Saturday, May 10, 2008

High Tech / Low Tech Power Generation



Volunteers from Engineers Without Borders have developed a small wind turbine that will bring power to remote villages.

The engineering team had to make their design simple enough that it could be assembled from cheap and widely available components. As a result, their plans call for building the turbine out of hard plastic (or canvas) bolted on to a steel-tube structure. The rotor, which creates mechanical energy from the movement of the blades, runs into an alternator (actually a cheap DC motor running in reverse), which converts the mechanical energy into electricity.


Wired has the full story.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Economy Going Green

So I was cruising through the newspaper this morning and came across this article.

http://www.modbee.com/local/story/293462.html

It really makes you think about all of the benefits of the 'green' movement not only in terms of saving water or energy but in the creation of new jobs. So do your part by going 'green' and you can help protect the earth, save some money and keep your neighbor employed. Pretty Hot!

Missy's "Green" Product of the Week

Paying bills is not the highlight of my day. However, knowing that the checks I'm writing out are "green" will at least put a smile on my face.

The Check Gallery not only makes nature inspired checks, but uses recycled paper and soy-based ink. Check em out!

One more idea: use online bill pay rather than receiving paper statements. Save the trees!

Organic Fashion?

I’m sure you’ve all heard of organic food, but how about organic clothing? No…it doesn’t mean you can eat your clothes! While the definitions can vary, eco-fashion is basically clothing that has been made with environmentally responsible materials and production techniques. One example might be making a cotton t-shirt from organically grown cotton. Vintage clothing is also an example of eco-fashion…it’s being “recycled”.

Organic, eco-friendly fashion is starting to become more and more popular. Here are a few website where you can purchase eco-friendly clothing:Happy Shopping!!!

www.organicclothes.com

www.clothesmadefromscrap.com

www.vintagetrends.com

www.underthecanopy.com

www.thelivingplanet.net

www.pandasnack.com

www.simpleshoes.com

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Recycling correctly = SAVING ENERGY!

http://videos.modbee.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=1833437

Here is a link to a video regarding trash and recycling. In the video, you see employees sorting through the recycling and the garbage for items that are not supposed to be there. They are using conveyor belts that I am sure use a lot of energy to run. If we were to sort our trash and recycling correctly from the start, then the conveyor belts won’t have to be running all the time to sort our trash! I know that I do the best that I can, but sometimes I know there are things in the trash that should be in the recycling and vice versa. Lets make an effort to sort our items more wisely so we SAVE ENERGY!

Stay Cool This Summer

Spring is here and summer, with its warmer temperatures, is just around the corner. Here are some tips that can help you, and your energy bill, stay cool this summer.

  • B-B-Qing outdoors instead of using the stove indoors keeps the inside of your house cool.
  • Drapes, shades, and awnings shield windows from the hot sun, keeping your home cooler.
  • Unplugging televisions, stereos, computers and other appliances when not in use helps protect the environment. The International Energy Agency estimates that the power consumed by these appliances in standby is responsible for one percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Set your refrigerator at 40° F.
  • Open windows on breezy days instead of turning the air conditioner on.
  • Make sure your air conditioner is the proper size for the area you are cooling.
  • Don't cool rooms that aren't occupied.
What other ways can you think of to save energy and money this summer? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Going Green in the Office

How easy is it to Go Green in the office? Very easy. We all have behaviors at home and in the office that we can change. You can do so simply by making sure you use every single page in your notebook or recycling your toner cartridges when your finished. Below is a quick glance in a few other areas where you can Go Green in the Office!
  • Staples 100% recycled printer paper
  • Aluminum Cans (Start a recycling bin.)
  • Computers (Don't just trash them, recycle them!)
  • Paper products in the kitchen (Use Mugs or plastic plates.)

There are at least a gazillion other ways we can all save money and the environment. Can you think of one?

Go Green on 2 Wheels

With soaring fuel prices, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles are a great way to take the pinch out of your pocket book. But there's an even easier and healthier way, ride a bike!

Bicycling to work, the store, or just around town while you do your errands is not only a great way to save energy and money but it's good for you too! If you're interested in riding a bike to work now is the perfect time, May is National Bike month with National Bike to Work Week the 12th - 16th.

For more information on events being held in your community check out BikeToWorkWeek.org.

So do something healthy for yourself and the environment. Get out on 2 wheels!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bottled Water - A Necessity?

