July 27, 2010

Save 20 Gallons of Water at Home

If each household in Santa Clara county used 20 gallons less of water today, the total savings for the year could be 13 billion gallons in just one county.

Here are TEN easy things that you can do to save water in your own home! Each one can save you lots of water and money! Links to free or inexpensive water-saving solutions are included.
  1. Installing a high-efficiency toilet can save 25 gallons of water a day. In fact, Santa Clara residents who replace old and inefficient toilets might be eligible for rebates! 
  2. Install a low-flow shower head and save an easy 12 gallons a day! I recently installed one of my own and it couldn't be easier. 
  3. In the sink install a faucet aerator and save about 2 gallons of water per minute! Santa Clara residents can get one for free by calling (408) 265-2607, extension 2554. 
  4. In the laundry room, install a new, high-efficiency clothes washing machine. They cost a bit, but can save you 20 gallons of water per load.
  5. Have you just boiled a pot of pasta or used a hot water bottle? Instead of pouring the water down the drain, let it cool and then use it water some plants.
  6. Outside, clean your sidewalks, walkways, porch or patio with a big broom instead of the hose and save 20 gallons of water every minute.
  7. Do you have an automatic watering system for your yard or garden? Set it to water only three days each week and only at night. Less water evaporates at night, and watering during the day could burn your lawn or plants, anyway.
  8. When watering outside or washing your car, use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle. Santa Clara residents can request one for free by calling (408) 265-2607, extension 2554. 
  9. Do you garden? Use mulch around your plants to keep the ground moist after watering and save up to 20 gallons of water a day.
  10. Do you have a faucet that drips? Fix those leaks and you can save about 15 gallons of water per day, per leak. Don't want to pay plumber? This Old House offers free instructions for fixing a leaky faucet.
It's easy to save 20 gallons or more of water a day in your own home. Saving water equals saving money and saving the planet, so everybody wins.

July 7, 2010

Home Hydrogen From Sunshine And Tap Water

Soon, you may be able to buy a hydrogen-powered car and fuel it at home using sunshine and tap water. One of the biggest barriers to adoption of hydrogen as a fuel for transportation is refueling. While cars that can run on hydrogen are being produced, there are only 21 hydrogen fueling stations in the entire state of California. While four more stations will be opening in 2010, there’s an even more promising technology on the horizon. Developed by Honda R and D in Torrance, California, it’s a residential hydrogen refueler that uses sunshine and tap water to power a car: A 6-kilowatt array of solar panels powers an electrolysis machine that separates the hydrogen from the oxygen in water. The hydrogen is then pumped directly into the car. Honda has not yet announced when the machine will be available, or how much it will cost to purchase.