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Pelham - Windham News 10 - July 29, 2011

National Grid Offers Energy-Saving Tips to Beat the Heat Stay Cool and Save Energy

As the heat now gripping the country moves into New York and New England, National Grid offers tips to help customers stay cool and save energy. • Adjust the thermostat – Air conditioners cool a space at the same rate no matter what the setting. Adjusting the temperature control to 65 degrees will not help cool your home to 78 degrees any more quickly than if you leave the temperature at 78, but switching to the lower setting may be costing you more money. The lower you set your temperature on your air conditioner, the costlier it is to operate. For example, a 75-degree setting will cost about 18 percent more than a 78-degree setting. To optimize air conditioning systems, set the thermostat on your air conditioner as high as comfort will permit.

• Change air conditioner filter – Check your air conditioner filter, and replace or clean it if clogged.

• Manage your water heater – Summer is the perfect time to reduce water heater temperature since the days are warmer. Set the thermostat to 120 degrees or less for normal use, and lower the setting when away from home for extended

periods. For every 10-degree decrease in heater temperature, energy use may be cut by 3 to 5 percent. Reduced temperatures will also decrease the risk of scalding.

• Unplug electronics – Even though your television and other appliances are turned off, electronics with little standby lights still draw electricity. Unplug any unnecessary appliances until you return home.

• Turn off ceiling fans, close the drapes – Ceiling fans don’t actually cool your home; they only circulate air to make you feel cooler. Therefore, they are most effective when you’re home to enjoy the benefits. Turn them off when you’re not home and save energy in the process. Also, draw blinds, shades or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day, especially on south and west-facing windows. Closing your drapes or blinds will keep the hot sun out and cause your air conditioner to run less.

• Put off heat-generating activity – Cool things down by reducing the amount of heat generated in your home. Turn off lights when they are not needed, and avoid cooking, bathing, or washing clothes during the hottest hours of the day.

• Use electric fans – Electric fans use very little electricity, costing approximately $9 to $11 per month for continuous use and can provide relief from the heat. In the morning and evening, window fans are especially useful in moving cooler air from outdoors into a home.

• Use the fan setting on the air conditioner at night – When the air outside is cooler, open a window and leave the air conditioner off. Keep windows and doors closed whenever the air conditioner is on.

• Tighten your home’s “thermal envelope” – If you have air conditioning, you can save electricity by sealing everything that separates the inside of your home from the outside. Check the caulking around windows and weather-stripping around doors. Storm doors and storm windows actually can help keep cool air in the home so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.

• Add extra ceiling or attic insulation – According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, one of the most cost-effective energy conservation measures, for both cooling and heating, is to add extra ceiling or attic insulation to an increased depth of 12 inches.

Know Your Limits

by Bill Dawson, UNH Cooperative Extension Natural Resources Steward After you retire and are free to move about the

world without the restrictions of regular 9-to-5 work schedules, you tend to fill your calendar with volunteer activities. Some are coerced and some arise because you have chosen to do this or that particular activity. Being a grandpa fits both categories, so I try not to be grumpy about minding the third generation. I must say, though—my patience has been sorely tried a few times.

Since I have taken some training as earth team/ tree steward docent, I get involved in some dirty jobs in other people’s backyards. After church, a group of us “older folks” gather over coffee and doughnuts and discuss the world problems in our usual erudite fashion. During a pause in the conversation, one of the “really older ones” said that he wished the he had the strength to prepare a place for some spring bulbs. Being a robust 73- year-old male still somewhat invincible, I blurted out, “Let me help!” That’s when the trouble began. My friend explained that the spot where he wanted to put

the bulbs was currently occupied by a plot of blue flag irises that had not been attended to for about eight years. I stopped by his house during the next week to check the location. I tested the surface of the bed with a shovel and found it resistant to penetration. I told him that I would be back with some additional tools in a week or so. He said that he would order the bulbs in the meantime. I have been known to do battle with rocks in the past, so I have some tools not possessed by the average gardener. I gathered my mattock, a sledgehammer, a spade, and a heavy-duty hoe, and set off to do battle. What a battle it was! First, I drove the spade into the bed about six

inches. I continued across the bed in similar fashion. Feeling good about how things were progressing, I moved over about 18 inches and repeated the procedure. It was now time to pause for a drink—of water, of course. Now, it was mattock time. I drove the flat blade into the fissure created by the spade and began prying chunks of the lily mat out and tossing them into the garden cart. That was easy enough, but the plot was about 6 feet by 20 feet. By the time I had removed the entire mat,

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submitted by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) is reminding residents on the need to conserve water resources. Although New Hampshire is not currently under a formal drought declaration, the present heat spell coupled with lower than normal precipitation is causing people to use more water than usual. Some areas of the eastern half of the state have received three to five fewer inches of rainfall over the last 90 days than typical. Southern Coos County shows an even larger departure from normal. Although water conservation is something that needs to be practiced year- round, it can be especially important as a proactive measure during dry conditions and hot weather. “One of the easiest steps a

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can account for the majority of a homes total use during the summer months.” Lawn irrigation often leads to restrictions, as water systems confront increasing water demand in the face of limited supply. “Adhering to water use restrictions is important,” said Bennett. “Water systems implement restrictions to avoid larger problems down the road, and full cooperation by the water system connections is needed to be successful.” Even without restrictions in place, reducing the amount of water used on landscapes makes sense, both environmentally and financially. Reducing lawn size, ensuring adequate topsoil, and choosing drought tolerant grass mixes are good first steps. If irrigation is needed to supplement rainfall, the typical lawn requires less than an inch of water per week (irrigation and rainfall combined). DES has prepared a series of guidance documents that assist homeowners with reducing water use both inside and outside of the home. Visit: organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/dwgb/index. htm#efficiency for a complete list of water efficiency fact sheets.

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National Grid has a 20-year track record of partnering with its customers to provide successful, award-winning efficiency programs in its U.S. service territory. In addition, National Grid recently challenged to its customers to pledge to reduce their energy consumption by three percent every year for the next 10 years. Customers can sign a pledge, participate in a free energy evaluation, and learn more about the company’s energy efficiency programs at www.

National Grid is an international energy

delivery company. In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.


a couple of hours had elapsed and my back was complaining. I was overdue for another drink and some painkillers. The soil under the bed was hard-packed and

very dry. Since it was getting close to my labor limit for one day, I quit and retreated to my recliner for some much-needed relaxation. After a spell of respite, I returned with my spade and hoe. I brought along a bag of peat moss, spread half the bag on the surface, and spaded it into the soil. That was no easy task, I’ll tell you! The rest of the bag was dumped on the surface and chopped in with the hoe. Last came a thorough watering of the bed. Time for another break while the water percolated into the soil. We developed a plot plan for the assortment of tulips, daffodils, and large bearded irises. The last step was to place the bulbs according to the plan, with a bit of fertilizer for each. Hopefully, the squirrels won’t find them before the freeze. I can’t wait to see what comes up in the spring! Would I do it again? Probably not for someone

else. But on my own plots, I am constantly digging until the snow comes between me and my beds.


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