Solar Power for Homes and its Benefits

January 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Modern technology can do a lot of great things. One is the use of solar power for homes. Did you know that you can enjoy many benefits from using solar power? Solar panels can now be created at home by simply following comprehensible do-it-yourself instructions. Building power systems is no longer very expensive these days and it’s also not as hard as you think.

With the increasing demand for solar powered homes, you can now find a wide range of DIY projects in the market. The reasons why many homeowners are now choosing solar power for their homes is because they want to help in the persistent global warming crisis and electric bills cost a lot these days.

The electricity supplied in modern homes usually comes from different power plants. These power plants use fossil fuels and so the electric charges are greatly dependent on the prices of natural gases and crude oil. Fossil fuels are also depleting. There is a high demand for electricity but the resources have decreased greatly. In this kind of situation, the electrical costs will still continue to increase. The solar power for homes is an excellent answer to the problem.

By using fossil fuels, the problem with global warming will become worse. Harmful gases are emitted by the fossil fuels to produce electricity. If you don’t want to contribute to the environmental problems any further, why not use solar power for your home now?

Several years ago, the solar cells were really expensive and inefficient. Back then the solar cells were quite inefficient since they can’t convert 100% of the rays of the sun into electricity. Most solar cells can convert only 10-25%. In the year 2003, a new product was introduced and it was called photovoltaic cell. The new cell can convert 36% of the rays into usable electricity. The cells were also affordable. The modern sunlight technology is now widely available and even ordinary homeowners can take advantage of it.

The solar power kits are available worldwide. You can purchase them in online stores or you can also shop around in local stores. If you’re unsure, it would be best to shop online. There you can find several reputable sellers and manufacturers of solar power kits.

The solar power kits provide step by step instructions on how to assemble the different materials. Hardware stores usually sell the different parts of the solar power system. If create your own solar power system, you will only spend about $200 and it already includes the guide. With such a small investment, you can already benefit from solar power for many years. You’re not only saving money but you’re also helping in saving the planet.

Renewable and clean energy sources are in great demand these days. The homes of the future are now possible in today’s modern world. You can start with small projects and work your way up. For instance, you can first work on the outdoor lighting first and if it proves to be beneficial, you can do another project.

Don’t cut off the existing electrical supply especially if this is your first time to do solar power projects. Just use it as a supplement so that you can lessen your electricity consumption. Start with your DIY solar power project and light your home using the sun’s energy.

Recycling: Are You Doing Everything You Can?

January 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

It may come as a surprise to you, but there is a really good chance that the town or city you live in offer a service you may not have heard of; an energy audit. Cities and towns all over the country have started doing this, where an auditor comes to your home and goes through your living space and helps you to see where you could make changes that will not only help you conserve energy but will help you save money! What a bonus it is to save money by doing the right thing.

There are so many changes you can make in your home to impact the way we recycle and in the end, will help you keep some of the money in your pocket.

Having recycling bins set up so that you can properly sort the items that are recycled is a great first step. That activity alone can cut down greatly on the items that end up in the landfills rather than where they can be recycled.

Keeping your televisions, DVDs, stereos and computers plugged in to a power strip or surge protector rather than directly into the wall and then turning off the power strip will cut back greatly on power “leaks” that can cost you money on your utility bill. Being aware to turn these items off, is the first step, and then having them plugged into the power strip will just further the action for saving money and energy.

Don’t leave a light on when you walk out of a room and no one else is in there. And have you changed your light bulbs from the traditional ones to the compact flourescent kind? Did you know that the newer lights use 75% less energy to run and they will out live a traditional light bulb by up to 10 years? Make the changes that need to be made in your home.

Don’t run the dishwasher or the washing machine unless they are full. It’s a waste of energy and water to run a cycle through the dishwasher when it’s only half full. Don’t turn it on until you have a full load to wash and then just wash them all at once.

Use microfiber cloths for cleaning all kinds of surfaces like furniture, counters and sinks. The bonus is that these items can be tossed into the washer and are perfectly able to be reused again and again. Think of the savings in paper towels alone! Talk about a win-win; if we use fewer paper towles, then that means fewer trees need to be cut to make them in the first place. How can we go wrong with thinking like that?

Take shorter showers and see if you can pick up a shower head that is a water-conserving item, already in place, that will save you money and you’ll never even notice the difference during your shower.

There is so much you can do in the efforts to recycle, just be sure you’re doing your part.

