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The Superior Express
Superior, Nebraska
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April 25, 2002     The Superior Express
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April 25, 2002
 

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class at Mankato High School are sharing their members of the community as they plan, plant and maintain around town. Members of the class, taught by Kristen (from left) Tiffany Jensen, Bethany Melby, Beth Gillett, pictured) Kyle Lawrence. are class project "00ulture students flowers planted office and for example- students in a horticulture class, ood, sharing I in class with the planted in front of the post are working on the Elementary at flower Hospital. preparing to land- =. Cougar junior-senior high class are Tiffany dby, Beth Gillett, Kyle Lawrence. basics varieties of .= they grow uired to lantings. Students c)n of the planter was this should last flowers are low releasing fertil- keep the flowers planted are 9urgundy At the end of replace the spring t season plants for the work ghosta as they had grown -fourth of the starts the rest were given Constant necessity before the seed. at hospital for flower "Old-fashioned" are preferred so them and re- There are three the students iilizer is used such Is applied last in to bloom, added with a will keep summer. project class is landscaping around the Cougar sign. Melby said that though the area had been planted before, it needed more maintenance than it received. Plans for the bed were drawn show- ing arrangement of plants. As soon as the threat of frost has passed, the class will begin the project. Plantings will include fountain grass behind the sign; blue columbine along the outside edge of the bed and hostas between the foun- tain grass. A box wood shrub is being considered for the front corners of the sign. Pansies will be planted in front of the sign and iris on either side. Planning is important so newly planted flowers and, grass will not cover the sign as they mature. The project will continue as future horticulture class members maintain the bed. Aspects of flower gardening stu- dents learned during this experience include kinds of plants and flowers to plant depending on exposure to the sun. Some plants are shade-loving and some others do well in full sunlight. Hostas, which do well in shade, should do wtdl behind the sign, between the taller fountain grass. Pansies and iris do well in sun and should do well in front of the sign, which faces south- west. Plants grow indoors, too Interior house plants were placed in the office at the junior-senior high. This was an experiment to determine what plants do well in fluorescent light- ing. So far, the snake plant, philoden- dron, dracaena, peace lilies and "dumb cane" are doing well. Students learned that plants should be placed in an office, as it adds needed color and they purify the air. Students would like to provide sea- sonal flowers and plants for the school office, such as forced bulbs in the early spring. Jensen admits that before she took this class, she didn't know much about plants and flowers. "Now I know many of their names and where they should be planted to do well." Melby said, "I think the thing I've learned the most is what kind of plants work well in different atmospheres." Underwood said considerations when choosing plants for the interior of a home include taking into consider- ation the decorating colors of the room, the lifestyle of the people, the amount of light exposure and the size of the room. "Flowers, shrubs and trees can add so much to the exterior appearance of the home and plants can add to the interior appeal of the home." Thursday, April 25, 2002 THE SUPERIOR ExPREsS 3C Replacing windows Efficient coonngl-* __ energy investment Reduce heat sources to De results in lower bills It doesn't take much to significantly lower energy bills during summer months. Kansas State University En- ergy Extension specialist Bruce Snead said homeowners should be conscien- tious of the energy efficiency of their house because: Energy bills are a significant part of their monthly budgets; and The cost of energy can fluctuate. "Prices of energy can fluctuate, as we've seen with natural gas," Snead said. "With electricity, we won't see as much fluctuations [because it is regu- lated], but the power companies are [currently] requesting a 19-percent in- crease in electric costs, since 95 per- cent of new electricity is generated from natural gas." On a more positive note for Kan- sans, Snead said it is "highly unlikely" that the state will experience the same energy crisis currently gripping Cali- fornia. "California' s problems are a failure of deregulation, but many other states have deregulated successfully," he said. "Kansas has the time to respond so that appropriate energy decisions are made to avoid the