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Energy Star Rated…Clothes Dryers!?

19 February 2015

Yes you read that right. For the first time Energy Star, an energy efficiency certification program, has certified certain dryers as energy efficient. Energy Star certified dryers use 20% less energy than original models and perform just as well or better.

Clothes dryers are one of the most common home appliances and they are also the most energy intensive. A conventional dryer can use about a third more energy than a typical refrigerator! Currently Americans own about 89 million dryers and each household will pay $40 to $100 a year to run them. (Source)

“If all clothes dryers sold in the US were ENERGY STAR certified, Americans could save $1.5 billion each year in utility costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 2 million vehicles.” –ENERGY STAR

Energy Star certified dryers save energy with certain features such as moisture sensors and low heat settings. When looking for a new, efficient dryer keep gas dryers in mind. They typically cost 50% to 70% less than electric dryers to run and as a result will produce less CO2 emissions. So if you can, choose to install a gas run dryer.

Can’t buy a new dryer? Get the most out of the dryer you already by partially drying your clothes and completely forgoing using a dryer by hang drying them outside in the summer!

Learn more about the new ENERGY STAR clothes dryer certification

Energy Conservation vs Energy Efficiency

2 January 2015

When talking about  and understanding how to reduce our energy use it is important to understand the difference between conservation and efficiency. These words are often tossed into political speeches, product marketing and educational lectures, yet their meanings are often confused.

Energy conservation: When you switch off a power strip or turn off the lights when you leave the room. In other words conserving is simply using less energy to conserve resources.

Energy efficiency: Replacing incandescent lights with LEDs or installing a 5anew high efficiency furnace. Efficiency is defined as doing more (or the same) with less. This often surrounds new technologies.

For the greatest energy savings, conservation and efficiency need to work together. An example of this, which is very pertinent in these cold Minnesota winters, is heat. A new high efficiency furnace is awesome, until you turn the heat up to 72. Significant energy savings happen when you compliment your efficient furnace with turning your heat down a few degrees and program your thermostat to turn down at night.

Take a look at both conservation and efficiency actions you can do to reduce your energy use at the Minnesota Energy Challenge.

The Cost Benefits of Smart Phones

9 December 2014

Do you use your smart phone 24/7? Watch movies on your iPad? Give yourself a pat on the back – you are being energy efficient!entertainment center

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.

Recycle Like Crazy: It’s America Recycles Day!

13 November 2014

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.44a

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
  • Styrofoam®
  • 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.

Now that you know what you shouldn’t recycle- go and take a selfie recycling, have a recycling craft party and take the pledge to recycle like crazy.


Project Assistance Opportunity: Metro CERT Clean Energy Accelerator

29 October 2014

Metro CERT Clean Energy Accelerator

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.

What’s involved?

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.

Read more about this unique and valuable program.

Get Rid of Those Pesky Energy Vampires: Advanced Power Strip Edition

27 October 2014

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.

smart strip blog

View the full graphic here.

Prepare to be Comfortable this Winter

23 October 2014

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’re12A 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!