Greater Lexington Apartment Association – Sustainability in Multi-Family Residential Dwellings

Bluegrass Greensource has been invited to talk about sustainability at the Greater Lexington Apartment Association (GLAA) General Membership Meeting in September. Attendees will learn about easy to implement, sustainable strategies to lower utility expenses, attract clientele, gain a competitive advantage, and improve their triple bottom line of profit, people, and planet. The presentation will include information on:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Water Conservation
  • Recycling Programs
  • Tenant Education
  • Highlight of Free Tools & Resources that can help implement green initiatives.

The meeting is open to GLAA members.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 22nd |  11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
WHERE: Doubletree Suites, 2601 Richmond Rd, Lexington, KY 40509
COST: $32 per person | Two or more people $30 per person

REGISTRATION: Register through GLAA at:


Save Water and Money With These Low and No Cost Conservation Tips!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re looking to make your home more sustainable, re-evaluating your residential water use is a great place to start. Saving water at home can help you save some serious cash. Here are 5 tips to help you get started!

1.  Be on the lookout for lost water.

This one is easier than it sounds. Drop an ice cube on the floor? Toss it in a house plant or pet water bowl instead of the sink! Rinsing your razor in running water while shaving? Try filling the basin with water and using it to rinse, instead! Being water-aware will help you find a variety of ways to conserve water at home.

2.  Check your home for leaks.

Did you know that a leaking faucet that loses one drop per second wastes over 3,000 gallons per year? Even worse, a running toilet can lose up to 200 gallons per day! Thankfully, this is a pretty easy fix. Most repairs are inexpensive and can be done in just a few minutes. Taking the time to repair leaks in your home can save you a lot of money in the long run and certainly helps out the environment as well.

3.  Turn the water off when not in use.

Your mother knew what she was doing when she told you to turn the water off while you brush your teeth. By closing off the tap while you polish those pearly whites, you can save between three and five gallons a day. That’s roughly two thousand gallons per year! Looking to save even more? Try turning off the shower head while you lather your hair and you’ll save an additional 150 gallons per month!

4.  Put a plastic bottle in your toilet tank.

That may sound crazy, but bear with me. By filling a plastic bottle with a combination of sand and water and placing it in your toilet tank – safely away from the mechanics, of course – you can displace water in the tank. This reduces how much water remains in the tank at any given time and how much water is used when flushing. You’ll save money and water with each flush! (Be sure that you leave at least 3 gallons of water in the tank to ensure proper flushing.)

5.  Avoid your garbage disposal.

In-sink garbage disposals require a lot of water to function properly and add to the volume of solid wastes in septic systems. Instead, start your own compost bin! You’ll save water and have home-made fertilizer for use in your garden!


Water Warriors Learn the Importance of Water Conservation

MidwayUniversityWaterWarriorsBluegrass Greensource is educating Central Kentucky youth on the value of water quality and conservation through the 2015 Water Warrior Summer Camp Series. Working primarily with 4th graders and operating in Bourbon, Scott, Woodford, and Owen Counties, environmental educators Emily Casey and Danny Woolums are helping campers understand the basics.

“We only have such a small amount of potable water compared to the all water on Earth,” Casey notes when asked why she thinks the Water Warrior camps are so important. “We can’t take this precious, potentially renewable resource for granted. We must teach the importance of conserving water to our children, the next generation, to ensure a clean, healthy, viable future for generations to come.”

Using activities from Project Wet, an internationally recognized water education foundation, and other environmental educational resources, Casey and Woolums are shaping a camp that both excites and educates students about the ways they can better care for our local waterways.

The Water Warrior Summer Camp Series is made possible by a grant from Kentucky American Water, whose team is committed to protecting the environment and using resource wisely, and the support and generosity of area organizations such 4-H, YMCA, the public school system, and Midway University.

Follow us on Facebook to see more photos from our Water Warrior Summer Camp Series.


Conserving water is more about what you don’t ‘use’ instead of what you do


When people think about conserving water, they usually think about turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth or making sure the washing machine is full before running a load. The biggest waste of water, however, is the one few people give much thought to.

