Tax Incentives Continue For Geothermal Systems
(NAPSI)—Even as federal tax credits for traditional heating and
cooling systems have decreased, incentives for geothermal systems
remain considerably higher—at 30 percent of the installed cost of
the system with no limit. In fact, homeowners can take advantage of
the federal residential renewable energy tax credit through December
31, 2016. What’s more, the credit is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009 and
can be used in combination with utility rebates and state tax
incentives to make geothermal systems more affordable than ever.
The savings associated with operating a geothermal system are
just as attractive. By taking advantage of the abundant source of
free solar energy stored in the earth to heat and cool a home, a
geothermal heating and cooling system can save homeowners as much as
70 percent on their cooling bills in summer. The system can also
provide supplemental hot water, saving homeowners even more. Instead
of being extracted from the ground to preheat hot water, the heat
comes from the house.
A geothermal system offers a number of other benefits, including
even distribution of heating and cooling for improved comfort, a
reduced carbon footprint, improved indoor air quality, quiet
operation, little to no maintenance and a life span that exceeds 24
To qualify for the tax credit, residential systems must meet
ENERGY STAR requirements. Homeowners can file for the credit by
completing the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, Form
5695. A copy of the form, as well as an informative brochure that
explains the federal tax incentive and a listing of those products
that qualify for the tax credit, is available on the WaterFurnace
To learn more about federal tax credits and the many other
benefits that a geothermal system offers, visit the site or talk to
a WaterFurnace expert at (800) GEO-SAVE.
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Digging Up Savings With Geothermal
(NAPSI)—Homeowners searching for ways to save money are digging
deep-but not in their pockets, in their yards. More and more
consumers are taking advantage of the free, renewable energy source
that lies just beneath the earth’s surface to efficiently and
economically heat and cool their homes.
A geothermal home comfort system taps into the abundant source of
free solar energy stored in the earth and uses a series of pipes (an
earth loop) buried in the ground to move that energy into the house.
During the cooling cycle, a geothermal heat pump extracts heat from
the air inside and moves it to the earth loop. In the heating mode,
the heat pump uses the earth loop to extract heat from the ground
and distribute it through the building, using a conventional duct
system. The same heat energy can also be used for a radiant floor
system or domestic hot water heating.
According to the experts at WaterFurnace, using this free energy
source can save homeowners as much as 70 percent on their cooling
bills. What’s more, the average system life span exceeds 24
years—compared to 15 years for a more traditional heating and
During that extended life span, the geothermal system can provide
a host of additional benefits to homeowners, including:
• Efficiency ratings up to five times higher than those of
traditional heating and cooling systems
• Even distribution of heating and cooling for improved comfort
• Improved indoor air quality
• Quiet operation, with no noisy outdoor units to disturb the
environment or neighbors
• Safe operation that requires no open flame or fuel storage
• Little to no maintenance
• A reduced carbon footprint, since the system burns no fossil
Another plus: Homeowners who install a geothermal system before
December 31, 2016 can take advantage of a federal residential
renewable energy tax credit of 30 percent of the total investment
for the system. Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,
this tax incentive is retroactive to January 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.
To find a geothermal system that fits your needs, you can visit
www.waterfurnace.com or call (800) GEO-SAVE.
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Why Green Matters: The Value Of Grass In Your Yard
(NAPSI)—When the grass is greener on your side of the fence, you
and your family can benefit in ways you may not even realize. Here
are a few of the many reasons why green matters, and they are
happening right outside your back door.
Green space improves the health of your
environment—including your home.
Green spaces that have grass, trees and shrubs are always at work
for the environment. They act as filters for pollutants and dust,
and provide shade and lower temperatures in the summer. Just ask
Project EverGreen, a non-profit organization whose mission is to
preserve and enhance green space in communities for today and future
generations. Project EverGreen reports that 2,500 square feet of
turfgrass-like the grass in your yard—absorbs carbon dioxide from
the atmosphere and releases enough oxygen for a family of four to
Well-maintained turf cools the environment.
According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a
well-managed backyard lawn—meaning those that are cut regularly to
the appropriate height, fed with nutrients and watered in a
responsible way—helps cool the environment around you. Lawns can be
30 degrees cooler than asphalt and 14 degrees cooler than bare soil
on hot days.
What can you do to make your lawn work for you?
Homeowners can “grasscycle” by leaving grass clippings on the
lawn when mowing. The clippings quickly decompose and release
valuable nutrients back into the soil to feed the grass, reducing
the need for nitrogen by 25 to 50 percent. Modern mulching lawn
mowers, such as those from John Deere, a supporter of Project
EverGreen, make “grasscycling” even easier. Homeowners can reduce
their mowing time by 30 to 40 percent by not having to bag
Having green can mean saving green.
Green space can also improve property value. SmartMoney magazine
indicated that consumers value a landscaped home up to 11.3 percent
higher than its base price. Another study by the Aspen Environmental
Companies found that a landscaping investment is nearly always
recovered and can help reduce time on the housing market.
