Monthly Archives: October 2013

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Car

Why should you seek to reduce the carbon footprint of your car? Every year the average vehicle puts out between 9,000 – 11,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. Collectively, these emissions are a leading cause of global warming. green-car

Here are a few tips of how you can reduce your car carbon footprint:

  • Drive reasonable speeds. You’ll get a lot better mileage on most cars if you stay under 65 mph.
  • Make your next vehicle a fuel-efficient one.
  • Keep your car properly tuned up and keep the fuel and air filters clean. Replace according to schedule.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires can result in a loss of 1 – 2 mpg

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Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The environmental impact of installing solar panels are evident. The installation of residential solar panels will reduce the size of your carbon footprint and your share of greenhouse gases that are produced annually. As you go through the decision-making process of determining the feasibility of installing residential solar panels, here are a few key points to consider:
  • Start-up Costs - You can reduce the substantial initial outlay by taking advantage of incentives and tax rebates.
  • Self sufficiency and independence -The ability to get of the grid can be liberating. You can also remove a bit of market volatility that can be caused by terrorism, natural disasters and market forces.
  • Return on Investment – The initial purchase of solar panels is obviously a substantial investment, but energy genera
  • solar panelstion starts immediately, resulting in immediate savings on electrical costs. After the initial outlay is covered, in 10 – 15 years, the system will provide pure profit.
  • Remote Installation – Cabins, sailboats, RV’s, these are great places to see the advantages of solar energy. Solar power is often much more cost effective to establish in remote areas than conventional power infrastructure.
  • Environmental Impact – The use of solar energy produces no emissions or noise pollution.
  • Home equity – Passive solar layout & landscaping concepts increase the value of a home.
  • System Longevity – Solar panels have the capability of collecting energy for 40 plus years and manufacturers typically warranty the systems for 20 to 25 years.

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Garage Winterization Tips

Save money and energy this winter with these garage winterization tips:

  • Install a weather seal between the bottom of the garage door and the garage floor.
  • If time to replace your garage door, replace with an insulated door.
  • Check the door leading from your garage to the house for leaks and replace seals, if necessary.
  • Properly insulate rooms that share walls with the garage.
  • Insulate your hot water heater.
  • Install energy efficient lighting.
  • Insulate all exposed pipes.

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Benefits of Using Dryer Vent Seal

Reasons to Install Dryer Vent Cover

Have you ever noticed that the room containing your clothes dryer is usually the coldest room in your house? Most clothes dryers are connected to a 4″ diameter exhaust duct that runs directly to an opening on the exterior of the home. During the winter months, cold air leaks in through the duct, through your dryer and into your house, allowing your heated air to Imageescape.  In addition to the energy loss issues, other problems include insects, mice and other pests to enter through the exterior vent.

One solution to the problem is to install a Dryer Vent Seal Cover. The installation of the dryer vent vent kits with a floating cap design can provide several benefits in the following areas:

Energy Efficient

Because dryer vent cap only opens when the dryer is in use, the movement of air, either air conditioned to the outside, or cold exterior air to the inside. This design also keeps rain, snow and dust or other debris from blowing into the dryer vent. Because cold air isn’t allowed in and heated or cooled air isn’t allowed out, this will improve the energy efficiency of maintaining air in the effected area.

Fire Safety

The louvered design of the dryer vent seal allows lint to pass freely to the outside, preventing the buildup of lint in the dryer vent. Collected lint is very flammable and the use of wire mesh or screens by many homeowners traps the lint and increases the collection of the flammable material.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Home Winterization

