By forgoing use of computers and TVs you are saving a boat load of electricity and money. According to a piece Forbes just released, using your smart phone all day every day will only cost you 25 cents per year and use only 2 kWh a year. In addition, charging your iPad every other day will only cost you $1.5o and use about 12 kWh a year. In comparison, a desktop computer will cost you $36 a year and a big screen TV will set you back $20 to $45 a year.
So before you turn on your desktop computer or TV ask your self- is there an app for that??
Take a look at the cost comparisons of other electronics in your home on the Forbes website.
This Saturday, November 17th is America Recycles Day! America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day to encourage Americans to recycle and purchase recycled products, so let’s make the most of it.
Many of us are in the habit of recycling and are avid users of our curbside recycling bins. Though it is still common to be confused about what items can or can’t be recycled such as, plastic silverware, tinfoil and Styrofoam® cups.
To that note, here is a short list of a few things that cannot be recycled (Source):
- Any paper soiled with food
- any kind of paper napkin or towel
- Bottles once filled with hazardous waste such as motor oil.
- Plastic soiled with food- it is necessary to fully rinse out plastic before reclining!
Please check out your local recycling laws for a complete list of what can be recycled in your city.
Does your organization or group have a community-based clean energy project idea, but don’t know where to start? Metro Clean Energy Resource Team are offering an awesome project assistance opportunity to help clean-energy projects get off the ground called Clean Energy Accelerator.
A Metro CERTS staff member will provide you with either Rapid Assistance or Deep Assistance depending on what your project needs. Programming surrounds consistent meetings for between 1 – 10 months, depending on assistance type. Meets may include outside experts and assignments to help projects moving forward
What is required?
You do need to apply to this program and your project needs to be in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, or Wright Counties. Applications for Rapid Assistance are reviewed on a rolling basis and may be submitted any time until May 31st, 2015. Applications for Deep Assistance are due on November 17th, 2014, selected participants will be announced in early December, and projects will begin work in January 2015.
My favorite part of Halloween is that I can befittingly write a blog about vampire energy! Vampire energy, also known as phantom load, is a growing energy waste in many homes. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, vampire energy can cost an average household around $200 a year in wasted energy use. The easiest way to cut down on vampire energy is to plug electronics into a power strip and turn the strip off when not in use. However, the trickiest part is often remembering to turn it off!
Does your family have trouble remembering to turn off the power strips? Are you are nervous about unplugging the wrong electronic? If yes, then advanced power strips are for you.
Features such as motion sensors, remotes, and timers make advanced power strips most useful in office and home entertainment areas. Take a look at the graphic below to find the right fit for your home.
With a few simple actions you can be a bit more comfortable this winter and lower your utility bills- solving two problems at once!
Program that thermostat: Set back your thermostat by 8° for 8 hours while no one is home during the day and/or while you’re sleeping to keep your family comfortable without over-spending.
Keep the Heat: Add a blanket to your water heater tank and insulate your pipes to keep your hot water, well, hot!
Put a Damper on it: Air lost through the fireplace can account for 19% of your heating bill, so remember to close the damper to prevent this costly energy waste.
Want to go beyond these actions? Insulate your attic and walls for a super cozy home!
This summer the Energy Department updated their Energy Saver Guide. This guide gives tips and suggestions on how to reduce energy use throughout a home. It’s like the Minnesota Energy Challenge in a book! It is a great, easy to read guide that covers everything from smart power strips to transportation. I highlight 5 energy saving actions from the guide to give you a sense of what is covered!
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
- Caulk and weather-strip air leaks. Common air leaks happen around windows and doors and around any plumbing, or electrical come into your home.
- During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- Strategically planted trees and shrubs on the south and west side of your home will let light in the winter and shade in the summer.
- Make sure to your water heater to 120 degrees to reduce the risk of scalding and save on water heating costs. More on how to do this on the Energy Challenge.
For more tips check out the updated Energy Savers guide.
In 2011 Americans produced 36 million tons of food waste, of which 96% of ended up in landfills. In a landfill food decomposes anaerobically which means it produces methane, the second most common green house gas (GHG). What’s so bad about this? Methane is much better at trapping radiation which makes it 20 times worse than CO2 in contributing to climate change.
How can you help?
First, try to reduce your food waste by planning out meals, freezing veggies before they go bad and eating leftovers. Reducing the amount of food you throw is the first line of defense! More on reducing food waste.
Secondly, compost the food waste you do have. Composting food causes it to broken down through aerobic decomposition. This means that the food is decomposed into CO2 instead of methane. Though CO2 is still a GHG- it is less potent than methane. As an added bonus compost turns into nutrient rich soil that is re-used and often lowers the need for fertilizer (source).