In the United States, one person will typically use between 80 and 100 gallons of water a day. It is the water that we are not “using” that is the real problem. A dripping faucet can lose up to 180 gallons and a leaky toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in a month. A leak as small as an eighth of an inch can waste more than one-quarter of a million gallons of water in a three-month period and add more than $200 to your quarterly water and sewer charges.

Finding and fixing leaks is an easy way to save money and save water. You can avoid costly surprises on your water bill and conserve water by performing periodic leak checks in your home. Often you don’t know if you have a leak, especially if you have a problem with your underground water line or irrigation system. If you have an unusually high water bill, you may have a leak. But how can you tell?

Toilets are a common source of leaks. A quick check can be made by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank after it has filled and quieted, and watching for its appearance in the bowl. If there is a leak, then color should appear within 15 to 30 minutes. Two common leak sites are at the overflow pipe and the flapper valve (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)

If your toilet still leaks after trying the repairs, or you do not feel comfortable doing the repairs yourself, you may need the assistance of a plumber or handyman. The cost to fix the leak will be covered by the money you will save in water and sewer charges.

Your water meter can also indicate whether you have a leak. Challenge the family to not use any water for two hours. During that time, check the water meter. If the dial moves at all, check all the faucets, spigots, sinks, etc., for any signs of a leak. If you find a leaky faucet or a drip under the sink, fix these leaks ASAP.

Kentucky American Water also offers leak detection information through their Leak Detection Guide found here.

If you don’t see any leaks, you might have a bigger problem underground or in your walls.

Some signs of underground leaks include:

• Unusually wet spots in landscaped areas and/or water pooling on the ground surface

• An area that is green, moldy, soft or mossy surrounded by drier conditions

• A notable drop in water pressure/ flow volume

• A sudden problem with rusty water, dirt or air in the water supply (there are other causes for this besides a leak)

• Heaving or cracking of paved areas

• Sinkholes or potholes

• Uneven floor grade or leaning of a structure

• Unexplained sudden increase in water use, consistently high water use or water use that has been climbing at a fairly steady rate for several billing cycles.

If you suspect a leak, you may need to hire a professional leak detection company to pinpoint its exact location and a contractor to perform the repairs.

If you do not have any leaks, there are a couple of steps you can take to prevent leaks from forming due to cold weather. Disconnect your water hose before freezing weather hits. Until warm weather arrives again, your best home plumbing practice is to disconnect, wrap up and pack away your garden hose. Leaving a hose outside in winter can cause water left inside to freeze and expand, freezing your faucets and connecting pipes as well.

Also, make sure to close and drain shut-off valves leading outdoors. If you have interior shut-off valves leading to outdoor faucets, close them and drain the water from outside lines. Any water that remains in the lines and freezes could cause major damage.

Water is a precious resource, and fixing leaks in our homes is a major step toward conserving water and saving money. Even though our water sources in Kentucky can replenish themselves through precipitation, our changing climate, growing population and ever-increasing thirst for water threaten these supplies. So, go fix those leaks!

(Graphic from

This article appeared in KY Forward on October 30, 2014.


Water Week Makes a Splash with Local Professionals

TBWWT Tour_1

Above: Water Week participants tour the Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The first week of June was Water Week for LiveGreenLexington Partners and LiveGreenLexington Games participants, and it went swimmingly!  Representatives of Lexington businesses and organizations participated in events ranging from presentations to community service projects, all with one goal in mind: to raise awareness of water quality and conservation issues, and help our professional family get involved in making changes for the better.

Storm drain stenciling_1

Above: A newly stenciled storm drain on Walton Avenue.

