Savvy skippers can help prevent the spread of the zebra mussel, an invasive species that wreaks havoc by clogging water pipes and outcompeting native freshwater mussels. The fingernail-size creature can infest new lakes and rivers by hitching a ride with “promiscuous” boaters who visit multiple lakes. The steps to keep zebra mussels and other invasive species in check are well known—and worth repeating, given that more than a few busy sailors “forget” to follow them:
- Remove all vegetation from your boat and trailer before leaving the boat ramp.
- Drain water from the motor, bilge and wells before leaving.
- Dump leftover bait on land, away from the water’s edge.
- Back home, rinse your boat, motor and trailer; let them dry in the sun for several days before visiting a different body of water.
Powering Down PCs
U.S. companies waste almost $4 billion annually on nighttime electricity for computers, according to New Boundary Technologies, a company that says its Green IT Solution software (for Windows computers) can slash computing energy costs by up to 60 percent. After employees go home, the software puts their PCs into hibernation by automatically adjusting power management settings—and overriding any changes the employees may have made during the day. Similar systems include the 1E Nightwatchman, Faronics Power Save and Verdiem Surveyor.
Washing clothes in “hot” water heated to 140 °F uses almost twice as much energy as washing them in “warm” water at 104 °F.
SOURCE: Energy: Use Less—Save More, by Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert (Chelsea Green, 2007)
Pay by Electron
Paying bills online not only saves postage, it also makes a serious dent in your consumption of energy and natural resources. According to the “green calculator” devised by the PayItGreen Alliance, the average American household receives 19 bills and statements monthly and makes seven payments in paper form. Switching to electronic billing would save 6.6 pounds of paper, 63 gallons of wastewater discharge, 4.5 gallons of gasoline and 171 pounds of greenhouse gases a year. A study by the alliance, a nonprofit group supported by the banking industry, claims that if just 2 percent of American households switched from paper to electronic billing, more than 180,000 trees would be spared and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent to taking 32,572 cars off the road. You can add up your own potential savings at http://payitgreen.org/green-calculator.html
Note: This article was originally printed with the title, "Being Green."