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Top Landscaping Tricks for Conserving Water in a Drought

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drought By Elena Airaghi Via Flickr

While some parts of the nation are being flooded with excess water, others have seen barely a drop of rain in months. California, Arizona, New Mexico, and other areas with desert are struggling with a drought that’s held for record amounts of time.

Water is becoming scarce everywhere, and everyone on the planet should be thinking about ways to conserve more. Conservation techniques are often best learned through example.

One way to recognize water conservation landscaping is to study realty listings in areas where drought is occurring. Scottsdale, Arizona receives very little rain, for example, so its landscaping trends may herald the future for others.

You can search through listings to discover some of the most popular forms of landscaping these days. If the listings don’t inspire you, here are some ideas that might work.

Plant Drought-Resistant Plants

Some plants need very little water to thrive. In fact, some plants prefer much less water. The type of greenery that’s most resistant to drought depends on the region. Typically, native plants survive best, but succulents, cactus, and certain breeds of wildflower do very well on little water.

Install Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation increases the efficiency of your watering system. With drip irrigation, the soil is kept constantly moist through a steady drip or trickle of water through hoses. This approach uses far less water than a sprinkler and targets plant roots directly.

Reduce Lawn

Grass requires enormous amounts of water to remain green and healthy. Instead of continuing to water your lawn, change it into something that doesn’t need water. For example, you might install a broad deck or patio that replaces much of your lawn. Rocks, wood chips, or sand can also be used to make your yard look beautiful without grass.

Use Water-Saving Containers

Potted plants are great in drought-ridden areas, as long as you use water-saving containers. These typically come in the form of glazed terra cotta that looks great and keeps water in the soil instead of letting it drip down the sides. It reduces the amount of water you need to keep plants alive and healthy.

Harvest Rainwater

With cisterns or large barrels, households can store water from roof runoff. You can’t drink it, but it will feed plants. You can also hook irrigation lines up to the cisterns so you can water directly from the barrels.

Recycle Household Water

Instead of throwing out your dish, bath, and shower water, collect it and use it to wash your plants. Heavy use of soaps can kill plants, but light water can keep plants alive and healthy. You can also use a water purifier or a small amount of bleach to remove the impurities that could harm plants.

Install Porous Hardscape

Porous materials let water drain freely into the ground so your plants and grass get adequate moisture. This is the opposite of storm runoff, which pools in one area of your yard rather than dripping equally throughout your property.

Plant a Tree

Trees are great for shade and raise your property values. They’re also extremely valuable for transplanting water efficiently into your soil. The moisture percolates slowly into the ground so it can nourish roots from existing plants and keep the ground damp.

If everyone recognized the gallons of waters consumed by a typical household each day, we could significantly reduce the water shortage problems that plague the world. It’s not possible to reverse a drought once it’s begun, but your efforts can minimize its effects.

 

 

Environment

Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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