Showing posts with label energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label energy. Show all posts

Monday, November 4, 2013

Best Practices For Going Green With Your Heating And Cooling

going green with your heating and coolingNow is the time to go green. If you were ever wondering if it was worth your time, money, and thought, then you should know that the answer is simple. Yes. Yes, you should be adjusting your life to go green in as many ways as possible. The levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are currently higher than they have ever been at any point in human history – and anything you can do to lower your impact on the environment is good. Besides the obvious environmental incentives, there are other good reasons to go green. It often ends up saving you money, because energy is expensive. And, if you are smart with the way you make your green changes, you will likely end up saving yourself time, too.
So how should you go green? There are a lot of ways – seemingly endless ways, in fact. But with summer coming up, you might be interested in lowering your cooling costs. You can go green in the way you heat and cool your house, and you can do it with minimal efforts. It will be worth all of your time and money in the end. Below are some best practices for going green with your heating and cooling. They are a great way to get started living your environmentally minded life.

#1 – Set your thermostat to work with timers. Your home does not need to be kept at the same temperature at all times during the day. In the summer, you obviously want to cool your home. However, you do not need to keep it cool when you are not at home. So set up a timer to control your thermostat so that it will turn off the air conditioning when you leave your house every day for the office. In the winter, you want to heat your home, but again, you don’t need it to be as warm during the day as it is in the evening. And since you will sleep better at lower temperatures, you should also program the thermostat to drop the temperature in your home at bedtime.

#2 – Invest in new, energy efficient appliances. You might love your vintage shoes or your used couch, but that does not mean you should be using an old air conditioning system. These old air conditioners use a ton of excess energy as compared with current air conditioners. They also do not do as good of a job cooling your apartment or room. So spend the time doing some research into the current market of air conditioners, properly dispose of your old one, and go to the store and buy something energy efficient for cooling your home.  You will quickly see a drop in your electricity bills.

#3 – Clean all of your filters! This is a very easy step that every single person should take. It only uses a few minutes of your time, it costs nothing, and it makes a big difference. When was the last time you cleaned the filters in your heating and cooling systems? You should be doing it every month at least. The more dust that gets caught in your filters, the less air can pass through them. This means you need to crank up the air conditioning or the heat to overcompensate. It also means that you are blowing air through the dust, and therefore bringing the dust into your home. So clean all of the filters – it’s good for energy efficiency and air quality both.

#4 – Try geothermal energy. Our planet is overflowing with sources of unlimited energy, we just have to know how to tap into them. Deep inside the earth there is a lot of steam and hot water that can be used to heat and cool your home. According to howstuffworks.com, “Geothermal homes use heat pumps to take advantage of the constant temperature of geothermal wells under the ground. The heat pump can cool a house in the summer and warm it during the winter. Heat pumps have a fluid inside, which could be water or a refrigerant. When it is cold outside, the fluid absorbs Earth’s heat and brings it inside to warm the air. In the summertime, the heat exchange works in reverse, cooling the house.”

#5 – Install solar panels. As solar panels get more popular, they also get much more affordable. Solar panels are an excellent way to pump energy into your home and the cost of installation is usually eventually offset by energy savings. Have a professional solar panel expert come to your home to evaluate whether solar panels are a good option for you.

Matt Zajechowski enjoys writing about green heating and cooling for Controlled Comfort Heating & Cooling.  Matt enjoys golfing and spending his free time relaxing with his two cats.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

8 Ways to Green 4th of July

This Fourth of July, make sure you and your fellow party goers remember to keep Mother Nature in mind while you celebrate. Photo: Flickr/cyanocorax
The Fourth of July is right around the corner! Summer’s hottest holiday will no doubt call for backyard barbecuing, fireworks and maybe even a dip in the pool.

Here’s how to throw a little green into your mix of red, white and blue.

1. Ditch the disposable party ware
They’re popular and easy. Disposable plates, cups and utensils are convenient for parties with a lot of guests. The down side, they’re not so convenient for the environment.

To avoid this, do your best to use normal tableware that can just be washed and reused. If you must go the disposable route, clean them up (they’re often washable) and use them at your next big gathering.

We also love the “bring your own plate” theme. The hodgepodge of different dishes can serve as talking points at your party. An added bonus: Turn it into a dish swap. Bring your own dish and leave with a different plate for your collection.

The same idea works for glassware. Instead of charging a “keg fee,” a party-goer’s ticket is his or her own glass.

2. Get outside!
The best way to reduce your party’s footprint is to calculate its energy usage. The No. 1 way to avoid added costs to your electric bill is to utilize the outdoors – perfect lighting, temperature and truly inherent green setting.

Host your barbecue at midday when the light is bright and fills your crowd with energy. Or fight soaring temperatures and take advantage of the cooler evening weather. It’s a great way to enjoy nature and reduce the energy costs of using indoor facilities.

3. Use propane for grilling
Before diving into this one, we want to point out that we are not trying to step on any grillmaster’s toes. The debate between charcoal and propane is a tough one: Which one produces more flavor? Which is cheaper, faster? And most importantly, which is more eco-friendly?

We consulted a recent study by Environment Impact Assessment Review to answer this one. Drum roll, please…

According to the study, “the overwhelming factors are that as a fuel, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is dramatically more efficient than charcoal in its production and considerably more efficient in cooking.”

The two grilling methods were defined by their overall footprint, with charcoal using 998 kg of CO2, almost three times more than propane, which weighed in at 349 kg.

ScienceDaily reports that as fuel, LPG is “dramatically more efficient than charcoal in its production.” When purchasing a propane tank, make sure there is a trade-in option. Most retailers will let you bring in an empty tank in exchange for a decent discount on your next tank.

4. Save (and reuse) your decorations
If you’ve hosted Independence Day celebrations before, you know the d├ęcor is often the same: streamers, party favors and table toppers all in bold red, white and blue.

Sadly, most people often use these decorations once and then throw them out. But they can be reused year after year! So, this year, after the party’s over, take the time to store and save your decorations. You or someone you know can use them again next year, which helps to save on a bit of unneeded trash.

5. Opt for greener fireworks
Fireworks are hardly an environmentally friendly activity, but they’re an unwavering Fourth of July tradition. If you’re setting off your own fireworks this year, be sure to use fireworks rich in nitrogen. They often cost a bit more but put out less smoke into the environment.

Another option is to gather your group and go see your local fireworks display. It’s a great way to see a much bigger fireworks show and negates you from harming the environment with your own personal display.

6. Gather in groups
This may seem like a no-brainer for such a popular holiday, but the larger a group you gather (preferably outdoors), the less energy you use at individual parties that may take place indoors. Plus, the more people to help prepare and purchase food, the less of a cost it is to each individual. Just make sure your fellow party goers know these green tips!

7. Use large water containers
Plastic water bottles are convenient, but like other disposable goods, they can add up fast. In lieu of individual plastic bottles, store water for your family or guests in large containers so they can re-fill their reusable water bottles or reusable cups. If you must use plastic water bottles, be sure to encourage your guests to recycle them.

8. Don’t forget to recycle
One of the easiest ways to go green is to recycle your waste. So be sure to put a clearly marked bin out at your party.

If you did opt for disposable dinnerware, remember that those plastic plates, cups and utensils can be recycled. Paper plates will have to be thrown out or composted due to food residue.

If you’re unsure about recycling specific materials in your area, we’ve got you covered. Use Earth911 to find local recycling centers for your common party waste, such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans and glass bottles.





Amanda Wills is the East Coast Editor of Earth911.com

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