EFFICIENT OUTDOOR IDEAS CAN SAVE ENERGY & MONEY
You can make choices about your outdoor use of water and plants that will save energy and money, according to the West Virginia Division of Energy.
Automatic landscape irrigation accounts for the most water use in homes. As much as 75 percent of a home's total water use in the growing season is outdoors. You can minimize the impact of these systems by providing plants only amount of water they need. Make sure your sprinkler system controller is set appropriately for weather changes and install devices that shut off the system when it rains or when the soil is wet enough. Check for leaks and repair them.
Water your lawn or garden in the coolest part of the day - early morning is best - and not on windy days. You can also reduce water use by making sure you're watering only the lawn or garden; not the street or sidewalk.
There are excellent opportunities for reducing your water use in your daily lawn upkeep activities. Mulching around plants reduces evaporation from the soil surface, which leads to less water needs. Cut your lawn at the highest setting; longer grass blades shade each other and lessen evaporation and weed growth.
Other water reduction ideas include:
- Sweep driveways, sidewalks and steps; don't hose them off.
- Wash the car with water from a bucket.
- Control a hose's flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
- Purchase water toys that don't need a constant stream of water.
- Use a pool cover, which reduces evaporation when pool is not in use.
- Use ornamental water features that recycle the water and let the public know they do by using signs.
You can take several steps as you plant outside that will reduce water needs and shade your home, cutting down on air conditioning needs.
Put native, low maintenance plants in your landscape to reduce the need for water, pesticide and fertilizer. Climate-appropriate landscaping can reduce water needs by up to one-half.
Plant leafy trees around your home to reduce heat in the summer but allow the sun to warm it when the leaves fall in cooler months. Trees on the south and west sides shading the home can cut air conditioning costs; trees on the north and west side can help block winter winds.
For more information about energy-saving ideas for your home, visit Energy Star or, contact the West Virginia Division of Energy at (304) 558-2234 or (800) 982-3386.
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