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Did you know that lighting costs account for about 25% of the average American’s energy bill? That cost, when multiplied over a year, becomes an astronomical figure.
CFL and LED light bulbs have helped change that. Using energy saving technology, you can reduce your energy bill by 1/3rd to 1/25th of your original lighting costs.
Though LED lights used to be incredibly expensive, breakthroughs over the last few years have brought their cost down dramatically. Today, they’re a better value than both CFL and everyday light bulbs.
Here are some of the many benefits of energy-efficient LEDs.
==> Generates Twenty Times Less Heat
Heat energy is dissipated from an average light bulb. That heat energy uses up electricity to generate itself, energy that you’re paying for.
In addition, many Americans then have to spend even more electricity to cool their homes in part because of the heat generated from light bulbs.
LEDs on the other hand generate almost no heat – twenty times less than a standard light bulb.
==> Much Longer Lasting
A regular light bulb works by heating up a filament in an oxygen-free environment. Unfortunately, the light bulb dies when the filament burns out.
An LED light on the other hand has no filament. As a result, they last much longer.
A good LED light can last as much as ten times longer than the average light bulb.
==> Reduced Lifetime Costs
The standard light bulb costs five to ten times more in energy than its upfront costs.
An LED light on the other hand costs more upfront, but conserves a lot more energy in the long run.
In terms of total dollars invested over its lifetime, LED lights are better value than standard light bulbs and CFL light bulbs.
==> Better for the Environment
Standard light bulbs are terrible for the environment because mercury is used in the manufacturing process.
The chemical waste problem is compounded by the sheer volume of light bulbs that need to be produced.
Because standard light bulbs burn out so often and need to be replaced, the waste the standard household produces is astronomical.
LED lights are much better for the environment, because no mercury is used in the production process. You also need to replace them much less often, which means less waste.
These are some of the many benefits of energy-efficient LEDs. Replacing the light bulbs in your home is as easy as noting the wattage and going down to your local hardware store to buy LED lights.
There are quite a few choices you can choose from. You can get diffused bulbs, which take the concentrated light and turn it into a more spread out kind of light. You can get high power diffused, which are similar to 100 watt standard bulbs. You can also get them in track lighting, spotlight and floodlight forms.
Want to make your home greener without having to spend too much time and energy on it? There are a few simple things you can do that’ll make your home more green literally overnight with very little effort.
Here are a few simple improvements you can make for a greener home.
==> Invest in Auto-Off Lights
Getting a light switch system that automatically turns off is a great way to save energy and help the environment.
This is an especially good idea if you have a hard time remembering to turn off the light or have children who aren’t in the habit of turning the lights off.
==> Purchase Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Energy saving light bulbs use much less energy than the typical light bulb. They generate less heat and produce just as much light as your typical light bulb.
Yes, they are slightly more expensive than a run-of-the-mill light bulb. However, if you care about going green, this is a really simple way to do so.
==> Water Conserving Shower Heads
Water conserving shower heads are very affordable, easy to install and can help you save a lot of money on your water bills.
Essentially what they do is inject air inside the streams of water. It still feels like you’re getting a full blast of water on your body when you shower, but you’re actually using a lot less water.
==> Improve Your House’s Insulation
Improving your home’s insulation can save you a lot of energy in the long run. It might take a bit of upfront investment, but it’ll easily pay for itself.
Insulation will help you keep the heat in during winter and the heat out in summer. It’ll help you reduce both your air conditioning and heating bills.
Different kinds of homes and different climates work best with different kinds of insulation. Talk to a local expert to figure out your exact cost to benefit ratio.
==> Use Green Products Wherever Possible
There are many places you can opt to go green in your house. You can buy green dishwashing soap instead of commercial detergents. You can buy organic soap in your local Whole Foods instead of mass produced soap.
You can buy biodegradable plastics instead of plastics that clog up landfills. You can buy products made from recyclable products or which are themselves recyclable instead of products that contribute to our unsustainable waste growth.
