Environment - Energy

 
Eco - Friendly Homes Solar Energy Portable Heaters Cleaning Green Recycled paper Greener Landfills Greener Autos Energy Efficiency

Four Easy Ways To Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

(NAPSI)-If you're ready to give your home a well-deserved, Mother Nature−approved makeover, a few simple steps can make your home more eco-friendly, improve your family's health and save you money:

Big Results, Little Energy

Heating and cooling consume as much as half the energy used in a home and, if ineffective, waste resources and cash. Replace air conditioner filters to increase efficiency and improve indoor air quality. Or, place energy-efficient fans around the house to circulate air. Household appliances are also energy hogs. When shopping for new appliances or electronics, see if they boast the Energy Star seal of approval. Energy Star−certified devices meet efficiency criteria and use, on average, a third less energy.

Saving Every Last Drop

With climate change depleting freshwater resources, water conservation around the house is key. Installing a low-flow showerhead or toilet helps you cut back on the 260 gallons of H2O used daily by the average household. Treat your kitchen to a water filter that will keep your family safe and curb the pricey and tough-on-the-planet dependence on bottled water. Easy to install, faucet-mounted water filters can be found for around $40 at Target or Target.com.

I Dream Of Cleanie

Keeping a spic-and-span home may have consequences. Cleaning products can contain phosphates and phthalates--both linked to diseases. And bleach can trigger respiratory issues. What's more, when these chemicals enter water and air supplies, they can have long-term effects on water bodies and animal life. Luckily, brands such as Method and Seventh Generation offer an array of task-targeted cleaning products that are nontoxic, biodegradable, hypoallergenic and pH neutral--available at prices comparable to national brands.

Trash To Treasure

To spice up your abode with home decor items--the icing on the eco-friendly home-improvement cake--opt for products made from recycled materials that may have otherwise been landfilled. For example, start at the front of the house by placing an eye-catching vase made from recycled materials on an entryway table. Whatever room you revamp, it's a cinch to be stylish while staying within your budget. Sit back and let the compliments and good eco-karma roll in.

For more eco-friendly home products, visit www.target.com.

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Survey Shows Americans Want Faster Use Of

Solar Energy To Help Cut Costs And Meet Energy Needs

(NAPSI)-Experts say one of the least expensive sources of power is also the cleanest and most abundant--solar energy--and a recent survey found many Americans want it to become a bigger part of their lives.

In fact, four out of five people surveyed agreed that solar energy should play a greater role in meeting the nation's energy needs in the next five years. And they are willing to pay a small price for the huge benefit that solar brings over time.

Additionally, most people don't realize that solar is already cost competitive with fossil fuels in many parts of the United States.

Other key points in the survey--sponsored by Applied Materials, a leading manufacturer of solar panel factories around the world--revealed:

  • Half the people surveyed (50 percent) think the U.S. government's goal to have 25 percent of the country's power generated by renewable energy by 2025 is too slow.
  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) think utilities should include solar electricity as a part of their energy generation.
  • Just over half (52 percent) would be willing to pay more per month if their utility company increased its use of renewable energy. But many consumers (41 percent) would not be willing to pay more, demonstrating the important role that government incentives to bring down solar costs will have on advancement of the technology.

Industrializing Solar

There are still many misconceptions about solar energy, the most prevalent being cost, because many people don't understand what makes up their monthly energy bill.

Peak energy costs--the energy we use in the middle of the day while the sun is shining and demand for energy spikes--is more expensive than nonpeak energy--the energy that runs our refrigerator in the middle of the night.

To meet this demand each afternoon, many utility companies turn on natural gas−powered "peaker plants" to supplement the coal-powered plants that provide 24/7 baseload power. However, it is at just this time when solar is at its best and is most cost-effective.

Solar energy is a cost-competitive option for peak-power generation today. And the cost of solar is only going down as the technology improves and scale increases.

History shows that the more installed solar capacity you have, the further costs will drop. Specifically, for every doubling of the solar installed base, the cost per watt of solar is reduced by 20 percent.

Advocates say a consistent government policy would create incentives for consumers--and entire communities--to go solar, helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions as it creates a new type of American-made and energy-independent green industry.

