Category — Green Energy
With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, it’s time to start planning for green Holiday celebrations. To get things kicked off, I’ve scoured the web in search of environmentally-friendly holiday frills. Here are a two ideas for getting started.
Do you send Holiday greeting cards? Here’s an eco-friendly option for you…and one that kindly reminds the recipient to celebrate green this year. The card above is made from 100% recycled paper, 50% of which is post-consumer content. These recycled greeting cards are available at Cards Direct. [Read more →]
November 14, 2008 No Comments
Are you using a wood burning stove or fireplace to keep warm this winter? Here’s a great way to conserve energy by converting your household waste into recycled heating fuel. The Logmaker is a plastic gizmo for making tightly rolled, compressed logs out of burnable lawn waste, or even junk mail.
Using the Logmaker begins with creating an outer shell made from newspaper. Then you can fill the outer shell with any burnable household waste, and tightly compress it with the Logmaker’s plunger. Finish by tucking in the edges, and your log is complete. It’s the tightly compressed, and rolled composition of the homemade logs that allows them to burn much longer than the same materials would if burned loosely.
This would also be handy for using with outdoor fire pots, chimineas, and camping gear.
The Logmaker is made in the U.K., and it is available in a recycled plastic model. For complete instructions, and more info, visit the Logmaker website.
November 12, 2008 No Comments
If you’ve read much about green living, you’ve probably heard about the environmental dangers of batteries. Household batteries contain mercury, zinc, cadmium, maganese, and other components which are harmful to both your health, and our earth. Over time batteries left in landfills break down, and leech these substances into our water and soil.
If you want to reduce your household’s need for batteries, you should check out some of the wind-up gadgets now on the market.
Universal Remote Controls: This universal remote control will run for 7 days on just 30 revolutions of winding. It will also control up to 6 of your home electronics. The wind-up remote control is available at Nigel’s Eco Store. [Read more →]
November 8, 2008 No Comments
With Thanksgiving preparation, and whirlwind of cooking plans underway, you may be wondering how to reduce energy use in the kitchen. Here are a few green living tips for saving energy while preparing your Thanksgiving dinner….or any dinner!
Scrub, Baby Scrub: A blackened cooktop on your kitchen stove absorbs heat, and causes you to consume more energy, but a shiny stove top efficiently reflects energy into the cooking pan. Now’s the time to clean your cooktop, and get ready for the Holidays.
Join the Hoods: Range hoods can help you quickly whisk away the extra heat in your kitchen, before you’re prompted to turn on the air conditioner!
Ugh…Clean the Oven: The last thing you wanted to hear, right? Just like a dirty stove top, a grimy oven steals energy, and can cause foods to cook unevenly. Ahem…just do it. [Read more →]
November 6, 2008 2 Comments
If you’ve been using CFL bulbs in your ceiling lights and table lamps for awhile, you’ve may have actually had a few burn out by now, or even had one break. While they’re great for saving energy, these environmentally-friendly light bulbs do contain small amounts of mercury, so it is important to recycle them or clean up breaks properly.
Recycling CFL Bulbs
Some stores, including Home Depot and Ikea will take back your used CFL bulbs for free, and then recycle them. Light Bulb Recycling offers a paid by-mail service that will send you a recycling kit for CFL bulbs. Also, Earth 911 offers a free recycling search engine that will direct you to CFL recycling resources in your area.
How to Clean Up a Broken CFL Bulb
So, let’s just suppose you’re up on a step stool changing a light bulb in your ceiling fan, and before you know it, you drop a CFL bulb and it shatters on the floor. What should you do? Here are some steps for safe CFL disposal from the EPA:
- Air out the room by opening windows and doors. Turn off your furnace or air conditioner if they are running, and have everyone leave the room for 15 minutes.
- Using stiff cardboard, carefully scoop up any broken glass.
- Use duct tape to pick up any remaining glass shards or powder.
- Avoid using a vacuum cleaner or broom if at all possible. If use of a vacuum cleaner is unavoidable, dispose of the vacuum bag or clean out the canister immediately after cleaning the break area.
- Use a sealed glass jar, or a plastic zipper bag to contain all broken components.
Visit the EPA for complete information on cleaning up a broken CFL light bulb. Don’t be discouraged by the small amount of mercury in CFL bulbs. The environmental benefits of CFL light bulbs far outweigh any mercury risk.
