Tag Archives: Energy
With the 2012 Presidential Election heating up, here is a visual observation for Obama and Romney’s energy plans via a word cloud.
We see a clear distinction, do you?
The November election is 60 days away. Make your voice heard. Don’t forget to register to VOTE!!
Word clouds via The Huffington Post
An important part of everyone’s childhood is coloring, and Crayola crayons are synonymous with making art at all ages. But how eco-friendly are our favorite art utensils? The crayons are made from paraffin wax and pigments, which means their crayons are not biodegradable.
However, in efforts to become greener, Crayola has taken big steps. The paper sleeves wrapped around crayons and colored pencils produced by Crayola are made from reforested wood. The company also has a massive solar farm that includes 30,000 solar panels spread over 20 acres of land. The panels produce 1-2 kilowatts of solar energy which is enough to produce 1 billion crayons and 500 million markers per year.
Were curious to see what green steps Crayola takes next.
Photo credit: Crayola
Electricity as we know it in our homes today is a relatively young technology with origins from just under 200 years ago. As we settle into the 21st century with our modern technology and multiple electrical outlets in our homes, it is easy to forget that the energy is not unlimited, all energy has a source that needs to be generated. We are responsible for the energy we use. Everything we plug into the wall or unplug from the wall directly affects our energy usage.
Some alarming stats…
- the United States used more energy than any other country in the world until China surpassed in 2010
- the largest sources of US energy include: petroleum (25%), coal (22%), natural gas (22%)
- 8% of US energy is from renewable sources like solar panels
- space heaters suck up the most energy in homes followed by air conditioners, water heaters, and refrigerators
- every minute US residential homes use 11,800 gallons of fuel oil for energy
- every day US residential homes use 172 million gallons of fuel oil for energy
- every day US residential homes use more electricity than some countries around the world use in one year
The past few days the climate wanted to make sure we all knew that it was summer. With heat waves in full effect, and the common knowledge in the back of our heads that air conditioners are anything but eco-friendly, how do we stay cool? Green air conditioners are being marketed, but there is no way around the energy sucking and harmful chemicals involved in the most popular way to cool air. Here are some tips to help you keep cool in an eco-friendly way:
- The sun is the largest provider for heat in your home, if you close your blinds or shades you will automatically eliminate the entry point for heat. Shade is your friend.
- Ceiling fans and other fans around your house are much more eco-friendly than air conditioners and they spread the air around your living space really well
- Cover any leaks in your insulation that may allow cool air to escape and warm air to enter
- Dresssing cool with light materials goes without saying, make sure you are wearing comfy clothes and don’t be afraid to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts
If you need to use the air conditioner….
- Make sure to keep it on a constant temperature around 78 degrees
- Keep the air conditioner in the shade so it doesn’t need to work extra hard to cool air
- Make sure to complete the proper maintenance on the A/C like cleaning a filter frequently
- Instead of tossing an old A/C into the junk yard, consider taking it to an electrician to be rewired
- When purchasing a new A/C, make sure to purchase the correct size. Don’t purchase too large of an air conditioner for small spaces. It’s best to make sure the A/C doesn’t create more cold air than it needs to. Same for getting too small of an air conditioner, don’t make the air conditioner overwork itself
- At night time turn of your A/C, open your windows and turn on your fans to circulate the cooler night time air
Thank you to one of our readers, Tim McCarthy, for sending this exciting eco-friendly invention our way. Energy is one of our most important resources and yet 1 in 5 people in the world do not have access to energy. Soccer (or football depending on where you are from) is arguably the most popular sport worldwide and yet not all children have access to a decent soccer ball. Uncharted Play, an organization founded by four undergrad Harvard students, has found an answer to both. After a few years in development, they have come out with the Soccket. It is a soccer ball that generates energy when it is played with.
For the children in third world countries who don’t have a decent soccer ball to play with during the day, and a decent light at home to read with at night, the Soccket is the answer to their problem.
