Everything surrounding our urban environment has the potential to pollute our oceans. It’s very simple- whatever we find on our streets, lawns, fields, etc. will eventually be carried off to a waste facility or transported to our sewer drain system. It’s up to us to be aware of the products we use that will eventually end up in our sewer drains which leads to our oceans.
Urbanization increases the variety and amount of pollutants carried into our nation’s waters. In urban and suburban areas, much of the land surface is covered by buildings, pavement and compacted landscapes with impaired drainage. These surfaces do not allow rain and snowmelt to soak into the ground which greatly increases the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff. In addition to these habitat-destroying impacts, pollutants from urban runoff include:
- Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from motor vehicles
- Pesticides and nutrients from lawns and gardens
- Viruses, bacteria and nutrients from pet waste and failing septic systems
- Road salts
- Heavy metals from roof shingles, motor vehicles and other sources
- Thermal pollution from dark impervious surfaces such as streets and rooftops
These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, foul drinking water, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.
11 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants for your Home & Office
Finding the right indoor plant for your home and lifestyle can get a little tricky. Here are some low maintenance plant options to consider to add greenery to your home and office. The great thing about having indoor plants is they help clean up your environment with clean air quality. They will also add an additional decorative piece and sure dress up any space in your home.
1. Angel Ivy Ring Topiary:
Also know as ‘wire vine,’ is known to be a lush fast growing plant. These indoor beauties grow up to 12 inches tall and 8 inches in diameter and thrive in 65 to 80 degree climates. Try not to let these plants sit in water or get completely dry.
Zones: These indoor plants respond well to bright & indirect light.
2. Braided Ficus Tree:
This plant, also known as Weeping Fig and Ficus Benjamin is native to Southeast Asia. A very attractive plant and considered one of the most popular indoor plant options. The braided stems are intertwined together and the top of the plant is full and bushy. The leaves are dark green and need constant moisture to prevent leaf drop when it’s cooled. This is a tropical plant and doesn’t tolerate frost at all.
Zones: Just like angel ivy these bushy plants like bright & indirect light.
3. Catus Combo Bonsai:
This plant will bring a touch of southwest into your home. The cacti bonsai are so intriguing to look at and super low maintenance. They’re usually kept in ceramic dishes or a glass bowl. These plants are carefully selected by specialist growers and thrive well in homes. The cacti bonsai combo only require a little water and thrive in a warm environment.
Height: 6″ to 10″
Zones: This indoor option requires bright light.
4. Chinese Evergreen:
The great thing about this plant is it doesn’t need that much light and is among the easiest indoor plant to grow. These indoor evergreens can tolerate a wide range of light or little to no natural light which makes them real hardy. These plants can flourish for years and are also rated as a great indoor purifier. Try keeping temperatures above 55 degrees and if they start getting mottled brown spots on the leaves, then you know there getting too cold. When the leaves turn yellow the soil is to dry.
Zones: Low to moderate light required but natural light is also okay.
5. Miniature Herb Standard Topiaries:
These plants are trained into tiny trio Topiaries in Lavender, Serissa and Rosemary. They thrive in any sunny spots and need to be watered regularly. Try not to allow your topiary to sit in water or get to be overly dry. Note: Softened water and salts will damage these plants. In the winter keep Rosemary and Lavender topiaries inside and exposed to sunlight or direct light.
Flower color: Blue, white, and lavender.
Foliage color: Gray and green
Zones: Bright light is a must for these guys.
6. Chamaedorea Palm:
These are great indoor plants. They’reo actually a dwarf of outside palms and would look nice to keep in a hallway or entryway. These mini indoor palms do well in average home temperature and humidity. Overall these palms are a hardy plant and also suitable for office space.
Zone: indirect light and fluorescent light is great to help this plant thrive.
Note: Keep soil lightly moist and can be occasionally dry. Don’t over water!
Height: 3 inches & 3 feet in width
7. Month Orchid, Novelty Stripes:
This plant is full of colorful goodness. They’re ranked one of the top best air-purifying house plants to grow. The best part about the orchid is it blooms two to three times per year. Needs to be placed in four inches of black plastic pot and insert into a decorative pot.
Bloom time: Spring to Fall
Zones: Bright & indirect light
8. Ponytail Palm:
This plant is super low maintenance for those of us that forget to water. These plants can last for decades if taken proper care of. The Ponytail Palms get their name from their ponytail appearance. Water ponytail palms once every 7 to 14 days. The only bad thing about this plant is they’re slow growers.
Note: These plants are tough as nails and it’s almost impossible to let them die.
Zone: Bright Light required.
(Try placing near a window)
9. Tropical Combo Bonsai:
These are great plants to have on a desk in an office, it’s like having a mini rain forest. They are full of color and greenery in a small miniature ceramic rock garden. This plant needs to be watered on a regular basis, a good rain is sufficient amount of watering.
Bloom: Early Spring, Mid-Winter & Late Winter.
Zones: Bright indirect light.
10. Amaryllis- “Yellow Goddess”:
This plant will bring a taste of Spring indoors. These yellow goddesses have a variation of soft yellows and blooms that are compact. They bloom about six to eight weeks after potting.
Bloom time: Midwinter & Early Spring.
Zones: Bright & indirect light.
11. Peace Lily Plant:
This plant is also known as Spathiphyllum, has white fan like flowers that bloom and dark green foliage. This is considered to be a hardy plant and great to keep indoors. Only needs to be watered once every 7 to 10 days. I have this plant and I love it because it is so low maintenance, even if your gone for more then a week and haven’t watered they’ll still be alive. After you water them they’ll bounce back quickly and perk up again, they are just great plants to have indoors.
