Showing posts with label green. Show all posts
Showing posts with label green. 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.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday, February 8, 2008

Green

LEED Exploded in Popularity, Major Cities Dropped the Green Hammer on Private Developers, and CBRE is Going Carbon Neutral. Which One was Most Influential?

Find Out Who Took the Top Spot.

It was a good year to be Equity Office Properties, a better year to be Blackstone. It was not a good year to be Countrywide Home Loans. Grubb & Ellis, Archstone-Smith and Hilton Hotels are all under new ownership. But long after the conversations of cheap debt, credit crunches and private equity are played out, 2007 is likely to be remembered by just one word: green. "It's now on the lips of little-bitty babies coming from their mothers' womb," comedian Whoopi Goldberg told TIME in nominating the word "green" for its Person of the Year.

"It's being used by people who never thought about it before in their lives." The rise of green, a fringe issue until this year, is now being felt across the industry. Developers like Hines and ProLogis are going green from the ground up, while trade groups like BOMA, CoreNet and ICSC are preaching it to the top firms on down. Architects are designing it, property managers are applying it, brokerages are advocating it. And tenants and investors are buying into it, thanks to new eco-friendly corporate agendas, bloated energy costs, local lawmakers and looming federal regulation. Corporations are demonstrating they're willing to pay a premium to work in sustainable office space, while the federal government -- by far the nation's largest tenant and property owner -- has mandated sustainability across much of its real estate portfolio.

The volume of green real estate is expected to quintuple by 2010 to comprise 10 percent of the U.S. building stock, according to a conservative study by McGraw Hill Construction. "Green building is fundamentally altering real estate market dynamics ... The upshot will be a redefinition of what constitutes Class A properties and even institutional-quality real estate," said a November study on sustainable real estate investing by RREEF, one of the nation's largest property investors. "Property owners will need to adapt quickly -- or risk the consequences of sharply shrinking demand for property that, over time, becomes increasingly obsolete."

CoStar News explored the year that was in green real estate and found a few favorites. Here are our Top 10 picks for 2007's most influential green events.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Green Gadgets

GREEN GADGET GURUS GATHER

Don Willmott , Forecast Earth Correspondent

There's nothing like a room full of smart people to get tough problems solved faster. On Friday, February 1, hundreds of green thinkers will assemble in New York at the Greener Gadgets Conference to hash out issues of design, resource consumption, and recycling. Representatives from big electronics manufacturers such as Nokia, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard will be on hand to explain—and perhaps defend—their e-initiatives, and a mix of scientists, marketers, and designers will all weigh in with their thoughts. It should be fascinating.

Note that the keynote speaker will be Chris Jordan, a noted photographer who has gained fame for his astonishing large-scale images of mountains of e-waste, everything from cell phones to shipping containers. Click through his slide show, and you'll be humbled. As he puts it, "The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits. As an American consumer myself, I am in no position to finger wag; but I do know that when we reflect on a difficult question in the absence of an answer, our attention can turn inward, and in that space may exist the possibility of some evolution of thought or action. So my hope is that these photographs can serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry. It may not be the most comfortable terrain, but I have heard it said that in risking self-awareness, at least we know that we are awake." Wow.

Also on hand at the conference will be ReCellluar, who will be standing by to collect old cell phones for recycling. Visit their site for a quick ZIP Code-based way to search for a cell phone donation/recycling site near you. After looking at Jordan's photos, you'll definitely be motivated to clear out that junk drawer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Haul of America

David Kutoff, CEO for Eagan, Minn.-based e-waste recycling firm Materials Processing Corporation (MPC), says he was initially surprised at the number of people eager to rid themselves of a once state-of-the-art computer or other previously coveted electronics. “It was pretty substantial,” he says.

Beginning on Nov. 15 — America Recycles Day — those people lined up to take part in the country's largest e-waste collection project, the Great Minnesota eCycling Event. For three days, the public was invited to drop off e-waste free of charge at the nation's largest shopping mall, Minneapolis' Mall of America.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, as much as 1.9 million tons of outdated electronics ended up in landfills in 2005. Only 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled. “There are numerous places in Minneapolis — and Minnesota overall — that are available to drop off your electronics, and a lot them happen to be for free as well,” says Kutoff. “People just don't know anything about [these resources], which is an issue. Part of our goal [for] this event was to create overall awareness about electronics recycling and that there are places to get that stuff done.”

So, on “Green Thursday” (a nudge at “Black Friday”), the event kicked off, drawing hundreds of participants. Teams of workers helped unload, categorize and pack e-waste for shipment. Kutoff says some of the discarded devices dated back to the 1960s. After dropping off their items, participants were provided with e-waste recycling information and a few shopping discounts.
Expecting to collect only a few thousand pounds of e-waste, organizers were astonished by the massive response to the event. At one point, traffic entering the mall was backed up for at least two miles. Kutoff says crowds were so substantial on the second day that organizers were forced to turn some people away.

“I was really amazed at the amount of time and dedication of some of these people to actually wait on line to get rid of something as small as a DVD player,” Kutoff says. “It was very encouraging that people here are that conscious of the environment that they never threw the stuff out.”

Kutoff estimates that 1.2 million to 1.5 million pounds of electronics were collected at the event, filling 86 trucks. All items were sent for processing at MPC's facility, which touts its “No Landfill” policy. Kutoff says the amount of waste collected is a good indication of the need for more e-waste recycling drop off sites. “[Organizing] these events on a regular basis or [making them] just a little bit more localized for people is definitely a need. But I think what it creates is awareness,” he says.

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