things happening in Cali- fornia." The amount of energy expended by an average household varies greatly, depending on the efficiency of appli- ances and cooling systems, as well as the way residents manage energy ex- penditures. And the cost doesn't just hit homeowners; anyone who pays a utility bill can feel the benefit of en: ergy conservation. One way to significantly lower en- ergy bills during summer lies in how hqmeowners cool their house. The higher the thermostat in the summer, the less the air conditioning will run. Snead said that lowering the thermo- stat will not cool the house quicker. "Air conditioners are not like car engines; they don't run at fast or slow speeds. Most systems are either on or off," Snead said. "They can only achieve so much cooling each hour. And any'time you can turn the thermo- stat up, it will help with savings." Snead said programmable thermo- stats allow maximum efficiency in Cooling systems because they can be programmed to run when cooling is needed. He recommends the thermo- stat be programmed at higher tempera- tures when no one is home, such as during the work day. Then, he suggests that homeowners program the thermo- stat to turn the cooling unit on 1/2 to 1 hour before the resident is expected home. "If you are typically gone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., program [the thermo- stat] to come on at 4-4:30 p.m., de- entire house. Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to cooling systems. Ifa cool- ing system is too big for the needs of a house, it actually reduces comfort, ac- cording to Snead. "The big systems can put out a blast of cold air that satisfies the thermostat, but it doesn't run long enough to de- crease humidity," he said. "And in Kansas, it is key to decrease humid- ity." A properly sized system that has adequate run time to control humidity is best. Ceiling, oscillating and box fans can help circulate the air and reduce the humidity. Air movement on the skin makes it feel about 4 degrees cooler, allowing the thermostat to be raised while obtaining the same com- fort level, Snead said. Energy costs can be lowered fur- ther by minimizing the amount of solar heat that enters a home, especially through west windows in the after- noon. "If you have lots of west-facing windows, they provide a tremendous heat load on the house," Snead said. "Planting trees isn't an immediate fix, but proper placement of trees and shrubs on the east and especially west sides of the house can decrease cooling costs by as much as 25 percent. Any- one who has a giant elm tree in their front yard knows the benefits of the shading." For those with less patience, an awning or vine-covered trellis can achieve similar shading results. "The greater shading you have, the better," Snead said. "Provide seasonal shading with an awning or trellis that shades windows and provides good lands.capin.g at the same time. Fast growing vines can be in full bloom within in a few months; that's a benefit you will see in the first season." He added that a little common sense goes a long way. "When the air conditioner is run- ning, run the house the same way you run it in the winter. Keep windows and doors closed tightly. Don't leave the screen door open. The common sense things will mak8 a big difference." For more information on energy efficient cooling, visit K-State's En- ergy Extension Service website at http:/ /www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_nrgy/ees/. Electricity costs increase in summer Why do electricity costs increase in the summer? "The main reason electricity costs increase in the summer is that the de- pending on how hot the temperature is mand for electricity goes up due to the hat day," St 'said.'t keep "in" :need for air conditioning," said Rich- mind, if it is i T0"degrees oiltside, pro'  ard NelSon, energy and environmental gramming it to turn on at 4:30 won't engineer at Kansas State University. give it enough time to cool [the house] before you get home. Pick what works for you and your household." Other tips that Snead suggests: Window units can be helpful when a family spends a majority of their time in one or two rooms of the house, Snead said, because specified areas of the house can be cooled instead of the "Utilities must have enough gener- ating capacity to meet their greatest demand for power throughout the year, which is usually in the summer months. Their cost of owning and operating the additional generating capacity neces- sary to meet the high summer peaks is reflected in the higher rates charged in the summer," Nelson said. Thank you to Jewell County Community for 30 years of work! Q Jan C rum Are replacement windows a good energy conservation investment? "The decision to purchase replace- ment windows for your home is usu- ally based on more than just concerns about energy conservation." said Bruce Snead, extension specialist