Over the course of Water Week, 26 individuals representing 7 businesses and organizations came together to learn, converse, and take action on water quality and consumption issues at work, at home, and in the community.  An educational lunch and learn on June 3rd provided ideas, resources, and information on developing a more sustainable and water-friendly workplace.  On June 4th, we toured the Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant for an eye-opening (and fragrant) behind-the-scenes look at how Lexington’s wastewater is treated.  At the end of the week, our focus shifted from wastewater to stormwater; intrepid volunteers picked up 77 pounds of trash and 12 pounds of recyclables that littered a local stream on June 5th, and stenciled more than a dozen storm drains on June 6th with an anti-littering message to remind their fellow citizens to keep our water clean.

Thanks and kudos to our LiveGreenLexington Partners and Greensource staff for making Water Week 2014 a success!  We had an educational and entertaining week, and we’re already hoping that Water Week 2015 will be even better.

If you represent a Fayette County business or organization that places value on sustainability, ask us about becoming a LiveGreenLexington Partner today!  You’ll join over 700 other Lexington organizations working toward a more sustainable future.


Before summer’s heat sets in, plan ways to reduce your water consumption

Can you believe it? Summer is almost here. My plants are in the garden; my lawn is green; and best of all, no more snow!

Summer living is great, but it’s not always easy on the planet. Americans use more water than anyone else in the world, and that water use increases dramatically over the summer. So before summer is in full swing and it gets too hot, plan to reduce your and your family’s water consumption this year.

Here are a few ways you can have fun while conserving water:

Make saving water a game

Get the kids involved in saving water around the house. The habits children develop at an early age are more likely to stay with them throughout their lives. Rewarding children for conserving water is a great way to reinforce good habits. Give a sticker if you see your child turning off the water while brushing his/her teeth.

Letting children play in the (Photo provided)

Letting children play in the sprinkler when you water the lawn is one way to get creative while conserving water.

If you have a teenager, you know that they love having some extra spending money. Why not drop some money in a jar everytime he/she remembers to take a short shower (five minutes or less) or uses the same water glass all day? These little habits will save thousands of gallons of water over their lifetimes.

Send kids out on a hunt for leaks. Kentucky American Water has a great online guide for leak detection at home. Challenge the family to not use any water for two hours. During that time, have the kids check the water meter. If the dial moves at all, have them check all the faucets, spigots, under sinks, etc. for any signs of a leak. Give a prize to anyone who finds a leaky faucet or a drip under the sink. Fix these leaks ASAP.

When the weather isn’t conducive to outside activities, check out the water education games that are available online. has some great games for kids that teach them about many different water quality and water conservation topics.

Creatively water your lawn

Some of the largest wastes of water are from irrigation and watering our lawns and gardens, but we all know that there are times when the lawn NEEDS to be watered. When it’s time to water the lawn, here are some creative ways to multitask and reduce your water usage.

Let the kids play in the sprinkler. Allow kids to play water games in the yard. Just make sure to rotate the fun, so that one spot does not get over saturated.

Wash the dog outside. Fill up a kiddie pool or bucket outside. Give the dog a good wash. Then you can distribute the water you just used to wash the dog on the lawn.

 (Photo provided)Rain barrels collect soft rainwater, which plants love.

Wash your car on the lawn. By pulling the car into the grass before washing it, you are conserving water and helping to keep soap and grease from your vehicle out of the storm drains.

Install a rain barrel

Rain barrels collect soft rainwater, which plants love, and best of all, it’s free. The water saved in rain barrels can be used for watering flowers, gardens and lawns all through the summer, even in times of drought. However, the water should not be used for drinking or human consumption.

Installing a rain barrel benefits the environment and you. Using rainwater for watering will reduce your use of municipal water supplies, saving you money. For more information about rain barrels or to attend an upcoming Rain Barrel Workshop, check out our website.

If you want some more tips and ways to conserve water, check out the Bluegrass Greensource website or the Kentucky American Water website.

Ashley photo

Ashley Bryant Cheney is the green jobs coordinator for Bluegrass Greensource, connecting green businesses with a young workforce and preparing students for green careers in the Bluegrass. From Knoxville, she’s worked in volunteer and program management at various nonprofits. She has a bachelor’s in Psychology from Carson-Newman University and a master’s in Urban Studies and Community Development from Eastern University.

