Looking for ways to save some money? Energy conservation is a great way to reduce your energy costs and save money (and the environment). Here are 5 easy do-it-yourself (DIY) energy saving tips you may not have thought of.
Insulation and Leaks –
A huge way to reduce your heating and cooling bills is to reduce the air flowing out and in to your home. Grab a tube of silicone caulk and and seal cracks around windows, beneath doors, around fittings (check wall switch & outlet plates). Once your windows and doors have been sealed, insulate! The attic and outside walls are obvious and bang-for-buck insulation targets, but windows and doors can really make a difference too. Double and triple paned windows will make a huge difference, but so can just installing and drawing a heavy curtain in the winter or closing reflective blinds in the summer.
Water Heater Blanket –
These insulating blankets can lower your water heating bills by keeping the heat in. Don’t forget to add pipe insulation over the hot water pipes leading from the tank too for an extra boost.
Already have a water heater cozy? Really cut your energy costs by turning down the heat. Don’t heat your water to 160 degrees if you only need it at 120 degrees! You will see significant changes in your heating bills for each little turn, or just go all out and upgrade to a tankless water heater. For maximum effect, turn down your home programmable thermostat in the winter and up in the summer.
A pair of green entrepreneurs have come up with a great easy kit to grow your own fresh sustainable mushrooms at home. Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora came up with the idea during their last semester at UC Berkeley and turned it into a full fledged sucessfull sustainable business: Back to the Roots.
Using the recycled coffee grounds from Peet’s Coffee and Tea houses around the San Francisco bay area as a growing medium, they came up with a full circle pearl oyster mushroom growing kit. Providing a way to grow your own fresh produce in the home while utilizing a waste product (used coffee grounds) they further complete the circle by selling their mushroom/coffee ground compost ‘waste product’ as a premium soil amendment.
Green Holiday Preparation – More than Just the Tree!
Besides the fact that green is basically one of only two colors we have to think about for an entire month and your home is probably about to get be-decked in greenery from pine trees and boughs and wreaths galore, not a lot of us (surely not enough of us) really think about how we can make our actual holiday preparations green. Yet, this month and season is one of the greatest for taking advantage of every opportunity to be greener, from our holiday baking to our gift wrapping. If you’re ready to be green this season, here are some easy ways to get started.
Rather than purchase holiday cards which bring down your green “score” so to speak, with the paper used, ink used, emissions transporting the cards to your store and then the emissions used to deliver cards to destinations across the US, consider making this your year to go with e-cards. If you’re a family and like to do pictures, this actually makes it even easier. Or, you can opt for my favorite idea and film a short clip of the family wishing everyone happy holidays, a silly skit or a Christmas carol or whatever else your creative mind can think up! Attach the clip to an e-card and you’ve got a Christmas card destined to › Continue reading
I recently had a really bad cold or flu which lasted forever. During that time I found myself dreading taking another Advil, aspirin, NyQuil, cough syrup or throat lozenge. Was I just prolonging the sickness, and what kind of damaging effects could all of this harsh medicine have on my body? Near the end I found myself replacing the cough syrup with warm water, lemon juice and honey and then gargling salt water before bed.
Deep in my medicine cabinet I found an old bottle of ‘Rainforest Remedies’ that I got from a trip to Belize a while back. The ingredients were simple, with the main ingredient being simply cayenne pepper. I recall coconut water being another thing that really helped in my travels, which makes sense due to the fact it is a great natural hydrator and is full of electrolytes.
There are still many parts of the world which does not have easy access to modern medicine, and while for treating disease and serious illness there really is no substitute, what I was experiencing was more of an inconvenience that could probably be solved by traditional and homeopathic remedies. › Continue reading
1. Don’t use toilet seat covers
Strange as it may sound, but these wafer-thin little pieces of paper do nothing for your touche. While they give you a feel-good barrier between you and a public toilet, it is basically only that. According to Dr. Sherry Marts, scientific director of the Society for Women’s Health Research, “It’s OK to sit down. Most organisms that cause STDs will not survive for long on a toilet seat.” When you really think about it, when else has a piece of paper that thin ever saved you from anything?
How much good would it do? I haven’t been able to find any definitive answer, but I would feel comfortable throwing out a number in the area of 50,000 trees a year.
2. Wash your hair less
Ask your hairstylist about this one, and you may be surprised what they tell you! Washing your hair everyday can actually be damaging and cause it to start out dry and quickly become greasy. Slowly begin to extend periods between washing so your scalp and hair can adjust until you reach 2-3 washings a month. Soap seems harmless enough, but with the amount we use and dump in our waterways today, it can be downright harmful to those little fishes. Given all that is in shampoo these days, I wouldn’t want to drink it.
3. Pee in the shower or outside in your garden
I’m sure we are going to ruffle some feathers with this one, but we are going to emphasize that urine is sterile! By reliving yourself in the shower, you are saving a toilet flush and the urine is going to the same place anyway (unless you have a specific greywater system, even better.) If you choose to pee outside, you are replenishing nature! Be sure to dilute it with water and hit different spots in your garden or it could be a bit too much fertilizer for your plants (try peeing directly on your compost if you have one to enhance it.)
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With all the eco-friendly green cleaning supplies out there (Method and now Clorox coming out with greener alternative called Green Works) why not just make your own? Eco-Me shows you how to create your own cleaning products out of baking soda, vinegar, oil and water, and provides you with the tools and containers to do it. Mix to your own concentrations and strengths, and add the provided essential oils to your own taste.
Created by Robin Levine, after her very active and health conscious 36 year-old sister was diagnosed with breast cancer with no family history of the disease, took a deeper look at the chemicals we surround ourselves with. It may be shocking to learn that there is no government regulations on cleaning or personal care products, and many chemicals used in these products are carcinogenic, hormone disruptors and general health hazards. Starting as a home based natural product, Eco-me grew into an environmental ‘action figure’ when featured in Women’s Health Magazine.
Formulated from basic safe and natural household ingredients with the thought that if its safe to eat, its probably safe to use in your home and on your body. Pepper in pure plant essential oils selected for their antibacterial & antiseptic properties as well as a great aroma, and you have a clean, fresh smelling, safe cleaning product. Independently lab tested for safety and effectiveness, the Eco-me home kit test results state a reduction and elimination of up to 96% bacteria, and the removal of dirt and odors from all general household cleaning surfaces.
The bottles provided in the kit are PET #1 plastic, a safe plastic that stands up against the 5% acidity of household vinegar (a core ingredient called for in mixing eco-me products) and since the kits are meant to be mixed and remixed, with available refills you can reuse the bottles time and time again. Additionally, PET #1 is one of the most purchased post consumer plastic from recycling centers, Patagonia even makes fleece out of this plastic.
Eco-me is currently sold online and in over 500 stores in the US and Canada and will be expanding into Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland and other international territories in 2009. Their natural product line includes a body care kit, a baby care kit, and a care kits for your cat and dog even. They also offer a new line of pre-mixed cleaning products so you don’t have too- an all purpose cleaner, wood polish and scrub cleanser. Mix up your own natural cleaning and care products with up Eco-me’s natural cleaning products.
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