Sunday, April 9, 2017

6 Ways to Save Energy During Spring

The weather is getting warmer; it's time to pull out the grill, call the pool cleaner back, and get those gardening tools out of the basement. It's spring! But spring also means it's time to look at how you can save the most energy and the most money. 

Many Ways to Save

A lot of people can tolerate cold weather better than hot weather, which means, as the weather gets warmer and warmer, it will become increasingly difficult to fight the impulse to turn on the air conditioning and leave it on for hours. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help keep your home cool without running up your energy bill.

Take it easy on the thermostat:

Image: Wikipedia
Set the temperature as high as you can while still being comfortable. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your bill will be. Keep the house warmer than usual when you are away, cool when you get home. Set "Away" and "Home" temperatures easily with a programmable thermostat.  

Keep in mind: Your house will not cool any faster if you set the thermostat to a colder temperature than usual. In fact, this will likely result in unnecessary expense and excessive strain on the cooling system.

Make the most out of your windows:

Prevent heat from getting in through the windows by installing window coverings such as blinds (interior and/or exterior), awnings, high-reflective films, draperies, shades, insulated panels, and shutters. If you live in an area where it cools off at night, turn of your air conditioning and open your windows while you sleep. When you wake up, shut the windows and blinds to keep the cool air in, unless there's still a cool breeze. You can still get some good cool air into the house in the early morning before the sun starts hitting your house/yard.

Turn on those ceiling fans:

By using your ceiling fans in combination with air conditioning, you can actually set the thermostat four degrees higher but remember that fans cool people, not rooms. If you leave a room, turn off the fan. Turn on your bathroom fan when taking a shower or bath to remove the humidity and heat.

Drop the water temperature:

Your water heater uses 18 percent of your home's energy-use. Turn the temperature down to 120 degrees F.

Minimize appliance-use and artificial lighting:

Using the oven on hot days will make the house warmer and subsequently more difficult to cool. Stick to the stove, microwave, or grill outside. Minimize using a computer or TV, running the dishwasher, or using hot devices like hair dryers.
Install efficient lighting that doesn't release much heat.

Seal leaks to keep the hot air out:

Seal cracks to keep warm out from leaking into the house. Add weatherstripping or caulk to seal leaky windows and doors.

Better for the Environment, Better for You

Ultimately, anything we can do to save energy and conserve natural resources will benefit all of us, both directly in terms of personal cost-savings and indirectly in preserving our world for the future. At Vosh, we are committed to doing our part for the greater good, which is why our car washers use less than three gallons of water for each wash. Additionally, we offer waterless car washes. To learn more about us or to download the Vosh on-demand car was app, visit our website at []

Article Source: [] 6 Ways to Save Energy During Spring.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sensor Testing for Green Infrastructure Performance

The term green infrastructure is used to describe a variety of landscape features or ecology related best management practices (BMPs) implemented to reduce the adverse effects of stormwater by diverting the water to rain gardens or similar systems for slow absorption by soils and plants or storage for later use. 

But as green infrastructure is more widely adopted, detailed performance monitoring of a vast array of small projects (in contrast to a single larger ones with grey concrete infrastructure) is essential to ensuring the effectiveness of community-wide programs.

In Chicago they've launched a widespread initiative to test these kinds of low impact developments (LIDs) that have been implemented by the city, monitoring them with sensors to select the best solutions.
Read more about this comprehensive effort in a recent report from Forester Network and Stormwater Magazine:

"As with many other cities that have combined sanitary and storm sewer systems, Chicago has a combined sewer overflow problem, with an average of more than 60 overflows a year. And, as many other cities are doing, it’s turning to green infrastructure to help solve the problem—infiltrating as much water as possible to keep runoff out of the now-undersized and overburdened sewer system during storms... More

#stormwater #sensors #flashfloods #climatechange #greeninfrastructure 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Household Consumption Significant Driver of Climate, Other Environmental Impacts

Environmental Footprint: The world’s workshop  - China - surpassed the United States as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on Earth in 2007. But if you consider that nearly all of the products that China produces, from iPhones to tee-shirts, are exported to the rest of the world, the picture looks very different.
“If you look at China’s per capita consumption-based (environmental) footprint, it is small,” says Diana Ivanova, a PhD candidate at Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Industrial Ecology Programme. “They produce a lot of products but they export them. It’s different if you put the responsibility for those impacts on the consumer, as opposed to the producer.”


