Solar Fiesta A Sustainable and Green Lifestyle

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Solar Fiesta 2011

Albuquerque New Mexico

New Mexico is situated in the Southwestern part of the USA. We have abundant sun and moderate temperatures. There are hotter areas in the southern part of the state. There are mountains for hiking and skiing and snowboarding in the north of the state.

One of the things we are doing right and working harder on is using our 300 plus days of sun and excellent winds to create the energy to run our homes and businesses.

The Solar Fiesta was a party celebrating ways to sustain the planet. The Solar Fiesta was presented by the NMSEA, New Mexico Solar Energy Association, to build a sustainable lifestyle.

Here are but a few of the things one can learn from visiting the Solar Fiesta.

Take Public Transportation, Bike, or Drive a Hybrid or Other High-mileage Vehicle

Use the public transportation systems whenever possible. Also, purchase and support auto companies that make the most environment friendly individual vehicles.


Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Replace plastic water bottles with reusable bottles and save an average of $200 a year, have better tasting water, and keep 14 pounds of plastic out of landfills.

Replace single use cleaning clothes with old t-shirts. Did you know that 83,000 tons of disposable cleaning clothes are thrown in landfills each year?

Use refillable pens and pencils because it is estimated that a throw-away pen takes 50,000 years to disintegrate.

Use washable dishware because 40 billion plastic utensils are thrown in landfills each year. You will also save $100 for every 50 meals!

Use reusable grocery bags to save filling up landfills with plastic bags.

Go paperless when possible and save a tree! If everyone did this it is estimated that we could save $2 billion a year in postage costs too!

Use natural cleaning chemicals whenever possible.


Green Your Diet Too!

The average household causes about 8 tons of Co2 emissions due to their food consumption! Here is how to reduce that:

Avoid wasting food

Eat more whole foods and limit processed and packaged goods

Buy sustainable foods when possible

Support local foods when possible


Xeriscape your Landscaping

This means selecting plants that use the amount of water that naturally falls in your area. There are many beautiful plants that are native to New Mexico (or your area!)

Our yard is xeriscaped with native buffalo and gramma grasses, the 'humming bird plant’ hyssop, purple all-summer blooming plumbago, hollyhocks, and several carpets of low-water use perpetual blooming purple and yellow ice plants. Recently, we added blooming lavender grass. Only our garden vegetables need extra water and we use water barrels to collect the monsoon rains and supplement their needs.

Here is a great link to increase your New Mexico native plant choices.

http://npsnm.unm.edu/horticulture.html


Solar Development

There are many solar panel providers. The cost of solar panels is mathematically calculated based on the needs of the building. Be sure to learn as much about a solar panel provider as possible: references, memberships, years in business etc.

Both businesses and homes are eligible for tax credits to aid in installing solar panels. The Federal tax credit of 30% is available with no maximum. Further, the state offers a Solar Market Development tax credit of 10% up to $9,000.

For more information http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/ecmd/index.htm

Many cities and companies are using solar panels as a method of decreasing power costs.

Wind Farms
New Mexico is windy. When I first heard of New Mexico I was told that your yard will be re-arrranaged by Mother Nature's winds often! So, it should come as no surprise that one of our public utilities, PNM, Power New Mexico, opened a wind farm in 2003. There are 136 turbines that can produce 200 megawatts of power which is enough to power 94,000 average sized New Mexico homes.

At the Solar Feista there were wind turbines for home, farm, and business use too. Some of these had a wind turbine at the top and solar panels mounted on the bottom.


New Mexico Earth and Australia Too!

Earth built homes have been used for thousands of years to provide natural insulation. These new compressed dirt blocks lower heating/cooling costs by 40%.

Did you know that Australia earthen construction makes up 20% of the homes built?

The same principle that made adobe function as a superior building material is found in the compressed blocks. Yet, with new compression techniques these blocks are both cheaper and faster to make.


Cool Cities US

The Sierra Club has a program aiding businesses in increasing profits by going green. Businesses need to reduce energy use, waste, and emissions. This program offers realistic solutions. For more information go to: http://coolcities.us/


Sustainability and Green

Recycle responsibly by contacting solid waste companies or public works. Check the phone directory for recycling and scrap. Also, check with your local government for recycling opportunities.

Here are some of the things that individuals and businesses can recycle responsibly:

~ Appliances and other scrap metal

~ Paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans

~ Brush, leaves, and lawn clippings

~ Clothing, toys, household goods

~ Household hazardous wastes

~ Rechargeable batteries

~ Automotive, oil, oil filters, antifreeze, and tires


Green Jobs

There is a huge future in Green Careers. The needs include those educated in renewable energy, clean manufacturing, energy efficiency, as well as the research and development and administration of sustainable green technologies and businesses. Here is just one site http://www.greenjobs.state.nm.us/

Do look for green and sustainable jobs in other areas as well!




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