Learn more at
www.projectevergreen.com and at
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“Green Plastics” Are All The Rage In Fashion
(NAPSI)—Many people may be surprised to realize it, but
contemporary fashion wouldn’t exist without plastics. Plastic-based
fabrics such as spandex, polyester and rayon give jeans stretch,
fleece jackets strength and warmth, and evening gowns a flowing
Over the years, plastic fabrics were so influential in fashion
they defined entire decades: nylon, made from plastic, was
introduced in the late ‘30s as a replacement for silk, which was
scarce and expensive during World War II. Nylon became so
commonplace that stockings took on the name nylons. And what would
the ‘70s have been without polyester or the ‘80s without spandex?
Plastics continue to influence the direction of fashion in the
21st century. At a time when many people are seeking ways to lessen
their impact on the environment, recycled plastic clothing has grown
in popularity because it fits into a sustainable lifestyle.
As Steve Russell, vice president of the Plastics Division of The
American Chemistry Council, explains, “Designers frequently use
plastic-based materials such as nylon, faux leather and sequins in
their collections because they allow for extreme versatility and
Getting Even Greener
Quite a few plastic fabrics can be made from recycled plastic.
How does this work? It starts with common plastic items, such as
water and soda bottles or milk jugs and juice containers, which are
cleaned, melted down and stretched into a very fine thread. This
thread can then be woven into the same kind of versatile, durable
and beautiful fabrics that consumers have come to love, and the
garments and accessories made from these fabrics help to keep
plastic bottles out of landfills.
When fabrics made with recycled plastics first hit the
mainstream, they were reserved for outdoorsy clothing meant for a
camping trip or for the gym. Now, however, designers and clothing
makers know fabrics made from recycled plastic can work just as well
for refined garments as they do for rugged ones. Recycled plastics
can now be found in everything from mass-market T-shirts to couture
Clothing companies have produced entire lines made with recycled
plastic, and some have programs that let customers return worn
clothing for recycling later on. Some of the biggest celebrities
have recently been spotted wearing recycled plastic clothing at
red-carpet events, which has helped make sustainability chic.
In fact, so many designers—and consumers—have embraced clothes
and accessories made with recycled materials, they might just become
the defining clothing trend of the 2010s.
For more information on sustainable fashion, visit
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Using Technology To Save Lives And Dollars
(NAPSI)—The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has come up with a
surprising way to help keep this country safe-and improve the
economy and protect the environment at the same time.
Fueling this effort is, well, fuel; specifically, biofuel.
The military is a significant consumer of fuel, which at present
comes from oil. U.S. troops, their trucks, ships and airplanes use
close to 2 percent of the nation’s energy on an annual basis. The
military is therefore as much at the mercy of high oil and gasoline
prices as are consumers.
In recent years, the DoD spent about $16 billion on fuel
annually. Every dollar increase in the price of a barrel of oil
costs the government about $130 million over the course of a year.
To reduce vulnerability to oil prices, the DoD intends to acquire
half its energy supplies from renewable sources that meet U.S.
greenhouse gas emission initiatives.
This can not only save taxpayer dollars and reduce our dependence
on foreign oil, but can also help make this technology less
expensive and more widely available, just as the DoD did by being an
early adopter of other technologies, from the Internet to GPS.
What The Experts Say
Explains Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for
Operational Energy Plans and Programs at the Department of Defense,
“As we improve the energy security of our armed forces, the
Department hopes to make an important contribution to energy
security for the whole nation.”
As Elizabeth King, assistant secretary of defense for Legislative
Affairs, put it, “Our dependence on [fossil] fuels degrades our
national security, negatively impacts our economy and harms the
environment. Significant developments in America’s advanced biofuel
industry hold promise for meeting military needs.”
Adds Brent Erickson, executive vice president, Biotechnology
Industry Organization, “Fuel efficiency and access to fuel supplies
are important ‘force multipliers’ because they increase the
military’s ability to operate where needed and can reduce the number
of combat forces necessary to protect energy supply lines.”
Biofuels produced at small, strategically located biorefineries,
many at the DoD believe, can best meet America’s future needs.
For more information, visit
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Green Your School Year
(NAPSI)—Here are some easy, eco-friendly ways to green your
school year-and earn some green for doing so:
• Choose Greener School Supplies—In the U.S.
alone, approximately 11,600 incense-cedar trees are cut down to
create the 2 billion pencils made each year. Meanwhile, 1.6 million
single-use pens are thrown away each year in the U.S. Look for
school supplies wrapped in limited packaging and recycle what you
can. You might even consider turning an even greener new leaf and
seek out eco-friendly supplies, such as recycled fiber or reusable
mechanical pencils, refillable pens and paper clips made from
• Pack a Waste-Free Lunch—Buying lunch at school
typically produces more waste than bringing it but there’s still a
lot of waste associated with bagged lunches. It’s estimated that
Americans go through 100 billion plastic bags a year-360 for each
person. To cut down, ditch the brown bag and try a reusable lunch
bag or box and fill reusable bottles with water or juice. If you do
use plastic, be sure to recycle. Clean, dry Ziploc bags, for
example, can be recycled at many grocery stores.
