How to Green Your 4th of July

4thIt’s getting to be that time again...holiday time! This time, we will celebrate our independence and the birth of our nation as the United States of America. Traditionally celebrated with barbecues and fireworks, the Fourth of July is one of the most distinctive family holidays, and just like Super Bowl time, you can take care of the environment and have fun all at once! Here are some tips from the Solar Optimum team on how to keep your festivities green:

Skip the Central Air, Heated Pool, and House Lights

Take the party outdoors and provide shade to shelter your guests from the sun. It’s summer! The sun stays up until past 8 PM and the fireworks start as soon as it tucks in for the night. Leave the lights off until the fireworks are done.

If you must run your air conditioning, do so early in the morning and turn it off by 11 AM. Keep the windows and doors closed, blinds/drapes drawn, and you’ll be surprised at how cool your home stays.

Have a pool? After the June gloom, the sun will shine with a vengeance by the start of July. Skip heating your pool, unless it’s with a solar cover. On that note...stop heating your pool and switch to a solar cover! You will save energy and money.

A NOTE for you solar homes out there: Make sure that you’ve cleaned your solar panels. Sunlight is at optimum strength during the summer months and you want your panels functioning at their peak. You’ll be surprised at how big a difference clean panels will make.

Only the Best Ingredients Make the Best BBQ

When you go shopping for your meat (whether steak, hamburger, hot dogs, or chicken), go for organic, grass-fed, all-natural, cage-free, and nitrite/nitrate-free. The quality of life of your food is just as important. That being said, if there’s a Farmer’s Market in your area, head on over to get your produce! Responsible and sustainable farming practices should be supported.

It’s very difficult to come between a man and his grill, but if you can, keep him from dousing it with lighter fluid to get the fire started.

Make sure the grill is clean before beginning. It will minimize the inevitable smoke.

Recycle, Recycle, RECYCLE

It’s best to go with real plates and silverware, but if you must go for disposable plates and utensils, make sure they are recyclable, and make sure your guests know that you recycle!

Fireworks and Smoke Pollution

Firstly, be aware of city ordinances regarding residential fireworks...many cities do not allow fireworks to go off in a person’s backyard. Whether allowed or not, fireworks can be dangerous. All necessary precautions must be taken, including having a large container full of water near the fireworks (a pool does NOT count), clearing your yard and trees of dead and dry leaves, twigs, and branches, and clearing your roof and gutters of the same. All it takes is one hot ember and the fire department is invited to your party.

Generally speaking, let the experts handle the fireworks. Aside from the tricky nature of lighting them, they cause a lot of smoke pollution (as you can see the next morning). Most communities will host a fireworks show at a park, a high school football field, or a stadium, and most can be seen from the comfort of your home. If you watch already existing fireworks, you will help keep the air a bit cleaner.

Finally, HAVE FUN!

If you would like some more tips on how to keep your 4th of July Green, check out our blog about keeping your Super Bowl green. A lot of the same things apply (like carpooling).

Oh, and if you’re stressing about your big outdoor Fourth of July party (West Los Angeles area and beachside communities of Southern California), we can recommend an excellent green outdoor cleaning and gardening service. Sparkleyard Outdoor Maids will take care of it, whether it’s your outside windows, patio furniture, yard, or even your grill: http://sparkleyard.com/

From all of us at Solar Optimum, have a glorious Independence Day everyone!