Energy and Water Efficiency
There are many steps to take to make your home more sustainable to help you save energy and conserve water. Consider some alternative methods to implement in your home.
ENERGY & WATER EFFICIENCY
Residents can utilize the US Environmental Protection Agency programs, which provide guidance on more energy-efficient and water-efficient home fixtures.
Weatherizing your home can help you save money by saving energy. This can be done by:
Consider alternative energy sources, such as solar panels. The City of Ferndale has a Renewable Energy Ordinance allowing for solar or other renewable energy installations. Solar reduces your energy costs and lowers your carbon footprint. An average 6kw solar array system can reduce 6.8 metric tons of carbon emissions per year, which is enough to offset yearly car emissions.
Curious about more resources for renewable energy generation? Visit the Michigan Office of Climate and Energy.
Green infrastructure can provide better water infiltration and absorption and can prevent water from entering the combined water system. In times of heavy rains, stormwater enters the system, combined with sanitary waste, which can result in combined sewer water that overflows downstream. This contaminates our waterways, making it harder to maintain a healthy water system.
Consider integrating green infrastructure solutions, such as:
- Downspout Disconnection
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Rain Gardens
- Planter Boxes
- Permeable Pavements
- Green Streets and Alleys
- Green Parking
- Green Roofs
- Urban Tree Canopy
- Land Conservation
Additionally, herbicides and fertilizers, if used improperly, can enter our waterways and contaminate our drinking water. Make sure you follow the instructions on the label to ensure proper application. Consider organic herbicides and pesticides, or compost instead of chemical fertilizers.
To learn more about stormwater in our community, visit the Clinton Watershed Website.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 30% of the water used in the average American household goes to outdoor tasks such as watering lawns and gardens. The Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission and the Clinton River Watershed Council promote rain barrels as an excellent way to collect and reuse water. Never use the water from your rain barrel for drinking or cooking.
Benefits of Rain Barrels:
- Reduces water pollution by keeping rainwater out of the sewers.
- Reduces the amount of bacteria, oils, grease, and other pollutants from getting into local waterways.
- Redirects water from downspouts into rain barrels and diverts excess water from reaching wastewater treatment plants in areas with combined sewage overflow systems.
- Helps plants thrive by providing water with no minerals, chlorine, or other chemicals.
- Reduces peak water demand and the amount of treated municipal water used outdoors during the summer months.
Rain barrels are an excellent way to help the environment in urban areas because they reduce stormwater runoff which can carry pollutants and sediment directly to creeks and rivers. There are many ways homeowners can take action to improve their local watershed health. More resources can be found here.
RAIN BARREL GUIDE
When deciding whether a rain barrel will work at your home, ask yourself two important questions:
- Does my home, garage, or shed have a gutter and downspout?
- Can I use the water collected in the barrel?
A rain barrel must be placed under your downspout, which requires you to add a diverter to the downspout to divert water into your barrel. The barrel must be emptied regularly between rainfall, so either plan to water a lawn or garden nearby or add an overflow hose to keep water from over-topping the barrel. Learn more about Rain Barrel Best Practices.
CHECKLIST FOR PROPER DIVERTER INSTALLATION
- The diverter should be 2-3 inches above the intake fitting and must be in line or below the top of the barrel.
- Please refer to Steps 2 and 11 of these diverter installation instructions when determining diverter height.
- The barrel lid must be closed tight with a gasket to prevent spillage.
- You will most likely need to shorten your hose to fit the desired location.
For barrels that don’t have a mosquito screen on top, spread decorative rocks or plant flowers. This will look nice and hide the water from mosquitoes.
RAIN BARREL MAINTENANCE
Ensure you have the correct rain barrel setup and maintenance care after installing it.
- Place the barrel on a flat surface when in use and when watering plants.
- Rain barrels can be installed upright and placed high enough off the ground – generally a foot or more – to be able to fill a watering can or attach a hose and get good pressure.
- Bases should be strong, sturdy, and flat, and can be made from cinder blocks, bricks, stones, wood, or cement.
Store your rain barrel properly over winter, as improper storage can lead to damage during harsh conditions. Cap your diverter, drain all the water from your barrel, and leave the barrel spigot open.