Environment - Energy

Air Conditioning Costs Tax Credits Greener Office Efficient Appliances Geothermal Energy Lighting Control Devices "Green" Lighting High-Performance Windows

How Proper Landscaping Can Reduce Your Cooling And Heating Costs

(NAPSI)-According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills. And each year, electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two cars.

Proper insulation, weather stripping, caulking and using a programmable thermostat will help save money. Trees, shrubs and plants will make a difference, too.

In fact, the government says shading from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9 degrees. That saves you money on your air-conditioning costs. Shrubs placed near the base of your house can lower the wind chill near your home in the winter. Trees and shrubs additionally absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air.

Things to consider:

• Check with your local nursery or cooperative extension service for advice on the best trees for your home and your specific needs. For example, you shouldn't plant an ash tree in an area that's under quarantine from a devastating insect called the Emerald Ash Borer.

• Deciduous trees, the kind that have full canopies during the hot summer months, should be planted on the east and west sides of your house to help keep it cool in the summer and allow the sun to shine in the windows in the winter.

• The Department of Energy says shading your air-conditioning unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10 percent.

• Plant trees a minimum of 10 feet from your house to prevent overcrowding or damage to your home from roots.

• Space your trees and shrubs according to what they'll look like when fully grown, not what they look like now.

"Trees are investments that need protection from destructive insects like beetles and borers," says Lance Walheim, Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert and co-author of "Landscaping for Dummies." "Preventing insect problems can save your trees and save you money in the long run."

Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed kills insects and prevents new infestations for up to a year with just one application. It also contains a slow-release fertilizer to strengthen your tree. Be sure to read and follow all label directions. (Product not registered in Long Island, NY.) Visit BayerAdvanced.com for more tree care information and how-to videos or call (877) BAYERAG.

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New Systems Solve Hot Spots And Save Money

(NAPSI)-As many as 64 percent of homeowners agree that they have at least one hot or cold spot in their home, making parts of their home uncomfortable during certain times of the year. The good news is that getting rid of the hot or cold spots in your home could save you money and earn you a tax rebate.

The latest HVAC solutions provide eco-comfort systems for homes and businesses with savings on air-conditioning units that exceed 40 percent.

Not only do these systems offer savings on your energy bill, but they could earn you a tax credit. Residential tax credits for energy-efficient models are stipulated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Some systems qualify for up to $1,500 in tax credits.

For example, Mitsubishi Electric offers a variety of solutions for hot and cold spots with its line of residential HVAC solutions. New models feature some of the highest SEER and HSPF ratings the company has ever offered.

With the M-Series and S-Series systems, homeowners have energy-efficient solutions for heat pump and cooling-only applications that accommodate single or multizone installations.

All the systems use environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, and many systems feature an inverter-driven compressor to use energy more efficiently.

The M-Series Star Lineup features indoor and outdoor units designed for maximum efficiency and limited or no duct work. Their compact design blends into any room in the home.

From bonus rooms to converted garages, the series can moderate the temperature while filtering out harmful allergens and many of the systems are Energy Star rated to help homeowners earn residential tax credits.

The S-Series is comprised of a single-phase outdoor unit that uses zoning technology and a sophisticated control network to cool or heat all zones.

The series can be controlled through a networked PC to better manage individual comfort. A variety of indoor units are available for installation flexibility.

For more information, visit www.mehvac.com.

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Smart Steps To Grow Greener At Work

(NAPSI)-Like many people, you probably recycle aluminum cans, "newspaper," plastics and glass at home, but how green are you at the office? Becoming greener won't happen overnight, but here are some tips for making the transition. "Start by making small changes to your everyday purchases and practices," explains Yalmaz Siddiqui, Director of Environmental Strategy for Office Depot. "For example, buy green by seeking products with just a small amount of recycled content, or be green by turning off your light each time you leave your office or cube."

To help people along this path, Office Depot has created a new Web site at www.officedepotgrowgreener.com featuring thousands of eco-preferable office products and solutions. Customers can also submit their own ideas on this Web site on how their business is growing greener. For each green idea submitted, the company will plant a tree on the customer's behalf, with the goal of planting 4,000 trees by the end of May. Other activities include:

• Green Offers for Your Business: Special coupons and offers on products with environmentally preferable attributes are available for download at www.officedepotgrowgreener.com.

• Featured Green Products: More than 6,500 eco-preferable office products are highlighted at the site, including those that can help save resources, fuel and energy and help reduce harsh chemicals, such as compact fluorescent lightbulbs, rechargeable batteries and energy-efficient printers and laptops. Additional details on greener products are at www.officedepot.com/buygreen.

• Trade-In, Trade-Up Event: The 400 Ton Challenge is a new promotion that can help customers get money back for their old electronics, ink and toner. Plus, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Office Depot is aiming to collect 400 tons of products in a month to prevent e-waste from ending up in landfills. Customers can continue to recycle as many as 20 of their old ink and toner cartridges and get money back in Worklife Rewards. Details are at www.officedepotgrowgreener.com.