Sunday, February 14, 2016

An Explanation of the IICRC Water Damage Classification Used in Flood Restoration

A flooded area and building just off Snoqualmi...
A flooded area and building just off Snoqualmie-Fall City Road below Snoqualmie Falls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is one of the largest non-government organizations in the United States that sets standards for people in the field of flood restoration. Among its many contributions to the fields of inspection and cleaning, the IICRC has created a Water Damage Classification (WDC) system, to better assist the treatment of damage in buildings or homes that have been overexposed to water. In the event that your home is damaged and needs to undergo flood restoration, it is important that you understand the WDC, as doing so will allow you to be aware of the potential threats to your property.

The WDC is broken down into four classes, each one determined by the volume of water present in a designated area. These grades go from 1 to 4, with 4 having the most severe consequences in regards to property deterioration and potential health threats.

Class 1: Limited Intrusion

A minimal amount of liquid has been introduced into the area. The area might also have a high potential for evaporation, with little extenuating damage to furniture, walls, carpet, and carpet cushions. For some Class 1 situations, it might be possible to dry out the area with fans.

Class 1: Limited Intrusion

A minimal amount of liquid has been introduced into the area. The area might also have a high potential for evaporation, with little extenuating damage to furniture, walls, carpet, and carpet cushions. For some Class 1 situations, it might be possible to dry out the area with fans.

Class 2: Some spread

This grade indicates that some moisture has spread beyond a single spot in the room. It might have risen into the walls, where it can be absorbed into the insulation or structural materials, such as timber, concrete, or particleboard. It might also have been absorbed into the padding beneath the carpet or flooring. These areas have the potential to grow mold or other growths if left unchecked.

Class 3: Invasive Liquid

In this grade, most surfaces in the area, including walls, ceilings, flooring, and furniture, have been soaked with moisture. Lines or marks on the walls indicating moisture can be found more than 2 feet above the floor. Damage like this is often caused by burst plumbing in a second-floor room leaking into the ceiling or through the walls. In cases like this, it is sometimes necessary to remove some of the building materials, as the extensive damage will render them irreparable. Special drying and dehumidification equipment will be required to return some remaining stuffs to their pre-damage state.

Class 4: Inaccessible Material

In some cases, flooding to the area is so severe that items not normally exposed or accessible are saturated with liquid. This makes it extremely difficult or impossible for traditional flood restoration techniques to save these materials. Special drying and dehumidification equipment, as well as more advanced techniques, can sometimes be used to dry components in crawl-spaces, under oil-based paint, behind cabinets, etc. It is also sometimes the case that these materials are not salvageable.

In addition to assessing the severity of damage in a location, an inspector must also determine the quality of the liquid permeating the area. "Clean Water" is much easier to address than a situation with "Black Water," or water that can contain potentially life-threatening organisms. The presence of Black Water might affect your space's grading.

After an inspector has assessed the nature of the damage to your property and belongings, he or she will work with a team of certified IICRC-certified technicians to begin bringing your home back to its original state. They will use everything from old-fashioned scrubbing to microbial remediation to rid the space of moisture and any potentially threatening organisms. The IICRC's WDC grading will help make this an easier process, should your home ever need flood restoration.

For more information on certified flood restoration, go to

Article Source:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rain barrels, green roofs, permeable pavement: better ways to help manage urban stormwater runoff and reduce waste

As meteorologists monitor the El Nino condition currently gaining strength in the Pacific Ocean, Californians look with hope to the much-needed rain and snow it could yield. But if we're going to make the most of the precipitation, we need to put a LID on it.

English: Large bioswayle (raingarden) integrat...
Large bioswayle integrates stormwater runoff treatment with planting feature for neighborhood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
LIDs, or low-impact development technologies, mimic pre-urban stream functions. Examples are green roofs that absorb and evapotranspire rainfall; rainwater tanks attached to homes and other buildings; and permeable pavement for roads, driveways and parking lots. Rainwater could even be used in the home for toilet flushing and laundry.