These are just some of the many ways you can go green. Just about every room in your house can benefit from going green. Often times going green means not only helping the environment, but also saving money. It takes a little bit of effort in the beginning to set up your home properly, but the rewards more than justify the effort.
Passive solar windows are a one-time investment that can help you save energy over a long period of time. During summer, it can help keep the heat out and the cool in. During winter, it can help keep the heat in and maximize the heating rays of the sun.
Different climates means that people need to position and install their windows differently to take advantage of solar windows’ various properties.
==> Passive Solar Windows for Hot and Sunny Climates
In hot and sunny climates, glazed windows should be installed towards the south of the house.
This allows the windows to collect heat when the sun is low in the sky during the day. That means the heat won’t overheat by allowing the sun’s rays into the house during peak hours.
You can also use a number of shielding devices such as awnings or overhangs to prevent overheating during summer.
Other windows in the house can still be installed, but they should have a shade or glaze installed so they let less light into the house. Having north facing windows in a hot and sunny climate can lead to overheating.
==> Passive Solar Windows for Cool Climates
There are two main strategies for heating up a home with passive solar windows in cold climates: trombe walls and using a greenhouse methodology.
A trombe wall is a big wall, usually painted black, which allows you to absorb heat into the house without heat leaking out.
The main concern with using a big window is that while the sun’s rays can come into the home and heat up the air, the glass conducts heat so well that it can all escape back through the glass.
The trombe wall solves this issue by trapping the heated air between the glass and the trombe wall, then circulating it into the house before the heat has a chance to escape through the glass.
The greenhouse approach uses similar technology to a greenhouse to keep heated air in the house. You use a large number of windows to let the sun’s rays into your house, then you use a controlled timer to circulate the air within your house in a way that optimizes the heat and reduces the amount of heat that escapes through the same glass windows that let the heat in.
==> Are Passive Solar Windows for You?
Passive solar windows can work for both hot and cold climates, whether there’s a lot of sun or just a little bit of sun.
To determine whether or not your home qualifies for passive solar windows, talk to an environmental contractor in your area. Make sure you get several different opinions to get a definitive sense of whether or not it’s worth the investment.
Energy-efficient roofs are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, keep your home cool and save energy all at once. If your roof is getting to the point where it needs to be maintained anyway, getting energy-efficient roofing could turn out to be a lucrative investment.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re getting energy-efficient roofs.
==> Rebates and Tax Cuts
At the moment, PG&E is offering a $200 rebate for every 1,000 square foot of energy-efficient roof installations. Various states also offer tax breaks.
You may also qualify for the Energy Efficient Tax Breaks with energy-efficient roofing.
The tax incentives vary from state to state. If you’re on a different utility provider, talk to them about potential rebates. These can go a long way towards offsetting the cost of the roofing.
==> The Different Types of Energy-Efficient Roofs
There are a few different common types of energy-efficient roofs.
First you have metal roofing. These metal roofs are reflective and will divert the sun’s rays from your house, effectively cooling your home without taking up any energy.
They’re also extremely durable and can survive even in harsh weather conditions.
Next you have clay tiling. Clay tiles aren’t as reflective as metal, but a special coating can be added to increase their heat reflecting capabilities.
Often times clay tiles can be made in a sustainable manner to help reduce your environmental footprint even further.
Finally you have membranes. Membrane installation is much easier than the other types and can even be done without a contractor. Unfortunately, the material is much more expensive than other types.
Membranes are often used on commercial buildings rather than residential buildings.
==> The Process of Getting Energy-Efficient Roofs
The best way to get top-notch energy-efficient roofs at a good price is to talk to several contractors before making your decision.
Get at least three different bids for the job before you make your pick. Make sure you talk to the contractor about what roof type will work best for your house.
Do you get the sense that this contractor is really knowledgeable about their craft? Remember, doing a roof is a big project. Only hire someone that you really feel you can trust.
