Walking for exercise is great. I have to confess that I don't do it enough. Besides the exercise, walking gives me the time to think and observe my surroundings. As one of NEMA's go-to guys when it comes to High Performance Buildings, it's not surprising that on these walks through nature my thoughts often drift to sustainability.
There are many things we can do in our own spaces to be more "green" and energy efficient. Fuel efficient vehicles, programmable thermostats, CFL's, the list is expanding every day. So as I wandered the neighborhood over the weekend, I passed on the other side of the street an industrious couple that had just finished cutting and trimming their property. There were a few grass clippings, twigs, and leaves that had scattered into the street, and one of them was in the middle of the street with a leaf blower plugged to the end of a one hundred foot extension cord, blowing the materials off the street.
Don't get me wrong, I like a nice trimmed lawn as the next person, and I also like my share of toys, but I started to think about energy efficiency, like I don't do enough of that at the office. I wasn't thinking about going back to push mowers and turning back the clock to a "simpler time". I did think about some of the statements that have stuck with me over the past year or so. One that popped into my mind on my walk past the leaf blower was that the most effective way to conserve energy is to not use it.
Every household has a couple of non-essential power tools in its garage or shed, like a leaf-blower. So this "Prince of Darkness" (I'm the one who's always turning things off in our house) wonders what would happen if Americans just opted to once in awhile shut them off and do without, to contribute to energy efficiency.