Laura Turner Seydel Shares Easy Summer Greening Tips
Whether it’s in high heels at a fancy fundraiser or in hiking boots at a landfill, the award-winning humanitarian, activist and mother of three walks the talk every single day.
In spite of being the daughter of media mogul and millionaire philanthropist Ted Turner, Laura Turner Seydel is not above a good dumpster dive. The author, blogger and environmental activist has been known to go after recyclables she spies in the waste bin and even picked up cans on the side of the road as a child.
“While other kids were just handed their allowances, we had to go out and earn ours,” the Atlanta native and mother of three recalls.
Those early lessons stayed with her, and she’s now a green expert and chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, co-founded Mothers and Others for Clean Air and the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
Her Atlanta home that she shares with her husband Rutherford and their three children, EcoManor, is the first LEED certified Gold residence in the Southeast. The stately Tudor is located in the Peachtree Battle area of Atlanta and is the first residence in the Southeast to combine advanced insulating and air sealing techniques, Energy Star appliances and lighting, a ground source heat pump system, and photovoltaic solar panels that virtually power all of the home’s daily electrical needs.
Sounds like a lot of work, but Seydel told us that being green is easier than one might think and just a little effort can go a long way.
“The biggest misconception is that you have to dramatically alter your lifestyle and/or spend a lot of money to reduce your bills. There are lots of low- and no-cost fixes,” she said. “I am always motivated to do more when one of my favorite Native American proverbs comes to mind: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
- Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day. Outdoor water use peaks in the summer. One of the easiest things you can do is buy a rain gauge at your local hardware store so that you only water your landscape when you need to. Lawns typically only need 1 inch of water per week. Perennials and shrubs need less water than grass, but wait until the fall for new plantings.
- If you don’t already have one, purchase a programmable thermostat. Set your programmable thermostat a few degrees higher when no one is home so your cooling system isn’t cooling an empty house. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Many utilities offer rebates for programmable thermostats and other energy-efficiency measures.
- Pull the curtains and shades closed before you leave the house to prevent the sun from heating your home.
- One of the quickest and cheapest things you can do is caulk, seal and weather strip all seams, cracks and openings to the outside. The rate of return on investment is typically less than one year. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components, such as around door and window frames; weather stripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.
- Replace your toilet and other plumbing fixtures with low-flow, WaterSense-labeled models. Toilets are, by far, the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home's indoor water consumption.
For more information about Laura Turner Seydel, visit www.lauraseydel.com.