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Just a Thought

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.

Posted 06-10-2008 8:16 AM by Hoyt, William
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Scott Choinski wrote re: Just a Thought
on 06-10-2008 1:06 PM

I've seen attacks on leaf blowers due to the noise, so this is a new one.  I have a leaf blower. It quickly and easily clears my driveway and walk. This is preferable to me over the alternative of sweeping or using the hose.  I don't use the blower very long, maybe 10 or 15 mins.  Not much energy savings to be had in my opinion over.  Another wrinkle to consider - is an electric leaf blower preferable to a gas-powered model?  

Scott Choinski wrote re: Just a Thought
on 06-11-2008 1:25 PM

I have seen complaints against leaf blowers due to noise, but energy efficiency is a new one. I have an electric leaf blower and find it a useful tool to quickly clear off my driveway and walk instead of using a broom or hose.  I use it 10 or 15 mins over the weekend, so there is not much energy savings.

Is it preferable to use an electric blower over a gas powered model?

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