summer

By Elias Rodriguez

NYC now offers spray caps for a safe and legal way to play with the water from fire hydrants.

NYC now offers spray caps for a safe and legal way to play with the water from fire hydrants.

There were three public pools within walking distance of the Manhattan apartment where I grew up, but the long lines and adult supervision were a drag for an inner-city kid looking for fun and games. On sweltering, muggy days nothing was as attractive or exciting as the news that someone had (illegally!) opened a New York City fire hydrant in my neighborhood.

The most frequent location for this crime was a low traffic street where my school – closed for the summer – was located. Usually, some big looking kid sporting a mustache, would use some sort of special wrench to crank open the fire hydrant and word would quickly spread that our instant water park was open for mayhem. Ice cold plumes would rapidly flood the street sweeping kids along with dirt, cans, bottle caps, glass, and assorted debris towards the storm drain. An improvised device, usually a soup can opened at both ends, would serve to guide the high pressure cascade of water. Even as a precocious minor, I suspected this was wrong because everyone would skedaddle as soon as the police or fire department would show up to shut off the water.

Little did I comprehend that I was a juvenile accessory to delinquent behavior. With education and the benefit of several decades of maturity, I now realize that opening a fire hydrant is not just a serious crime, it’s irresponsible and puts people’s lives at risk. Water is a precious and limited resource.

An illegally opened fire hydrant lowers pressure that firefighters need in case of a fire. A single hydrant opened in this hazardous way can release over 1,000 gallons of water per minute. That’s enough wasted water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than half a day! Indeed, the pressure would topple most of us and injuries were common. This was a diversion at a cost that I did not appreciate at the time. The unauthorized opening of fire hydrants is harmful to our own communities. A further disincentive is the penalty. The perpetrator could face fines of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to 30 days.

There is no excuse to commit this offense. In fact, the City has an easy way for people to request the installation of a spray cap on a fire hydrant for a controlled release of water. Among the lessons here is to never underestimate the resourcefulness of a bored pre-teen male. Hopefully this blog entry will dissuade someone from the idea that opening a fire hydrant is a victimless crime.

About the Author: Elias serves as EPA Region 2’s bilingual public information officer. Prior to joining EPA, the proud Nuyorican worked at Time Inc. conducting research for TIME, LIFE, FORTUNE and PEOPLE magazines. He is a graduate of Hunter College, Baruch College and the Theological Institute of the Assembly of Christian Churches in NYC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Splash into Savings with ENERGY STAR Certified Pool Pumps

Pool

By Steve Ryan

Did you know there are more than 5 million in-ground pools installed across America, and over 50,000 new in-ground pools built annually? If you are (or are soon-to-be) a pool owner, keeping the water clean is probably a key consideration. That’s where the pool pump comes in– it re-circulates water through a filter to maintain water clarity and hygiene. All swimming pools have at least one recirculation pump, but many have multiple pumps.

Why should you care about your pool pump?

If you have a pool, the pool pump uses the most electricity of any single product in your home. They typically cost $450 a year to operate – much more than they need to. Conventional single-speed pool pumps are set to run at the higher speeds required of the pool cleaner and waste energy during filtration operation, which really only needs half the flow rate.

How can ENERGY STAR help?

An in-ground pool pump that has earned the ENERGY STAR label can run at different speeds and be programmed to match your pool’s needs with appropriate speed. The energy saved is considerable: reducing pump speed by one-half allows the pump to use just one-eighth as much energy. ENERGY STAR pool pumps are independently certified to deliver those energy savings while providing the performance you expect. In some cases the performance may exceed expectations—for instance, variable speed pumps that earn the label are much quieter.

Pool Pump

Pool Pump

How much money does an ENERGY STAR certified pool pump save annually?

There are two types of pool pumps that can earn the ENERGY STAR label: multi-speed and variable speed. Multi-speed pumps operate at two speeds and allow the pool owner to reduce the speed of the motor during the majority of its operation. Variable-speed pumps are the most efficient because they can be programmed to operate at many different speeds, even below half speed, depending on the pool usage. Both offer considerable energy savings over the more commonly used single-speed pump.

An ENERGY STAR certified “variable speed” pool pump will use 2,800 kWh less electricity per year, on average, equivalent to:

  • $340 in savings
  • 2.2 tons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions

An ENERGY STAR certified “multi-speed” pool pump will use 2,300 kWh less electricity per year, on average, equivalent to:

  • $280 in savings
  • 1.8 tons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions

This is money you can PUMP back into the family budget.