October 28, 2008 No Comments
You know, the evidence against buying bottled water certainly seems to be adding up lately. I read this article over the weekend about a recent California study of bottled water that showed bottled water to be just as contaminated as tap water in many cases. In fact, upon examining the “purity” levels of 10 different brands of bottled water, the study turned up crazy stuff like acetaminophen, fertilizer, and plastic chemicals. Yuck! One major retailer’s store brand water had more than 3 times the California limit for chlorine byproducts.
When you consider this information, on top of all the environmental problems caused by bottled water, has there ever been a better time to purchase a water filtration pitcher and some stainless steel water bottles? Can you really trust anyone but yourself to filter the drinking water your family consumes?
The Brita water pitcher above filters out 95-98 percent of lead, reduces chlorine, and has a bacteriostatic system for preventing the regrowth of bacteria. I like the sleek, modern design of this thing (proof that going green doesn’t make you a nerd), and the fact that it will fit in the door of your refrigerator. The Brita 42632 drinking water pitcher is available at d! Mart.
Here’s another reason to go green when it comes to drinking water– bottled water is 1,900 times more expensive that tap water. At a dollar for a 20 ounce bottle, that equates to over $6 a gallon. Suddenly the price of gasoline seems like a bargain! Can you believe we pay so much for something with so many disadvantages?
October 20, 2008 2 Comments
One of the latest advancements in energy-efficient kitchen appliances is induction range. Induction cooktops and kitchen ranges use magnetic friction to deliver heat, through coils, to the cookware you are using. During induction cooking, the ceramic surface of the range stays cool, and that nearly all, (85-90%), of the energy generated is used for the cooking process.
The countertop induction range shown above has a ceramic top and all-stainless enclosure. It includes 100 cooking levels, a timer, and built-in safety features. As with all induction ranges, it must be used with cookware made from ferrous (magnetic) metals, such as steel, iron, or nickel. For more information about the Vollrath countertop induction range, visit the WEBstaurant Store. Com.
October 14, 2008 No Comments
Can you imagine powering everyday items like your water heater, furnace, and kitchen stove with the power of the wind? In light of the current fuel crisis, and growing environmental problems, Americans are increasingly catching the drift when it comes to green energy sources, and wind power is high on the list.
According to Wikipedia, wind power is responsible for just 1% of the world’s total energy, but it is readily utilized in some countries. For example, wind turbines are responsible for 19% of energy production in Denmark, where wind farms are used to generate green energy for power grids.
Although they are certainly a green living idea worth checking into, you should be aware that wind turbines require a significant investment on the part of the homeowner. The Southwest Windpower Skystream 3 grid-tie wind turbine system, pictured above, lists at $5,387 at Real Goods.
September 23, 2008 No Comments
On a recent trip to Chicago, I was surprised to see a good number of hybrid taxis on the streets, mostly Ford Escape hybrids. Even if you haven’t taken the plunge of purchasing a hybrid car, you can reduce your dependence on fossil fuel, and your carbon footprint by taking a hybrid taxi whenever you need to grab a cab.
According to Ford, the 2 wheel drive Ford Escape hybrid taxis are 80 percent more fuel efficient than the original Escape, and drivers get 36 miles per gallon in the city. Driving a hybrid taxi is a big profit incentive for cab drivers- less money going in the gas tank each week. And, since hybrid vehicles help cities reduce carbon emissions, some cities are offering perks such as discounted licensing rates to taxi cab drivers who drive green taxis. Here’s more information on green taxi cabs. Photo: Adam Rountree/AP Photo
September 9, 2008 2 Comments
When I was a kid, I remember asking for a skylight in my bedroom just because I thought they were cool, not because I was interested in saving energy or natural lighting. My parents looked at each other, then looked at me, and issued a resounding “No!”. Too bad for me. I bet I would have had a little better luck if there were Sun Tunnel skylights back then.
Sun Tunnel tubular skylights install in your roof allowing sunlight to shine through a highly reflective tunnel and then into your home. On the inside, a Sun Tunnel skylight looks very much like a typical light fixture. These skylights are a green lighting option for small spaces like closets, and bathrooms, or anywhere you want to add natural lighting. What a sleek looking way to conserve energy and live green! Visit Velux for more information on Sun Tunnel skylights.
September 6, 2008 No Comments