(Height 12″/ 5″ in diameter)
Zone: Deep Shade & Humidity
Electricity from Natural Gas
Natural gas is a fossil fuel formed when layers of buried plants and animals are exposed to intense heat and pressure over thousands of years. The energy that the plants and animals originally obtained from the sun is stored in the form of carbon in natural gas. Natural gas is combusted to generate electricity, enabling this stored energy to be transformed into usable power. Natural gas is a nonrenewable resource because it cannot be replenished on a human time frame.
The natural gas power production process begins with the extraction of natural gas, continues with its treatment and transport to the power plants, and ends with its combustion in boilers and turbines to generate electricity.
Initially, wells are drilled into the ground to remove the natural gas. After the natural gas is extracted, it is treated at gas plants to remove impurities such as hydrogen sulfide, helium, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and moisture. Pipelines then transport the natural gas from the gas plants to power plants.
Power plants use several methods to convert gas to electricity. One method is to burn the gas in a boiler to produce steam, which is then used by a steam turbine to generate electricity. A more common approach is to burn the gas in a combustion turbine to generate electricity.
Another technology, that is growing in popularity is to burn the natural gas in a combustion turbine and use the hot combustion turbine exhaust to make steam to drive a steam turbine. This technology is called “combined cycle” and achieves a higher efficiency by using the same fuel source twice.
Although power plants are regulated by federal and state laws to protect human health and the environment, there is a wide variation of environmental impacts associated with power generation technologies.
The purpose of the following section is to give consumers a better idea of the specific air, water, and solid waste releases associated with natural gas-fired generation.
At the power plant, the burning of natural gas produces nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, but in lower quantities than burning coal or oil. Methane, a primary component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas, can also be emitted into the air when natural gas is not burned completely. Similarly, methane can be emitted as the result of leaks and losses during transportation. Emissions of sulfur dioxide and mercury compounds from burning natural gas are negligible.
The average emissions rates in the United States from natural gas-fired generation are: 1135 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide, 0.1 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 1.7 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides.1 Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides at the power plant.2 In addition, the process of extraction, treatment, and transport of the natural gas to the power plant generates additional emissions.
Water Resource Use
The burning of natural gas in combustion turbines requires very little water. However, natural gas-fired boiler and combined cycle systems do require water for cooling purposes. When power plants remove water from a lake or river, fish and other aquatic life can be killed, affecting animals and people who depend on these aquatic resources.
Combustion turbines do not produce any water discharges. However, pollutants and heat build up in the water used in natural gas boilers and combined cycle systems. When these pollutants and heat reach certain levels, the water is often discharged into lakes or rivers. This discharge usually requires a permit and is monitored. For more information about these regulations, visit EPA’s Office of Water Web site.
Solid Waste Generation
The use of natural gas to create electricity does not produce substantial amounts of solid waste.
Land Resource Use
The extraction of natural gas and the construction of natural gas power plants can destroy natural habitat for animals and plants. Possible land resource impacts include erosion, loss of soil productivity, and landslides.
In 2003, natural gas reserves in the United States were estimated to be 1,338 trillion cubic feet, and U.S. gas production was 18.6 trillion cubic feet.3
- U.S. EPA, eGRID 2000.
- U.S Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2005.
Wind energy- It’s important to know about one of the cleanest sources of renewable energy on the planet.
Wind energy is the energy that is harvested from wind speed. The speed or the velocity of wind that moves and rotates the wind turbine. In common language, the terminology for wind energy and wind poweris similar. However in physics, the terminology of wind power and wind energy is different.
The second most important factor in calculating the wind energy is the wind mass or air mass which is measured in kg. Air mass is the mass of wind molecules which contains a number of gases molecules and water vapour. The most common gases are nitrogen of 78% and oxygen about 21%.
Normally, air mass varies with altitude, temperature and water vapour content. However in calculations all other complexities have to be reduced so that we could get faster and shorter assumptions.
Wind energy is a kinetic energy or energy from movement or motion. In physics the kinetic energy is calculated by using the equation:
Kinetic Energy = ½ X Mass x Velocity2
Where; the Kinetic Energy is given in Joules, mass is in kg and velocity is in ms-1 or meter per second.
Wind’s kinetic energy is basically the movement or the motion of air molecules. Although the mass of the air molecules is rather small, however the speed and the swept area which is given by wind is large enough to create a substantial energy. For instance, during hurricanemany people are so worry where to hide and runaway although the driving energy is just tiny air molecules.
Wind power is given in watts. Power means the energy that is generated in that particular time in a second. Thus, power which is generated from wind is calculated by using the following equation:
Power = Energy/ time (second)
Those are the basic equations of calculating wind energy and wind power, which have similarities of what we have learnt about kinetic energy in schools.
Wind Power for Wind Turbines
More accurate calculation for wind turbines could be obtained when we considered the swept area of the particular turbines.
To ease the calculation we would consider using air density, ρ rather than air mass. Thus the density is given by the following equation:
Density ρ = Mass/ Volume kg/m3
We use this equation to convert the equation for Kinetic Energy to equation for Power. Please refer the above.
Mass/sec (kg/s) = Velocity (m/s) x Area (m2) x Density (kg/m3)
Hint: The Mass/sec equation above is going to be substituted to Kinetic Energy equation to be new Power equation.
Thus, the Power of the wind hitting a wind turbine in watt (or Joules/second) with a certain swept area is given by the following very important equation:
Power = 1/2 x Swept Area x Air Density x Velocity3
- Power – Watt (w)
- Swept Area – Meter squared (m2)
- Air Density – Mass / Volume (kg/m3)
- Velocity3 – (Meter/second)3