Not only is solar affordable and the key to creating a more stable, clean energy future, but it has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new clean tech jobs in communities across the country.

For more information, visit fab2farm.com or e-mail fab_2_farm@amat.com.

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Take The Chill Out Of Heating Costs

(NAPSI)-Making smart decisions can have a big impact on your heating bills.

That's a good thing, since, according to the Department of Energy, homeowners can expect to spend an average of $1,442 on heating bills this year, and with the turbulent economy and rising energy costs, most people are closely watching their dollars these days. Here are two low-cost tips to help you take the chill out of your house--and a bite out of your heating bills:

1. Use a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature higher for when you are home and awake, and lower at night when you are sleeping or for when you are away. "Setting and forgetting" will allow the thermostat to do the work for you, and allow you to reduce heating costs when you don't need the heat operating at full blast.

In fact, according to the Alliance to Save Energy organization, lowering your thermostat by just one degree can save you 4 percent in heating costs. Based on this information, if every household in the U.S. turned their thermostat down two degrees, they could save up to 8 percent on heating costs--depending on the type of heating and where they live. Nationally, savings could total more than $11.1 billion a year.

2. Purchase a portable heater. With portable heaters, you can turn down your central heating and save hundreds of dollars in heating bills annually. Just turn on a portable heater in the room you're in.

To quickly and easily view how much you could save on heating costs if you turn your thermostat down and turn a portable heater on, use the free, interactive "savings calculator" at www.honeywellheatsavings.com. The site also provides a guide for how to buy a portable heater, safety tips and additional energy-saving information.

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Cleaning Green

(NAPSI)-While green cleaning products might be the new trend, green cleaning really begins with basic cleaning techniques.

Prevention is key. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) recommends the following tips to help keep dust, soil and contaminants to a minimum and decrease the need for cleaning products:

 

 

 

  1. Use entry mats outside your home and always wipe shoes before entering.
  2. Remove your shoes at the front door.
  3. Vacuum at least twice a week.
  4. Use a high-efficiency HVAC filter (not fiberglass) and change every month.
  5. Have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year by a qualified specialist.
  6. Get water leaks fixed immediately to avoid mold.

To locate an IICRC-Certified Firm, call (800) 835-4624 or visit www.CertifiedCleaners.org.

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A Consumer Pledge To Honor The Earth

Increasingly, consumers are finding they can go "green" without giving up performance, convenience or savings.

(NAPSI)-By encouraging consumers to pledge to "go green," the nation΄s oldest "green" paper company hopes to plant the seeds of environmental awareness.

The purpose of the campaign is to educate consumers to the idea that their purchases can actually help to protect the environment.

Since 1950, Marcal has been saving trees and reducing landfill by making its paper products from recycled paper.

By visiting the company΄s Web site, consumers have an opportunity to take the following pledge:

I am only one person.
But what I do impacts the whole world.
I have decided that the health of the Earth is important to me.
I have decided to honor this priority in small ways.
If I can share a ride or take public transportation to help save the air, I will.
If I can make everyday choices that help save energy, I will.
If I can choose recycled paper that helps save the forests and wildlife habitats, I will.

According to Green Mom blogger Beth Aldrich, "The pledge is a reminder that, as consumers, we are constantly making decisions--and purchases--that can have an effect on the environment."

Marcal believes that green products should give consumers performance they can count on, be good for the home, gentle on the environment and not cost a lot.

In 2009, Marcal launched a new brand it calls Marcal Small Steps®. It΄s a full line of toilet tissues, facial tissues, towels and napkins made from 100 percent recycled paper.

To learn more and to take the pledge, visit www.marcalsmallsteps.com/pledge.html.

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Today's Landfills: Safe, Smart, Green

(NAPSI)-Considering Americans generate more than 250 million tons of trash every year--and most of it ends up in landfills--the good news is that landfills are safer, smarter and greener than ever, thanks to many advanced technological innovations.

Modern landfills are high-tech, carefully monitored containment systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, control water and air emissions, and minimize nuisances such as odor. Strict federal regulations do not allow landfills in floodplains, wetlands or along fault lines. Special liners and collection systems protect groundwater.