Try to negotiate a per-job rate rather than a per-hour rate. Per-hour projects almost always go over budget.
==> Energy-Efficient Roofs: Wrap Up
In summary, getting energy-efficient roofs can be a great way to help conserve energy and save money. There is a significant upfront investment, but it’ll more than pay for itself in the long run. This is especially true if your roofing needs to be replaced anyway. If you’re getting a new roof, seriously consider making the extra investment to help your planet and conserve energy.
Cleaning products are a very common source of harmful chemicals in a house. Why should you and your family have to inhale and touch toxic chemicals just to get your house clean? Instead, if you use eco-friendly cleaning products, you’ll be able to clean your house with products that are good for you, your family and the environment.
Here’s the “why” and the “how” of using eco-friendly cleaning products.
The Dangers of Toxic Chemicals
Most cleaning products on the market have harmful chemicals like formaldehyde or ammonia. These chemicals can be absorbed through both the skin and through inhalation.
These chemicals can cause lung cancer as well as other diseases through exposure over time. If you’ve read newspaper articles about young children developing neurological diseases or cancer, exposure to chemicals like this could be part of the cause.
Bleach and ammonia can also cause problems with respiration as well as vision. Although it doesn’t show its effects immediately, your eyes and your lungs are slowly absorbing extremely damaging chemicals.
If you don’t want to use traditional chemicals, what are your choices instead? There are two options: Making your own cleaning products or buying eco-friendly cleaning products.
Making Your Own
There are many ways to make your own cleaning products out of harmless household ingredients.
For removing stains, just use baking soda. Add a bit of water, apply it to a stained area and let it sit for a while. Then come back, scrub it off and repeat if necessary.
If you’re cleaning mirrors on windows, instead of using Windex try using just regular old alcohol.
There are many options for cleaning your house without using cleaning products with bleach, ammonia and other harmful chemicals.
Buying Eco-Friendly Products
There are eco-friendly products being made for just about every cleaning need on the market.
For dishwashing, you can buy dishwashing soap that’s not only eco-friendly and “bad chemical” free, but actually made from 100% organic ingredients.
You can buy products for cleaning the floor, the bathtub, the windows, for doing laundry, you name it.
Best of all, these products aren’t much more expensive than their regular counterparts. Sure, you do pay a little bit more – But it’s money well spent for your health and the health of your children.
Where to Find Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
If you can’t find them at your local supermarket, try your local health food stores instead.
Whole Foods for example, often carries many of the major brands of eco-friendly cleaning products. Small local organic health food stores also often carry eco-friendly cleaning supplies.
Buying eco-friendly cleaning products is a great way to improve your health, help the environment and reduce the level of toxicity in your household. Making the switch is easy and affordable.
Where to buy: http://wabisabigreen.com
Cotton bags have become more and more stylish and fashionable, with increasing numbers of people thinking about reusable bags as a way of reducing waste. Cotton bags are very useful for your everyday needs, they are stronger than plastic bags, they won’t rip easily and can carry quite a load. They can also be used for a long period of time.
The Tortuga Eco Art Bag is a very attractive cotton bag printed in the USA. It is made from high quality organic cotton canvas with a teal colored turtle design on the front, printed with eco-friendly water-based ink.
I certainly love the bold design of the bag, which is very eye-catching. It combines elements of green living with modern chic. I am sure that you will find good uses for this beautiful bag. It would also make a great gift for eco-conscious friends.
Where to buy: www.ecodiscoveries.com
The Good Travel Company is all about sustainable and responsible travel to beautiful places of the world. Obviously, when traveling, you will create a carbon footprint, The Good Travel Company tries to reduce the impact you, as a traveller, have by sourcing green hotels, green transportation modes, which includes Hybrid car rentals and carbon offsetting projects.