in residen- tial energy at Kansas State University. If your windows are in poor condi- tion with rotted wood members, bro- ken glass, missing putty or warped frames, and very drafty, then replace- ment is a good idea. New windows will increase the value and energy- efficiency of your home. "There is little doubt that a new, tightly constructed window with double-glazing and other energy-effi- cient features will perform better than an old, single-glazed unit with a storm window," Snead said. The potential for recovering the cost of the investment through energy sav- ings is minimal, however, given the average cost of $300 to $800 or more per window (depending on the amount of interior and exterior work required). Whether heat loss through infiltra- tion is reduced significantly with the new unit depends greatly on the qual- ity of installation. Filling the gap be- tween the rough frame opening and finished window frame with caulk and insulation is essential for reducing in- filtration. "Unless an existing window is ir- reparable, much can be done to reduce infiltration through seasonal caulking, weather-stripping, putty work and re- pair," Snead said. "This labor-inten- sive approach will almost always cost less than replacement and is more likely to have a short payback time through energy savings." cooler during hot summer Internal sources of heat can con- tribute to air-conditioning require- ments "Internal sources of heat in a home includd the occupants, lighting, appli- ances, cooking and bathing activities and anything that produces heat or moisture," said Gene Meyer, exten- sion mechanical engineer at Kansas State University. "Little can be done to control the number of occupants in the home," he said. "However, you can make a con- scious effort to shut off unnecessary lighting and thus, reduce the heat asso- ciated with it." Heat-producing appliances include all electrical appliances. The major contributors in your home are refrig- erators, freezers, toaster ovens, stoves, washing machines and dryers. "You can regulate the amount of heat released by some of these, while with others you can only control the timing," Meyer said. You should clean refrigerator and freezer coils on a regular basis. This will reduce the running time of the refrigerator or freezer and reduce the amount of heat given off in the space When using your stove, use the exhaust hood so the heat and moisture released will be exhausted. Also, use the bath exhaust fan to remove excess moisture when bathing. Appliances like dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers should be used in the evening or early morning, when there is less load on your air conditioner. Determine How can I tell which appliance in my home uses the most electricity? "The amount of electrical energy used by an appliance depends on both the rate the appliance uses and the length of time it operates," said Tom Logan, instructor of architectural en- gineering and construction science at Kansas State University. "The rate is measured in watts or kilowatts (one kilowatt equals 1,000 watts) and can be found on the appliance nameplate." "You determine the amount 0felec- trical energy used by multiplying the rate in kilowatts by the time in hours," Logan said. "A 750-watt toaster oper- ated 6 hours a month uses about 4.5 kilowatt-hours." Electricity in Kansas costs about 6 electrical usage to 8 cents a kilowatt. So, this toaster costs between 27 and 36 cents a month to operate. Typically, appliances that use en- ergy at the highest rates are electric furnaces, water heaters, ranges, refrig- erators, air conditioners and dryers. Electric skillets, toasters, blow dry- ers, dishwashers and other small heat- ing devices use energy at a slightly lower rate, Logan said. Finally, items that use energy slowly include light bulbs, small motor-driven appliances and clocks. "When hours of use are figured in, those items that generally use the most electricity are heating and air-condi- tioning systems, water heaters, refrig- erators, freezers and ranges," Logan said. Spring seems to provide added impetus to "clean-up and fix-up" around the home. The home of Janis McDill, 205 South Center. gets a new coat of paint, applied by Gary Ells, local contractor. The home, once occupied by the late Ruth and Perry Kier, was constructed in the early 1900s by Swedish immigrants, who incorporated hand-carved, decorative gingerbread woodwork, imported from Sweden, m an archway between the living and dining rooms. There is a tank in the attic, believed to have been the early water supply for the home. The carriage house, converted to a garage, is visible at the left of the photo. The McDills constructed a one-story addition on the rear of the home in the mid-1970s, expanding the kitchen area. Later, a second story was added, which included two bedrooms. 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