1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

October 31, 2008

:305 Grounding Trees

Filed under: :305 Grounding Trees — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:22 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challange: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:305 EcoTip: Trees can be grounded with lightning rod systems to protect them against lightning strikes. This is especially important for trees near buildings since the lightning can jump from the tree to the structure.

Large Tree Struck By Lightning Courtesy of Lightning Rod Stuff
Large Tree Struck By Lightning

  Courtesy of Lightning Rod Stuff 

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :303, :304

More information about grounding systems for trees is available from lightning rod stuff.

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October 30, 2008

:304 Surge Protection

Take the 1:5:10:365 challange: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:304 EcoTip: Rather than merely surge protecting your computer – consider having a whole house surge protector installed at your breaker panel to help protect your whole house.

Source: NOAA

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

The following is an excerpt from my book – Extreme Weather Hits Home – Protecting Your Building From Climate Change

My family moved to Prescott, Arizona, in the late 1980s. Our home was a two-story on high ground near the middle of town. The public utility lines for our home ran along an alley at the back of the property. A transformer on the power pole served our home and our neighbors on either side. Arizona is known for some spectacular summer lightning storms.

Since the power poles were clearly the highest point in the vicinity, I was concerned about lightning strikes. Shortly after we moved into the home, I had lightning surge protection installed at the service panel for our home. Within that first year it proved to be a wise decision.

While our youngest daughter was in the bath one summer evening an unexpected lightning bolt (literally out of the blue) hit the power pole transformer at the back of our yard. Plumbing is typically grounded to the earth, but that does not always guarantee that the lightning will dissipate harmlessly. The house shook, the power went out and the transformer caught on fire, but in spite of my daughter being in the tub she was fine.

Many additional strikes quickly followed with brief but heavy rains, typical of Arizona summers. The rains, fortunately, extinguished the flames from the power pole. Other than no power for a few hours and the fried lightning protector that we had recently installed, everything else was

Our neighbors weren’t so lucky. The neighbor on one side had their refrigerator and some small appliances blown out. The neighbor on the other side had their television’s picture tube explode sending sparks into their living room. This lightning was probably a type known as “anvil to ground lightning” since the strike originates in the anvil-like head of thunder clouds. These lightning strikes frequently occur without warning well ahead of the main thunderstorm. This firsthand experience convinced me that lightning and surge protection were important additions and had probably saved our electrical appliances and possibly my daughter’s life.

 

Lightning flowed through the plumbing and electrical system and fried this laundry sink. Courtesy of www.lightningrodstuff.com

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October 29, 2008

:303 Lightning Rods

Filed under: :303 Lightning Rods — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:19 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challange: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:303 EcoTip: A residential lightning protection system is an important consideration for helping to protect your home and family.

  

Source: East Coast Lightning

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 Additional Information:

For additonal information on residential lightning systems check out East Coast Lightning 

According to their website:

A single bolt of lightning can carry over 30 million volts of electricity. Lightning can rip through roofs, explode brick and concrete and ignite fires.

In addition to causing structural damage, a single bolt of lightning can wreak havoc with computers, electronic equipment and appliances.

Every year in the United States the number of homes struck by lightning increases. According to the Insurance Information Institute, residential lightning losses exceed a billion dollars annually and represent close to five percent of all residential insurance claims. 

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October 28, 2008

:302 Window Condensation

Take the 1:5:10:365 challange: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:302 EcoTip:  The formation of condensation that lasts for more than a couple of hours without drying completely by itself is an indication that the moisture level in you home is too high. Do what you can to reduce the humidity levels. Condensation forms on windows or other surfaces when the temperature of the surface is less than the dew point temperature. If you find condensation forming on windows that doesn’t dry by itself every single day, it should be wiped up and dried daily to prevent damage until you can get the humidity levels under control.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :116, :300, :301

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October 27, 2008

:301 Indoor Dew Point

Filed under: :301 Indoor Dew Point — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:17 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challange: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:301 EcoTip: When using a set back thermostat the minimum indoor temperatures should be kept well above the dew point temperature. The dew point is the temperature that results in condensation forming. For example if you have the indoor temperature set at 68 degrees F and the indoor relative humidity is 50%, setting the thermostat back ten degrees would cause the relative humidity to go up to approximately 75%.  If the relative humidity goes a little higher than this for a short period – it should be okay, but if the humidity stays over 70% for a couple of days dust mites and microorganisms may find favorable niches to begin growing.

You can use the surface temperature of your windows to predict how far you can set back your thermostat. If the temperature of the window gets cold enough to reach the dew point (100% relative humidity) and condensation begins to form on the surface, you should try to keep the minimum set-back temperature of the room at least ten degrees warmer than the temperature of the window when the condensation first starts to form.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :116, :300

Tomorrow’s tip is about window condensation.

