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Archive for September, 2013

Sep 30

Mindful Monday

Published in 2013

Happy Mindful Monday! This week’s is good for the environment and good for your wallet…. A two-fer!
1. Keep your engine properly tuned
- Tuning your engine helps maintain efficient fuel-air ratio, which promotes complete burn (meaning less emissions, too!) and maximum fuel efficiency. A simple tune-up can save as much as 4% on fueleconomy for most vehicles.
2. Keep your tires properly inflated
-This is the simplest way to promote fuel savings. A pressure gauge can cost you as much as $4.00, but on average can save you 3.3% on fuel economy when used in conjunction with free compressed air at many gas stations. So, if you checked your tire pressure after every $100 spent on fuel, you would almost make your money back on a pressure gauge after the first couple fill-ups. Not to mention maximize the life of your tires!
3. Use recommended motor oil viscosity
-Using manufacturer recommended oil can improve your fuel economy by 1-2%when switching back from a non-recommended viscosity and weather rated oil.
4. Drive Sensibly
Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
Fuel Economy Benefit: 5–33%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings:  $0.18–$1.19/gallon
5. Observe the Speed Limit
While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph.  You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.25 per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is also safer.
Fuel Economy Benefit: 7–14%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.25–$0.51/gallon
6. Avoid Excessive Idling
Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear.
Fuel Cost Savings:        $0.01–$0.03/min. (AC off); $0.02–$0.04/min. (AC on)
Have a great week!
Trevor Plendl
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Sep 9

Mindful Mondays

Published in 2013

The Sustainability Office is going to undertake a new twist on an old project.  A few years ago we sent out “Go Green” tips to students, faculty, and staff every Friday.  They were tips that we thought would help make the campus more sustainable.  Some tips we received from colleagues, some we gleaned off of websites, and some were original.
Our plan this year is to provide tips to the campus community.  We are going to call this program Mindful Mondays, based on the following definition  of “mindfulness”:  the quality of attention and care that keeps Earth in mind, so that we can mind our own social and environmental behavior ( from The Nature of College:  How a New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World, Dr. James Farrell, the late professor of history, American studies, and environmental studies at St. Olaf College).
Tips will be coordinated by Trevor Plendl, a student employee in the Sustainability Office.  Please email him at if you have any ideas for tips that would conserve resources.  Here’s the first one: to ten percent of a person’s energy cost goes to doing laundry. Washing with cold water can save up to 90% of that energy. Stains are set in by heat, so washing cold and using a lower heat setting on your dryer not only saves energy, but can also save your clothes!
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"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the Earth is our Mother? What befalls the Earth befalls all the sons of the Earth."
~ Chief Seattle in a letter to President Franklin Pierce, 1852