Bright Ideas for Spring

Kevin Bright

With spring officially underway, warmer days are on the horizon! With those temperature changes come some additional options on the horizon: walk or bike to work, create a home garden, or attend some local events going on in Rochester moving forward.

Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency and City of Rochester’s Energy and Sustainability Director Kevin Bright offers seven “Bright Ideas” to help you save energy as we head into spring and summer. Hopefully, you are able to find one or more of these ideas that may be applicable to your commute, home, or day-to-day activities.

  1. Dust off those walking shoes and tune up that bike! April is the official start of 30 Days of Biking, a pledge to ride your bike every day during the month. Post your progress online and with the hashtag #30daysofbiking!
  2. Make home garden plans. There are a variety of free online websites to help you plan your garden for this season. This list of resources on a permaculture site can help you identify the sunniest location for your garden. Smart Gardener is a great resource that helps identify the schedule, plants that complement one another when planted side-by-side, and more.
  3. Compost at home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, compostable food waste comprises up to 20-30% of the country’s waste stream. Setting up a compost barrel in your backyard will help provide nutrient-rich soil for your (future) garden. Olmsted County offers reduced price compost bins here.
  4. Consider getting a rain barrel. Olmsted County also offers reduced price rain barrels to help offset excess watering costs as you grow your own veggies. The aesthetic-appealing barrels connect to downspouts of your home’s gutters and feature a spigot to use for watering.
  5. Spring clean and green. Getting prepared for spring cleaning? Consider purchasing products that are Green Seal- or EcoLogo-certified. These products effectively clean without introducing additional risks to occupants. Products that do not pursue these certifications often use harsh chemicals that can pose harm to occupants and to the environment.
  6. Reduce your office’s plug load. Join DMC Wednesday, April 11 for our monthly Sustainability Speaker Series. This month, Rick Carter of LHB Architects will highlight ways to reduce the impact of plug loads (the energy used by products powered by ordinary AC plugs) in office environments. And mark your calendar now for upcoming sessions on Thursday, May 10 and Wednesday, June 13.
  7. Looking for more ideas? Join the EcoChallenge, a national competition that takes place throughout the month of April. The challenge highlights actions you can apply at work or at home to live more sustainably on a day-to-day basis. Many organizations throughout Rochester are competing this year. Consider joining a team – or create your own!