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Now that we are approaching the early part of winter, you can take some steps to reduce the amount of energy that you’re using to lower your bill. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Turn Back the Thermostat – Set your thermostat to 68°. Your heating system will operate less and use less energy.  You can also save from 450 – $125 a year by turning down your thermostat down 5° at night or when leaving your home for an hour or more. For a small investment, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to adjust your home’s temperature settings automatically.
  2. Use power strips – Plug home electronics devices, such as TVs, computers, game devices and stereo equipment, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. Another step further would be to implement smart power strips to improve energy efficiency and reduce vampire power loss.
  3. Set Water Heater to 120° – Consider reducing your water heater to a cooler setting will reduce the amount of energy required to keep the water warm enough. A reduction of 10°F could result in a savings of 2 – 6% savings in water heating related costs.
  4. Wrap Your Water Heater – Purchase a water heater blanket, which is widely available at most hardware and home improvement stores. The Department of Energy states that this will save the average household around 4-9% of their annual total water heating costs (around $12 – $48 for most homes.)
  5. Clean Refrigerator Coils –  On an annual basis, refrigerator coils should be vacuumed and cleaned. Dirty coils can result in energy loss between 5% – 8%.
  6. Seal Building Leaks and Gaps  – Use weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors. This will be an inexpensive way to save on energy loss.
  7. Install Water-efficient Water Appliances – By installing low use shower heads and faucets, you can reduce hot water usage by up to 10%, which will be a savings of $5 – $25 per water appliance.
  8. Replace Furnace or Heat Pump Filter – Regularly replace dirty filters to improve airflow, which will improve furnace performance, which can result in a $25 – $50 annual savings.
  9. Properly Seal Duct Work – Properly seal ducts of a FHA (forced hot air) System to reduce energy loss.
  10. Switch to Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs – CFL’s can save up to $40 – $50 over the life of the bulb in energy costs.
  11. Smart Appliance Replacement – When appliances and electronic devices can not be repaired, choose a replacement that is Energy Star Compliant. These devices are tested to be more energy efficient than older models.
  12. Seal Fireplace Damper – To reduce heat loss, be sure to close damper when not in use. You can further reduce heat loss up the chimney by installing a chimney draft stopper.

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Home Energy Savings

Test For Air Leaks and Drafts to Reduce Energy Loss

Properly sealing cracks and openings in you home can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs throughout the year. You may already know where some air leakage occurs in your home, such as an under-the-door draft, but you’ll need to find the less obvious gaps to properly seal your home.

Here are several tests that can be used to check for air leaks:

  1. Window Seal Check – Shut the window on a piece of paper. If paper can be pulled without tearing paper, than window should be resealed.
  2. Visual Gap Check – After daylight hours, shine a light through closed window and door seam and have a partner confirm if light is visible on other side.
  3. Hot/Cold Air Check – Use your hands to feel around door and window seal checking for cold or hot air coming in through a leak.

Common areas to check for leaks are between brick and wood siding, between foundation and walls, and between the chimney and siding. In addition, you should inspect around these areas for leaks and drafts:

  • Door and window frames
  • Mail chutes
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Bricks, siding, stucco, and foundation
  • Air conditioners
  • Vents and fans

Home Pressurization Test

If you are having difficulty locating leaks and drafts, you may want to conduct a basic building pressurization test:

  1. First, close all exterior doors, windows and fireplace flues.
  2. Turn off all combustion appliances such as gas burning furnaces and water heaters.
  3. Then turn on all exhaust fans (generally located in the kitchen and bathrooms) or use a large window fan to suck the air out of the rooms.

This test increases infiltration through cracks and leaks, making them easier to detect. You can use incense sticks or your damp hand to locate these leaks. If you use incense sticks, moving air will cause the smoke to drift, and if you use your damp hand, any drafts will feel cool to your hand.

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Reduce Heating Costs with Space Heaters

Small space heaters can be a smart, cost-effective way to heat individual rooms or spaces, without relying upon central heating. In many cases, it is less expensive to heat the occupied space versus the cost to heat an entire area controlled by a Imagecentral system.

To maximize cost savings, turn down the thermostat to 55 degrees F and place space heaters in a child or elderly person’s room or where their are individuals that be sensitive to the cold. By concentrating the heat, the central heating system will run less and heating costs will drop.

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Why is Cancer in Dogs on the Rise?

By Wondercide 

Cancer isn’t just for people. Pets can get cancer too, and one in three dogs are affected by cancer. It is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. Cancer in dogs is on the rise. But why?

From Race for the Cure to breaking news stories about cancer research, most of what we hear about cancer focuses on finding a cure for the disease. What about cancer prevention? What if we could determine what causes cancer in dogs, avoid these causes, and prevent cancer altogether?

Based on the rise of cancer in domesticated dogs, leading holistic veterinarians theorize that many of our modern conveniences and medicines are contributing to cancer in dogs. “In years past, many dogs died from common illnesses or were hit by a car. But now, we have vaccines and we keep our dogs indoors,” says Elizabeth A. Martinez, DVM.