The energy savings are great … but is it worth it?

Even considering the extra money you might pay to buy them, ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps pay for themselves in about a year-and-a-half (less for multi-speed pumps). And that’s not all. Many utilities offer rebates for ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps. For example, Long Island Power Authority offers a $400 rebate. Check with your local utility.

By the way, you’re not just saving money, you’re helping the environment

If all pool pumps sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to about $110 million each year, and 1.5 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented — equivalent to the emission from nearly 140,000 vehicles.

So…

Contact your local pool maintenance technician or distributor about ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps. For more information, check out our website.

About the Author: Steven Ryan joined the sales and marketing team at the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Labeling Branch in June 1999 and is currently the Program Manager for ENERGY STAR labeled pool pumps, office equipment, roofing, water heaters, and HVAC products. Mr. Ryan holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Resource Policy from George Washington University and a BA in History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Top 5 Ways to Chill out this Summer with ENERGY STAR

By: Brittney Gordon

Even when the temperature goes up, your utility bills can still stay low. With help from ENERGY STAR you can keep your cool, tame those bills, and help fight climate change. The secret is to keep your cooling system from working too hard. Discover these Top 5 Ways to Chill Out with ENERGY STAR, so that you and your cooling system can both enjoy the summer!

1. Keep the heat out

Insulation_graphic (1)

Take advantage of shades, blinds, curtains, awnings and even trees to  keep the sun out during the day, especially on the south and west side of your house. If you are upgrading your windows, consider ENERGY STAR certified windows, which will keep even more heat out. Find and seal leaks (the biggest ones are in your attic and basement) – this will also help reduce humidity and keep out pests and pollen.  Consider adding attic insulation so less heat radiates down into your house from your hot attic.  Sealing air leaks and improving your home’s insulation could save you up to $200 a year in cooling/heating costs (or about 10 percent of your annual energy bill).  Finally, if you’re replacing your roof, you can reduce the effects of the hot sun by installing ENERGY STAR certified roof products.

2. Keep the cool in

Seal and Insulate 2

You’re paying for your AC’s cool air, so don’t let it leak out of your ducts before it gets to the vent and the rooms you want to cool. That’s YOUR air!  In most homes, 25 percent of air that flows through air conditioning ducts leaks out before it gets to you. So get a contractor to test your ducts, seal them, and insulate them so you’re not paying for cool air you don’t get to use. You could reduce your cooling energy bill by about 20 percent.

3. Maintain Your Cooling System

Thermostat

A simple tune up of your HVAC equipment can do wonders.  Make sure you also change your air filter regularly – EPA recommends every three months at a minimum.   And, if you do not have a programmable thermostat – install one and program it around your family’s summer schedule. Setting the thermostat up by seven degrees when you’re away from home and up by four degrees when you’re asleep can save more than $180 a year.

4. Be a fan of fans

ceiling fan

If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan instead, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Use bedroom fans on those cooler summer nights when you might be able to turn off your central air conditioning and naturally cool your home for a lot less. Plus, don’t forget to use your ENERGY STAR certified vent fans to get rid of that unwanted humid air in your bathroom after a shower.

5. Look for the ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR Logo

If your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified model could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent. In the market for a new room air conditioner? Find one that has earned the ENERGY STAR and use about 15 percent less energy. ENERGY STAR certified dehumidifiers also use 15 percent less energy than a conventional unit.  One last easy tip is to change out those old, hot, incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified CFL and LED bulbs–they produce 75% less heat!

Looking for more great tips? Head to www.energystar.gov/cooling.

About the Author: Brittney Gordon-Williams works on the ENERGY STAR communication’s team. Her summer cooling project will involve trying out ENERGY STAR certified LEDs in her new home.

 

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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My Independence Day Musing

By Dave Deegan

This week we celebrate one of my favorite holidays – Independence Day, the Fourth of July. Even now, decades after I left school for good and have been in the workforce, this early summer holiday continues to hold strong associations and memories of the thrill I once felt knowing that the whole summer was waiting ahead of me with fun activities like swimming, camping, baseball games, picnics, long days and lingering twilight.  Great, relaxing times with family and friends, and sometimes a welcome trip to the beach or a mountain lake.