These are just some of the strategies suggested by an international group of experts who recently collaborated on a review article in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Stanley Grant, senior author of the paper and professor of civil & environmental engineering at the University of California, Irvine, brought together academics from three UC campuses (UCI, UCLA and UC San Diego) and Australia's University of Melbourne; water managers from Orange County Public Works; and engineers from consulting firm Michael Baker International to examine how urban population centers could better meet water supply needs while protecting natural stream ecosystems.

"This team offers a key example of the significant role that University of California scientists can play in finding innovative solutions for major state problems," said co-author Lisa Levin, a Distinguished Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "With drought so pervasive, California cannot afford to waste its precious stormwater; nor can it afford to send contaminants into the ocean. The options addressed in this article tackle both of these issues."

Managing stormwater runoff in urban environments is a challenge for engineers and water officials. During pre-industrial times, rainwater gradually seeped into the ground and, from there, into rivers, lakes and oceans. Humans, however, have replaced forests and grasslands with a lot of impermeable surfaces that send runoff in a torrent directly to the closest waterways. "The massive volumes and pollutants associated with stormwater runoff are a deadly one-two punch for streams and lead to a condition known as 'urban stream syndrome,'" said Asal Askarizadeh, lead author and UCI graduate student in civil & environmental engineering.

Symptoms include erosion, flooding and rising stream temperatures; an imbalance in nutrients, carbon and oxygen in the water; and an increase in unwanted sediments, chemical pollutants and human pathogens.

The antidote, Askarizadeh said, is to harvest and reuse as much of the stormwater runoff as possible and allow a portion to infiltrate into the ground to support streams and groundwater.

"Using LIDs to create this kind of localized, widely distributed approach to stormwater management will require individuals and public agencies to be open to significant change," said co-author David Feldman, professor and chair of UCI's Department of Planning, Policy & Design. "We expect the government to manage our water supply completely, and in some places, it's even illegal to harvest rainwater locally. Laws and habits are going to have to change if we are to adapt to new climate and urban realities."

One of the significant changes the authors argue for is a movement toward distributed infrastructure (rainwater tanks and green roofs) as a complement to the centralized infrastructure (aqueducts, water treatment plants and, more recently, desalination plants) cities have long relied on. "The reason is that in order to protect receiving waters and streams, we need to capture the runoff as close to where it's generated -- for example, your home -- as possible," said co-author Brett Sanders, professor and chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UCI.

"The question then becomes: What do you do with the stormwater once you've captured it?" said co-author Megan Rippy, a UCI postdoctoral researcher in civil & environmental engineering. "Our work provides a blueprint for estimating how much of the captured water should be infiltrated into the ground and how much should be harvested for any purpose that keeps it out of the stream, such as for nonpotable purposes in the home. The ratio of those two volumes depends on local climate and what the landscape looked like in pre-industrial times."

"The bottom line is that these solutions are good for the environment and good for people too; they just require changing habits," Grant said. "For example, over 2 million people in Australia use rainwater from their roofs to flush toilets -- and that makes good sense. Using drinking water to flush toilets is literally washing our future down the drain."

With funding from a National Science Foundation PIRE grant, he and his colleagues were able to spend time in southeastern Australia studying how people there have dealt with their historic drought. "They have had a positive experience implementing LID technologies to manage scarce water resources, and in doing so, they've provided a good example of how universities can work with governments and private-sector entities to come up with solutions to water challenges," Grant said. "And the best part is that after emerging from one of the longest droughts in Australia's history, Melbourne has been voted year after year as the most livable city in the world. We could definitely use some of their magic."

Source: University of Californa - Irvine.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

PVC Pipeline for Life Brings Clean Water to Rural Areas

English: PVC Pressure Pipe Русский: Напорная П...
PVC Pipe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thanks to partnerships between Save the ChildrenWater Engineers for the Americas, the Vinyl Institute, and the American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Chemistry Division, more than 6,000 people across 3 remote villages in Honduras now have access to clean running water for the first time in their lives. Called “PVC Pipeline for Life,” this project has spanned a decade and involved the installation of 3,200 linear meters of PVC pipe (via a donation from the Vinyl Institute), bringing a lifesaving water purification and distribution system to a community in need.
None of this would be possible, however, without PVC pipe. “This is a great example of what PVC pipe can do,” said Susan Wade of the Vinyl Institute. “It is a major material used in clean water delivery, and the fact that it’s durable but also easy to install…this was the perfect material for this situation.”

Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable
(Photo: Wikipedia)
Wade continues, “I remember asking the water engineers, of all the available piping materials, why do you choose PVC? And they said, in Honduras, the soil is so acidic that you need something that can withstand that once it’s buried into the ground. This is a perfect application for PVC.”
Because PVC pipe is durable enough to withstand the Honduran soil, it is also relatively resistant to leaks and pipe corrosion. Corrosion can decrease flow in a pipe’s system imposing extra demands to pump water. Plus, plastic pipe manufacturing is resource efficient, typically consuming less energy than alternative materials. So the choice of PVC for this special pipeline project is expected to allow thousands of people gain access to clean water… in an energy-efficient way! Kudos to all those involved for bringing a lifesaving necessity to those in need through the PVC Pipeline for Life!

Also checkout the Home Science, LLC Facebook page at or our main website at

Related articles

Friday, August 28, 2015

Making Your Own Electricity With Solar Powered Windows

Solar powered windows that generate electricity without spoiling the view? That’s the stuff of science fiction, right? Not anymore. Two groups of researchers — one in the US and another in Italy — have created functioning prototypes for solar powered windows that look clear but harvest electricity from the sunlight passing through them.

First, the Bellingham Herald reports that a team of 8 students at Western Washington University have won a $75.000 grant from the EPA to develop their “Smart Solar Window,” a unit that looks clear but turns ultraviolet light into electricity. That power can reduce a building’s heating and cooling costs up to 30 percent by automatically opening and closing windows to aid cooling and ventilation. The system can be operated remotely from a phone, computer or ventilation system.

English: John Willoner's Eco-House at Findhorn...
Solar powered home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The team — composed of graduate and undergraduate students from the departments of chemistry, engineering, design, and business and economics — has been working on the window for the past year. Student project leader James Kintzele says their window required the combined strengths of an interdisciplinary team.

“Western Washington University has such a hands-on approach in their undergraduate programs,” he says. “If I’d been in an electrical engineering program in a different college in junior year, I wouldn’t have had the foresight or capacity to do this.”

“We’re so excited about the solar window and confident about its future,” Kintzele says “It’s not a matter of if this technology is used, but a matter of when. There are certain obstacles for expansion right now, but I feel strongly this could be in buildings a year from now, given the proper funding and a motivated team.”

Second, researchers at the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics  of Los Alamos and the Department of Materials Science of the University of Milan-Bicocca in Italy have developed a non-toxic coating of quantum dots. The coating forms a luminescent solar concentrator that converts any window into a daytime power source. reports

“In these devices, a fraction of light transmitted through the window is absorbed by nanosized particles dispersed in a glass window, re-emitted at the infrared wavelength invisible to the human eye, and wave-guided to a solar cell at the edge of the window,” said Victor Klimov, lead researcher on the project at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Using this design, a nearly transparent window becomes an electrical generator, one that can power your room’s air conditioner on a hot day or a heater on a cold one.”

“Furthermore,” Klimov noted, “the quantum dots provide a uniform coverage of the solar spectrum, thus adding only a neutral tint to a window without introducing any distortion to perceived colors. In addition, their near-infrared emission is invisible to a human eye, but at the same time is ideally suited for most common solar cells based on silicon.”

Sergio Brovelli, the lead researcher on the Italian team, says “Quantum dot solar window technology now becomes a reality that can be transferred to the industry in the short to medium term, allowing us to convert not only rooftops, but the whole body of urban buildings, including windows, into solar energy generators. This is especially important in densely populated urban area where the rooftop surfaces are too small for collecting all the energy required for the building operations.”

Bovelli’s team calculates that replacing all 775,000 square feet of windows in a skyscraper like One World Trade Center in New York City with quantum dot units would generate enough electricity to power 350 apartments. “Add to these remarkable figures, the energy that would be saved by the reduced need for air conditioning thanks to the filtering effect….. and you have a potentially game-changing technology towards “net-zero” energy cities,” Brovelli said.

Both groups hope to bring their amazing windows to market within the next year. Combined with new high efficiency construction techniques, they could help make the buildings of the future even more environmentally friendly and self-sustaining.

Article Source: Green Building Elements