Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Tips for Greener Life

Another week has passed. How are you doing on the shower time reduction? We are still working on it. The main reason for not being able to stick with this challenge is our 11-year-old son who likes to sing under the shower.However, that is going to take some effort on our part to teach him to reduce his shower time and we will continue with the challenge next week. Do you know that the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez called on Venezuelans to stop singing in the shower and to wash in three minutes because the oil-exporting nation is having problems supplying water and electricity?

Enough talk, time for our next Friday Tip for Greener Life:

Eco Driving Will Save You Fuel and Money

Even if the price of fuel drops a little, filling up your tank with gas can be a wallet-emptying experience. On top of the money spent on gas, the amount of pollutants and CO2 released by your car adds to the green guilt. With that in mind, we introduce you the term eco-driving, which will minimize the impact of your car on the environment, and save money at the same time. Get ready for 10 easy steps that will make a big difference to your budged and will help the environment.

Limit yourself: The song says, "I can't drive 55", but you really ought to. For every five miles per hour you drive above 55 mph, you lose 10% fuel efficiency, so keep your speed down when you can.

2. Go steady: Many traffic lights are timed for efficient traffic flow, and by maintaining a constant speed, you'll hit more green lights in a row.

3. Get the lead out:
Do you take off from stoplights like you're drag racing, then hit the brakes at the next one? Accelerating less aggressively and slowing down moderately for stops can increase your fuel efficiency by over 30%.

4. Go steady: Many traffic lights are timed for efficient traffic flow, and by maintaining a constant speed, you'll hit more green lights in a row.

5. Go for a cruise:
Use your cruise control on the highway to maintain a steady speed and keep yourself from accelerating unnecessarily. An average fuel savings of 10% is possible by just cruising. For mountainous drives, skip the cruise control and accelerate smoothly on the hills, coasting down the other side with minimal fuel.

6. There's an app for that: Got an iPhone? Install a fuel saving application like MyMPG that lets you know when you're wasting gas.

7. Streamline your ride: Improving the aerodynamics of your car reduces drag and improves fuel efficiency. Got a roof rack full of gear? Leave it at home and feel the difference.

8. Hack your fuel efficiency:
Change your plugs regularly, keep your engine tuned up, and your filters clean. Empty your car of any extra items you've been hauling around for years to lighten your load.

9. Jump in the pool: Drive alone, and you're making the gasoline industry very happy. Find a carpool for work commutes, and ask your friends and neighbors to combine errand runs with you.

10. Gear up: Cars are more fuel efficient in a higher gear, so when you're up to speed, pick the gear with the lowest engine rpm and you'll burn the least amount of gas, while reducing the emissions from your tailpipe.

Via: Planet Green

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Rubric : Friday Tips For Greener Life

Hello everyone! I was inspired by the 9- year-old daughter of my friend to start this rubric.Believe it or not kids can teach us a lot of things about life in general but in I never expected that this little girl will teach us How to Live Green. She asked her Mom to make small steps each day to green their house. What a little eco leader! What can one person do to live green ? The answer, happily, is a lot. Even small actions can have a positive impact on the environment.
Now I am offering you a
Challenge: Every week we will incorporate a new green tip into our life. So, what do you think? Easy lifestyle changes that will move us in the "green" direction.

Are You Ready to Make These Changes Together?

Green Tip One: Reduce Your Shower Time to 5 Minutes

"You'll never
miss the water 'til the well runs dry."

"Father o
f the Blues"
Alabamian W.C. Handy

Did you know that the average shower length is 8 minutes? By reducing that to 5 minutes, you can reduce the amount of water you use by nearly one-third, or roughly 10 gallons per day.If you already take a 5 minute shower, perhaps you’ll consider cutting back a little bit more? Reducing the length of your shower by just one minute could save you up to 1,825 gallons of water each year.

In the shower:
  • Turn off the water while you are lathering up your body, washing your hair or shaving, then turn it back on when you need to rinse.
  • Replace your showerhead with a low-flow showerhead
  • While you are waiting for the water to warm up, catch it in a bucket and use it for watering your plants or garden or for flushing your toilet

Feel free to join in the challenge any time It’s never too late to sign up to make a difference.

The Earth,
our children and I thank you for participating in the 5-minute shower challenge!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big Houses Are Not Green

Everything is so BIG in America. This was my first impression since my first day in the USA – big highways, big cars, big stores and big houses. “The Bigger The Better”.

The recent mansion boom produced millions of energy-wasting homes with thousands of square feet that Americans don't need -- not the behavior of a society that's thinking about a sustainable future.Smaller families are living in bigger houses. In the America of 1950, single-family dwellings were built with an average of 290 square feet of living space per resident; in 2003, a family moving into a typical new house had almost 900 square feet per person in which to ramble around. In the size of our dwellings, North Americans are world champions.

Nowadays the average American homes are shrinking.

Thank you, Recession for the change in thinking!

USA Today reports that Americans are building smaller homes: ‘Last year, for the first time in at least 10 years, the average square footage of single-family homes under construction fell dramatically, from 2,629 in the second quarter to 2,343 sf in the fourth quarter, Census data show. The new motto is: Living well with less.’

Is 2,343 sf less? I think of anything over 2000 square feet is excessive for two to three residents. American homes, on average, are nearly twice as large as those in many European countries, including Britain, France and Germany.