Generating Energy and Jobs

Even better news is that landfill gases, the source of most odors, are controlled through gas collection and conversion into energy. Methane captured from modern landfills often is used as a form of green, renewable energy. Landfill-gas-to-energy projects can help ease our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. In fact, many of today's landfills have become renewable energy plants. In the last year, landfill-gas-to-energy projects delivered enough gas and electricity to power some 1.6 million American homes. These facilities also generate "green collar" jobs.

"Today, solid-waste companies build new landfills and expand existing landfills in ways that protect human health and the environment more than ever before," said Bruce J. Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association.

For the Future

Looking ahead, today's landfills provide continued environmental benefits even after they are closed. Engineers and landscape designers transform these landfills into parks, golf courses, wildlife refuges and other spaces that can be enjoyed by the whole community.

Learn More

Learn more at www.environmentalistseveryday.org and (800) 424-2869.

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Driving Toward Greener Autos

(NAPSI)-If you're like most Americans, you have a number of objectives when thinking about a new car-safety and fuel economy are probably at the top of the list, not to mention price. There is, however, a new concern growing in importance: the environmental "footprint" of the vehicle. In response, carmakers are learning that by making vehicles lighter--without making them smaller--they can deliver on all of these fronts.

Enter aluminum. Automotive aluminum is lightweight to help increase gas mileage. In fact, a 5 to 7 percent fuel savings can be realized for every 10 percent weight reduction by substituting aluminum for heavier steel.

To curb greenhouse gas emissions, each pound of aluminum replacing two pounds of iron or steel in a car or truck can save 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions over the typical life of a vehicle.

For example, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid provides both improved fuel economy and strength compared to the conventional version of this vehicle. Its efficiency is highlighted compared to the conventional version of this vehicle by aerodynamic enhancements and significant use of aluminum. The vehicle weighs 400 pounds less than the standard model and consumes roughly 30 percent less gasoline on average than its conventional version.

Automotive aluminum is also highly recyclable, which significantly saves on the emissions associated with primary aluminum production. Nearly 90 percent of automotive aluminum is recovered and recycled and never needs to be taken to the landfill.

Automotive aluminum helps create a vehicle that is both big and safe. Studies confirm that size, not weight, is more important for automotive safety; meaning automotive aluminum can make the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid safer by making it larger, while still boosting gas mileage.

Learn more

To learn more about auto aluminum and sustainability, visit The Aluminum Association's Aluminum Transportation Group at www.autoaluminum.org.

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An Energy-Efficient Way to Save Money

(NAPSI)-There's good news for homeowners who want their home to be energy efficient and still save money. There are simple steps that can help them take control of their heating bills.

This can be important, since the average family spends approximately $2,200 a year just on energy bills--nearly half of this amount goes toward simply heating and cooling the home.

In some cases, taking control of energy costs may mean replacing an older furnace with a new, more energy-efficient heating system.

What Is Efficiency?

An efficiency rating tells you what portion of the total energy a furnace uses is actually delivered to the home as heat. The higher the efficiency, the better the furnace functions. For example, a furnace that is 80 percent efficient delivers 80 percent of the fuel consumed to the house as heat.

Efficiency Ratings

A furnace's overall energy performance is typically expressed as its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the furnace and the greater amount of heat it delivers for your heating dollar. When shopping for a high-efficiency furnace, look for one with a rating of 90 or higher.

For example, Luxaire offers modulating gas furnaces with an AFUE as high as 98 percent. These compact units are ENERGY STAR rated and offer variable-speed technology for improved comfort, reduced humidity, lower sound levels and improved efficiency. When you purchase a furnace from Luxaire, a portion of the sale goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.

Living Efficiently

There are other upgrades to consider that will help to decrease the amount of energy your home consumes and increase the amount you save. For example, according to ENERGY STAR, installing a programmable thermostat at the same time as your new furnace will allow you to better control the on-off cycles of your heating system, causing it to work less to maintain the desired temperature. Plus, a programmable thermostat alone can save you about $180 a year in energy costs.

Talk To Your Dealer

Your contractor can help analyze your home and help you select the Luxaire furnace that best fits your needs by explaining the efficiency features and properly sizing your new unit. He or she can also help you take advantage of tax credits that are available from many local utilities and under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

To learn more, visit the Luxaire Web site at www.luxaire.com or call (877) 874-7378.

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