SUSTAINABILITY HAPPENINGS July 2018
|Summer Sustainability & Community Resiliency
By Rosemarie Russo
There is mounting evidence that warmer temperatures and drought in the western United States have substantially increased wildfire intensity, areal extent, and frequency (McKenzie). Increases in wildfires are predicted for Eastern Utah and Colorado. Given the recent wildfire tragedy there are simple steps that all of us can take to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
• As a homeowner or property manager be aware that the first 30 feet from your structure in all directions is called your defensible space. Maintaining defensible space around your home is key to improving your chance of surviving a wildfire.
• Another strategy is planting fire resistant plants on your property; Fire resistance plants with high moisture content do not readily ignite and can withstand higher temperatures. Plants with resins, oils and volatiles are highly flammable and should be kept away from the home. Highly combustible plants will produce a lot of heat and large flame lengths. The following are examples of acceptable fire-resistant plants that could be used in the first 30 feet around your home. Columbine, Primrose, Bluebells Aster, Lantana, Butterfly bush, Violet, Phlox, Bluebonnet, Beauty berry and Turks cap.
• Invest or make a rain barrel for extra water storage.
• Register for a free business lighting audit to reduce your energy use by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
• Bike more! Several Moab residents registered for the National May Team Challenge. The Team Challenge was part of a larger National Challenge that runs from May- Oct. Every month Moab Team members will be entered into a prize drawing. Congratulations to this month’s winner - Eve Tallman. She won a solar floatable, collapsible portable light! 42,936 people participated in the May Team Challenge clocking in 7,785,708 miles! Register at www.lovetoride.net. The competition is for casual riders - conquering Slick Rock isn’t part of the intent but if you do post photos! Locally participants saved $798 and avoided 2 metric tons of air pollution.
• Support the businesses that have joined Green to Gold to lessen their environmental impact and save $ - first hotel: Adventure Inn; first campground ACT; first restaurant Red Rock Bakery; first Church St Francis; and our first rafting company: Red River Adventures.
Free Onsite Energy Assessment for Moab Small Businesses
Moab small businesses need to act now for incentives to save energy and money. Customers can schedule a free onsite energy assessment from Rocky Mountain Power
Rocky Mountain Power representatives will be in Moab later this summer introducing small businesses to new lighting technologies that can make their operations more energy efficient. During this time, wattsmart Small Business Direct technicians will be conducting on-site energy assessments by going door-to-door or by appointment. Qualifying small businesses may receive enhanced incentives to save as much as 75 percent of the overall project cost.
“Small businesses face many challenges, and our energy efficient lighting incentives make it easier to save energy, money and time when upgrading existing lighting systems,” said Clay Monroe, Rocky Mountain Power customer solutions director. “We also want our small business customers to know the wattsmart Small Business Direct technicians will provide reliable information and quality work.”
The program covers some of the most common interior and exterior lighting upgrades, including LED lighting technology. Businesses will save money both on the incentives for the upgrade work and on energy use in the future. Teams will be in Moab from July 30 – Sept. 14.
To get started, business owners should set up an appointment for the on-site energy assessment by calling toll free 844-712-6232. Once the assessment is completed, business owners will have time to review the project proposal, the incentives offered and determine whether or not to proceed. The wattsmart Small Business Direct team will take care of installation and paperwork.
“We’re looking to make this very easy for customers,” Monroe said. “Saving energy helps everyone, and we certainly hope local business customers keep our technicians very busy during their time here.”
For more information, call 844-712-6232, or visit the company’s website at www.rockymountainpower.net/bus/se/utah/sb.html
Live and Play Under the Milky Way!
By Sharon Brussel
Up until about 10 years ago, you could clearly see the Milky Way from downtown Moab. Unfortunately, there is a risk of losing this precious night sky resource due to the multiple new developments in and around downtown. Concerns are rising as the “light creep” is moving down the valley, where once fully dark skies are slowly disappearing.
We can change all this and it is fairly easy—all you have to do is make sure you are not the owner of a “glare bomb”—or multiple ones. “Glare Bombs” are easy to notice because they will shine directly into your eyes and throw the light up into the night sky. How do you know if your outdoor lights are “glare bombs”? Do this easy exercise. After full darkness, turn on your outside porch light and note any other lights that come on automatically around your home. This includes the large “farm” lights that were so popular several years ago. Walk down your street or around the block as your eyes become accustomed to the dark. Then, walk back towards your house and note which lights are “glare bombs”. You may also notice lights along your street or in your neighborhoods (and beyond) that are not shielded sending unnecessary and obtrusive light into the night.
We are all responsible for light pollution—private homeowners and area businesses alike. With a few easy and affordable adjustments, we could proudly look up into the night and see stars and planets that both tease and inspire the imagination.
Here are simple fixes to maintain your outdoor lighting and at the same time protect the dark skies with the extra benefit of saving you money.
Night-friendly lighting solutions
To minimize the effects of light pollution, business owners and residents can:
• Put lights only WHERE you need them.
• Use lights only WHEN you need to.
• SHIELD lights and direct them downward.
• Select bulbs with WARMER COLORS.
• Use LESS light.
• Select the most ENERGY EFFICIENT lamps and fixtures