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Updates on hand washing vs. dishwasher, ozone hole status, rain garden projects and the race for clean energy. More....

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Here are a few clarifications and updates on previous articles, all of which are archived at www.ourbetternature.org.

MACHINE VS. HUMAN:  One astute reader questioned whether washing dishes by hand really uses less water than a dishwasher.  It depends.  A scientific study by the University of Bonn in Germany concluded that modern dishwashers actually use 1/2 the energy, 1/6 of the water, and less soap than handwashing.  Even the most sparing washers could not beat a modern dishwasher.  (Source: Treehugger.com)  It should be noted that some of the study’s project partners manufacture dishwashers.  Some veteran handwashers beg to differ, saying they save more water by soaking, reusing rinsate, and using more cold water.  Of course, there are other life cycle considerations involved, such as the environmental impacts of manufacturing and disposing of dishwashers, model (Energy Star appliances are more efficient), detergent used (e.g., whether it contains phosphates), whether you air dry or use heat, and the dishwasher cycle selected. Treehugger.com notes that the light duty cycle typically works well “unless you regularly eat glue and cement.” More...

RAIN GARDENS:  Two local towns will be putting in demonstration rain gardens, reports Jean Pillo, Coordinator for the Thames River Basin Partnership.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service, working with the Town of Thompson, is installing a rain garden at Riverside Park to collect runoff from the gazebo roof.  The Town of Coventry, in cooperation with the Thames River Basin Partnership, plans to construct a rain garden to catch runoff from the Town Hall Annex building.  Rain gardens conserve water and add beauty. They also allow stormwater to soak into the ground, filtering and recharging ground water while preventing erosion. More....

OZONE HOLE SHRINKS:  In 2007, NASA reported that the ozone hole shrank about 16% from last year's record high, as a result of warmer weather and more storms. For the past 15 years, the ozone hole has been about the same size.  NASA scientist Paul Newman said that at the current rate, the hole should be closed up by 2070. (Source: Wire Services)  The ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun, making life on earth possible. More...

CLEAN ENERGY:  If you sign up the CTCleanEnergyOptions Program, you won’t notice any change other than a surcharge (typically $4-8/mo.) on your electric bill that will still come from CL&P.  The change occurs at the energy grid level - the more customers who enroll, the more power CL&P buys from clean energy providers.  The more demand created by enrolling in programs like this, the more utilities will choose to buy from and create additional renewable sources of energy in lieu of coal and oil. 

Of the towns covered by the Villager newspapers, so far only Woodstock has committed to the Smart Power 20% by 2010 program.  Under this program, when 100 customers in town sign up for energy from clean sources like wind or solar, the town will be eligible to receive a FREE solar panel worth at least $10,000.  

See the table for how the Quiet Corner towns stack up against each other.   Woodstock currently leads the pack in terms of number of households, and Eastford has the highest percentage of households that have chosen clean energy options.  To join the clean energy program or learn more about options and costs, see www.ctcleanenergyoptions.com or call 860.874.9897. More....


# Participating Customers

% of Households






















Source: http://www.ctinnovations.com/communities

Originally published in the Villager newspapers on December 14, 2007

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