How To Go Green And Save Too In 7 Simple Tips

January 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

At a time when the world faces increasing global warming, as more and more harmful greenhouse gases pour out into the atmosphere, more and more people are wondering how to go green and make it cost effective too. The good news is that it’s very easy to do. In fact, done properly it’s hard not to save money while helping the planet recover. So, here’s how to go green (and save money) in 7 simple tips.

1. Lower your winter heating by at least one degree. If you can stand two or three degrees lower, then all the better. You will use less energy and still feel comfortable. Then in summer, let the air conditioning cool the house a little less. That’s a great start in how to go green.

2. Set your washing machine to wash clothes in cold water. Modern cleaning powders don’t need hot water, and heating the water is what consumes most of the energy that the washing machine uses.

3. Don’t use the dryer to dry your clothes! That’s not how to go green. It uses far too much energy and it’s expensive too. Hang your clothes out to dry. The air is great at drying clothes – your grandmother could have told you that.

4. Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs use 10% of the energy that a standard bulb needs and they last 10 times longer. So, change your light bulbs. And if you want to know how to go green in a bigger way with lights, check out the new LED bulbs. They can be twice as efficient as the CFL bulbs.

5. Use less water. Check all faucets for leaks and fix any you find. Take shorter showers, don’t bath, and consider getting a new toilet cistern that will use less than two gallons of water per flush. Standard cistern use some three and a half gallons. Using less water uses less energy and saves you money!

6. Walk rather than drive for very short trips. Use a bicycle for moderate trips, and only use the car if you really have to. Gasoline is expensive and it pollutes the atmosphere. Save on burning it and you will save on your money too, as well as help the environment.

7. When you have to drive, keep your speed down to around 55 miles per hour if possible. Your car’s engine will be running at its most efficient at that speed burning the minimum amount of gas. Practice driving smoothly as well. Don’t accelerate fast from a standing start, and don’t brake hard. This is how to go green with your car, though using public transport, walking and cycling is even better.

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Ideas For Green Christmas Gifts

January 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

You shouldn’t be stuck thinking up ideas for green Christmas gifts. There are so many different ways to make excellent and interesting gifts and ornaments using existing materials, or things that are easy and inexpensive to obtain. Ideas for green christmas gifts are usually only limited by your imagination, so start imagining!

Gift baskets are popular and are easily made too, and one of the best ideas for green Christmas gifts. The basket can be recycled from a cardboard box, cut to size and shape as desired, and wrapped in something original. The artwork that your children produce in school or at home is ideal for wrapping gift baskets. If you can’t find enough old ones, have them make a few new ones. Any left over artwork can be shredded and laid in the bottom of the basket to provide a suitable crinkly base for the gifts.

The gifts that fill the gift baskets can be anything. However, some of the better ideas for green Christmas gifts are things like homemade jams, homemade cookies, and homemade maple candy, which can be cut into Christmas shapes. Other ideas for green Christmas gifts for your gift baskets can be produced by your children. An aluminum drinks can painted, or covered in an old photo or some kind of artwork makes a great pen holder. A sturdy shoe box, if suitably decorated, can become an attractive treasure box. Your children will love creating these ideas for green Christmas gifts.

Clay ornaments are easy to make and are definitely environmentally friendly ideas for green Christmas gifts. You can make the clay dough with flour, salt and water in ratios of two parts flour to one part salt and one part water. Mix well together and knead for at least 10 minutes, then roll out and cut to shape. You can use existing cookie cutters, or get more imaginative for better results.

You may wish to poke a hole in each ornament before baking them to make it easy for hanging. Make the hole larger than you need as it will shrink during baking. Then bake the ornaments in an oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for around an hour and a half. These excellent ideas for green Christmas gifts can be decorated in hundreds of different exciting ways and will look really great too.

Ideas for green Christmas gifts are all around you. They will save you money and help to save the environment. In that way you will know that you are doing your bit for the planet. Christmas is a Christian celebration, but people of other religions also know the importance of being green and saving valuable resources and money. As the Dalai Lama said: “We have a responsibility to look after our planet. It is our only home.”

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You Can Build Your Car Powered By Solar, A Green Energy Source

January 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

All cars are powered by gas. But with the volatility of crude oil prices and because it is not a renewable, something must be done before it is too late. Given that solar energy, a green energy source is used to power a community, you can also do this on a small scale by using the same principles to build your own car.