• Green Facebook Page: To highlight its "Grow Greener" message, green ideas and pledges and a new green initiative as part of the company's NASCAR sponsorship, the chain is expanding its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OfficeDepot. There, you can also see the company's own associates tell how they integrate environmental efficiencies and initiatives into their work.

Office Depot has long been recognized as an environmental leader in the office products industry. It has won the Office Products Industry Environmental Reseller of the Year Award for 3 years running. It has also made the industry's deepest commitment to green buildings, with a LEED Gold Certified Prototype Store, a Global Headquarters Building pursuing LEED for Existing Buildings, and a commitment to pursuing LEED for Commercial Interiors for every new store built in 2010.

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Energy-Efficient Appliances Cut Bills And Save The Environment

(NAPSI)-You might not think that choosing an energy-efficient appliance would do more than lower your energy bill, but all the energy used by household appliances adds up.

In fact, the amount of energy used in your home matters on a larger scale. U.S. households use about one-fifth of the total energy consumed in the nation each year--and the number of home devices requiring electricity continues to grow.

"Energy prices are rising and are predicted to increase more in the future. As a result, there is growing interest in energy-efficient appliances that can help save money," said John Farley, senior environmental and brand marketing manager for Bosch home appliances.

Kitchen and laundry appliances alone account for more than 35 percent of home energy use, with refrigerators accounting for approximately 40 percent of that figure.

Besides helping Americans to save $17 billion on their utility bills in 2009, the ENERGY STAR program, which promotes the use of energy-efficient appliances, has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 30 million vehicles.

Manufacturing "green" appliances involves many different steps--from using raw nonferrous materials such as steel and glass and minimizing energy, water and material waste in production to reducing energy consumption and harmful emissions resulting from distribution.

Yet 90 percent of the environmental impact of appliances comes from their operation in the home. Today's high-efficiency appliances are making a measurable difference in conserving energy and water during their life span in the home.

For example, the Bosch Vision washing machine uses 61 percent less energy and 64 percent less water than the industry average. The laundry system is one of the reasons that Bosch has been named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for Appliances for two years in a row by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, Bosch is the only U.S. manufacturer with the ENERGY STAR qualification on all the dishwashers, clothes washers and refrigerators it makes.

For more information, visit www.bosch-home.com/us or connect with them at http://twitter.com/boschappliances or facebook.com/boschappliances.

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A Natural Way To Add Comfort To Your Home

(NAPSI)-A geothermal home comfort system can be a cool way to bring the cost of cooling your home--and providing hot water--down to earth.

That's because a geothermal home comfort system taps into the abundant source of solar heat energy stored just below the Earth's surface and uses a series of pipes (an earth loop) buried in the ground to move that heat into a home during the winter and remove it during the summer. As a bonus, a geothermal unit can also provide some or all of a home's hot water.

Using the Earth as a natural energy source, a geothermal system is designed to deliver five units of energy for every one unit of electrical energy used. That translates to a 500 percent efficiency rating. In fact, according to the experts at WaterFurnace, by combining stored Earth energy with safe electric power, many homeowners realize savings up to 70 percent for heating, cooling and hot water.

And homeowners who install a geothermal system before Dec. 31, 2016, can take advantage of additional savings--a federal renewable energy tax credit of 30 percent of the total investment for the system. Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, this tax incentive is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009, and can be used in combination with utility rebates and state tax incentives, where available, to make geothermal systems more affordable than ever.

In addition to savings, a geothermal system can provide precise distribution of comfortable air all year long, eliminating hot and cold spots throughout the home and providing dehumidified air and "whisper quiet" operation.

At the same time, the system can benefit the environment. It emits no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gases that are considered to be major contributors to environmental air pollution.

In addition, the lower peak demands for geothermal systems help to postpone the need to build more-expensive electric-generating plants and reduce the need for natural resources such as coal or gas used to generate electricity.

Once installed, a geothermal system is designed to offer years of easy maintenance over an average system life span of 24 years--compared to 15 years for an ordinary system.

Visit www.waterfurnace.com to learn more or call (800) GEO-SAVE.

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Green Living Keeps More Green In Your Pocket











(NAPSI)-There are many simple steps you can take to promote "green living" in your home and at work while keeping more green in your pockets, too.

A green home is good for you and the environment. It uses less water and energy than the average home, recycles more waste and avoids the use of toxic cleaning agents and lawn and garden chemicals.

According to the experts at Leviton Manufacturing Company, a provider of eco-friendly electrical products, there are many ways you can make your home more energy smart:

1. Replace light switches with easy-to-install dimmer switches. These are available in a variety of different models, including rotary, slide, toggle and touch versions, to blend with your decor.

2. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Increase energy savings even more by installing dimmable CFLs and a CFL dimmer switch for problem-free dimming.

