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Green Living Q&A Blog
EnergyUsing energy efficiently and effectively helps the environment and saves money too. Use these links to find energy-savers and systems for producing your own power.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient EconomyIf you are looking for brand names of the most energy-efficient appliances, this is the place to go. Their Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings: Condensed Online Version gives free information on energy-efficient products related to buttoning up your house, windows, heating systems. cooling systems, water heating, food storage, cooking, dishwashing, laundry, lighting and more.
The Database of State Incentives for Renewable EnergyA comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy.
Green Seal Choose Green Report - Low Rolling Resistance TiresAdvice on choosing environmentally-friendly tires from "an independent, non-profit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment...evaluations are based on state-of-the-art science and information using internationally recognized methods and procedures...[their] only purpose is to direct the purchaser to environmentally responsible products and services." Their work includes development of environmental standards for products in specific categories and certification of products that meet these standards. This report gives specific brand recommendations for products that meet their criteria for tires.
Green Seal Standards for Window FilmsAdvice on choosing environmentally-friendly window films from "an independent, non-profit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment...evaluations are based on state-of-the-art science and information using internationally recognized methods and procedures...[their] only purpose is to direct the purchaser to environmentally responsible products and services." Their work includes development of environmental standards for products in specific categories and certification of products that meet these standards. This link leads to their standards for window films.
Green Seal Standards for WindowsAdvice on choosing environmentally-friendly windows from "an independent, non-profit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment...evaluations are based on state-of-the-art science and information using internationally recognized methods and procedures...[their] only purpose is to direct the purchaser to environmentally responsible products and services." Their work includes development of environmental standards for products in specific categories and certification of products that meet these standards. This link leads to their standards for windows.
An Inconvenient TruthThis website about former Vice President Al Gore's crusade to avert global warming contains an excellent "Take Action" section that outlines practical steps we all can take to reduce or eliminate our carbon emissions from our use of energy.
Kill-A-WattA gadget that will measure how much energy each electrical product uses so you can find out how efficient (or wasteful) they really are. Just plug it into a three-prong grounded wall outlet, plug the item into the meter, then use the product and read the energy usage in the LCD window.
SolarRoofs.comSolar water heaters for tropical, temperate, and even hard-freeze climates. Solar water heating "has always been the most cost effective renewable energy technology."
GreenerCars.com"Scores and ranks all cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs on the market according to environmental friendliness. Learn which vehicles are this year's 'greenest' and 'meanest,' as well as how to shop for a green vehicle." See a free preview of the top-rated vehicles by class, plus overall best and worst vehicles, or purchase instant access to the list.
US EPA: You Have Green OptionsA guide to choosing the cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. "Low emissions and good fuel economy are both important for the environment." You can look up vehicles by type, year, or "the greenest vehicles." Results show an air pollution score, a greenhouse gasses score, and fuel economy.
Battery SolutionsWill accept all types of batteries for recycling from residential and business customers. For a small one-time fee, they will ship you a container that you ship back when it is full of spent batteries. After the initial fee, you pay for shipping and a small recycling fee based on the type of batteries you've sent. A small price to pay to keep toxic metals out of our landfills.
Java-LogFireplace logs made from recycled coffee grounds. "Coffee has about 25% more energy than wood and triple the flame per unit of energy...Java-logs produce significantly fewer emissions than firewood: 96% less residue after combustion, 85% less carbon monoxide, 86% less creosote deposits, 31% less particulate matter." Easy to light, produces less soot.
bulbs.comLow-mercury Philips Alto fluorescents (type "philips alto" into their site search engine) and containers for recycling regular fluorescents (click on the "recycle" tab near the top of the page). While you're there, visit The Lamp Recycling Process which shows in easy pictures what happens to your lamps when they are recycled.
Philips Alto bulbs are the best of only three low mercury fluorescents. They were the first to develop new low-mercury technology and recently manufactured their one billionth Alto bulb. For more info on how and why these are the preferred low-mercury bulb, visit:
EnvironmentalLights.comA great selection of all types of energy-efficient light bulbs, including toxic-free LED's, fluorescents, compact fluorescents, Krypton/Xenon and halogen products. This site makes it easy to switch to the right energy-efficient bulbs for you--that's all they sell.
Citizenre REnUHave you wanted to install a solar system on your home, but were stopped by the thousands of dollars you would need to invest? Now you can have solar energy for the mere investment of what it costs for you to pay your local utility company every month. Citizenre REnU rents solar systems--all you pay for is the power produced. The company makes their own solar panels at significant savings, sends an engineer to design a system for you that will meet 100% of your energy needs, then installs and even maintains the system for you. After you reserve your system online and submit your Forward Rental Agreement (which you can cancel at any time without penalty), you will be officially placed in line for installation. Once you agree to the AutoCAD design for your home, a $500 (refundable, interest-bearing) security deposit is due, and the installation process begins, all handled by Citizenre. In addition, they will lock in your electricity rate for up to 25 years at the same rate you paid last year to your utility, which will allow you to save money on electricity year after year. [First installations will be sometime in 2008. Currently you can sign up to be put on a list for installations. $500 deposit is required to begin installation only after plans are drawn up. Sign up now and you will be higher on the list for installation when it begins.]
Renewable Energy Certificates
Battery Life SaverThis innovative device will greatly increase the starting power, performance and life of your car battery by removing the sulfate build up that deteriorates and eventually destroys your battery. "By having the device constantly connected (a very simple thing to do) you can maintain your battery in like new condition." Your battery will then always operate at peak performance the problem of having a dead battery is eliminated, and fewer toxic batteries will end up in landfills. Works with any car, auto, forklift, any 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 volt battery.
Coolfuel RoadtripThe website for a television series that documents a "trek around America without using a drop of gas." The star crossed thirty states using twelve different types of green energy. My husband is fascinated by the show and watches every episode. You really get an idea of what CAN be done with alternative fuels for transportation. An inspiration! Website describes each of the fuels and vehicles and gives a station guide for watching.
Most of the solar technologies we think are so new--everything from solar steam engines to solar cells to make electricity directly--are anywhere from a century to millenia old...we're all just reinventing a very old wheel--because, in the rush to burn up all that apparently cheap oil and gas, we forgot about the sun.
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