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Water and Energy-Saving Tips for a Greener World

By       Message Kathryn Smith     Permalink
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I simply put water in a bucket, use a towel and wash the car down. Then I rinse with the hose, towel-dry and…tada! I barely ever have to use any carwash cleanser. The elbow grease is what cleans the car, very little water is used and it comes out looking beautiful, every time! I preserve the finish with car wax. That’s all I need, and I am very happy with the way my car looks when I do it this way. In fact, I find that using the cleanser makes zero difference in the sheen, so long as the car is waxed to begin with.

Before washing your car or other upholstery, consider a steam cleaner instead. Or, a professional job which uses steam instead of water. It’s much better for the upholstery, and the effect is just beautiful. That’s what I did when I sold my last car, and it came out absolutely spiffy. Stains gone, upholstery like new...with no chemical cleansers needed!

Watering your garden:

“An acre of lawn needs 1.3 million gallons of water a year to stay green and healthy…During the summer, the majority of household water is used for keeping yards green”. ---PG+E’s 30 Simple Energy Things you can Do to Save the Earth

WIth that in mind, it makes sense to rip out one's lawn and replace it with a drought-tolerant one. I have seen very soft and plushy-looking plants at exhbits: Check with your nursery which specializes in drought-tolerant plants.

Especially during the hot weather, water your garden either early in the morning or in the evening. The water will not be evaporated by the hot sun, the plants get increased benefit, and the soil won’t be baked hard by the hot sun beating down on your wet soil.

Using a good garden mulch also keeps roots shaded, soil moist and prevents weeds from growing. Less water is needed than in the same unmulched garden. Win-win!

Water slowly so the water doesn’t run off.

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Dig a cup-like structure around your plants which need lots of water, such as roses. The cup around the plant holds the water in right by the roots of the plant, which is where you want it. This minimizes need for watering, prevents run-off and keeps roots moisturized. If you build a rim of soil up around the dripline of the plant, you will not only be retaining water but also shading and keeping the roots of the plant cool.

Using drip irrigation puts water directly onto the plants, while saving water in other areas. You can buy drip hoses at local hardware and nursery stores, if you don’t have drip irrigation formally installed. Cover the hoses with mulch and you won’t see them. You can hook up your regular garden hose to the drip hoses, then roll up the garden hose. All hoses will be invisible in this way, you will save water and all will be healthy. Ta-da!

Washing the dishes:

I was amazed at how much less water we needed than we thought, when our kitchen sink broke down. Because of the plumber’s significantly over-inflated repair quote, my husband and I were washing our dishes outside in the garden, a la camping style, until we could fix the sink ourselves. We simply filled up a quart-sized container with water and dish detergent, into which we immersed our sponge, with which we scrubbed our dishes. Then we used another suitable container for rinsing off the dishes. A second such container for a second rinse and …tada! That’s all we needed. No running water while scrubbing dishes. No frills, no waste. It’s amazing how little water we think we need, but how little we actually ended up using!


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I’ll admit that a long shower or a luxurious soak in the tub has its therapeutic value. There may be times we even need it, such as when soothing achy muscles or a bruised psyche. However, in general, we probably can get away with shorter showers and still be doing just fine. We can reserve the therapeutic doses for the times when we really need them, while conserving for the greater duration of time. You will be amazed at how much water you conserve, and how much money you save!

How to cool your house down before turning on the air conditioner:

Using your hose, wet the roof down. This causes a cooling evaporation. When the roof is cooled, the rest of the house follows suit.

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