Green matters. Conservation of natural resources is important. That’s what motivatedPlymouthHarborresident Ish Pedersen to organize the firstPlymouthHarborresident conservation committee almost eight years ago. Of course, then it was an informal group of residents who wanted to share with their neighbors what they had learned about saving money and natural resources by adopting simple new habits.

They had a good idea with that, and shortly they were recognized as an official resident committee operating within the structure of the Residents Association. Ish was very dedicated to the cause and served three more years as the chair before passing it on to other equally dedicated individuals.

Bill Brackett led the committee after Isabel and in April 2013, Buzz van Arsdale took up the reigns. While the leadership of the chair is important, this committee is a true team of dedicated conservationists. Both Bill Brackett and Ish Pedersen have remained on the committee, which includes Sally van Arsdale, Hank Gieseler, Mike Kolker, Alida DeJongh, Barry Starr, and Marty Buenneke.

The focus of the committee is to promote energy and water saving through education. Even more importantly, the committee is encouraging residents to adopt best practices and new behaviors as a result of the education. Of course, as Buzz Van Arsdale observes, “while many of us will voice our support of conservation and the need to change our behaviors, it actually takes much more time to see a real change.”

For example, every March the committee hosts “Light Bulb Day” during which they demonstrate all types of new energy saving bulbs such as the CFL (compact florescent light bulb) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs by a variety of manufacturers such as CREE, GE, Phillips, and Sylvania. Despite the education, some residents still prefer inefficient incandescent light bulbs and our maintenance department keeps them in stock.

Other hot topics are the waste of water with dripping faucets and leaking toilets. The EPA estimates that 20% of all toilets leak, so what does that say about water leakage in all of ourPlymouthHarborcampus? And if we let our showers run for 2 to 3 minutes waiting for the hot water to flow, how much are we wasting there?

Have you noticed in each month’s Harbor Light newsletter there is a notice about the peak hours of FPL’s electricity rates? This month electricity rates are twice as high during the peak hours of 6 to 10 a.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m. That’s catchy and easy to remember!  Lower your usage from 6 to 10 both AM and PM.

Buzz points out we can all make a difference by paying attention to these little things by turning off the lights, TV, appliances, and keeping the thermostat at a temperature that uses less energy. Saving resources saves everyone money.

While the committee encourages residents to reduce paper use, they also take care not to overlap with other committees, such as Housekeeping that reviews recycling and waste collection policies. Nor does it monitor outdoor water use or environmental impact, which are issues dealt with by the Grounds Committee.

One perk of serving on the committee is the occasional field trip. In March and April of this year, the group anticipates field trips to the FPL solar power site nearArcadia. They plan to stop for lunch at cafe on the main street inArcadia, and maybe visit some of the antique stores there.

Buzz says he’s very interested in waste management, so he’ll prefer the tour planned of the Nokomis landfill and hazardous waste collection. If you are interested in any of these endeavors, please let him know!