SHN suggests sustainable tips for October

The Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) offers monthly tips to help reduce your bills and environmental impact while making your life more comfortable. For more information, visit

Energy Savings: Autumn is a great time to weatherize your home. Why not begin by asking a professional to evaluate your home-energy use? The SHN steering committee recently interviewed Empower G&E and was impressed. Empower offers homeowners free one-hour inspections, focused on insulation, air leaks, lighting and thermostats. In addition, Empower will introduce homeowners to a team of vetted, local contractors, and inspectors to verify that the job is properly completed. Empower can also help arrange financing so that the loan payment each month is nearly equivalent to what the homeowner will save each month. Contact Empower at 937-830-3189 or visit

Solid Waste: There are many ways to recycle items. “Recycling” means a material will be made into a new item, such as plastic bottles being made into fleece or lumber. Many kids love to make crafts, and many otherwise unusable items are great for this. For example, CDs make great, shiny mobiles. They also can be hung in gardens to keep the birds away. They can be painted, or used as stands for pipe cleaner figurines. Be creative! 

Transportation: Go ahead, put the snow brush in the car. (Maybe that’ll keep it from being needed!) Cooler nights mean it’s time to check tire inflations more frequently. Tires lose about 1 psi per 10 degrees F; lower psi means lower mpg and more carbon in the air. Don’t forget to check the spare. This is a good time for an oil change. Check your heating system before winter truly hits. There are still cyclists, runners, and pedestrians out and about. Hopefully they’ll all be sporting reflective clothing and blinky lights by now, but be alert anyway. Halloween calls for extra vigilance by drivers as costumed kids, their peripheral vision obscured by their masks, scamper out from between parked cars or piles of leaves. Walking with your kids is far safer than creeping the car along their Halloween route, and saves gas as well.

Environmental Health: Please leave the leaves! Mulch leaves with a mulching lawn mower and leave in place to provide free fertilizer for your soil. Or rake the shredded leaves to mulch your flower or vegetable gardens. There is still time to plant a tree, just make sure to water it if we have insufficient rain. Drain rain barrels (they can be destroyed if water inside freezes) and put them in winter bypass mode so water goes into your rain garden or storm sewer for winter.

Sustainable Heights Network

Linda Butler is a photographer, writer and environmental activist who, with her husband, built a passive solar house in Ambler Heights. Ditte Wolin, a lifelong community member, has been involved with sustainable efforts with the city and schools for many years. Other SHN members contributed to this article, written primarily by Butler and Wolin.

Read More on Sustainability
Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 11:20 AM, 09.30.2016