For example, the average total floor area in Japan is 94.85 square meters (1,021.0 sq ft). The average total floor area in France is 113 square meters (1, 216 sq ft), Ireland 88 square meters ( 947 sq ft) and UK 76 square meters ( 818 sq ft)

Smaller is greener.

One of the best ways to reduce a house’s energy consumption is to decrease its size.Large homes consume more resources than small ones. They use more concrete, more wood, more carpet, more drywall, and more paint. They consume more land, generate more construction debris, cause more pollution, and use more energy during the building process.The size of a home has a greater impact on energy and resource use than any other factor, including the efficiency of the home's equipment, the R-factor of insulation, and the type of windows used.A small house built to only moderate energy performance standards uses substantially less energy for heating and cooling than a large house built to very high energy performance standards. And more than anything else, a large home will always require more energy and resources to heat, cool, clean, maintain, and operate than a small home.

Think Big, Live Small, Live Simple!

Monday, February 1, 2010

UK phone booth world's smallest library

UK is leading in creative reuse! A traditional bright red phone booth was turned into an open library, in Westbury-sub-Mendip, UK. After witnessing their weekly mobile library disappear, this wee town in the south of England town was not going to let their iconic phone booth be taken away as well.The bright red phone booth was purchased by the Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish council from BT for £1 and residents soon began to install shelves and stock them with books that they have read, with the opportunity of swapping them out for ones they’ve not. A major success, the library is filled with over 100 choices ranging from cookbooks to classics, from blockbuster DVDs to old school CDs.
The library has a very convenient modern feature: it’s open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and even lit at night for those who want a book to curl up with a book before dozing off. In order to keep the selection fresh, there is even a regular check to determine which titles are moving — those failing to capture the eyes of the locals are shipped off to a charity shop.
The inspired reuse of phone booths has become so attractive that BT has received 770 applications from communities seeking to ‘adopt a kiosk’. 350 have already found new lives as art installations, showers and even public toilets.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Russian Stove - The Most Efficient Wood Burner

The so-called “Russian stove” , a masonry heater was one of the main features of the Russian home. Throughout many centuries Russian stoves were used both for cooking meals, baking bread and pies, drying grains, mushrooms, and roots and for heating and drying the house in winter and autumn. If the stove had no chimney, which was often the case, the smoke from the straw or manure that was burned as fuel would fill the interior of the room. Houses did exist with chimneys, the interiors of which were much cleaner and healthier for the inhabitants.The Russian stove often turned into a folk personage, which can be found, in particular, in folk tales. Many good guys of Russian wonder tales are fond of sitting or lying on the stove.

Many years later the Russian stove is still very popular and it is considered as the most efficient and environment-friendly wood burner. It can be made by stone, brick, stucco or tile-clad units and is designed to burn the wood quickly at temperatures up to 2000F.
Masonry heaters can burn from 15 lb. to 90 lb. of wood in an hour and a half, which could be all that's needed for a day's worth of heat. The heat from the fire works its way through a series of internal channels that help to transfer the heat to the masonry. The stove slowly generates heat into the living space over a long period of time - as long as 24 hours. During the coldest days of winter could require only two fires and typically burns at around 95% efficiency. With a masonry heater, you can expect to heat a well-designed 3000-sq-ft home with as little as five cords of wood for the entire heating season. Masonry heaters are focal point of the room and bring warmth and beauty during the long, cold days.

Eco-Resort Turns White Slopes Green

Imagine being in a resort that resembles a snow covered mountain with a giant, 400 foot build-in ski slope at the side of the structure and in addition, it is powered by the wind and the sun. Impressive, cool design where the customers will be taken to a special journey. I have always admired the hospitality design, especially when the imagination creates special and unique spaces that wow the customers. Designed by Michael Jantzen, a well-known designer and artist, this 95-room hotel eco-hotel delivers sustainable luxury in style and incorporates all of our favorite green features. The entire hotel is build from the most appropriate and sustainable products. Large south facing insulated windows help to heat a large thermal mass in the floor of the lobby, providing passive solar heating, along with deeply buried earth pipes. The ski slope is designed to collect summer rainwater, and winter melting snow, as it is channeled into large containers buried at the base of the slope. There are many other unusual amenities, like a special eco-spa and eco-gym with electricity generating equipment. Michael Jantzen hopes that the design will “once again demonstrate how even the most luxurious places on earth can, and should be, built in an earth friendly way.” He also wants his " work to inspire people to think differently about everything and inspire future generations to design solutions to global problems without the constraints of conventional thinking." The eco-resort is a great example of his innovative thinking.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Free Energy Audit

Are you concerned with how much energy your home uses? Do you need an evaluation of what measures you can take to improve efficiency?

Mass Save offers a Free Energy Audit for NSTAR and National Grid customers.

Contact Mass Save at 866-527-7283 to schedule your home assessment for no-cost.
Mass Save is a Residential Conservation Service Program funded by gas and electric ratepayers.

A home energy audit is the first step in making your home more efficient and green. I my opinion it is a worthwhile investment, since it finds the sources of energy loss so you can correct the problem. A professional auditor evaluates your house or apartment using a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of a structure. Thorough audits often use equipment such as blower doors, which measure the extent of leaks in the building envelope, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation.

Are You Ready to Go Green? Make the first step...