Spring certainly feels like a miracle after this past winter. Make a conscious decision, then, to help preserve all that wonderfully great outdoors by implementing a number of sustainable practices. Not only will you improve building efficiency and lessen your impact on the environment, you could also save that other type of green - the kind commonly found in your back pocket.
Sustainable and eco-friendly practices don't have to be costly, nor do they have to be complicated. However, like all good maintenance, they may require a routine bit of effort to make sure that your building is running as efficiently as possible. If you have some form of computer maintenance management software such as MaintenanceEdge, then these tasks should be easy to remember and address.
There are plenty of sustainable practices to implement year-round, and springtime is a good time to address all of those that have otherwise slipped through the cracks. As the weather warms up, you'll want to make sure that your building's envelope is properly sealed, so that you don't lose any energy trying to cool a leaky structure. Also make sure your HVAC system is functioning properly. Clean your air filters, inspect cooling units and make sure the thermostat is functioning properly. You can also equip light fixtures with Energy Star-approved bulbs and install low-flush toilets to cut down on electricity and water.
It's also important to utilize your energy wisely. Keep the thermostat warmer than average in hotter months, and make sure to set it lower if the evenings get cold. In particular hot climates, you can also save on cooling by opening up the windows at night and then closing them in the morning to trap the cool air.
The biggest concern in terms of outdoor energy use is probably going to be the water needed to maintain your grass. Indeed, the more expansive your lawn, the more energy and water will go into keeping a pristine ground cover. However, you can conserve on both if you learn how to minimize your water needs.
The Environmental Protection Agency suggests limiting your grass space by incorporating plenty of natural vegetation, including trees, shrubs and ground covers. These plants generally demand less water than grass. Moreover, many native plants have adapted to annual rainfall in their specific region, making them more efficient consumers of water.
It's also a good idea to cut your grass long - the additional shade for the soil can improve moisture retention and inreased leaf surface means that the grass can take in more sunlight and grow thicker and stronger, according to the EPA.