Hi-dee-ho, planet pals. The Green Corner just glanced at the National Weather Service to see how we are doing on the second day of summer (“officially”) and YIKES! Except for the paradise that is Rochester, NY the rest of the states look brutally hot. And ya know with that sometimes comes severe thunderstorms, hail, frogs, and maybe even a goat or two. Nothing surprises The Corner anymore when it comes to the weather. But even if I’m not surprised, I am prepared and commited to sustainability as I know all of you are too (or you’d be reading something else on the web, right?).
So, what to do? First, panic. Get that out of the way and then we can start doing some smart stuff. Since many of us spend more time at work then at home, I’m happy to report the University of Rochester‘s Facilities and Services department sends regular notifications when the temperature becomes critical and our Energy Management/Central Utilities plant alerts us to turn down lights, power down equipment we are not using and cut back on the A/C. Does your employer have a notification system? Find out and subscribe to it. There! That wasn’t so hard, was it?
In the short term the notification systems are terrific. However we all know we are paying the price (world-wide) by not looking at long-term solutions. We at UR are doing our very best to look toward the future both academically (advanced degrees in sustainability, environmental science, etc.) and in our construction of new buildings, and renovations of older ones. We aim for LEED and do everything we can to meet their very high standards. It’s tough now, but we know there will be a payoff. And, I’m very proud to say we are getting there by the expertise, dedication and commitment of all our staff.
What are you doing at home? Are you most comfortable when your house resembles a meat locker? Or are you willing to cut back a little. If it is high double digits or triple digits outside and you put on a sweater when you are at home, we need to have a little talk, okay. Let’s get those A/C units serviced so they operate efficiently. Running washing machines, dryers, dishwashers during non-peak hours can also help. The best source for information on what is best where you live is through your local/county department of environment conservation. I’m sure they have a web site with tons of advice. Check them out and you’d be surprised at how just a few simple steps can cut back on our energy consumption.
Let’s not forget your vehicle either. It’s not a joke that proper tire inflation can save you money at the gas pump. And I don’t know of anybody who doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Do you run your auto as a mobile meat locker? Well, unless you really are transporting meat/dairy/veggies and fruits, knock that temp back a few degrees. Every little bit does help. Fuel injections operating well? Need an oil change? Anything you can do to keep your car in tip-top shape not only saves your dollars, but you are also helping the environment. I love win-win situations.
Didn’t mean for this to turn into a lecture you usually recieve from you parents (“Close the door! We’re not air conditioning the neighborhood”), or your bosses and co-workers (“Really, do you need to have EVERY light on and every piece of power equipment set to 11?).
The Corner wishes you a safe, enjoyable weekend. Now, where’s my sweater?