• Green Yourself Head to Toe—To find clothes
with less of an environmental impact, shop at thrift stores and
trendy second-hand stores or arrange a clothing swap with friends.
If new clothes are a must, aim for such sustainable fabrics as
organic cotton or Earth-friendly bamboo.
• Carpool or Take the Bus—Encourage your kids to
take the bus or arrange a car pool. You’ll save on gas and reduce
emissions. If you must drive, make sure your tires are properly
inflated to save on gas mileage.
• Reuse School Gear—Invest in a durable backpack
that your kids can use and pass down. Evaluate, mend and clean older
gear and see what can be exchanged with friends, neighbors and
relatives. If it’s time for a new computer, you can get cash or gift
cards for recycling your old one. At
www.recyclebank.com, you can check the value of your old
• Learn More—For more green tips, including how
to get rewarded for being green with discounts and deals, plus fun
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Healthy Ways To Handle Water Around The House
(NAPSI)—Water is a wonderful thing-except when you need to move
it or it’s where you don’t want it. Then it can be heavy, messy, and
even hazardous to your health.
For example, an 18-inch fish tank holds seven gallons of
water—which weigh more than 58 pounds. That’s going to be tough to
lift when it’s time to clean the tank. Consider these facts and
figures: According to the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA), over half of all back injuries result from
improper lifting, and back injuries are cited as the most common
reason for absenteeism in the general workforce, after the common
cold. Some 80 percent of adults will experience a back injury in
their lifetime and about 10 percent will suffer a reinjury. While no
way has been found to totally eliminate back injuries caused by
lifting, many of them can be prevented.
For example, rather than lifting and moving that fish tank you
can empty it quickly and easily with the help of a cordless water
pump. You can even get one that runs on a safe, low-voltage battery,
is fully submersible and can be used on fresh or salt water, like
AquaCharge™. With a rechargeable battery and charging station, an
eight-foot hose (or any standard garden hose if you need more
length), and a 200-gallon-per-charge pump capacity, this light,
compact pump handles both maintenance of household water pumping
tasks and emergency needs easily with the simple turn of a knob.
Given the portability and compact nature of the AquaCharge pump,
anyone with a large aquarium, hot tub, outdoor water feature or a
child’s pool to empty will find it a big convenience compared to the
usual “bucket brigade” technique. It can also come in handy if the
plumbing overflows in your kitchen, bathroom, basement or laundry
room and you have to undertake the back-breaking task of getting
that water up off of the slippery floor. Even watersport enthusiasts
and fishermen have to occasionally “swab the deck” and find it
effective in removing water from their kayaks, dinghies, canoes and
Taking care of water-moving chores doesn’t have to hurt your back
when you’ve got a tool that helps you perform those tasks more
productively and safely, and takes handling water around the house
from hazardous to healthy.
AquaCharge is available online and through select retailers.
www.aquachargepump.com for more information.
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An Easy Way To Recycle Food Waste
(NAPSI)—Why are people in dozens of major U.S. cities putting
more food scraps down their food waste disposers rather than in the
trash can? It’s easy, sure, but maybe it’s also because a new study
shows that it can result in lower global warming potential than
landfills. The study, which aimed to understand the environmental
impact of food waste disposal methods, also confirmed that food
waste processed at advanced wastewater treatment facilities can
generate renewable energy and produce beneficial fertilizers. That’s
a win-win scenario.
More than 19 million tons of food waste from homes, restaurants
and institutions end up in U.S. landfills. And it gets there in
fossil fuel−burning trucks. Once there, the food waste decomposes,
emitting methane, a greenhouse gas that’s at least 21 times more
harmful than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere.
An average community of 30,000 households could avoid more than
2,000 tons of CO2 emissions if most of its food scraps went through
a disposer to a wastewater treatment facility instead of a landfill.
That’s equal to eliminating 4.6 million miles of car traffic. And
disposals themselves have a small environmental footprint, using
only about 1 percent or less of a household’s total water
consumption and costing—on average—less than 50 cents a year in
So now, people can feel good about tossing that apple core or
banana peel down the drain, where it’s virtually liquefied to safely
flow into your sewage system or septic tank. Disposers also offer
the added bonus of cleaner food preparation areas, less cans and
bags cluttering your home, and fewer trips carrying garbage to the
“The study validates that food waste disposers are more than just
convenient—I like to think of them as an environmental appliance,”
said Tim Ferry, president, InSinkErator. “After people look at the
environmental benefits of using disposers instead of landfills, we
think they will be compelled to bypass the trash can and put food
scraps down the disposer instead.”
It’s nice to know that one environmental solution is as
simple—and close—as the kitchen sink. For more information, visit
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