April 2014


LED_Logo_wTagby Sharon D’Emidio

I recently bought some new lamps for my home and realized deciding what kind of bulb to use is like trying to pick a health insurance plan. Do I buy CFLs or LEDs? Does the light bulb need to support a dimmer? What is a comparable CFL or LED to a traditional 60 watt bulb?  How many lumens do I need? And by the way, what is a lumen?

As a working mother of two very young children, I started to have nightmares of dragging them to the hardware store with rows of light bulbs in front of me and not having the time to think through which one I should purchase. So, I hit the trusty internet to do some advanced shopping research. The only problem is, there is too much information. Why does this process have to be so confusing? Can’t someone just tell me which bulbs would be the right fit for my home and lighting needs?

Here are a few things I knew I wanted in the bulbs that I was planning to purchase:

  1. When I turn the light on – I want it to actually go on.  I have several CFLs in my home lighting fixtures that have a delay when you first put them on. When they do finally click on they are dim and take another minute or so to brighten.  I hate this feature and wanted to buy bulbs that would turn on to their full brightness immediately.
  2. I like bright, white light, not yellow light.  How do I know which bulbs will be bright white? How many lumens is the right number for the room I am putting the lamps in?
  3. Do I need a bulb that can dim? I have a few recessed lights in my living room and the CFL bulbs I have in there won’t allow any dimming so we always have them up at the highest setting, even though there is a delay to get them to go on and they take a minute to warm up to their full brightness (see number 1 above).

Before getting too stressed about making the right decision, I learned about a new program called the LED Diet  offered by Bethesda Systems, a Bethesda Green sponsor. The program helps navigate the challenging new world of light bulb choices on the market.  The best part about the program is that they come to YOUR house with a truck full of LED (highest performing, most energy efficient and longest lasting) lighting options.

The Bethesda Systems technician did a walk-through of each room and discussed the pros and cons of my current lighting. Not only did I wind up replacing several bulbs in my home, the technician also solved a long-standing kitchen light issue that would have cost me hundreds of dollars to fix if I stuck with my traditional lighting and had an electrician come out to the house.  Instead, he replaced an old light fixture with an LED version that is much brighter and energy efficient.

I couldn’t believe how easy and convenient the service was. With one lighting fixture in particular, the LED equivalent didn’t solve the issue so we decided that, until the LED technology catches up with this particular type of lighting, I will stick with what I currently have in place.  There were no sale gimmicks or requirements to purchase any products. We simply walked through my house trying out different bulbs until I got the right kind of feel.  At the end of our visit, the technician was able to tell me the cost savings of switching from my previous bulbs to the new LEDs.

Because  of this wonderful program, Bethesda Green has partnered with Bethesda Systems and the LED Diet to offer the program with a free at-home consultation (the consultation usually costs $29.99 with no obligation to buy anything).  So, simply by going to the LED Diet website and signing up for a free consultation (enter promo code BethesdaGreen14 when signing up), Bethesda Systems will come to your house and walk you through the options. It’s that simple and so worth it!  Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would bother stressing out about heading to the hardware store to buy a light bulb ever again.

Sharon D’Emidio is the Program Manager at Bethesda Green.

 

Advertisements
Cabin John Creek flows under the MacArthur Blvd. bridge.

Part of our local watershed, Cabin John Creek flows under the MacArthur Blvd. bridge.

by Julie Clendenin

I spend a lot of time enjoying Rock Creek Park, which runs alongside my Kensington neighborhood. I drive through it every day on my way to work.  I run and walk regularly on the Beach Drive path. I have enjoyed the playgrounds and wetlands with my children and friends. I love it. Rock Creek is an oasis of natural beauty in the midst of our highways, lawns, houses, supermarkets, and sports fields. But sometimes, when the rains (and snows) are heavy, Beach Drive is closed due to high water, which reminds me that our suburban sprawl is a real threat to this precious natural wetland. We are slowly edging out the Potomac River’s natural filtration system of forests and wetlands.

