sustainablespu

Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese


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Ways to Avoid Wasting Water


For those of you not in Seattle, this summer has been a bit hotter than normal, to the point where extra heat has had an effect on the typically conscientious water use of Seattleites, creating an increased demand and usage. The combination of heat and  record low river levels has put Seattle on edge, and as a precaution the city implemented the second stage of its water shortage plan  on August 11th, along with nearby cities Tacoma and Everett. This stage is voluntary, with the cities asking customers to reduce their water consumption by 10%. I have joined this voluntary stage by timing my shower this morning to cut back on my water use (Down to 7 minutes! My goal is 4 by the end of the week.).

Infographic

There are so many tips out there for how to avoid wasting water, including some the city references specifically on their website, but I also found an awesome infographic that I wanted to share.  This infographic was last updated in 2013, so I’m hoping there has been some progress since then on our water conservation, but these are still shocking statistics. (Infographic found at greenerideal, originally created by elocal).

Seattle Pacific has already made some hardware upgrades to help reduce water, and we limit our watering to specific areas on campus during the summer. There are low flow shower heads in all of the residence halls and dual flush toilets in various locations across campus that use less than the average bathroom fixtures. In an effort to be a conscientious community member, the University is currently assessing different options to meet the City’s request, such as modifying and reducing irrigation schedules—more details to come. In addition, you can help SPU save water by reporting any leaks you notice on campus to the Building Maintenance line and by cutting down your personal usage of water. Continue reading

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Surviving the Heat without AC


heatIf you have issues with hot summer days, then we have something in common. Personally, I’d take the biting chill of winter over the enveloping heat of summer any day. But since humans don’t yet have control over external temperatures (what’s taking you so long, scientists?) we all have to deal with those extra hot days. The fatigue, sweat, and general discomfort caused by heat can make people like me run for the AC, even in a city like Seattle, where temperatures rarely reach high levels. Unfortunately, air conditioning uses up a lot of energy to be so effective. The good news is, there may be other ways to keep your space cool without resorting to the powers of generated indoor breeze. Continue reading


Easy Summer Projects


2622523It’s become the big thing on sites like Pinterest to make bun holders out of socks and glitter lamps out of glowsticks. We thought we would take this up a notch and find some creative ways to reuse common trash items. You don’t even need a trip to the craft store!

  • Start seeds inside of a hollowed-out grapefruit half, or in eggshells for smaller seeds. The containers give the seedlings nutrients, and can be planted directly in the earth when the sprouts are strong enough.
  • Turn old magazines into envelopes. All it takes are your old issues, a pair of scissors, and some tape.
  • Punch patterned holes in old (and clean!) tin cans, tie strings at the top, and place candles inside for your own lantern.
  • Turn old shirts into scarves, headbands, pet beds, oven mitts — the list goes on and on.
  • Use old baking soda and vinegar to clean the house instead of chemical products keep socks with their mates.
  • Use bread tags to separate electronic cords, label keys, and tag stemmed glasses.