The website offers a lot of information on green traveling and how to be a responsible traveler. You can chose just to book a room in an eco-friendly hotel in lots of different countries or to book a carefully selected eco trip. These exciting trips include luxurious but eco-conscious beach escapes, i.e. Luxury Eco-Camp in Baja California. You can also book fully organized train trips (a greener way of traveling), such as Bangkok to Singapore (an almost 2,000 km trip), or an unforgettable trip on the Trans Siberian Railway.
Other exciting packages include eco safaris to various part of Africa, exploring the most amazing wildlife and scenery. Or how about visiting a festival and experiencing local cultures in Morocco (the World Music Festival)? Or a bareback horse festival in Siena, Italy?
The company offers a carbon offsetting scheme. On the website, you can use the carbon calculator to calculate your flight emissions and find out exactly how much impact you will have on the environment in terms of CO2. You can then buy carbon offset credits to go towards the company’s very worthwhile green projects, such as the Hebei Wind Farm in China. If you want more information on this project, go to The Good Travel Company’s website and look under the carbon neutral section.
Overall, I think if you love traveling and are interested in sustainable travel options and possibilities, go to The Good Travel Company website.
where to buy: www.amazon.com
If you are a pet owner, I am sure that you have come across incidents and accidents with your pets, and were at a loss to know what to do in the aftermath. First aid can make the difference between life and death, even in your pets. Therefore, I think it is important to read up and own a first aid guide book to be prepared for all eventualities.
The book gives you lots of information on what you should do in the case of an emergency, such as how to appraise the situation and basic first aid techniques. You can also read up on what you should have in your pet’s first aid kit. The guide gives advice on first aid on more than 150 types of different injuries and conditions, which range from things like animal bites, car accidents to dehydration, pad burns, eye injuries and worms. I like the fact that for each condition/injury there is guidance when to call a vet, how to perform first aid and which medication you should give your injured pet.
As a pet owner myself, I think this guide is of the utmost importance in keeping your pet safe and healthy and should be kept in easy reach on your bookshelf. That way, you’ll be ready when your pet needs immediate first aid care.
Where to buy: www.seasonsgreenings.net
It is that time of the year again when most of us are starting to think about writing Christmas and Season’s Greetings cards. You might be thinking on how to do this more sustainably – you could send e-mails or e-cards, but if you want to write a personal note, you might want to make sure that the cards you are writing are made from recycled paper. Using sustainable cards reduces the carbon footprint considerably and helps to protect our environment.
Plain Jane’s Season’s Greenings offer eco chic customizable holiday cards. The company’s cards are printed on recycled FSC paper with vegetable inks and are printed by a FSC certified and 100% wind powered company. In addition to the cards being a green option, the company also promises to plant a tree for every order received. The minimum order number is 50 cards. Simply choose one of the attractive designs, customize the holiday message, choose the font and return address which will be printed on the included envelopes.
In my opinion, I would certainly recommend that you look at this company’s website for more information on their choice of greener holiday cards. I think we should all do our bit for the environment. If you are a small business owner, sending green holiday cards will show that your company has a green conscience.
Where to buy: www.amazon.com
Thought of winterizing your home by doing it yourself? Winterizing and weatherizing your home can make a big saving in your energy bills. At the same time, it helps our environment by protecting natural resources. You might not have a clue where to begin in insulating or weatherizing your home. This book contains a very detailed introductory section on insulation, heat transfer and other related topics.
The included do-it-yourself projects include things like sealing air leaks and weather stripping throughout the house, ventilation systems, replacing or improving your windows, hot water conservation and upgrades, heating systems and air conditioning.
The projects range from the very basic and easy to the more advanced. If you attempt a more difficult project, you obviously might want to have some prior handyman experience.
I find the sections on “What Can Go Wrong”, “Pro Tips” and “Trade Secrets” to be a big help if you are planning to build like a pro.
Overall, weatherizing your home is of the utmost importance in conserving energy and reducing the strain on your wallet. This book certainly will give you lots of good information and project ideas on how to achieve a weather-tight home.