Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gilligan and The Professor??

LiveScience has reported that researchers in Texas are making car parts out of coconuts. Trunk liners, floorboards and car-door interior covers have already been made by a team at Baylor University. Walter Bradley, the engineering professor (has nothing to do with my title) who is leading the project, explained to LiveScience that the fibers in the husks of the coconuts have very good strength, stiffness and ductility.

The Huffington Post reports that Walter Bradley and his Baylor University team are testing the coconut car part prototypes for safety. If these parts pass, 11 million coconut farmers' annual income of about $500 could potentially increase.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who Knew....

I was reading an article on The Daily Green about keeping a pitcher of water in your fridge and what benefits it would have for conserving energy and water.
Did you know that by simply keeping a pitcher of water in the fridge from the tap will help keep your food cool. It also provides you with a cold glass of water whenever you need it. So no more letting the water run to get cold or needing to use much ice, which cuts down on waste and conserves energy.This also will help cut back on buying already bottled water, which can have a nasty effect on the environment.
Now if you are anything like me you are probably saying " I don't really like tap water that much." Well in that case you could always purchase a filter for your faucet or a pitcher that filters the water. They are easy to come by and they are not very expensive. For some different types of filters you can check out or just go to your local Walmart or Target.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dusty Ducts

We recently had our carpets cleaned in our home; after all the Christmas parties and the disasters that came with people trampling through; and I learned something new. If you have carpet in your home, and you see a darker line around the baseboards of your rooms, those lines are caused from your heating and air conditioning. They are often the darkest by the furnace itself, but can be seen in rooms or areas were there is a vent near by. Those lines are settled particles from the air that are kicked around by your furnace. We are breathing that stuff everyday! I was pretty shocked to learn this. We rent our home, and the damage (darkened lines) was done before we moved in. I was pleased to find out that since I am kinda a “clean freak,” I have lessened the particles in the air and in turn continuing damage on the carpet.

But I wanted to find out more ways to help get all that junk out of the air that we are breathing. One way I learned, was to have all the air vents and duct work professionally cleaned and sucked out. This would not only help take the junk out of the air, but it would also make our heating and air conditioning more efficient! A win win. Having your duct work cleaned out is also great for people with allergies and asthma.

This being said, still be careful of the many scams and "extras" that companies will try to sell you in the process. Your coils should be cleaned annually, and although professionals will tell you you need to have your duct work cleaned annually, its just not necessary unless you are particularly sensitive. Chucks of dust and particles just don't build up that fast to warrant the yearly spending of $200-400 (depending on the house) duct cleaning.

American Fresh Ducts If left unclean for a long period of time, your ventilation system could be the largest cause of your house dust and allergy problems, not to mention the leading cause of HVAC system failure. A buildup of less than a 16th of an inch, 0.042 inches of dirt on a heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease of efficiency of 21% the Environmental Protection Agency (EPS) reports. 9 out of 10 system failures are caused by dirt and dust as reported by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Services (LCES).

A clean system restores capacity and lessens running time – translation: clean systems run more efficiently saving money on heating and cooling costs. A well-maintained cooling system can reduce your utility bill by as much as $30.00 per month. Studies show that a well-maintained system can restore capacity by ½ to ¾ tons, improve humidity control and reduce running time according to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) of San Francisco Bay Area. By simply cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system on a yearly basis (your dryer vent, too) can significantly reduce house dust and microbial contamination. For particularly sensitive individuals and those living in very high humidity environments, the system should be cleaned every six months.

A clean HVAC system can actually be used to help decrease allergy and asthma symptoms. Air-conditioning can be used to keep the humidity in your home to 50% or less to significantly slow the growth of dust mites, molds and mildew. Electrostatic, UV air cleanser or HEPA filters used and maintained (cleaned or replaced often) in your HVAC system also helps lower allergy and asthma symptoms as well as better maintaining an overall healthy system. Commercially purchased fiberglass filters are only 7% efficient in stopping dirt, dust, pollen, etc. passing through them says the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Experts (ASHRAE).

Stripping to Save $$$$$$

I just recently moved into a 60 year old house a couple of weeks ago and have been doing several repairs, additions, modifications, etc. With this cold weather we have been running the heater quite a bit (it seems constant). The house stays warm, but every time I walked near an exterior door I could literally feel the cold air blowing under, and through the cracks of the door. This was starting to get on my nerves because all I could see was dollar signs as my heater kept kicking on $$$$$. So once I realized this was costing me money I went to Home Depot and bought 2 door shoes which attach to the bottom of the door to form a seal at the threshold, and 2 rolls of self sticking weather strip. Once I got home it took me about 10 minutes to install everything on two exterior doors and cost me approximately $30.00. I know for a fact it has helped because the heater (honestly) is not kicking on as much, and my laundry room, (where the second exterior door is located) was always the coldest room in the house, now stays relatively close to the temperature of the rest of the house. Here's a link to give you an idea of what I installed.