Monday, July 13, 2015

Living Green in the Southwest: Let It Hang

Daisey Bingham from Grist
Last Monday's "Living Green" post mentioned the fact that a big way that we can all save water is to use less electrical energy. All power plants need water to cool their plants and make steam to generate electricity. 

Judy "Anonymous" Ackerman left this comment which I re-publish because I know that comments don't always get read:

"Especially here in Sun City, everyone should use 'linear solar clothes dehydrators with wind turbulence stabilizers' (close line and clothes pins). It does take a few more minutes to hang your clothes on the line, but the wonderful smell they get is worth the effort. Clothes dryers are probably the biggest energy hog in your house. It also wears out your clothes faster. You know that lint in the dryer? It is from your clothes because of the abuse they receive tumbling around in your dryer. Use the line! 

"Paint your roof white! I did this 5 years ago and the difference in the need for cooling has been tremendous. A white roof keeps your house cooler. The paint seals any leaks. And, no more shingles coming loose in the wind. Paint is way cheaper than putting on a new roof. In addition to YOUR savings, you reduce global warming by increasing the albedo and reducing the heat island effect."

Judy is just about right about a clothes dryer. After central air, it is the biggest energy hog in your home. See the chart at  (You also may want to read their list of ways to lower energy use in the home.) 

I did ask Judy if she knew how to soften line dried towels. She does what I do: just use them stiff and they soften after each use. Still it always bothers me. Some suggest softening them on the fluff cycle of the dryer for a few minutes before or after hanging to dry. But then we are back to using the HOG. I checked online and several places suggested putting 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser. I tried it and . . . it works! The towels were softer - not as stiff. (White vinegar is great. I use it for mopping the hardwood floors and cleaning counters and stove tops. The heck with all those expensive, multi-syllabic chemicals.)

Live in an apartment and don't want or you aren't allowed to hang your underwear on the balcony? Get a clothesline that you can use indoors.

Painting your roof white is debateable. Those who have done it whom I know are very happy. (Judy is one such person.) Cooling bills go down in the summer. But are they offset when it comes to winter heating? 

White roofs do increase the albedo. (That's "albedo" and not "libido". We would be so lucky.) Read the definition of albedo. Use the word at the next party you attend. "But how does that help increase albedo?"

Stanford News reported in 2011: "Urban 'heat island' effect is only a small contributor to global warming, and white roofs don't help to solve the problem, say Stanford researchers. Heat emanating from cities – called the 'urban heat island' effect – is not a significant contributor to global warming, Stanford researchers have found. They also concluded that if all the roofs in urban areas were painted white, it would increase, not decrease, global warming."

Read another summary of that research HERE.

Remember, living "green" is not just about being green yourself but having a green community and working together.

BTW, when leaving a comment, you can enter your name and leave the URL field empty. I think that confuses folks more than anything and so they choose to be anonymous.

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