Tag Archives: United States

Green Driving Tips

America’s love and need of the automobile won’t be going away anytime soon.They are a fact of life and are an essential element that allows us to meet our daily needs and obligations. There are ways that we lessen the impact of our vehicle use on the planet – green driving is one of them. By making just a few adjustments, we can make a difference and save some money along the way.

green-carHere are a few “Eco-Driving” rules that can lower costs and reduce your carbon footprint

1. Make your next auto purchase an alternative fuel vehicle. Electric powered vehicles and other alternatives are becoming more widely available.

2. Don’t drive alone. Join a carpool or utilize mass transit.

3. Drive the speed limit. For every five miles per hour you drive above 55 miles per hour, you lose 10% – 15% fuel efficiency.

4. Avoid short journeys and multiple trips.

5. Properly inflate tires. Improper tire inflation can result in the loss of over 2 – 3 mpg.

6. Stay aerodynamic. Avoid excess vehicle weight and anything that creates aerodynamic drag, such as roof racks, bike carriers and roof storage carriers.

7. Drive smoothly and anticipate road conditions. Avoid sharp acceleration and heavy braking. Accelerating less aggressively and slowing down moderately can increase fuel efficiency by 20% – 30%.

8. Don’t idle your engine. For stops of more than 2 or 3 minutes, shut off your engine. This can save up to 15% of fuel efficiency.

9. Utilize cruise control. This will save up to 10% by maintaining a steady speed and avoiding unnecessary acceleration.

10, Maintain your vehicle. Keep your vehicle properly tuned and replace old spark plugs and filters.

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Filed under Energy Conservation

Conservation Tip: Maintain Your Water Heater

Water heating currently represents up to 20 percent of US residential energy consumption, making it the third largest energy consumer in homes, behind heating and cooling and kitchen appliances.

Maintaining your water heater will not only save energy, but also will extend the life of the water heater. Here are a few tips to maintain your water heater and save up to 200 lbs. of CO2 per year:

  1. Drain water heater annually. Sediment collects at the bottom of the tank, which leads the hot water heater to perform inefficiently and lead to higher energy costs. By draining the water heater once per year, you will eliminate the build up inside the water heater and keep the water heater working efficiently.
  2. During the annual draining process, Inspect the water heater for damage and assess system performance. Check for leaks and any strange noises, may be a sign that it is time to replace your water heater.
  3. Set water heater temperature. Manufacturers typically preset new hot water heaters at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends homeowners set the heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) to save money and energy. For each 10ºF reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3%-5% in energy costs.
  4. Insulate water heater. Heat loss from the tank and pipes causes decreased energy efficiency in a conventional hot water heater. You can save money by purchasing a water heater blanket from your local hardware store.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Home Winterization

Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water

The bottle water industry exceeds $100 billion in revenue worldwide per year. The industry promotes bottle water as being a safe water option, but in reality bottled water is expensive, resource intensive and poses possible general health concerns.

Here are several reasons to reconsider the use of bottled water:

  1. Not Healthier –  Bottled water often contains more bacteria and impurities than tap water, because the EPA regulates municipal water systems more stringently than the FDA regulates bottled water. Since most water does not cross state lines, in many cases it is exempt from FDA oversight, while the water in your local municipal water system is regulated by the EPA. Municipal water systems are regularly tested bacteria and toxic chemicals.
  2. Resource Intensive – In the US, it takes the equivalent of more than 18 million barrels of oil to manufacture the bottles needed for the US bottled water industry. The energy and fuel costs needed to ship the the bottled water is also extremely expensive for a product that is readily available  from your own tap.
  3. Purchase Price – The purchase price for bottled water can range as high as the equivalent of $10 gallon when purchased from retail and vending machines. Compare this to gasoline that is less than $4 per gallon.
  4. Clean up Costs – It is estimated that is costs more than $80 million to clean up the more than 4 billion bottles that pass through the US wast stream.
  5. Waste - in the United States, less than 20% of PET bottles are recycled, resulting in over 1.2 million tons of plastic waste in US landfills.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Healthy Living, Recycling, Water Conservation

Top Eco-Lifestyle Changes

1. Compost, Compost, Compost.  Start a compost pile or the use of a compost bin and make the most of your food scraps and lawn trimmings. 

2. Give Up Bottled Water. The production of plastic water bottles and the impact on landfills is significant. The long-term hazards of drinking from plastic bottles is still not fully known.

3. Walk Or Ride Your Bike. – walk your kids to school, walk or ride your bike to work and short errands. Reduce your carbon footprint and tone up by ditching the car keys.

4. Commit to Conservation. Wasting resources costs the planet and your wallet. Don’t overheat or overcool your home–a few degrees make a huge difference. Use a clothesline or manual spin dryer to dry your clothes instead using the dryer.

5. Turn it off – turn off those appliances. Turn off the lights you aren’t using. Switch the TV off at the plug each night and don’t leave your laptops and mobiles plugged in all day everyday. Not only will you be helping the environment but you will notice a difference in your energy bill.

6. Plant a tree or small plant. –  If you have a yard, plant a tree in your yard. If you do not have a yard, make a windowsill planter with a small plant. If every house in America planted one tree in their yard, it would improve air quality by 40 percent.

 7. Insulate your home. – By insulating your home you can cut your energy use dramatically. It follows that you’ll save yourself lots of money too.

 8. Start Recycling. – Get everyone involved. You can recycle not only consumer waste, but old clothes can be given new life by donating to a worthy cause.

9. Be an Green Advocate. – Teach those around you – Make sure your family, your children and your friends know the importance of making small changes in their lives that can considerably reduce their carbon footprint.

10. Ditch the Aerosol. – Stop using aerosol cans when possible. Aerosol cans deplete the ozone layer. Use spray bottles instead.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Healthy Living, Recycling, Sustainable Goods, Water Conservation