How can you prevent cancer in your dog?

Start by changing your dog’s food intake.

Our beloved house pets evolved from wild cats and dogs who could forage for food and hunt highly diverse fish, reptiles, mammals, birds, and eggs. Cats and dogs are meant to live on a single-source protein diet that comes from animals, not plants. Grain-free, low-carbohydrate dog food is best, since filler grains like corn and wheat are hard for dogs to digest and most pet food companies use carbohydrates like potatoes as filler (to keep dog kibble cheap) and glue (to bind together other ingredients).

Because most dog food today is hard to digest, dogs aren’t getting the nutrients they need, which further contributes to cancer in dogs. Dogs have much shorter intestines than humans, which means most of their digestion takes place in the stomach, whereas human digestion takes place in the intestine. Nutrients are only absorbed from food during digestion. Essentially, dogs need to quickly absorb their food’s nutrients since they have short intestines, but the low quality of most modern dog kibble makes it too hard for a dog’s stomach to digest.

After you’ve switched your dog to natural dog food, reduce your dog’s chemical exposure.

These two actions both need to happen. Combining a high-quality raw food diet with high chemical exposure can be even worse for your dog than leaving him on a low-quality food!

For example, if a person is an unhealthy eater, they aren’t as sensitive to bad chemicals around them. Once a person switches to an organic, all-natural diet, they become more aware of chemicals in their environment since their body’s awareness isn’t suppressed by unhealthy food. The same process happens to your dog—she will become more sensitive when on natural food.

Many of the chemicals your dog encounters in their home, outdoor areas, and at the vet can cause cancer in dogs, regardless of what type of food a dog eats. Most common pesticides contain chemicals that are carcinogens(cancer causing agents). If you treat your home or lawn with pesticides like Raid or Bug B Gon, you’re exposing yourself and your pet to these chemicals, which have been known to cause skin issues, seizures, kidney failure and even premature death, in addition to cancer.

In the end, making these changes will help your dog live longer and reduce your vet bills. By feeding your dog higher quality food and reducing their chemical exposure, you can reduce cancer in dogs!

Product Spotlight:

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A powerful, non-toxic 16 oz. flea & tick spray for dogs and cats. Repels and kills fleas, ticks & mosquitoes on contact. Effective on all life cycle stages, this bio-based formula safely protects your pet without risk to adults or children.

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Food Scrap Diversion Benefits

What is food scrap diversion?

It it widely accepted that food waste and compostable paper comprised 32% of the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) waste stream. Food scrap diversion is a process of turning food scraps and other organic waste into nutrient-rich compost.

Many commercial and institutional facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, and school and hospital cafeterias are now required to have food waste diversion systems in place. Commercial food waste includes raw and cooked food and other compostable organic material from commercial and institutional premises.

Benefits of Food Scrap Diversion Projects:

  • Food scraps are diverted from county landfills, extending the landfill’s life.
  • The environmental impacts of hauling tons of food scraps to county landfill-air pollution, transportation congestion, depletion of fossil fuels-were avoided. The resulting compost was used to improve local soils.
  • As industrial and commercial projects become prevalent, individuals will become more willing to compost their own food scraps at home.
  • Selling the resulting compost will allow for payback for project related costs within a few years.

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Energy Saving Fireplace Tips

When you set out to light a roaring fire this winter, it may be an expensive and inefficient endeavor. Traditional fireplaces are an energy loser  as a primary heat source since they tend to pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney.A fireplace sends most of the heat in your house straight up the chimney resulting in nearly 25,000 cubic feet of air per hour to be released to the outside. There are many ways that you can minimize energy loss around your fireplace this winter:

  • Caulk around the hearth. Plug and seal the chimney flues of fireplaces you never use.
  • Reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox. Check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
  • Keep your fireplace’s damper closed when not in use. Use a chimney draft guard to stop heat loss.
  • Consider a gas fireplace if you are planning to install a new one. Gas fireplaces can be 60% – 70% more efficient than traditional fireplaces.
  • Cover the firebox opening with tight-fitting metal or glass doors.
  • If you burn wood, use aged firewood for a hotter and cleaner burn.

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