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October 26, 2008

:300 Reset Thermostats

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:300 EcoTip:  Today I reset my thermostats for winter. According to the US Department of Energy – They are recommending a temperature of 68 degrees F. During the day while you are occupying your home. At night and while you are away they suggest turning it back ten to fifteen degrees. For more information (and to see their recommendations for homes with heat exchangers and other specialty equipment check out the EERE website.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :116 Programmable Thermostats

It is important to never set back the thermostat so that the temperature reaches the dew point. I will show you how to determine this in tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip. 

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October 25, 2008

:299 Recycled Plastic Decking

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:299 EcoTip:  Recycled Plastic Lumber (RPL) made from recycled plastic milk jugs and other types of plastic and fillers. Currently it is generally considered non-structural, but is being used successfully for decking, landscaping, benches, sign posts and playground equipment.

I especially like the idea of using it for below ground applications like fence posts or deck piers because it won’t rot. It is also fully recyclable when it is no longer wanted. Some RPL is being made that is a mixture of wood and plastic. It doesn’t hold up as well to moisture or last as long.

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 Additional Information:

According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board:

RPL is clean, nontoxic, and nonporous, and lasts longer than wood. In addition, all types except wood-filled RPL have the following advantages over wood:

  • Moisture and chemical resistant.
  • Graffiti resistant.
  • Splinter free, does not crack.
  • Does not need sealants or preservatives.
  • Colored throughout, does not need paint.
  • Impervious to insects.
  • Flexible, can be curved and shaped.
  • Maintenance free.
  • Does not absorb bacteria.

Additional information is available at the California Integrated Waste Management Board website.

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October 24, 2008

:298 Eco Banking

September 9, 2010 update;

Last week I received a notice from the Feds that Shore Bank has been closed –  another one bites the dust.

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:298 EcoTip:  Today I would like to suggest that if you want to save for a big ticket item (think hybrid car or solar installation) use your do-it-yourself carbon credits (:032) and save them in an environmentally and socially responsible bank like ShoreBank. This means your money will help support the environment while you are saving it, and will bring in some interest until your ready to use it for your purchase.

I’ve been wanting to post an investment EcoTip for some time, but was uncomfortable making stock market suggestions (especially now), but ShoreBank offers an on-line account that is FDIC insured.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:  :032

I received the following message a few days ago:

Hi  John,

Thanks for all your tips for going green in the home! It’s amazing how our little day-to-day choices like installing energy-saving fixtures in our homes (or which bank we choose) can have such a huge impact on the environment. I work with ShoreBank, an environmentally and socially responsible bank that is dedicated to protecting the environment and improving our communities. Right now, ShoreBank is offering 3.5% APY on their on-line high-yield savings account.

Saving with ShoreBank offers amazing value because ShoreBank offers a competitive rate, and you get the satisfaction of knowing that your money is being invested in environmentally sound, profitable and socially responsible projects. And because ShoreBank has been in business for over 35 years, has more than $2.2 billion in assets, and is backed by the full faith and credit of the FDIC, you can also rest easy knowing your money is secure.

You can find more information about ShoreBank and the current rate at http://shorebankvoices.swirlspace.net/blog/.

When you invest in ShoreBank, you help fund companies like Indie Energy, an energy company in Chicago using geothermal energy to provide green energy to customers and increase green employment opportunities. (see video above)

If you have any questions about opening a high yield savings account, please don’t hesitate to contact ShoreBank at shorebankdirect@sbk.com or call 888-864-(HYSA) (888-864-4972)

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October 23, 2008

:297 Motion Sensors

Filed under: :297 Motion Sensors — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:08 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:297 EcoTip:  Motion sensor light switches can be used for controlling lights in areas where its difficult to get people to turn off the lights.

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 Additional Information:

Motion sensors can save energy by turning lights off automatically when everyone leaves the room. They can also be used to improve safety. For example if you have a hall where the light switch is located at the wrong end of the hall – the motion sensor can be set to turn the lights on when the hall is occupied then off when everyone is gone.

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October 22, 2008

:296 Insulated Drapes

Filed under: :296 Insulated Drapes — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 8:52 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:296 EcoTip:  Substantial amounts of energy are lost through windows. Insulated drapes can increase whatever R-value your windows already have by R-6 or more.

Source: The Warm Company

 

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 Additional Information:

The warm company has an on-line book called Shades for Comfort You can download it free at http://www.warmcompany.com/wwpage.html. It provides detailed information on making your own insulated drapes, but will also be helpful in understanding what to look for if you decide to purchase insulating drapes that have been pre-manufactured.

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