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More Energy-Saving Tips for Staying Cool This Summer July 15, 2009

Posted by Tom in Energy costs, energy savings, Green Decisions, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized.
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splashA couple months ago I posted about a guest blog I did on Lyved.com on how to stay cool this summer without wasting energy. I included some tips such as using fans instead of air conditioning, planting shade-providing trees around your home, and using energy-efficient window treatments. However, there are lots of ways to keep yourself cool this summer without putting a strain on your wallet. Sometimes it takes some creativity, but the money you’ll save will be worth it! Here are some more easy, no-cost ways to save energy and keep cool!

1. Ever notice how hot it gets in your laundry room, especially with the door closed? Washers and dryers emit a ton of heat, so wash only full loads to cut down on run times. Also, try to eliminate using the dryer altogether by hang-drying on a clothesline. This way you won’t have to use your AC as much, and you’ll be saving money on water and electric bills from less dryer use.

2. Time your showers to help you cool off throughout the day. There’s a reason why pigs and elephants roll around in the mud when it’s hot out. I’m not saying to take a mud bath, but you can take a cue from these animals and use shower time as cool-off time; taking cool showers at the hottest times in the day will help you stay cool when you want to use your AC the most.

3. To go along with #2, don’t blow dry your hair. Not only does the blow dryer heat up your hair and head, which can make your whole body feel warmer, it blows hot air into your home.  Better yet, get a cool, shorter haircut!

4. Watch what you wear. Synthetic materials like polyester can trap heat, while natural materials like cotton and linen breath more easily. Try to wear clothes that aren’t too tight and allow air circulation between your skin and the fabric.

5. This is an interesting method, but it works! Wet your pulse points, like your wrists, with cold water, and keep them cool by applying ice or cold compresses wrapped in cloth. This could cool you down as much as three degrees!

And of course, if you absolutely must use the air conditioner, do so sparingly, and be sure to turn it off when you leave the house and at night. Also look for Energy Star products when purchasing an air conditioning unit.


REBURBIA Design Contest July 9, 2009

Posted by Tom in Uncategorized.
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I got this in my inbox yesterday and had to share it with all of you, in case there is anyone reading that is an innovative architect, urban designer or just has some cool ideas about the future of suburbia! Inhabitat and Dwell Magazine have teamed up for the REBURBIA design contest. They are asking for ideas for reinventing the American suburban landscape. “What would a McMansion become if it weren’t a single-family dwelling? How could a vacant big box store be retrofitted for agriculture?” Inhabitat and Dwell are asking.

Winners will be showcased in Dwell Magazine, Dwell.com, and Inhabitat.com, as well as receive a $1,000 cash prize. To enter, visit www.re-burbia.com.

What could you live without? July 1, 2009

Posted by Tom in Green Decisions, Research, Studies, Uncategorized.
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512141_ipod_nano_1This post on CleanTechnica.com brought up a lot of very interesting issues. The results of a recent survey have been released in which more than 1,000 people answered questions about green choices, and what they would be willing to give up for the sake of the environment. When faced with a choice between comfort, convenience or the environment, 38% choice convenience, 36% chose comfort and the minority, 26%, chose the environment. The survey’s subjects were also given a list of items and asked which they would be willing to give up if they were harming the environment. The list included an iPod, dishwasher, TV, car and other items that many people use on a daily basis. Only 6% of those surveyed said they would give up all of the items, and 21% said they would not give up any of them.

The results don’t completely surprise me, because the survey asked if people were willing to give up items “if [they] thought these things were harming the environment.” Well, many people continue to excessively use many things even though they know they are harming the environment, such as automobiles. However, I do think that the survey brings to attention current society’s collective mentality when it comes to environmental issues and taking action. While many people are buying green products and claim to be concerned about the declining state of the environment and the rise of global warming, most consumers are more concerned with their own personal comfort and will be “green” as long as it isn’t an inconvenience, which isn’t very green at all, in my opinion. So what do we do with this information? Does it mean that companies need to create greener products with less of a carbon footprint? Do we need to work to change the collective mindset to pick the environment over comfort and convenience? Or is a combination of many things?

What do you think? And what would you give up for the environment?

‘Game Changer’ Report on Global Warming June 24, 2009

Posted by Tom in Government policies, Research, Studies.
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thermometerLast week, White House science adviser John Holdren and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco released a report on how climate change is already affecting the United States. It points out that U.S. temperatures have increased over the past 50 years and will only continue to increase, causing extreme changes in weather and adverse effects on public health. While Lubchenco called the report “a game-changer,” Senator James Inhofe called it “yet another alarmist report” and “nothing new.”

So what side do you agree with? Is climate change something you feel that we need to worry about now?

Green Jobs? Start Here. June 17, 2009

Posted by Tom in Uncategorized.
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greenjobsUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard some talk about “green jobs” in some shape or form. Probably because most of us have come to terms with the fact that green is the future – especially in the energy industry. With this new green energy economy comes huge opportunity for jobs, which is good news in the current recession. Although green jobs sound great, and the Obama administration has dedicated hundreds of billions of dollars to green initiatives over the next decade, many of us are still confused in exactly what a green job entails and how to get one. If you’re looking to get involved in the green industry, wondering where all this money is going, or just plain curious, I suggest you start with the Environmental Defense Fund’s website, where they offer a guidebook on green jobs. It’s geared toward Californians, but it has great general information for anyone that is looking for a place to start. Click here to download the PDF.