 95 percent less air pollution. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water. Sadly, though, every year Americans throw away enough paper to make a 12-foot wall from New York to California. Let’s work on changing that!
#10: Computers. Computers can be recycled in a couple of ways, depending on the state of the machine. Giving old, working computers to friends and family members or donating them to nonprofit organizations not only keeps the computer entirely out of the waste stream, but it presents computer access to someone who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Non-working computers can be sent to recycling centers where they are dismantled and valuable components are recovered.
Of course, there’s also reducing and reusing, and if you choose those, you will have even less to recycle!