But what do you need to make this work? A lot of things but the two most important are the solar array and the batteries.

The solar array is vital because this is what’s used to collect the sun’s rays and then converts this into electrical energy. There are two types to choose from in the market namely the prefabricated type and the individual kind which you set up yourself.

If you are looking for branded parts, check out either Siemens or ASE Americas that sell terrestrial grade cells and the space grade cells. The lower end model which can produce a significant amount of power is the terrestrial grade version.

Proper wiring must be done to make sure that if one of the panels is not working, your vehicle will still move. If you are worried that the voltage of the solar array should match the system voltage of your motor, you should not to worry because it will still run.

We mentioned earlier that the battery is also important because this is where the solar energy will be stored. Your options for this are lead acid, lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium. Just how many you need to buy will depend on your motor’s voltage.

When you finally have these two components, these will now have to be connected to the motor. So you know how much juice is left in your batteries, you will also need to install instrumentation similar to the heads up display console on regular cars which tells you your speed, mileage and gas.

Don’t forget to put a steering wheel, suspension, brakes, tires and hubs. You may not be able to make a car that have the same features as like what you see done by one of the three US automakers but just enough to be able to drive it from one place to the next.

The only cars that use solar energy so far are the ones only used in races especially the one held in Australia from travels from the northern part of the country all the way to the south. If this has helped people realize that renewable energy is really the key to the future, the big automakers should try tapping this technology instead of relying of still relying on gasoline.

But apart from solar energy as a green energy source, biodiesel is another alternative. This is a combination of alcohol like methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetable oils. This can also be done using corn and sugarcane.

Although these are not renewable, these are still considered as a green energy sources because it is cleaner than conventional gasoline. This means you do not release harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide into the air which causes damage to the environment. So if you can’t build a solar powered car, consider a different fuel alternative.

Recycling And Kids’ Toys

January 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

One of the biggest mistakes parents make, especially in the time when their family is young, is to over spend and buy more toys than children can possibly play with before just feeling overwhelmed. When children are in a play room, overflowing with toys, they often will retreat, feeling there are too many to choose from, and will not play with any of them. It is important to purchase toys that will last for a long time, too. Fewer well made toys will be a much greater gift than more toys that are made without lasting quality.

Children, who are already feeling that they don’t have any control over their environment, will just become more frustrated when a toy breaks in their hands because it is poorly made. Always keep in mind the age and physical development of the child when buying a toy. There is nothing worse than a child picking up a toy that is out of their age-range and they end up breaking it because they’re not developed enough to regulate their hand strength. Children are not capable of making the right choices for their own age group, so it is up to the adults to do that for them.

When buying gifts and toys for holidays and celebrations, remember to take a deep breath and know that what you end up buying will be played with, probably in a rough manner, , so you’ll want it to last. What’s the sense in spending money on something that is made so poorly it falls apart after the first time out of the box? (I guess you could always revert back to the box-idea and give them that to play with!) But the toys that last are usually the ones that are made from good, solid materials; like wood. Wood is such a great material to make things from and as long as it’s FSC-certified, you won’t have to worry about harmful toxins coming off when the child is teething and the bonus is that it could last for several generations (reinforcing that reuse idea, all the more).

You may even be able to get some of the original money set out for the product by selling it on Craigslist or eBay. If you’re thinking of selling it at a yard sale, just know that you won’t come close to getting the “value” of it because the yard-sale-mentality is to get what you can for as little as possible, but you still can get something monetary back if you do this.

Find toys that will last for a long time and can either be passed down through the generations or re-sold for a little pocket money. Keep in mind that when it comes to children and toys, more is not better and making informed purchases based on the child and the quality of how the toys are made, are in the hands of adults. Most toys and games come with an age range printed on the packaging and it is important to not buy gifts that a child will not be capable of playing with for a few years.

Recycling On Loon Mountain In New Hampshire

January 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Loon Mountain is located in New Hampshire, right in the middle of the state and as a part of the White Mountains. If you know anything about New Hampshire, you’ll know that some of the country’s best winter sports take place in the White Mountains. When you think of skiing; recycling probably isn’t your first visual, but Loon Mountain is looking to change that perception.

Loon Mountain has started a new way of doing things in regards to recycling and energy conservation that should not go unnoticed and will hopefully pave the way for other resorts, all over the world, to follow.

