Efficiency Looks Good
September, 2013 - Issue #107
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Water-wise Landscapes
A water-wise landscape is one that allows for a beautiful, healthy landscape with water-wise plants, minimal supplemental irrigation and little to no adverse runoff. Here are six basic principles of a water-wise landscape.

1. Appropriate Plant Selection
Select trees, shrubs and groundcovers based on their adaptability to your region's soil and climate. California has an abundance of beautiful native plants which generally have lower water demands, fewer pest problems and less fertilizer needs than plants that have been brought into our state.

2. The Right Plants for the Right Soil
Knowing your soil and selecting the right kind of plants for your area is an important part of a water-wise landscape.

3. Limit your Grass
Grass can be a huge source of outdoor water waste. Consider cutting back or eliminating the amount of turf you have at your house. Or, if your family enjoys a large grassy yard, make sure you have a water-efficient sprinkler system.

4. Efficient Irrigation
Most people water their landscaping more than it needs. The greatest waste of outdoor water is applying too much, too often.

5. Mulch is Good
Use mulch wherever possible. A good mulch conserves water by significantly reducing moisture evaporation from the soil. Mulch also reduces weed populations, prevents soil compaction and keeps soil temperatures
more moderate.

6. Appropriate Maintenance
One of the best benefits of a water-wise landscape is that it requires less maintenance. A well-designed landscape can decrease maintenance by as much as 50 percent through reduced mowing; once-a-year mulching; elimination of non-California-friendly plants; and more efficient watering techniques.
NV Landscape, Inc. offers free consultations. 286-8888

What You should Look for in a Solar Lease

Annual Production If your solar installation only produces half of what you are using from Edison, you will have a big electric bill from your electric company at your annual "true up."

Per-kilo-watt Charge What is your solar company charging you per kWh (kilowatt hour)? If your lease company is charging you 21 to 24 cents per kWh, you're not getting a big savings, especially if you have an annual increase.
A good deal would be between 16 and 19 cents a kWh.

Annual Increase & Buy-down Options Some companies offer 0-percent annual increases; others offer a 2.9 percent annual increase. It's your preference, though most seem to prefer the 0-percent annual because they like to know that the cost will remain the same through the entire lease agreement. You can also
"buy down" your kWh rate in the beginning, leading to a gigantic savings over the term of your lease.
Pacific Blue Solar 259-1004

Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Energy Star Windows are Beautiful Windows
Milgard, an Energy Star partner, tailors the components of their windows to work most efficiently where you live. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Its mission is to help us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. In 2007 alone, Energy Star helped Americans save more than $16 billion on their utility bills. If you want to keep your house warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and for less than you're spending now on your energy bills, Milgard is the high-quality, attractive solution.
Preferred Glass & Windows 298-2165

High-efficiency Toilet Rebates make Makeover Sense
You can get up to three $80 rebates (for a total of $240) when you purchase and install up to three high-efficiency toilets in homes built before 1993. The rebate offer concludes on December 31, 2013, so don't wait to flush higher water bills down the drain. Your water companies have all the how-to info on their
water-saving site.
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