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Going Green

There are many simple, low cost ways to help the environment AND your pocketbook, and they all start in your own backyard.


Water conservation is increasingly becoming a major issue for municipalities and homeowners alike. Contaminated drinking water, decreasing supplies of safe water, and increasing costs are all problems. Here are ways to help:

  • Install a Rain Garden: Rain gardens absorb storm water, reducing runoff into city storm drains. They also filter out pollution that may otherwise reach our lakes and waterways. Rain gardens require very little maintenance and use native plants that attract wildlife.
  • Install Green Roofing: A green roof uses smaller, drought-tolerant plants like sedums that absorb rain and will reduce water runoff. Growing these plants on your roof also insulates it from the cooking rays of the sun, keeping your home cool.
  • Install a Rain Barrel or Cistern: They store your roof water, which is chemical free and can be used to irrigate your garden, plantings and turf while reducing your municipal water usage to save money on your water bill.
  • Plant Drought Tolerant Native Plants: Native plants require less water than more exotic species and will grow well in our climate. They will also save you money on plant replacements in the long term.
  • Use Mulches and Groundcovers: Mulches and groundcovers help reduce or eliminate soil erosion, keep plant root zones cool and moist and will reduce water usage by retaining moisture.
  • Permeable Paving: Allows rainwater to seep into your driveways, walks and pathways, reducing water runoff that enters storm sewers and drains to reduce pollution and plant growth in our lakes and streams. These can be constructed of bricks, stones or even gravel.

Heating and Cooling Costs

Increased costs of petroleum, coal and natural gas worldwide have hit our wallets close to home. These simple measures can be implemented to conserve energy, save money AND help protect our environment at the same time:

  • Plant Shade Trees: Plant a shade tree on the South, Southwest, or West side of your house or outdoor living area. A desirable, mature shade tree significantly reduces cooling costs in the summer, while allowing sunlight through during winter, warming your home. Shade trees are also very good at cooling the air around them, making any time spent in your yard, including your Sunday afternoon cookout, more enjoyable.
  • Plant a Windbreak: Planting rows of evergreens, deciduous trees and shrubs will slow and divert the harsh winter winds around your home. Plant around your North, Northwest and West sides of your property. It will create a protected, slightly warmer microclimate to reduce your heating costs in winter.

Use Nature to Your Advantage

There are other very easy environmentally friendly ways to decrease your household costs:

  • Plant a Vegetable Garden: Growing your own vegetables will lower your food bills while you enjoy working outdoors and growing your own food without industrial fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides.
  • Use a Composter: With your vegetable kitchen scraps and garden waste, you can create an invaluable and perfect fertilizer for your garden that is FREE!!
  • Use Organic Fertilizers: Using nature friendly fertilizers such as compost, manures, and green manures will reduce water pollution, and create a safe and healthy soil environment for soil organisms and plants.
  • Buy Local: Supporting local businesses will reduce demand on long distance shipping, while helping out the economy of your community.
  • Helps to Achieve LEED Certification: Doing many of these things above will help to put your home or business on the cutting edge of environmental building and housing.

We can help! Please contact Barnes today for help with all your Green Projects!

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