DIY Friday: Fighting Global Warming

As we wrote the post below about the Vanco Arctic Expedition, we started to think, what can we do to fight global warming?

Sure, we’ve bought our compact flourescent bulbs and weather stripped our house and turned down the thermostat and at least thought about buying a Prius. But there’s gotta be more that a DIY-inclined person can do, right?

And then Rocco commented, apropos of nothing (as is often the case), that he knew lots of Canadians who had grown up with backyard ice rinks. And we thought, that’s it! If the polar ice caps keep melting, can’t we just create back yard ice caps to reflect the sun’s heat back into space — and get a little puck time in in the process?

Turns out, building your own backyard ice rink is easy from a DIY perspective:

 I built my rink using a garden-variety lightweight tarp as a watertight liner. This method is more expensive than just hosing down a patch of flattened snow and hoping for cooperative temperatures, but it’s also almost foolproof. The rink structure can be built before the really cold weather sets in, and because the water stays put, the rink will withstand a bout of warmish weather without leaking away. Plus, the rink components are reusable, making the amortized cost more agreeable….

 Once your future greats have put their skates to the ice for couple of hours, you’ll want to resurface it. This is best done at night when the temperatures dip. The easiest way to resurface the ice is to spread a thin layer of hot water over the surface. The hot water melts the ice shavings and fills in the blade gouges, and then quickly melds with the existing ice to create a nice flat surface. You could just use a hose to accomplish the resurfacing flood, but a simpler and faster way is to build a Zambini. (My kids started calling it that, and the name stuck.) The Zambini is a T-shaped hose extension made from off-the-shelf underground sprinkler fittings. Just screw all the fittings together and drill a series of holes on the underside of the horizontal part of the contraption.

Attached to your hose, the Zambini is used like a broom. The beauty of the device is that—like its inspiration, the Zamboni—it gets the hot water right down to the ice level without losing too much water to evaporation, and the little holes spread the water out evenly.

Of course, back yard ice rinks only work in the winter. But DIYers can keep cool in the summer by making DIY ice cream in a bag or by building this DIY air conditioner using a simple fan and some ice.

Then again, maybe we should just go turn down the thermostat a few more degrees.