Right now the water is running fast and the marshy grass along the creek’s banks is pocked with huge puddles. And all of our runoff — fertilizers, pet waste, de-icing chemicals, and other pollutants — is headed straight for the Potomac River (our main source of drinking water) and the Chesapeake Bay.

According to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), of the 14,650 square miles in the Potomac River watershed, 57.6% is forest; 31.8% is agricultural; 5% is water or wetlands (like Rock Creek Park); and just 4.8% developed land. While agriculture and development play important roles in our community, it’s important to understand their far-reaching affects on the local watershed. Everything we do on land has an impact on our river, which is the source for 90% of DC’s drinking water; in fact, 486 million gallons are taken out of the Potomac every day to provide drinking water for 5 million people in the DC metro area. We need to protect our river.

Recently, a number of water conservation groups organized a regional river clean up day. including the Alice Ferguson Foundation, which reports that more than 5,000 volunteers picked up over 1oo tons of trash. Here’s some of the things pulled out of the river banks:

  • 73,700 beverage containers
  • 7,800 cigarettes
  • 18,300 plastic bags
  • 510 tires

RWFFLogo_FullColor_EST2012All of this trash was rescued from the Potomac River watershed. How does that make you feel? Disgusted? Regretful?  Personally, I feel grateful to the many people who spent their weekend cleaning up after us. I also feel inspired by them, and I’m thinking that maybe you do to. The Reel Water Film Festival, Saturday, June 14 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, is a great place to learn more about local water issues. Also, here are a few things, including some from Potomac Riverkeeper, that you can do to help protect the Potomac River:

  • Scoop pet waste and dispose of it properly
  • Plant a rain garden or use a rain barrel – Montgomery County residents are eligible for rebates of up to $2,500 through the RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program
  • Properly dispose of hazardous wastes like oil and paint
  • Use natural fertilizers and do not over-fertilize your lawn or use chemical pesticides
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle (don’t forget your reusable shopping bags)
  • Wash your car at an eco-friendly commercial car wash or use biodegradable soap
  • Safely dispose of unused drugs and other chemicals – DO NOT FLUSH THEM
  • Spend time enjoying  the river and show your friends and family why it’s important to protect it

Julie Clendenin grew up in Montgomery County and is happily raising her family here with her husband, Tom.  She enjoys having unlimited access to Rock Creek Park; tasty, cold water from her kitchen tap; and swimming in the ocean.

BGnews_logoOcean rapidly warming

The length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade, and an earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness, according to a new study by National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA researchers.

Arctic sea ice has been in sharp decline during the last four decades. The sea ice cover is shrinking and thinning, making scientists think an ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer might be reached this century. The seven lowest September sea ice extents in the satellite record have all occurred in the past seven years.

“The Arctic is warming and this is causing the melt season to last longer,” said Julienne Stroeve, a senior scientist at NSIDC, Boulder and lead author of the new study, which has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. “The lengthening of the melt season is allowing for more of the sun’s energy to get stored in the ocean and increase ice melt during the summer, overall weakening the sea ice cover.”

See NASA News article for full story.

Eat your fruits and vegetables

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion, reports a new University College London (UCL) study.

Researchers used the Health Survey for England to study the eating habits of 65,226 people representative of the English population between 2001 and 2013, and found that the more fruit and vegetables they ate, the less likely they were to die at any age. Eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. The research also showed that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruit.

This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruit and vegetable with the most benefit.

See UCL News article for full story.

Events

  • Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup —  Saturday, April 5, 9 am – noon. Join Rock Creek Conservancy at one of more than 50 locations along the 33-mile length of Rock Creek for volunteer trash cleanups.
  • Master-Metered Condo Alliance Meeting — Monday, April 7, 4 – 5:30 pm at Bethesda Green. A representative from WSSC will discuss ways to reduce water consumption and get some control of water and sewer bills.
  • Demystifying Clean Green Energy — Thursday, April 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Silver Spring Civic Center, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD. GreenWheaton, Silver Spring Green, and Bethesda Green present an expert assessment on the current state of the clean energy industry.