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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.


Stay Cool this Summer Without Wasting Energy May 18, 2009

Posted by Tom in Energy costs, energy savings, Green Decisions, Tips and Tricks.
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You may have noticed the temperature going up in the past month or so, but that doesn’t mean you have to see the numbers on your electricity bill go up with it. I recently wrote a guest post for Lyved.com on ways you can beat the heat without having to crank up the AC and watch your bill skyrocket. Take a look here, and while you’re there, be sure to read the rest of the great content that Lyved.com has to offer!

Happy Earth Day! April 22, 2009

Posted by Tom in energy savings, Equity Thru Energy, Green Decisions, Technology, Tips and Tricks.
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1158745_gaia_with_plant_3I’m sure this is just one small part of a barrage of Earth Day messages you are going to see today, but who says that’s a bad thing? Today marks the 39th Earth Day ever officially celebrated. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 and originated as a “teach-in” about the environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and is now celebrated in countries throughout the world.

As someone who has been in the business of energy efficiency for some time now, I think Earth Day is great for bringing awareness to environmental issues, but don’t make the common mistake of thinking that Earth Day is the only day you should do something great for the planet. Take the tools, tips and tricks that you learn today along with the knowledge you gain about the Earth and apply it to your everyday life! And don’t freak out about having to be green head to toe; make the effort to make small changes each day, week and month, and before you know it, you will be greener than you ever thought you could be.

There are a lot of Earth Day promotions going on right now, and I have picked out a few of my favorites that I thought that you should know about, particularly if you live in California or Arizona.

-At Sears, you can get a home energy audit for only $99 between April 20 and April 26. An energy audit is the best way to find out how you can save energy in your home. They will send someone to do a walk-through in your house and find out where you can save energy by insulating, replacing/fixing appliances and many other factors that improve energy efficiency.

-Solar City is offering a “Think Half” promotion, where they will install solar panels at your home for half price, which includes services, monitoring, installation and guarantee. This offer is good for those who live in California and Arizona, and you could potentially save even more if you factor in utility rebates. I did a post awhile back on this company and they are doing some really great things with making solar energy options available to a wider population.

-This offer isn’t necessarily restricted to today, this week or this month, but I had to throw in a plug for my company, Equity Thru Energy, which has special energy saving programs for commercial properties, specifically restaurants, hotels/motels and mutli-family properties with pools and spas.

Happy Earth Day everyone! Earth Day can really be every day, if you make the effort!

Green Contests Galore April 7, 2009

Posted by Tom in Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized.
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The OC Register‘s How I Went Green contest is still open for votes until April 17th, but here are some more great, green contests that are going on around the web.

Inhabitat Spring Greening Contest – This one is really cool, and could potentially be great inspiration for those of us looking to be greener by recycling, redesigning, and re-purposing old materials or products and giving them new life in really amazing ways. There are hanging lights made from tupperware, a bookshelf made of books, a vase made of egg cartons and much more.

Treehugger First Annual Best of Green Contest – The voting on this contest ends April 22, and the categories are Travel & Nature, Science & Technology, and Culture & Celebrity. I believe the Culture & Celebrity category has already been decided, but there are interesting discussions about the winners going on in the forums, and you can still vote on the other two categories.

If you know of any more green contests going on right now, leave them in the comments! Happy (green) voting!

Green Decisions: Dishwasher vs. Hand Washing March 11, 2009

Posted by Tom in energy savings, Equity Thru Energy, Green Decisions, Research, Studies, Technology, Tips and Tricks.
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I get a lot of questions about greening the things that we do every day, and I thought it would be fun to address these questions in my blog, and even have readers help out and weigh in on the issues.

Since ETE has a lot of clients in the restaurant industry, a question that I hear often from both small restaurant owners and individuals is whether it is considered greener to wash dishes by hand or in a dishwasher. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not completely clear, since there are many different variables that must be considered, including type of dishwasher, how you hand-wash dishes and how many dishes you are washing.

The general consensus seems to be that using a dishwasher is greener than hand-washing, which may be surprising to some, seeing as the do-it-yourself approach is often the greener one since using machines use gas and electric energy. A decade ago, this probably wasn’t the case, but because of newer Energy Star models, dishwashers are now more efficient than ever, when used properly. They are designed to get dishes clean while using less water, and as a result using less energy to heat that water.

However, before stopping your hand-washing habits completely, here are a couple things to consider:

  • Make sure your dishwasher is an energy efficient Energy Star appliance.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. If you only have a few plates and forks to wash, wait until you can fill your dishwasher or just wash them by hand.
  • Use the air dry setting on your dishwasher. This will save on electricity costs.
  • Use an eco-friendly detergent. I know both Trader Joe’s and Earth Friendly Products offer green solutions.
  • Use the “light” setting when you can. Some dishes require heavy duty cleaning, but if the dishes aren’t too heavily used, a light wash should be more than enough to get them clean.

Again, this topic is still debatable, but a study by the University of Bonn in Germany has shown dishwashers to be more energy efficient. What do you think? Feel free to share tips and tricks on saving energy when washing dishes in the comments.