Eye on the Environment
Get green this summer
By David Goldstein 06/27/2013
Now that Ventura County’s “May gray” and “June gloom” are burning off, here are five ways to get green during this hot summer:
Cool your home while saving energy
Every time you reach for that air conditioning controller, you are digging into your wallet. Instead of using electricity to cool your home, try these alternatives: 1.) Reduce oven use, or use it only late in the evening, after the sun has gone down. 2.) Protect your house from direct sunlight by planting trees and bushes to create shade. 3.) For harsh, direct sunlight, install awnings or external window shades. 4.) Change your lighting from incandescent to compact fluorescent or LED, and especially avoid halogen lights, which generate lots of heat. 5.) Reduce internal humidity by minimizing use of your clothes dryer. Instead, hang your clothes outside to dry. 6.) You can also reduce your home’s humidity by using cooler water for showers.
To find energy-related resources for Ventura County, contact the Ventura County Energy Alliance at 654-3874 or visit its website at www.vcenergy.org.
For more information:
Save gray water
Why waste the water coming out of your clothes washer? Instead, if you follow the right procedures, you can legally and safely use the “gray water” discharge to irrigate flowers, bushes, and even fruit trees around your home.
In three upcoming workshops at the Ventura County Government Center’s Hall of Administration (room 311, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura), the Ventura County Building and Safety Division will host “how to” workshops for installation of gray-water systems. These are scheduled for Friday, June 28, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Friday, July 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. (in Spanish); and Friday, Aug. 9, from 1 to 3 p.m.
By following 12 simple rules outlined in the standard plan regulations, you can install a laundry-to-gray-water system without a plumbing permit.
To register, e-mail Marie.Becerra@Ventura.org or call (805) 654-2795
Get on the green home tour
If you live in the Ojai Valley, you can set an example by signing up to be on the Ojai Valley Green Coalition’s Green Home and Building Tour. The tour is Saturday, October 26th, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but the coalition wants to make contact now with people willing to provide tours of green construction. The coalition’s press release requests typically Ojai sites, “Playhouses, meditation sites, or aquaponics greenhouses.” They are also seeking businesses to display information at a “Home Show” site.
Hop on a used bicycle
Did you miss “Bike to Work Month” last month because you don’t have a bicycle? New bicycles are expensive, but you can buy a used one on Craigslist, through Pennysaver, at a swap meet, or at a pawn shop and there are less-known ways to get an even better deal.
For example, some public agencies still hold live auctions for seized or lost and unreturnable items. Others, including the Ventura County General Services Agency, auction items through a public surplus website.
Get a job
Green jobs are touted as the green brick road to environmental and economic sustainability, and the Green Job Expo at Ventura College on June 8 provided leads for two types of green jobs.
The first type of green job is exemplified by Solarsilicon Recycling Services, which held the grand opening of its Ventura factory on June 6 and plans to hire 40 new employees over the next year. The company collects silicon waste discarded by manufacturers of solar panels and computer chips. After separating and purifying this waste, the company sends it back to these industries for reuse. Jobs in the fields of recycling and alternative energy generation are clear winners in the increasingly green economy.
Even if you do not work in a green industry, you could have a second type of green job by coloring a more conventional job green through incorporation of environmentally sustainable decisions into everyday business practices. For example, workers at a restaurant can install low-flow faucets on sinks in the kitchen and low-flow toilets in the restrooms. They can replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs. Environmentally and socially concerned restaurant workers often make arrangements for donating usable, but non-salable, food items to organizations such as FOOD Share and also avoid food waste by subscribing to special collection services for food discards, which are brought to compost facilities. Finding any job in today’s economy can be difficult, and finding a green job can be even harder, but workers can bring an element of green concern to an existing job if they keep their Eye on the Environment.
On the net:
The Eye on the Environment column is a public service of the County of Ventura’s Public Works Agency.