Nowadays, celebrating our nation’s founding on Independence Day has far deeper meaning than the pleasure of a picnic or watching a jaw-dropping fireworks display. I always am grateful for the freedom we enjoy in the US: freedoms to read and write and debate, the liberty to live where and how we choose and the promise to define one’s own life work.

Picture of a flag on a bridge over water.

Of course, we all accept that our personal freedom has limits, either for other people’s good or for the community as a whole. When it comes to the environment, we all live both upstream as well as downstream.  My actions can impact you, just as yours can impact me.  As someone who cares a lot about EPA’s mission – to protect human health and the environment – I am always aware of the trade-off required when it comes down to EPA enforcing the laws to keep harmful pollution from the water, air or land.

What is ironic in all of this is that so much of what makes our collective independence so precious actually depends so much on our collective interdependence.  Our will and willingness to be good neighbors to each other often goes hand-in-hand with being good stewards of our environment.

So here’s to a great Fourth, to enjoying some potato salad, a burger, a small-town parade and a marching band playing the patriotic classics.  And maybe a few thoughts to how good it is to breathe clean air, to enjoy fresh healthy water and to dig a garden in good soil.

About the author: Dave Deegan works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. When he’s not digging rocks out of his garden, he loves being outdoors in one of New England’s many special places.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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ENERGY STAR’s Top 8 Ways to Save on Cooling

Boy, sky, globe

By: Brittney Gordon-Williams

Break out the sunscreen and slip on your sandals because summer is officially here. For many, this is one of the best times of year, with longer days and plenty of sunshine to keep you outdoors and enjoying the season. But one must head inside at some point, and you may be surprised to know how much you spend on cooling your home. The average American family spends 15 percent of its utility bill on cooling, and that adds up to hundreds of dollars each year. Check out ENERGY STAR’s top 8 ways to save on cooling this summer, and get ready to save energy, save money and better protect the climate.

1.)    Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly:

Just like a tune-up for your car, a yearly tune-up of your HVAC system can improve efficiency and comfort.

2.)    Seal and Insulate:

You can save up to $200 a year in heating and cooling costs (or 10 percent on your energy bill) by sealing and insulating your home with ENERGY STAR. When correctly installed with air sealing, insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.

3.)    Install a programmable thermostat:

Used properly, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

4.)    Change your air filter at least every 3 months:

Check your heating and cooling system’s air filter every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder to keep you cool—wasting energy.

5.)    Use a ceiling fan to cool off:

Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent. Remember that ceiling fans cool you, not the room, so when you leave the room, make sure to turn off the fan.

6.)    Close the shades:

Close the curtains and shades before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from overheating the interior of your home. If you can, move container trees and plants in front of sun-exposed windows to act as shade.

7.)    Buy ENERGY STAR certified lighting:    

Swap out incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting choices—ENERGY STAR certified lighting not only uses less energy, it also produces about 75 percent less heat than incandescent lighting, so cooling bills will be reduced too.

8.)    Look for the ENERGY STAR:

If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, simply look for the ENERGY STAR. Central air conditioners that have earned the ENERGY STAR are about 16% more efficient. Room air conditioners that have earned the ENERGY STAR use about 10% less energy than conventional models. Fun fact: If all room air conditioners sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $520 million each year and 7 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from more than 670,000 vehicles.

Brittney Gordon-Williams is a member of the communications team at EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. Every summer she enjoys early evening walks around neighborhood with her husband and trips to Rehoboth Beach with friends and family.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Three Quick Tips to a More Enjoyable Summer

By Ashley McAvoy

We all have our favorite season of the year but I think that summer is mine. During the summer you can enjoy barbeques, going to the beach, and even camping. I absolutely love summer! But, I have to admit while it’s all fun in the sun, we need to be aware of environmental and health problems that occur during these hot summer months. Here are some tips for you to enjoy this season.

Here comes the sun…

Did you know that the sun’s rays are the strongest during the summer? This means we need to use plenty of sunscreen and wear a hat when doing activities outside. Also, planning your outdoor activities in the morning or evening when the sun is not as strong will help too. I like to run. So when I go running in the summer, I try to run in the evening when it’s a little cooler. You can also check the UV Index to find out how strong the sun’s rays are in your area so you can plan accordingly for that day.

