Archive for December, 2010

Inhabitat’s Top Green Stories of 2010

 The Inhabitat (design will save the world) website has posted lists of the top green stories of 2010.
Included in the top green energy category are:

The site also features:

Plus scores of other interesting articles about new green developments.

December 30, 2010 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

Kids prefer healthy food in school lunches, study proves

 An experimental program in Boston, the Chefs in Schools Initiative, has been wildly successful, and the preliminary results released November 18th  have shown undeniably that kids like eating healthy food, if it’s prepared right.

Read full article.

December 20, 2010 at 7:20 pm Leave a comment

Indoor Electric Composter


NatureMill Indoor Composter


Click image for History Channel video report.


You can add food scraps every day. Takes 2 weeks to make a basketful of ready-to-go compost. Very low electric usage.

December 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

New Video Update on the Kihei Elementary School Garden

Check out our most recent planting days in this new 4 minute video produced by volunteer Elizabeth Crow. Mahalo Elizabeth for capturing these moments…and mahalo to all for helping us plant true seeds of change on Maui’s South Side. We’ve shared the video with Maui Tomorrow and they’ve incorporated into their TV show on AKAKU and asked us to provide them an update for their upcoming show.

December 1, 2010 at 10:26 am Leave a comment

Time to Upgrade Appliances?

In our Habit of the Month column, we usually look at little things that you can do everyday to live more sustainably. This month, let’s look at the tools we use every day and see if they could use an upgrade. If you own your house, this is your decision. If you rent, these tips may help you convince your landlord that you need to upgrade! According to the U.S. Dept of Energy, lighting, refrigeration and cooking are responsible for 41.5% of a home’s energy consumption. We can all take step to reduce our use (full dishwashers, shorter showers,etc) but sometimes it is time replace. Every household is different though so assess and decide what is right for you.

Make a list of which appliances you would like to upgrade and choose the one that will make the biggest difference in your energy costs. Currently, Hawaii Electric is offering rebates to encourage people to update and maintain the big energy users in our homes. Where there is a
*$xxx it means that it is eligible for a Hawaii Energy rebate if you buy a qualified model and/or use a qualified service person! When buying new appliances always look for Energy Star Rating.

Ceiling Fan (*$40) — Just changing your older ceiling fan out can reduce energy use by 50%. Make sure to turn off ceiling fans when you aren’t in the room. People don’t think about it, but using your ceiling fan with A/C will allow you to keep A/C at higher temp and still be comfortable.

Refrigerator (*$50) – Some new refrigerators are claiming to using equivalent power to a 60-watt lightbulb…pretty incredible! On average a new refrigerator will take 40% less energy. If you don’t want to upgrade, try adjusting your thermostat settings (37 degrees F for refrigerator and 3 degrees F for freezer is recommended) and clean and repair seals.

Window Air Conditioner (*$50) Newer models will save 10% annual savings. If possible, install them in shaded locations (north side of home or plant a tree!) for more efficiency.
Ductless Split Air Conditions (*$110) Split A/C system are more energy efficient than central air because they can be adjusted to cool specific areas of the home.
Central A/C Maintenance (*$50) Just keeping your central air conditioner tuned and cleaned can save up to 20%. Ensure your ducts, filters and coils are in good working order by having your system checked by a qualified serviceperson and get a rebate!

Washer (*$50) Newer models save both water(20-35%) and energy (50%) while cleaning your clothes better and reducing wear and tear on your washables. Although it isn’t eligible for rebate, get a new dryer that has a moisture sensor option. This will save energy and reduce wear on your clothing. Or better yet, use a solar drying device (clothesline) for the most savings. If you like the "tumbled softness", air dry and then throw in the dryer on air dry for 10 minutes.

Dishwasher (*$50) A newer dishwasher reduces water use by 25% and energy by 33%.

Solar Water Heater (*$750 + 35% state tax credit + 30% federal tax credit) According to HECO, 35% of the typical electric bill goes to heating water. Going solar gives you a whopping 90% saving. Here in South Maui, we are great candidates for Solar Water Heating. If you can’t move to solar check out heat pumps or high efficiency water heaters.