So I'm sure you have heard all the hype over plastic bottles, they contaminate our landfills, are hard to recycle, and if re-used can disperse harmful chemicals into your water. Well last weekend I was fed up with the hype and finally gave in a drove myself to REI to pick up a few re-useable plastic bottles. For a whopping $12 dollars (and only 24 oz.) I purchased 3 Camelbak bottles to cart around with me everywhere I go. Now I know this sounds like complaining, but after I got home I was directed to a site that gave me a little more information on why we shouldn't use so many water bottles. It really made me feel better about purchasing the new re-useable bottles. So here are a few new things I learned.....
  1. Did you know 3 gallons of water is used to create just 1 gallon of the bottled stuff? It's true, the processes (I use plural because there are many different processes) the water goes through for "purification" cause evaporation to take place.
  2. Every ton of PET plastic for the bottles produces 3 tons of carbon–adding 2.5 Million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
  3. Visit www.choosetoreuse.com for more
Now, I like to think of myself as a realist, so I'm not saying strike against all water bottles and the companies who produce them, you'll still catch me drinking from one on occasion. But it really was an easy, simple thing to do, and I feel really good about it. So next time your just down the street from your local sports store, pick one up and give it a try. Here are 2 good options.
  • Camelbak - these are the ones I bought, they even have trendy neoprene carrying cases.
  • Nalgene - These have been around forever, great for hiking

Monday, May 5, 2008

Laying the Foundation for Water-Efficient New Homes

What if you could buy a newly constructed house that was so water-efficient it used only 80 percent of what an average new house in the United States uses, without calling for any sacrifice? Well, soon, you will have that choice—WaterSense is developing a program to bring water-efficient homes to a neighborhood near you!

In pursuit of this goal, EPA will soon unveil its draft WaterSense specification for new homes. The draft specification incorporates EPA's criteria for product categories earning the WaterSense label (toilets and faucets) and requires many other practices and technologies aimed at bringing water efficiency into the entire home.

The movement to make new homes water-efficient couldn't be happening at a better time. Residential water use accounts for more than half of publicly supplied water in the United States—more than is supplied to both business and commercial industries combined. In fact, a family of four uses approximately 400 gallons of water every day. When final, this new specification will hopefully provide a starting point for homeowners to lower these staggering numbers and for builders to incorporate water efficiency into all aspects of new home design. On average, and of course depending on homeowners' water habits, a WaterSense labeled new home will be designed to use about 20 percent less water per year than other new homes built today.
In addition to WaterSense labeled toilets and faucets, as well as other water-efficient plumbing devices, WaterSense labeled new homes will feature ENERGY STAR® qualified dishwashers and washing machines. They also will feature a hot water distribution system that decreases how long hot water takes to get to your tap. This will help prevent homeowners from running the tap and shower while waiting for hot water, a practice that wastes thousands of gallons of water per year.

WaterSense labeled new homes will be water-efficient outside, too: if an irrigation system is utilized in the home, it must be installed by a WaterSense irrigation partner, and the surrounding landscape should feature native plant species that require minimal watering.
These new specifications can have a significant impact not only on water efficiency but on energy efficiency as well. Water heating accounts for 24 percent of the energy consumed in a household, and an average household spends about $250 per year for hot water. If one in every 10 homes in the United States upgraded to WaterSense labeled toilets and faucets in the bathrooms, it could save more than 120 billion gallons of water per year and more than $800 million per year in household utility bills.

Bags, bags, bags

No, I'm not talking about those things under your eyes after a long week at work. I'm taking about the plastic and paper ones, millions being used everyday. Reusable bags help reduce waste and pollution from plastic and paper bags, and promote earth conscious alternatives.

Do your part to reduce the amount of plastic and paper shopping bags that saturate our landfills, pollute our oceans and litter our highways. Reusable, recyclable and functional bags satisfy the need. They now come in many different styles and materials. Below are a few links to find what's perfect for you. Just keep them in the trunk of your car to have them handy.

www.reusablebags.com - All types can be found here
www.ecobags.com - a large variety and great woven bags
www.leftoverbags.com - made from recycled materials
www.sackaroosreusablebags.com - great prices
www.greenworldbags.com - for the fashionista
http://baggubag.com - to cary anything and everything

Only Tap Water Delivers

You probably turn it on more often every day than the TV, the radio and your cell phone without ever worrying whether what comes out is dangerous to you or your family.

"It" is a faucet, and, with most people's attention focused on the soaring price of gasoline these days, it's easy to overlook the importance of water to everyone's life and the economy. That's one of the reasons the American Water Works Association launched the annual National Drinking Water Week campaign about 30 years ago.

The week long campaign, built around the theme of "Only Tap Water Delivers", begins today and is meant to remind people that water plays an indispensable role in public health, fire protection, the economy and the overall quality of life.

The average person uses 101 gallons of water a day, most of which ends up in the sewer system from toilets, bathing, washing machines, dishwashers or other household chores. Another large portion goes for watering lawns. Only about 3 percent is actually used for drinking.

While Americans are pouring an average of almost 100 gallons a day into the sewer or onto the ground, 3 million people a year die in countries around the world that do not have a safe drinking water supply. It's something the AWWA wants people to think about this week.