When you think of New Hampshire, the White Mountains, or even the northeastern area of the United States and you picture the area during the winter time, you probably have visions of yummy hot cocoa with tiny marshmellows, hats, mittens and scarves covering as much of a person from Old Mr. Frost, a roaring fire and a foot and a half of snow. Most of that image is accurate, except, unfortunately, for the snow part. For more than a decade or so the northeast region has not been able to enjoy Mother Nature’s usual assault of blizzard upon blizzard, resulting in a sno-globe fantasy of winter sports. While there is still an occassional blizzard, and a lot of the White Mountain Resorts are blessed with a foot or so of base snow, it just isn’t like the winters of our grandparent’s generation. What used to fall from the sky without hesitation or exception, for the most part, today, must be manufactured.

While most resorts have to run their snow-making machines there have been advances made in their production to further help with recycling in mind and using energy saving principles. Loon turned to a new idea in snow-making guns where the gun generates its own compressed air, thereby saving on the energy used to have a compressed air hose as a separate unit. At one place they have combined one “disconnect” between two of their popular slopes; Little Sister Trail and Loon Mountain Park and will be able to service both trails with the same snow-making apparatus.

Other efforts toward recycling include changing their light bulbs over to compact fluorescent alternatives, which are said to use 75% less energy and last ten times longer than the average light bulb. Bathrooms now have motion sensors for the lights and fans, so energy is not being used when no one is in the room. New windows and doors have been put in to replace older models that allowed for heat to leak out and the cold northeastern wind to come in.

Let’s take the lead that resorts in New Hampshire have provided and make the changes necessary in our own homes this winter, in the name of recycling and energy-saving efforts. By following the lead set by resorts like the ones on Loon Mountain, you can bet that more resorts will fall in behind, and utilize all of the resources they have in the effort to recycle.

What to Expect from Solar Power for Homes

January 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Years ago, solar power was used mostly for magnifying glasses and calculators. Now, it is already possible to use solar power for homes. The energy of the sun is widely available and scientists are improving solar power systems year after year. Electricity is a necessity and life will be quite hard without it. However, the fossil fuels are depleting and electricity is expensive. The use of fossil fuels also causes damage to the Earth, thereby causing global warming and other environmental problems.

Solar power for homes is a renewable and much better energy source. Many homeowners are going green these days because they want to save money and the environment. Despite the encouragement of the government and other organizations, only 1% of the total homeowners use solar power. If you’re in the US, why don’t you visit California? You can find many solar powered homes in California.

The energy of the sun can be used in different ways to create electricity. A very good example is the use of solar generators. The generator is powered with the use of mirrors that focus and reflect sunlight. When heat is created, the generator will be powered. Photovoltaic cells are also quite popular and these are available in solar panel DIY kits. The panels are usually mounted on rooftops. When sunlight hits the photovoltaic cells, electrical charge is created which in turn power homes and offices. You can purchase the kits from online stores or even in your local area. Just shop around for the best and highly effective panel kits; these kits already include guided instructions so that you can develop a homemade solar panel.

Ordinary homeowners still find solar power too expensive and that’s the main reason why many people still opt for conventional electricity. With the modern technology of today, scientists and researchers are looking for cost effective ways to offer solar power to the public. Did you know that you can also store the energy that comes from sunlight? This is true and so you can still use solar power even when there’s no sunlight. So whether it’s nighttime or it’s raining, you can use renewable and clean energy.

Solar cookers, thermal systems, and many others are excellent alternatives but you need to know how to use them effectively. The very first step that you need to take is to determine your monthly electrical consumption. You can do this by checking your electricity bills and get the average monthly usage. You also need to consider the weather or climate in your area. After determining your electric consumption, you can now decide on the appropriate inverter. A bigger inverter can accommodate expansion in the future. For people with limited resources or budget, you can start with the simplest projects like outdoor lights and garden features. Even if you use smaller solar panels, you can still cut down your electrical bills by 50%-80%.

Try to have realistic expectations when using solar power. You can’t give up conventional electricity completely but if you can use it together with solar power, you can save a lot of money in the long run. Make this one-time investment and enjoy lasting benefits in the coming months and years. Solar power for homes is an excellent investment and you too can enjoy a greener and clean lifestyle.

What If You could Be Paid To Recycle?