Them pesky skeeters…

If there is one thing I can’t stand its getting attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes when I’m trying to enjoy a nice summer evening outside. That’s why it’s important to make it harder for mosquitoes to breed in your backyard. If you have any standing water in your yard from birdbaths, wading pools, or even garden fountains, these are the perfect breeding environments for mosquitoes. Remove all standing water or replace it weekly to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard. Check out the EPA website for more tips on repelling mosquitoes.

Fill ‘er up…

You know when you fill up the tank of your car or truck there’s always a gasoline smell? Did you know that those gasoline vapors are actually bad for you and the environment? What’s worse is that gasoline vapors increase in the summertime because of the hot and humid conditions. The next time that you refuel your car or truck, make sure that the gas cap is secure so you don’t let excess vapors into the air. Also, try not to refuel on ozone action days. If you must refuel on an ozone action day, do it in the morning or evening when the sun’s rays are not as strong.

Enjoy your summer!

About the author: Ashley McAvoy is an Intern with the Office of Web Communications for spring 2013. She is a double major in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Have a Green Summer!

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

By Lina Younes

I was reviewing my electric bill recently. I noticed that there was an increase in the amount of energy used at home this year in comparison to last year. While we are already taken steps at home to be more energy efficient, we still can do more to save energy and money at home. So, I decided to share some tips  on how you can also be greener this summer.

  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room! Pretty simple, right? But, I have to remind my daughter and other family members to do so frequently!
  • Unplug phone and computer chargers when you’re not using them.
  • Change home air filters regularly! This improves the efficiency of your A/C and saves you money in the short term and costly repairs in the long term.
  • Also, consider using ceiling fans. With the fans, you can raise the temperature of the A/C and still feel comfortable during the summer heat.
  • Seal and insulate your home.
  • Are you planning to update one of your appliances? Purchase an Energy Star product when buying new appliances and electronics for your home.
  • Do you have a leaky faucet? Fix it! Did you know that more than 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted from leaks in U.S. homes each year?
  • If you are planning to refurbish your kitchen or bathroom, get WaterSense labeled fixtures to save water and money.
  • Do you use a sprinker to water your lawn? Inspect it to make sure there aren’t any leaks or broken sprinkler heads. Set the sprinkler for early in the morning. And definitely don’t turn it one if has rained in your area!
  • Planning a family gathering this weekend? Make sure to use reusable plates and containers. Remember your three R’s  during the summer months!
  • Planning a summer day trip? Well, you should also consider getting your car ready for the journey. A well maintained vehicle with properly inflated tires will save you a lot of money in fuel and maintenance costs and will also reduce gas emissions.

Do you have other suggestions as to how we can be greener this summer? As always, we appreciate your input. Love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Summer Season Begins Annual Terrible Times for Terrapins

By Marcia Anderson

Terrapin

Terrapin

The seasonal vehicular migration that we make to the shore coincides with the beginning of diamondback terrapin nesting season in the northeast, often causing hundreds of turtle fatalities. Most of the terrapins that are squashed under car tires are pregnant females looking for a place along the shoulder of the road, above the high tide line to dig their nests and lay their eggs.

Terrapins are relatively small, harmless turtles that live in salt marshes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. They are closely related to freshwater turtles and are the only turtles that are adapted to living exclusively in the brackish waters of coastal salt marshes. Their range extends along the Atlantic coast of the United States from Cape Cod to Southern Texas. The Jersey Shore, Long Island and Staten Island have beleaguered “vulnerable” populations of terrapins. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, terrapin populations are considered “critically imperiled.”

 So What? Why is it important to save terrapins? Terrapins are a predator of periwinkle snails that feed on salt marsh grass. Periwinkles are known to destroy thousands of acres of salt marsh, converting marsh meadows into mudflats. Some salt marshes in the United States have experienced explosive populations of periwinkles due to over-fishing of blue crabs, yet another predator. The destruction of wetland habitats may lead to increased flooding, ultimately affecting coastal property values.

Road Kills: Coastal development has led to considerable terrapin habitat destruction of barrier beach islands and sand dune nesting sites due to the construction of communities and roads adjacent to coastal salt marshes. This results in large numbers of road kills from Memorial Day Weekend through mid July. Female terrapins are killed while attempting to cross roads in search of suitable nesting habitat.