Computers — 90% of desktop computers are not energy efficient. If buying a new computer, a laptop will save power and give you more flexibility. Change out your old monitor with a flat screen for more saving. Take advantage of sleep and hibernate setting to automatically shut off power when you walk away.

Solar Attic Fan – Keeping your attic cool can reduce your air conditioning needs and extend the life of your roof. Sometimes just getting proper ventilation will help, so many homes in South Maui are not properly vented. A properly installed solar fan can be much cheaper than fixing bad ventilation.

Here are some great online resource and sources of information used in this article.

December 1, 2010 at 10:12 am 1 comment

Do You Have Fruit Flies?

Have you noticed lots of small flies around your garden? They look harmless to you but they can ruin your crops without you knowing it. Female flies lay eggs on your fruits and vegetables and the tiny larvae tunnel inside leaving just a pin prick on the surface.

Last month in the school garden, we installed a few fruit fly traps. In just a few weeks, we have captured hundreds of Oriental fruit flies. Many people don’t realize they have a fruit fly issue but it is predominate throughout Hawaii.
In South Maui we observe the Oriental Fruit fly and the Melon Fly. The Oriental Fruit fly thrives on hosts of starfruit, breadfruit, citrus, papaya, guava and mango but also impacts many other fruits! The Melon Fly hosts include cucumber, eggplant, guava, tomatoes and squashes. It is easy to make traps from reused 2-liter water bottles and a "lure" that can be purchased from CTAHR or some landscape supply stores.

We’ll be making some more Oriental Fruit Fly traps (and Melon if we can find lures) at our next Work and Learn day on Dec 11 at Kihei Elementary. Bring a couple 2-liter bottles down and we’ll get you started with a trap or two.

Traps are just part of a complete fruit fly program. Sanitation to remove infested fruit is critical; if your compost pile is hot that will work but otherwise put fruit in thick plastic bags. Fruit fly life cycles are very short (1-5 weeks) so don’t let fruit lie on the ground for long. Protein Baits can be sprayed that attract and poison flies; organic options are available. To get complete training on fruit fly suppression, contact the CTAHR office at 808-244-3242 ext 232. They offer training about once a month. We are working to schedule training with one of our "Work and Learn Days" next year so keep your eyes posted.

December 1, 2010 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

Down Time…

Maybe you noticed we’ve taken a break from some of our activities. Call it the SMS version of the Hawaiian makahiki celebration. We all need time to recharged our batteries.

We’ve been far from idle but just doing things behind the scenes. We created our first set of Bylaws which includes a new structure for SMS. We’re now prepared to grow and take on new projects in a more organized fashion. So much has happened in the Kihei Elementary School Garden that we have several articles to highlight!

South Maui Sustainability is now set to get more accomplished and we’re only limited by finding the people and passion to get things done! If you believe in what we are doing or have a new sustainability idea, please contact us.
You can get involved as Core Member, a Committee Member, or just bring us an idea for a special project and we can work together to make a difference in South Maui.

One of our upcoming projects is to develop a model for true ‘membership’ in our group. Of course we’ll always want to have the largest number of people possible on our mailing list and invited to our events, but we’re looking for ways to have membership with added value. If you have ideas that can help us grow members, now is a great time to get involved.

Some new ideas we are talking about include a renewable energy ‘demonstration garden’ with examples of different types of energy being modeled. This could be in conjunction with Kihei Charter School or another local school. We are still looking for the ‘perfect’ conservation project to present to the community. One of our Kihei neighbors has approached us with a ‘time banking’ or barter of services model for obtaining goods and services. What ideas would you like South Maui Sustainability to get involved with?

We’re having regular events again with "Dinner and Movie" in December and the Pre-conference Body and Soil Event in January. Although we may not be having events every month, we believe that regular events are an important part of fulfilling our vision.

Thank you for your support of South Maui Sustainability. We’ve done so much since we began 2-1/2 years ago. It’ll be interesting to look back 2 years from now and see how far we’ve come. We hope you will be part of our growth.

December 1, 2010 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

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December 2010