The ball is made of completely recyclable materials and provides clean and off the grid energy. The ball can easily provide enough power to equal four AA batteries, or another way to think of it is 30 minutes of play will provide three hours of light using the light that connects into the ball. The ball isn’t just for wired for lights, you can power anything that can be powered by a headphone jack like a phone charger or speaker or fan. The company is working on implementing a USB plug and also expanding to other sports gear such as basketballs or baseballs. It’s an exciting concept, as it means that there is hope to be able to generate energy from anything that moves.
Want a Soccket? They aren’t quite available in retail stores just yet but will hopefully be available by the holidays. For now, you can donate a Soccket to someone in a third world country via Uncharted Play’s website.
This past weekend we attended our first wedding to officially kick off wedding season. With all of the planning involved, all of the family involved, picking a menu, picking a dress and tuxedo, choosing the bridal party, bachelorette/bachelor parties, the last thing most couples are thinking about is how to make their wedding greener. But a wedding is a great way to showcase to your family and friends your values.
PAPER: Between Save-The-Dates, invitations, RSVPs, ceremony programs, menu cards, and thank you notes, weddings require a lot of paper. Creating a website with all of the pertinent info is one way to cut back on lots of correspondence. Using recycled paper cuts back on paper waste. When trying to eliminate menus, buffets or stations cut back on the need for a menu while also giving all the picking eaters options for food. Another alternative that is becoming more and more popular is going paperless with invites with website like Paperless Post. Even celebs like Julie Benz are going this green route.
JEWELRY: Engagement rings and wedding bands last a life time. By using family jewelry or vintage jewelry, you can cut back on using vital earth resources.
DECOR: Flowers are an important way to decorate for your wedding. If you have the time, growing your own flowers will ensure you have organic flowers. Making sure you purchase organic flowers through a local florist like Veriflora will cut back on pesticides and chemicals harmful to the environment. Also take into consideration soy candles, recycled paper for confetti, and recycled water for vases. Lights play an important part in the ambiance, make sure you are using energy efficient bulbs. Vintage decorations make a big statement and give a nice touch.
SKIN/HAIR CARE: A bride and her wedding party love to get dolled up on for the special day. Using organic and green makeup proves to be beneficial.
LOCATION/TRAVEL: Picking a central location for guests is key in cutting back on unnecessary travel. Help your party guests figure out carpooling and overnight accommodations to prevent unnecessary pollution, energy and gas usage. By keeping your reception venue and ceremony venue close together, you cut back on unnecessary travel during the two events. Try to pick locations that are green friendly, look into Eco Resorts and venues. Weddings can be as small as 10 people or as large as 500. Either way, a lot of waste will be produced, and it’s nice to know your location will take care in disposing of the waste properly. Also, consider using hybrid or electric powered limos and car service for you wedding party transportation.
CLOTHES: With many more eco couture options available these days, you can look into a wonderful eco friendly dress or tuxedo. If not? Look into vintage. When you’re done, make sure to recycle your clothing option.
MENU: The food options are endless at weddings, and family and friends can be picky eaters. Try to keep the food sourced from local vendors, make sure it’s organic, and make sure if you are goign to offer meat that the animals were farmed ethically. Think organic when choosing your wines and alcohols. An open bar is always exciting, but try to convince your bartenders to encourage guests to continue to use the same glasses all night to cut back on water waste while washing dishes.
REGISTRY: You can show your guests how serious you take green, by picking green options and eco friendly products in your registry. If you receive a lot of gift cards, make sure to recycle them after they have been depleted.
FAVORS: Favors are typically a good gag for a brief moment, then everyone aside from your family typically throws them out. Our friends this past weekend had a great idea and asked everyone to vote for 1 of 3 charities that our friends would in turn donate to lieu of party favors. If you are going to give favors, think something green like small plants, plant seeds, soy candles, organic soaps, and feel free to put use recyclable or reusuable gift bags for the party favors.