Rain Gardens are cool! Learn more at the CORGI Workshop

October 6, 2008

Here’s a “green initiative” you probably haven’t thought of. Lighten the load on our storm sewer system and redirect your rainwater runoff into a rain garden. 

The City of Columbus in association with the Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative is conducting a Workshop and Training at the Department of Transportation, 1980 W. Broad Street this month. The homeowner training will be Tuesday, October 21, 2008. Go to Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District website for more information.  

http://tinyurl.com/raingarden 

A rain garden will keep your plants and trees healthier, return rainwater to the local aquifer instead of carrying it off miles away from you, reduce the need for sprinkling, and as a bonus provide new visual appeal in your yard as well as a nice natural area that will attract wildlife-the good kind.

There are two sessions for homeowners. The morning session (8:00 am – 12:00 pm) will introduce you to the purpose, design, function and implementation of rain gardens. Breakfast and lunch are both included. Cost: $30. 

The afternoon session (1:00 pm – 4:30 pm) is a hands-on workshop participating in an installation at the ODOT site. Cost $20.

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Cool (and FREE) Online Energy Audit

July 11, 2007

Energy Audit? How boring!

At least that’s what I thought—until I saw detailed, practical suggestions that could save as much as $1600 a year in household expenses.

This co-production of the DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is quite a device. It will take you as far as you want to go with information and strategies customized specifically for your home including pay-back times for improvements.

Here’s what they say (in part), “The Home Energy Saver quickly computes a home’s energy use on-line based on methods developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Users can estimate how much energy and money can be saved and how much emissions can be reduced by implementing energy-efficiency improvements. All end uses (heating, cooling, major appliances, lighting, and miscellaneous uses) are included.”

“The Home Energy Saver’s Energy Advisor calculates energy use and savings opportunities, based on a detailed description of the home provided by the user. Users can begin the process by simply entering their zip code, and in turn receive instant initial estimates. By providing more information about the home the user will receive increasingly customized results along with energy-saving upgrade recommendations.”

It’s easy to use, free and you can store your profile and return to it later. Did I implement all their recommendations?

Well no, but I did change a few things that promised the quickest payback for the investment. I figure I’ll save at least a few hundred dollars this year in reduced water costs with my new low volume flushing toilets. (Believe it or not they work great!)

And the new energy efficient picture windows have already reduced drafts and made my front room more comfortable. Of course they also conserve heating and cooling energy—so I’m saving money there.
I’m not the only one who found this site helpful. Find out how you can make your life better and reduce your household costs at the same time.

Check it out. Let me know how it worked for you. [George Black]