Watering the garden with AC condensation

By Brian Entin - bio | email

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - When you think of running your air conditioner these days, you probably think of high electric bills.

But on Tybee Island – more than cool air is pumping out.

The Tybee Island Y.M.C.A's air conditioner generates enough water to keep an entire community garden growing.

Karen Kelly and her husband came up with an idea to use the water from the AC to water the plants after Tybee donated the land for the community garden.

"They gave us the land but they said we had to do it strictly with rain water," Kelly said.

But experts say Tybee doesn't get enough rain to sustain the garden. So Karen Kelly and her husband Frank came up with an idea. "We noticed the condensation runs down from the air conditioner so I decided to come over and see how much water I could capture," Kelly said.

They set up giant tubs to collect the condensation. But no one expected what happened next.

"Within no time we were collecting 400 gallons of water a day without rain. All those times I've been praying for God to please save the rain for Tybee, he didn't save the rain, but he did save the condensation water," Kelly said.

Karen Kelly spends about 3 hours a day five days a week taking the water in buckets from the tubs to the garden.

Now the community garden is flourishing and many locals have their own plots. "A lot of people thought this would start out real small. But they don't know me. I don't do things real small," Kelly said.

Her husband says gardening is her passion. "When she goes out of town, my biggest worry is I'm not going to water some plant and it will die and I will be in a lot of trouble," Frank Kelly said.

The next step is installing an irrigation system so Kelly won't have to carry all the water in buckets.

The community garden still has room for more people to get involved. Even a handicapped accessible section has been set up.

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