January 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

The idea of getting paid to recycle may sound far fetched and you may think the story will end with, “…and they lived happily ever after.” But that is not the case with a company from Pennsylvania who has come up with the genius idea about how to encourage people to recycle. The company is called RecycleBank and it’s a Philadelphia-based private company that has a very high tech idea about how to interest more people in the thought of recycling.

It may sound like a science fiction movie, but the idea is to issue wheeled totes to people that have a computer chip implanted in it that would keep information about the people who own the tote. In addition to the name, address and phone number information there would also be included a bank account number, linked to RecycleBank that would tally the amount of recyclable-waste that is turned in to a collection truck that would be equipped with a special computer and barcode system. It will work along the same lines as the self-serve lane at the grocery store and other retail stores.

Once the data of the weight of the recycled material is entered an amount of RecycleBank-Dollars would be deposited into the RecycleBank account. Residents would then have access to those recycle-dollars to be used at participating retailers. Some of the companies already working with RecycleBank include Target, Starbucks and Whole Foods Market and their hopes are to have as many local businesses included as well. Some may find it to be a rewarding experience in being able to donate their RecycleBank Dollars to a local environmental group or organization, rather than spend the money themselves. What a great idea and a great way for people to be given an opportunity to help an organization whose sole purpose it is to keep our planet alive and well? What a beautiful way for some of us to be able to make our contribution to the environment times two? First by recycling and then again by being able to donate the RecycleBank Dollars we tally up.

When you think of it, the opportunitites are nearly endless for single homes to be able to contribute to the positive changes of our environment and if that is the case, imagine the impact a small business could have? How many thousands of dollars and trees could be saved by the implementation of a program like RecycleBank?

For me, this idea is a much better one than the other option proposed by some companies of “Pay-As-You-Throw” (PAYT) which operates in the opposite direction where you would pay for what you throw away. I guess the ideas are similar but I sure like the idea of being credited for my good deeds rather than being punished for what I throw away.

How many cities and towns could gain not just monetary benefits from a program set-up like RecycleBank but the benefits of turning us all into recycle-oriented consumers and residents?

Can You Use A Green Energy Source Like Water To Power A Car?

January 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

For more than a century, we rely on oil to fuel our cars. But did you know that the world’s oil is close to drying up because it is a nonrenewable resource? Well that may not happen tomorrow or next year but we are getting closer because of the demand in the world market. Why wait for that day when we can rely on a green energy source like water to power our cars.

Water can power a car? If you think that’s impossible, well it is already here but this is not yet being made on a commercial scale.

The German automobile BMW has produced the world’s first ever hydrogen powered car. While only 100 of these units were produced, you can already imagine if more of these vehicles are on the road.

The initial model namely the BMW Hydrogen 7 uses the body of the 760i model. Once you pop the hood, you will notice that the engine is different since it uses gas and hydrogen.

This just means we have not yet totally abandoned are dependence on gas. Given more time and money, the current 4.7 miles per gallon it can travel using water alone could hit double digits in the future.

The biggest challenge to using water as a green energy source as opposed to oil in vehicles is the engine. While there are cars around like the Prius which runs on electricity and gas thanks to fuel cell technology, the hydrogen combustion is less than 10 years old so you could say we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

To prevent the water from evaporating, this has to be stored in a large, 30-gallon, bi-layered and highly insulated tank so this does not evaporate into compressed gas. Another safety mechanism is the valves which are designed to open should the pressure within the tank exceed 5 bars.

With the success of the BMW H7, the company came out with a new car that is also partly powered by water known as the H2R. While we cannot yet put our garden hose into the fuselage to fill it up, this vehicle uses liquid nitrogen as a fuel.

Tests on this vehicle have shown it can achieve 285hp and reach a top cruising speed of 185.5 miles per hour. It can also accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour under 6 seconds.

But why use water? It is because hydrogen combustion is clean so it does not emit harmful gases into the atmosphere unlike cars that run on petrol or diesel that emit carbon monoxide. Studies have shown that it also weighs less than hydrocarbon-based fuels and burns faster than conventional gasoline.

So when can you expect to buy a car that uses water as a green energy source? Hopefully in the next 10 to 20 years. It is really up to the automakers because all we can do is wait until a better and clear car hits the dealership.

Right now, the best option we have are electric cars. Since its introduction in 1999, more people are using it because they don’t want to spend anymore for gasoline that could hit an all time high of more than $110 per barrel.

If water as a green energy source can be used to power a car, why don’t we do the same for solar power which has been around much longer?

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