Rain barrels and rain gardens

If you’re looking for a way to become more green with your lifestyle, think about using rain barrels and a rain garden. Here’s an article of how they are being used in Cleveland.

Karen McKay, who lives at the end of Klusner Avenue in Parma, across the street from West Creek Reservation, recently had a rain garden and two rain barrels installed on her property.

That would be unremarkable under most circumstances. After all, lots of environment-minded gardeners are hooking up rain barrels, which are cisterns that collect and store rainwater that would otherwise run off of roofs and into storm drains and streams. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a substantial amount of the pollution in streams, rivers and lakes — including fertilizers, pesticides and yard clippings — is carried there by runoff from yards and gardens.

Rain gardens are often referred to as “a beautiful solution to pollution.” Typically filled with native plants that require less water, a rain garden is a shallow depression planted at the base of a downspout, driveway or sump pump to capture rainwater runoff and stop it from reaching the sewer system or waterways.

You can also check out the video above on how to make your own rain barrel.


5 Easy Ways to Turn Your Home Green

Turning your home green does not mean grabbing a can of paint and changing the color. If you are truly interested in protecting the environment, turning green will help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Here is a list of fairly easy ways that you can contribute to the going green effort and turn your home into a more energy efficient place to live.

1. Check your appliances to ensure that they are Energy Star listed. If not, consider trading them in for appliances that are. Energy efficient appliances like stoves, refrigerators, washer and dryers are easily found in most stores today. They may be a bit more expensive to purchase but the energy savings you will enjoy more than makes up for the added cost.
2. Check your insulation. If your home is not properly insulated then you are losing heat and cooling air. This will cause your energy costs to increase and makes your home a bit less than comfortable during very cold or very hot days. Installing insulated windows and sealing cracks around your door frames will go a long way in helping you to turn your home green.
3. Speaking of windows, ensure that yours allow enough natural light into your home. Having windows that give you natural light provides you with the ability to keep your lights off during the day. Skylights are an excellent way to conserve energy as they provide you with adequate indoor lighting from the sun. Windows will also improve the aesthetics of your home and cause smaller rooms to appear larger.
4. Think about water conservation. This is an overlooked area in most homes that are going green. Low flow toilets and appliances will cut down on the water that you use. Check washing machines and dishwashers to ensure that they are water efficient. Again, these appliances may cost a bit more to purchase but will considerably lower your water usage, saving you money in the long run.
5. Check your roof. You do not have to install solar panels in your roof to make it energy efficient. A cool roof will help to reflect light as opposed to absorbing it and keep your home cooler during the summer months. Planted roofs are also a good idea as they enable you to grow a garden when you have no yard space available and also provide an added layer of protection from the elements.

This article was written by Enerfina, an independent market intermediary in the renewable energy sector. For more information on how we can help you to turn your home green, click here.


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