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.
I am sure everyone has been frustrated with water saving shower heads at one time or another. You know, the ones you struggle just to get wet under, or just feel like a mist, leaving you longing for the full stream water wasters that your drain couldn’t keep up with. Luckily those days are over and good engineering has resulted in some great water saving shower heads that feel like a downpour.
Now to those who are still using traditional shower heads, you are really leaving a lot of money on the table for a very minimal experience difference. We aren’t just talking about the cost of wasting water, the real expense can also come from the cost of heating all that extra water. Just replacing one shower head can save you more than $70 per year in water and heating costs alone!
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Ask many people why they haven’t currently got solar panels and they’ll tell you that they’re waiting
for solar to become “affordable”, but without ever having researched it. Particularly over the last
12 months, the price of solar has come crashing down, and with many government incentives at
particularly high levels, now is a great time to think seriously about the investment.
Across the Pond, in the UK, it has just been announced that subsidies will have to be cut following
a 30% drop in the price of installed solar panels from April 2010 to December 2011. This change is
due to increasing competition in the number of solar installation companies, as well as increasing
competition among the manufacturers themselves.
The USA has a federal grant available of 30% of the installation costs. There are also extensive local
subsidies available. The hottest states for earning money with solar, at the moment, are California, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania, although it is worth a look at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to help find out what’s available where you live. Generally, solar panels should pay themselves off in about 10 years. › Continue reading
Ever taken a good look at your heating or cooling bill and wanted to do something about it? Well, even if you have and bought a smart programmable thermostat, you may be spending more than without one.
A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that “as many as 50 percent of residential programmable thermostats are in permanent ‘hold’ status.” Even the the governments Energy Star program removed their endorsement from all programmable thermostats primary because people don’t have the time or patience to program them properly, and the thermostat controls half of the homes energy bill. That is a lot of power for a device that effectively works no better than your sprinkler system.
Enter the NEST Learning Thermostat, the brain child of Tony Fadell, the iPod hardware designer and former iPod and iPhone division VP for Apple, after trying to decide on a thermostat for his new green home in Tahoe. A complete departure from anything you find on the market today, it is an iPod in a world of cassette walk-mans. › Continue reading
Here are some of the stories running around the green web this week.
Glass2 is produced with 99% recycled glass with no resin and can be worked on by stone and glass fabricators.
Staybull Flooring salvages waste wood from lumber mills around the world in more than 20 wood species. The discarded strips are binded using solvent-free and VOC-free adhesives, then milled and finished with a VOC-free ceramic finish for a strong detailed mosaic looking flooring. Pricing can start at $4.50 sqft and can do double duty by also reducing labor costs and construction waste.
Just outside Los Angeles, a 3-GW wind farm project is on track to be operational by next year. Able to power 600,000 Southern California homes, the Alta Vista Wind Energy Center located in the foothills of the Mojave Desert just north of Los Angeles will have the first phase up and running by next year with full completion in about 10 years.
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Conversely, people who begin learning additional languages as children tend to make a lot less mistakes common to later-learners and in addition, pick up the same languages much faster. Knowledge becomes more deeply rooted if it’s learned early, and bearing these facts in mind, one can also see why many professionals are able to trace their own passions as adults back to what they were brought up with.
With this in mind, it makes sense that the best way to instill green values in society would be to focus on the youth. That said, young kids won’t be too excited to read a dense non-fiction title on all the mistakes made by ourselves and our predecessors. They also wouldn’t be too keen on keeping up with environmental trends and gadgets. But few kids would shy away from being bought a new toy.
Seven years of hard-work recently culminated in the beginning of a 24-hour test flight of the HB-SIA, an experimental solar-energy powered aircraft. This unveiling comes with a sigh of relief as the flight has already been delayed once due to technical issues with the communications equipment. The intentions of the team are to take the plane up to an altitude of approximately 28,000 feet after which the pilot will determine whether the plane can successfully fly during the night with the energy stored during the day’s sunlight.
Powered by 12,000 solar cells, the group hopes that the plane will be a harbinger of things to come – “to have a solar-powered plane flying day and night without fuel,” as the team’s co-founder Bertrand Piccard puts it. Though the group recognizes that solar airplanes won’t be replacing commercial airplanes with jet propulsion engines any time soon, the hope is that the project will be a means of moving towards a world with newer, cleaner technology.
I generally type at about 65 WPM, and I like to think that this is a quite a bit faster than a typical computer user especially considering that I’ve never actually taken any typing classes. I amassed this WPM on nothing but experience, hooked to a glaring computer screen since the age of five or six (we didn’t have cable and I was easily amused). In spite of my proficiency at typing, I have nothing on the speed at which my friends text. Not yet anyways.
Like my computer experience, kids are now growing up with cell-phones, rapidly pounding out messages that I would’ve actually had to say out loud. Regardless of what can be said about how this might depersonalize our communication with each other, it is an incontrovertible fact that the world is marching along in this direction – steadily becoming more and more dependent on these small all-encompassing tools. I’ve answered surveys where I was asked about one technology without which I couldn’t survive, and without even second guessing myself, I had to say my cell phone. I can always find easily accessible computers, but when it comes to my cell phone, it stores all of my contacts along with my music, pictures, videos and even some reminders of important appointments. I can’t leave home without it charged. And I can only imagine how much more important they would than be to people who lead far busier lives than my own.
It follows than, that in such a world, emergency energy has the potential for substantial business. I myself can’t say how many times I’ve purchased Cellboost to recharge my phone after I had realized that I hadn’t recharged it the previous night. I’ve also found similar technology that relies on you plugging in AAA batteries and the like as a source of energy, a rechargeable substitute for the disposable Cellboost (which is itself not much more than smaller batteries packaged in plastic).
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