This article appeared in KY Forward on May 22, 2014.


Dive into Water Week with Live Green Lexington

UPDATE 5.28.14: 
Tuesday’s lunch and learn is filling up fast!  Please RSVP by 2:00pm on Friday, May 30th so that we can make sure you’ll have a lunch waiting for you.

Also, we would like to clarify that the stream clean-up on Thursday and the storm drain stenciling on Friday are rolling sign-in activities; come anytime between 2:00 and 3:30pm either day and stay as long as you like!  You are not obligated to participate for the full 2 hour period (although we’d be happy to have you if you did).

Grab your goggles, Live Green Lexington Partners, because we’re diving into Water Week on June 3rd!  The water stewardship season of this year’s Live Green Lexington Games runs through June 30th, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up and work on your scorecard; and if you’re getting a late start (or just really want that water stewardship award), Water Week is the perfect opportunity to earn a little extra credit.

Water Week 2014

Water quality and conservation issues are often overlooked in the workplace – especially for those of us who rent our offices and have little control over the big picture – but there are steps we can take to make a difference.  The goal of Water Week is to illuminate the many ways that we impact water quality and consumption, and the many ways we can make positive change without breaking the bank.

All of our Water Week activities are free and open to representatives of any Live Green Lexington partner business.  Email Beth for more info or to register for our Water Week activities, or to get involved in the Green Games…it’s not too late to sign up and take the Water Stewardship season by storm!


Water Week Activities to be Held June 3 – 6, 2014

Grab your goggles, LiveGreenLexington Partners, because we’re diving into Water Week from June 3rd – 6th!  The water stewardship season of this year’s LiveGreenLexington Games runs through June 30th, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up and work on your scorecard. If you’re getting a late start (or just really want that water stewardship award), Water Week is the perfect opportunity to earn a little extra credit.

Water Week activities include:

  • Lunch-and-Learn on Water Conservation in the Workplace – Tuesday, June 3rd, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
    Eliminate waste, reduce your water bill, and help make Kentucky’s streams a little cleaner with these simple tips on water quality and conservation.  We’ll be focusing on easy, practical fixes – indoors and out – to help your business use water more efficiently, even if you lease your space and you don’t have as much control over the big picture as you would like.  Lunch and coffee are on us!  This event will take place in the Plantory’s conference room at 560 E Third Street.  Please RSVP to by Friday, May 30th to ensure there’s a lunch waiting for you.
  • Tour of the Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant – Wednesday, June 4th, 10:00 – 11:00 am
    Where does the water you use wind up once it goes down the drain?  60% of Lexington’s wastewater (up to 64 million gallons per day) runs through the Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the water you use at home and at work is cleaned and treated before being discharged back into our streams.
  • Stream Clean-Up at the Park Hills Shopping Center – Thursday, June 5th, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
    We don’t always think of litter as a water quality issue, but it is, and nothing makes that more apparent than seeing just how much litter washes directly into streams through our storm sewer system.  Help us clean up the stream behind the Bluegrass Greensource office in the Park Hills Shopping Center at 3120 Pimlico Parkway; we’ll provide gloves, bags, and litter pickers.  Be sure to wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes that you don’t mind getting wet (just in case…we won’t ask you to dive in).  Sign-in runs from 2:00-3:30 pm.
  • Storm Drain Stenciling – Friday, June 6th, 2:00 – 4:00 pmStorm drains carry pollutants and litter straight into our streams every time it rains.  Remind your fellow Lexingtonians to respect our water by marking storm drains along National Avenue with the city’s “No Dumping – Drains to Stream” stencils.  If you’ve always wanted to do a little graffiti for a good cause, this is your chance!

For businesses participating in the water stewardship season of the Games, each activity will earn you one extra point; if your business is represented at all four activities, you’ll earn an additional point (for a total of five possible points).  Water Week activities are free and open to all LiveGreenLexington Partners, even if you’re not participating in the Games.  Email Beth Oleson with any questions, to register for any of our Water Week activities, or to find out how your workplace can become a Partner!