Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How You Can Become a Local Environmentalist

By the time a developer submits plans for a commercial or residential development, it is often too late to protect precious habitat or farmland. If there are large tracts of undeveloped land in your area, it is a good idea to find out what regulations or ordinances govern their development. Consider forests, stream and river habitats, open space, and other community assets.

Unless the community has already established environmental protection ordinances or if the land it protected by county, state, or federal regulations, once the property is zoned for a use, there is little in the larger scheme that can be done to protect habitat or other desirable community assets. The developer's planners and engineers generally design and make development decisions based upon the developer’s goals.

1. Contact your local planning and zoning or development department to review existing ordinances. Many municipalities have these regulations available online.

2. If you know of areas that are desirable for protection, find out what the process would be to change the local development codes or ordinances to protect them.

3. Find out what developments are being planned in your area. This may give you an idea of whether more is on the way.

4. Attend local board and committee meetings and find out about the development process.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Off the Subject--Another Picture of Oscar

One Way to Improve Indoor Air Quality: Mechanized Air Cleaning Devices

Since most Americans spend the majority of their time indoors, good indoor air quality is increasingly more important for overall health. The air in your home or office can be a soup of chemicals, pollens, particles, and microbiological agents.

There are three major approaches to improving indoor air quality as enumerated by the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

The EPA states:

“Solutions to air quality problems in apartments, as in homes and offices, involve such actions as: eliminating or controlling the sources of pollution, increasing ventilation, and installing air cleaning devices.”

One Solution: Mechanized Air Cleaning Devices

  • Air cleaning devices, come in many forms, but one common type is medium efficiency air filter installed in a special housing on duct systems. These usually have an accordion appearance and are 80-90% efficient.

  • The other common type is the high efficiency (up to 99.9%) HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Accumulator) systems installed on dust systems or as stand alone units. HEPA systems on ducts usually require additional fans to push the air through them. Stand alone and portable units also generate sufficient air flow to filter the air. These can filter down to 0.3 microns.

  • There are also often adsorption filters that contain activated carbon to filter pollutants in the form of gases. The gas particles adhere to carbon as the air passes through the carbon filter.

AllerAir offers many high-quality, all-steel construction, portable units. Most units have HEPA and activated carbon. A UV lamp can even be added to sterilize bacteria, viruses, and mold present in the air.