Saturday, June 6, 2009

Save Energy with Energy Star Appliances

When an appliance breaks down or stops working we are faces with a challenge. Do we get it repaired or replaced? We can often save money in the long run (and be gentle on the planet) by replacing old appliances with new Energy Star appliances. This is an important, but often overlooked step toward having a truly green household.

There are home products and products for the office that have been rated and earned the ENERGY STAR rating, which means that they are within the efficiency guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) as being cost effective and/or producing less waste. These agencies have deemed certain products as energy efficient and where ever you purchase appliances or heating and cooling systems, electronics and office equipment, by choosing a product that has the Energy Star mark, you are purchasing a product that is going to work with the efforts to recycle, reuse and reduce.

Many newer homes start off with energy efficient appliances and systems that are a savings right from the start, but not every one is that lucky to have brand new equipment. All of the retailers from the largest appliance chains have products that are Energy Star approved. Whether you are shopping at Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, Best Buy, or Costco, you will find a great selection of energy star rated appliances.

Because of the need for more and more options that will back the recycling effort in the United States, using Energy Star approved appliances not only makes sense but will end up saving the consumer on monthly expenses. How can helping the environment and saving money be a bad thing?

Please remember when you are making any home improvements or replacing any broken or out-dated appliances to only purchase those items that have the Energy Star rating and keep the process of recycling going. It's always better to keep up with something, like recycling, when you don't even know you're doing it! Energy Star products will keep you in that frame of mind.

Also, if you are looking to upgrade your windows in your home there are Energy Star rated windows that, when installed properly, will be a great asset to your home in the struggle to control the high cost of heating. Look for double pane windows and be sure that all of the surrounding area of the window is not allowing the cold air in, because if it is, then you can bet the warm air is leaking out and there's, "No need to heat the whole neighborhood," as my father used to say, every time one of my sisters or I would leave the back door opened, when we were growing up.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fighting Climate Change at Home

There are steps you can take to fight climate change in your home and even in your car. You don't have to wait for the government or big businesses act. It is better to take the initiative and do your part.

I've started changing my light bulbs. I didn't do it all at once. Every time I changed a bulb I replaced the old incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent. Not only does this reduce greenhouse gases, it also saves me money in the long run. I recently bought my first LED bulb, but these are still expensive.

It has always been smart to insulate your home. Now, it's even more important. You can reduce energy loss and some say that you can stop your home from emitting greenhouse gases and contributing to global warming by doing this. (I'm not sure about thsi last part.) If you have any doubts about where your home needs additional insulation, you can hire an energy auditor to help you decide.

You can also impact climate change by taking care of the cooling and heating equipment in your home. Change filters every 90 days and have the equipment cleaned and services regularly. Most importantly of all, when the heater or air-conditioner needs to be replaced, get a more efficient model.

You should buy all your appliances with energy efficiency in mind. Energy Star is a rating system in the U.S. that is reserved for efficient products. Buying such products will save energy and may help decrease climate change.

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to help fight climate change and global warming. Check with your local recycling agency for exactly what you can recycle. Best Buy now recycles computers and electronics (with a limit of two per day). You can also further the process by using products that are made from recycled materials.

Consider usuing a push mower instead of a power mower to mow your lawn. Since a push mower uses no energy but your own, this is a great savings. Even if you do use a power mower, you can still help. Use a mower that mulches the grass clippings or one that catches them so you can compost or mulch them.

Consider buying a hybrid, but you can actually take a number of steps without buying a green car. Drive your current auto sensibly, with no rapid starts. Keep your car well-maintained. Things like changing your oil and keeping your car tuned up can make a big difference the greenhouse gasses you produce.

Poorly inflated tires can greatly decrease your gas mileage. This happens because tires must have the proper amount of air in them for the car to reach maximum fuel efficiency. The less efficient your car is, the more it adds to global warming. Make as few trips as possible. Walk when you can. When you have to drive, combine as many errands into one trip as possible.

If you fight climate change and global warming in your home and your car, you can make a difference. Some basic changes can be easily made. If everyone made these simple changes, it would have a powerful impact on the planet.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Green Living - A New Start

We are all feeling the need to help the environment in the face of population growth, pollution, and climate change. Most people would like to "go green," but think that it would be more expensive to change their ways than just going on about their lives.

The good news is that we can save money while staying green. You can adopt a variety of environmentally friendly habits that will keep a good chunk of your hard earned money firmly in your pocket.

I've been working on these strategies for a while, and I want to share these with you here. Stay tuned for even more ideas and share your comments as we help each other go green.