Students from the Wetlands Institute, a part of New Jersey’s Stockton State College, and local volunteer residents conduct road patrols during the terrapin nesting season to minimize the number of road kills of nesting females, as well as the removal of potentially viable eggs from the carcasses of road kills.  Collected eggs are incubated and, after hatching, are raised at the institute’s “turtle farm” for at least four months. The young turtles are then weighed, measured and tagged with an embedded  microchip and then released back into the salt marsh. This highly successful diamondback terrapin conservation project has been conducted in the salt marshes of the Cape May Peninsula since 1969.

 The Wetlands Institute has also initiated “The Barrier Fencing Project,” created to help lessen the number of terrapin road kills of pregnant females looking for alternative nesting grounds. After much experimentation with various barriers and fences, they found that six-inch corrugated plastic drainage pipe was proven to be an effective, inexpensive, and easy way to install a barrier. In June 2010 over 7,000 feet of corrugated tubing was installed. Shortly after, road kills were reduced along the entire length of this new safety barrier.

The take-home message: Terrapins are in serious trouble throughout the coastal northeastern regions of the U.S. and it is up to us to ensure their survival. When you see a terrapin crossing the road: slow down, stop, pick her up, cross her in the direction she was traveling, and wish her good luck.  Contact the Wetlands Institute for more information on the diamondback terrapin conservation project:  http://wetlandsinstitute.org/conservation/terrapin-conservation/.

 

About the Author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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A Green Summer

summer

Summer has always been my favorite season.  Not only is my birthday in the summer, but summer meant no school, the beach, and hanging out with friends.  Summer is also a great time to go green.  Here are a few tips to make your summer vacation green!

Look up your nearest farmers market and try out some local food, meet new people, and find some pretty neat things. 

  1. Ride your bike!  The weather is too nice to be stuck inside a stuffy car.
  2. Have a picnic with your friends.  Make sure to throw away or recycle all your trash.
  3. Stay local – I am sure there are many fun activities around your town that will result in a low environmental impact.  Go to the zoo, check out the beach, or visit a park!
  4. Conserve water.  Who cares if your grass isn’t the greenest on the block, at least you are saving water.
  5. Get outdoors!  The summer is no time for video and computer games.  Grab friends to play a pickup basketball or soccer game!

 What other green activities do you have planned for the summer?  Don’t forget to put on the SPF!

Kelly Siegel is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has a passion for sustainable development, running, and traveling with friends.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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My Experience as a Summer Intern at ENERGY STAR

Yohana Merho

By: Yohana Merho

For many college students summer is a time to take a well-deserved break from all-nighters, term papers and exam week stress, to go out and find something they are interested in. And if they are lucky, they may find something they could be passionate about as a career. I am a college student in my sophomore year at the University of Maryland, College Park studying Environmental Policy and Spanish. I am fortunate enough to really love my major, but I also know that I am not alone in that I am still unclear of how I want my education to translate in to my life post-grad. So, like most others in my position, I decided to take on an internship for the summer in hopes of learning about the many different roles and professions in the environmental sector that I might find appealing.

After several applications and emails I landed a sweet internship at ENERGY STAR. On my first day I was shown to my personal cubicle with my very own computer, phone and email. This whole ‘taking a sneak peak of the work force’ thing was beginning to feel a little like a reality now! Before I knew it I was going to meetings, working on assignments, doing research and feeling completely immersed in the ENERGY STAR work-culture.

One of my first and most interesting assignments was to prepare for a Congressional Expo that ENERGY STAR was to participate in. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary and my job was to make sure that our signs and posters reflected that through our statistics and general language. Soon after, I was told I was to work at the booth the day of the Expo, talking to other environmentalists about energy efficiency and other environmental issues. I was nervous, but very excited. I got to meet a lot of people, all working to better the environment through their individual professions, and I learned a lot from them.

My entire experience at ENERGY STAR has been a great learning experience. It was interesting to see and be a part of an entire office working independently as well as collectively to make a real difference in the fight against climate change. I had a chance to talk with several employees about their background and how they got to where they are now. I can say that I got exactly what I was hoping to get out of interning at EPA and much more. Who knows, maybe after I graduate I can help ENERGY STAR celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Yohana Merho is a college student in her sophomore year at the University of Maryland College Park. She is double majoring in Environmental Policy and Spanish and spent her 2012 summer interning at EPA’s ENERGY STAR.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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