July 9, 2008


Green Key

New Realty in SF makes it easier to find green homes.

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Make Sense of Water

Look for this logo on the label of water products and programs to save you water and money.

Managing water has become a growing concern. Though the Earth has abundant water only about 1% is actually available for human use. So taking into account that population and the demand for usable water will be increasing in the future while the supply will remain constant, a decision to increase efficiency by consumers at large was made.

The average American household uses about 100,000 gallons of water a year. And some of that is waste. That adds up to about 900 billion gallons of wasted water from just American households. Off-grid or not – give your bathroom a high-efficiency makeover, and save more than 11,000 gallons annually (over 10%).

Installing WaterSense toilets and faucets or faucet accessories reduces water bills, and the upgrade could pay for itself in a few years and continue to save water and money for years to come.

Replacing all the inefficient toilets in the US alone with WaterSense labeled toilets the US nation could save 640 billion gallons of water that is literally being flushed away every year.

The program works by promoting water efficiency and the products, programs, and practices that can be used every day by people. It was open for public input on May 22, 2008 when the draft specification for water-efficient single family new homes was released. These are open for public input until July 21, 2008. So even though products will be hitting the shelves and programs will be starting soon the complete specifications for this program will not be finalized until later.

Programs and products that meet the performance and efficiency criteria of this EPA program will be allowed to carry the WaterSense label.This can be a big help for those who are remodeling, or trying to cut down on water use for either drought or monetary reasons. With this new label you are assured that these products will perform well, help you save money, and even help to encourage move innovation in the creation of even better performing water products. You can visit the EPA website to see a list of water-efficient products

They have designed many of the products to not require a change in your lifestyle, just in the water you use. Changing faucets, toilets, landscaping devices, etc. is all that is needed to make a positive impact on both your wallet and the environment. For those who live in drought prone areas that can make a big difference if as a community you change over to these new easy to identify products.

Growing communities are now faced with the problem of not only needing an increased supply but the infrastructure to support it. The WaterSense program is also designed to help these communities to build that infrastructure in the most efficient way. This is not a concern for the average citizen but knowing that this program is designed to help the community at large as …

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Seven ways to drop off the grid

Whether you’re a Civil libertarian or just want to be private, you can relax and worry less about the intrusive State with its Big Brother databases, at least in the UK. Civil servants running the new systems are so incompetent (e.g. the Ministry of Defence stolen laptop) that the biggest fear is them losing your data. But private industry is another matter. From Facebook to Microsoft, They are watching You. Now the US Senate is considering a “do not track” command that could be issued by individual internet users.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing Wednesday to debate what – if any – privacy protections Internet users should be given. Most of the senators on hand agreed that consumers know little about who or what is tracking their browsing behavior.

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Miscellanous Happenings

Not too much going on, let’s see, the 4th we spent with our neighbor, he cooked a whole crockpot (the large one, not a small one) full of country style ribs, we had bbq beans and potato salad, it was a great meal with a great friend. There were activities in town but we didn’t go, it was just nice to sit around and enjoy the day. The next day, we went to another friend’s house and ate dinner, too much food to list, and it was all good! These friends have lots of kids, smaller kids, and they had other family over with their kids, I must admit, it was a bit crazy over there, but it was fun, they had a pool set up and the kids played in the pool most of the time, and dinner was so good that it was worth it. :)

Today Bob worked on the roof and the solar panels, the solar panels were off all day, so not much power today and tonight, it really wouldn’t have mattered though, it was overcast nearly all day, so today was a good day to have the panels off line. He should have everything back up and running tomorrow.

Update on the house, we now have 2 decks, one on the west side, and now there is one that runs nearly the full length of the house on the north side, this is where we go in and out, and now we have a real set of stairs (WOOHOO), no more going up and down the ladder. Bob extended the roof to cover that deck mainly to protect the wood from the rain.

A bit of excitement the other night, I was using the internet until about 2 am, I was about to go to bed when I noticed a line of ants going along the floor at the wall, that’s not unusual, I followed the ants to see either what they were going to, or where they were coming in. I followed them to one corner, then to another corner, they were on 3 corners, surrounding the room, and going up the wall in one corner, and all along one window, they were starting to crawl up into the bed. Ot was an ant invasion! I grabbed the spray bottle of soapy water and started spraying, I woke Bob up to help me. I took care of most of the ants inside the house, Bob got the rest, he went outside to find out where they were coming in. He had a hard time finding the trail, there were no ants coming up on anywhere under the house. He finally found them coming up a tree, crawling down a branch and getting on the roof, from there they were going to a window. He cut off the branches that overhung the house and …

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