3. Install motion sensors to control outdoor floodlights and occupancy sensors for indoor lights in hallways, closets and garages. These devices turn lights on and off automatically and use electricity only when needed.

4. Install programmable or preset timers in place of standard switches. Timers turn lights, bathroom fans and pool pumps on and off on a predetermined schedule. Preset versions offer a range of timed intervals.

5. Use Energy Star−qualified appliances and devices. Specialty lampholder products that use CFL bulbs provide safe, energy-efficient lighting for small spaces like closets, basements, workshops and stairwells in the home.

6. Make sure your HVAC system is up-to-date, in top operating condition and runs on a schedule to maximize energy savings.

7. Plug home electronics, such as TVs and VCRs, into power strips and turn power strips off when equipment is not in use to eliminate "phantom power draw."

Following these simple measures can help you live energy wise and ecologically smart.

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"Green" Lighting

(NAPSI)-When it comes to energy efficiency, LED (light-emitting diode) lights can be a bright idea. There are several reasons why:

• LED technology is longer lasting and less toxic than fluorescent options.

• The lights radiate very little heat that can damage sensitive objects and fabrics, making them an excellent choice for table, floor and desk lamps.

• Compared to traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, LED technologies have lower energy consumption and a longer life, and offer lighting options ranging from the sculptural to the functional.

• Even classic lighting fixtures can benefit from LED's bright, energy-efficient light sources. For example, the Artemide Tolomeo Classic Table Lamp is a sleek lamp with modern styling that uses LEDs for greater energy efficiency and reliability without losing the feel and functionality of a classically designed piece.

• While LED technologies can be used in traditional lighting, their size and low-heat output offer creative options, such as the Moooi Raimond Suspension Light, a new sculptural fixture that's as much a piece of art as a functional source of light.

• LEDs can operate for more than 50,000 hours; incandescents for just 1,000. This means the simply styled Ninety Task Light, considered "the world's most energy-efficient LED task light," can be a superbly efficient, functional modern masterpiece for years.

Learn more about these and other fine lighting from YLighting at www.ylighting.com and (866) 428-9289.

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High-Performance Windows Offer A New View On Saving And Comfort

(NAPSI)-Triple-pane windows have homeowners seeing double when it comes to savings. These high-performance windows can offer both reduced energy bills and cash back on 2010 taxes. They can also increase your family's comfort and raise your home's resale value.

Triples Technology. Triples-as they are called in the industry-feature three layers of glass separated by warm edge spacers to form two gas-filled insulating cavities. This assembly is called an insulating glass unit. A framing system houses the unit and hardware for a complete window assembly.

"The overall efficiency of a window depends on how well it prevents the transfer of cold and heat from the outdoors to home interiors," says Ric Jackson, energy efficiency expert for Truseal Technologies. "With two insulating cavities, triples offer extra protection against that transfer."

Finding The Right Window. Jackson says a window's efficiency depends on four main components: the spacer, the glass, the frame and the gas.

Buyers should look for the following features to maximize their energy savings:

• Nonmetal spacers that offer the lowest conductivity and warmest edge of glass temperature.

• Low-emissivity (low-e) glass to block heat-generating UV light and reduce summer cooling needs.

• Energy-efficient frame materials with insulated cores for a superior thermal barrier.

• Argon or krypton gas filling to reduce cold and heat transfer.

These features combine to give triples low U-values and high R-values. The two values measure thermal efficiency and are opposites. U-values show how easily heat transfers through a window. R-values depict how resistant a window is to heat transfer. A lower U-value, which also represents a higher R-value, indicates a better-performing window. Highly energy-efficient triples, such as those labeled as Envirosealed Windows, feature U-values of 0.20 or lower and R-values of 5 or higher.

Energy Savings. Consider the following example of a new 2,000- square-foot home in Boston, Mass. from the Efficient Windows Collaborative. With 300 square feet of single-pane windows, annual heating and cooling expenses may top $1,700. High-performance triples could reduce energy costs by 35 percent to less than $1,100 annually. These savings offer a rapid return on your investment. Because windows typically maintain high performance for 20 years or more, consumers are in a position to realize savings for years to come.

Tax Savings. You can add to your savings this year by taking advantage of a tax credit on new window purchases. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) offers a tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of qualifying windows up to $1,500. As a credit, the full amount goes right back in your pocket at the end of the year.

Windows must meet certain requirements to qualify for the ARRA tax credit. Most triples will qualify, but not all ENERGY STAR windows. Check with your window provider or the IRS to find out more.

Maximize Savings. The ARRA tax credit is an attractive incentive to counter the cost of improving your home's energy efficiency. It applies to a variety of double- and triple-pane windows, some of which meet 2010 ENERGY STAR requirements. The tax credit is the same for any qualifying window. To get the most from your investment, consider high-performance triples. That way, you can maximize both tax and energy savings. The ARRA tax credit expires Dec. 31, 2010.

For more information, visit www.EnvirosealedWindows.com.

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