Celebrating National Water Quality Month

Summer is a time when many people are enjoying water in some form or fashion. Whether you’re swimming in the ocean, kayaking down the James, fishing in your favorite lake, or simply enjoying a few giant glasses of water in the hot, hot sun – water is all around us. Since August is National Water Quality Month, it’s a good time to consider ways to contribute to keeping our water clean and safe (a lesson we should carry with us year-round).

landscape-forest-nature-blue-water_defaultHere are some easy tips that you can make a part of your daily routine from the Natural Resources Defense Council:

1. Choose gravel over asphalt when possible. Porous surfaces can stop pollution streams when it rains.

2. Never flush nondegradable products. They can throw a huge wrench into the sewage treatment process and wind up littering beaches and water.

3. Don’t let paint, used oil, chemical cleaners, or other questionable household products go down the drain. These items contain toxic ingredients we don’t want in our water supply.

4. Pick up after your dog. You’re not just being a good neighbor – scooping up pet waste keeps bacteria from running into storm drains and water supplies.

5. Be a careful car owner. Perform regular maintenance to reduce nasty liquid emission, and go to the car wash – they have drain systems that keep the bad water in check.

You can read more the full article here.

Remember – water is essential to life. Let’s do what we can to keep it clean!

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Garden Essentials: Rain Barrels

Water conservation is important to preserve our fresh water supply. Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water usage during the summer months. One way to curb this tap water usage is to collect and store rainwater from rooftops for lawn and garden use. You can establish an effective rainwater system using rain barrels. Rain barrels are large gallon drums that hold rainwater, and are generally placed under a downspout or gutter to collect the water.

rainbarrelsAdvantages of Rain Barrels:

  • Water is always available when you need it during potential droughts
  • The water contains no harmful chemicals, making it ideal for an assortment of situations (watering gardens, car washing, etc.)
  • Can save about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months, which saves homeowners money and energy
  • Inexpensive to set up
  • Easy to install, operate and maintain

The Home Energy Store currently has rain barrels on sale – buy one, get one 50% off from now until August 23! You can one up for you and one for a friend at the Home Energy Store location. We would be happy to help you get started with your rain barrel system and answer any questions you may have.

summer sale

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Four Ways to Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, as designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since we’re all about living an organic lifestyle at the Home Energy Store, we decided to put together a list of ways you can celebrate your love of fresh produce this month!

Visit a local farm-to-table restaurant.

While not the norm, farm-to-table restaurants are growing in number and popularity. You’ll enjoy produce that is organic and local. This list from Scoutology features several listed in Virginia from Richmond, Roanoke, Charlottesville and more.

millies dinerTake a trip to a farm.

Visiting a farm will make you appreciate the hard work that our local farmers put in to provide delicious food to themselves and the rest of us. There are several to choose from in the area, including the Ashland Berry Farm and Chesterfield Berry Farm.

Grow your own food.

Having your own vegetable garden is not only a nice thing to do for the environment – you don’t have to go out and purchase your fruits and vegetables! Visit the Home Energy Store for more information about organic gardening.

Shop the local farmer’s market.

Richmond is definitely a good scene for farmer’s markets. There are several in the area to choose from – get fresh fruits and veggies that you know came straight from the Earth to your table! Here’s a list compiled by Richmond.com.

Happy Fruit and Veggie Month!

Variety of fresh fruit and vegetables

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Video Resources – Open Cell Foam in Basement

You’ve researched, discussed with your spouse, and now you think it’s time to insulate your home with spray foam. That’s great – you’ve come to the right place! At Creative Conservation, we are here to help you better understand the process of installing spray foam. One of the ways we have done that is through our Video Resources page on our website. Here, you can get a glimpse of the process in action.

Our featured video this month is Open Cell Foam in Basement Walls. Be sure to check it out and see how easy and non-intrusive it is to have this done in your home.

open cell foam

See more videos on our Video Resources page.

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Recycled Art – Part III

The Home Energy Store is not only dedicated to keeping your home energy-friendly; we are all about making every component of your home sustainable. Take art, for example – not a necessity, but it’s fun to have unique artwork perfectly placed in your living space. That’s why we’re big believers in recycled art. You can show love to the environment while displaying creative works of art – it’s a win-win!

Every few months or so, we like to look around for unique pieces of recycled art to share on our blog. Here are five masterpieces we found – let us know which you like best in the comments!

Collage 09 – By Derek Gores

collage-09Derek has achieved national attention for his collage portrait series, recycling magazines, labels and found materials to create works on canvas. Those series has showed his interest in the natural beauty of figure and the fearless attitude of play.

Apollo – By Heather Jansch

apolloHeather Jansch was told to leave college’s course with the reason that she did not have the talent of being a painter. But then, she decided to pursue what she loves and finally came out with driftwood horses below which looks like they are living things with feeling!

Shimmering Red Runner – By David Edgar

shimmering red runnerDavid Edgar’s colorful Plastiquarium is collection of fish, jellyfish, and other sea creatures fashioned from plastic bottles, most often, detergent bottles, harvested by Edgar on his morning walks. After working for most of his career with steel, plastic was a much easier material for him to work with, for most of his pieces he uses little more than a pair of sharp scissors.

Dog Scuplture – By Michelle Reader

dog sculptureSince 1997, Michelle Reader has been working to make recycled materials into sculptures, often incorporating mechanical elements such as the working parts of toys and clocks. Her materials come from city dumps, roadsides, and thrift shops, and include both household and industrial waste.

Corner Forest Series – Yuken Teruya

corner forestWe tend to toss toilet paper rolls into the garbage without even giving a second thought as to where they came from or where they will go, but Japanese artist Yuken Teruya’s “Corner Forest” series reminds us all that these simple cardboard tubes were once part of a majestic forest—forests that could be wiped out if we continue our use-once-and-destroy culture.

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