Go Green And Save Money

February 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Everywhere you look these days it seems that the main message is, “go green and save money.” This is an appealing message for most people as we are constantly warned of the dire consequences of global warming out of control. People want to do their bit to help save the planet, and if they can save money at the same time, then it just obviously makes sense all round.

You can go green and save money just about anywhere. Your home is probably the most obvious place to start, but you can also do wonders with your car, in the office, out shopping, traveling on vacation, and much more. The opportunities are almost endless; going green doesn’t have to be more expensive, you can definitely go green and save money at the same time.

Your home probably leaks heat out during the winter and leaks heat in during the summer. For this reason most of us have winter heaters and summer air conditioning units. This should be the first place you investigate of how to go green and save money. Are all your windows tight? Are the door seals tight too? This is where heat can leak out and make your electricity bills soar.

If your house doesn’t have good loft insulation heat will pour out in winter and pour in during the summer. Insulation is one of the best ways to go green and save money. Your walls can have their cavities filled with insulating foam as well, all keeping the heat inside in winter and outside in summer for more comfortable living.

The water you use in the home is perhaps the easiest “go green and save money” source you have. Look for leaks first. Leaking faucets, even just the occasional drip, accounts for a lot of money wasted over time. You could waste as much as 140 gallons in a week!

Are your hot water pipes insulated? They should be if you aim to go green and save money. Insulated pipes let the hot water reach the faucets faster, thereby saving water, while you go green and save money too. Low flow toilets are another way to save water. You don’t need to flush gallons of water away every time, just what you need.

Edison was a genius, but his light bulb invention has been superceded by the new compact fluorescent light bulbs. These are bulbs that use a mere 25% of the energy that a traditional light bulb uses. They also last 10 times longer. Replace all your traditional bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs and instantly go green and save money!

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Why Is Hydropower A Green Energy Source?

February 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Why is hydropower a green energy source? It is because we are able to harness electrical power by converting water into electricity.

The use of hydroelectric power or even hydroelectricity dates back to Ancient Greece and China when they installed waterwheels in rapidly flowing rivers to turn millstones and other equipment. Years later, this was used in the New World which is now known as North America to power saws and other equipment.

But the hydroelectric plants of today still use the same basic principles as the historical waterwheel with some variations. The difference is that we use the force of the power to push the turbine which in turn powers a generator thus generating electricity.

To make sure that there is a steady flow of power being produced, a dam has to be built to retain the water. If there is a need for more power, the gates of the dam are opened so water can be released. During non-peak, the gates are closed. To ensure there is water at all times, some dams have a recovery and pumping systems to the water released can be used again.

There are issues with the use of hydroelectricity. Some claim that it poses a problem for fish and aquatic plants on both sides of the dam. Because the flow of water has been altered, the nutrient rich silt which helps crops grow could be affected which is exactly what happened when the Aswan Dam was completed in Egypt.

But there are ways to fix that and the bigger picture is that power produced from hydroelectric plants do not generate any emissions or waste which happens to be much better than operating a coal-fired power plant.

There is another way to generate hydropower and you get this form the sea. This is also known as wave power or wave energy which uses changes in the air levels of sealed chambers to power turbines. When a wave rises into the chamber, the rise water pushes the air out which then turns a generator.

Once the wave goes down, air flows into the turbine and back into the chamber through doors that will close.

These chambers remain afloat on the ocean and how much power it produces varies. A lot of these are used on the western coasts of Scotland, northern Canada, southern Africa, Australia, and the northwestern coasts of the United States. These systems are usually small and can power a warning buoy or a small light house.

There is also tidal energy. The difference with wave energy is that when the tide approaches, the water is trapped in reservoirs behind dams. When the tide drops, the water behind the dam is released thus producing power similar to a hydroelectric power plant.

This can only work if you have tides that are at least 16 feet and since there are only a few places in the planet that can do that.

Lastly, you have ocean thermal energy. Here, you get power based on the different temperatures in the water. For this to work, you need at least 38 degrees Fahrenheit difference between the warmer surface water and the colder deep ocean water. Still in the trial stage, it is used Japan and Hawaii.

Hydropower is a green energy source. It is safe to use and what is even better is that it is renewable.

Go Green In Your Home – And Save Too

February 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

If you want to go green in your home, and save a little money at the same time, it’s never been easier. As the planet faces an uncertain future of global warming, which is believed to be the result of us all burning fossil fuels indiscriminately, we all have a duty to do the best we can to redress the balance. Here are some vital tips to help you get started…

Your home is where you spend a lot of your income, so it makes sense to be spending it as efficiently as possible. You can start to go green in your home by insulating the house. Loft insulation, wall cavity insulation, double or even triple glazing – it will all make a tremendous difference. Yes, there is an investment to consider, but you will save in the long term, and save a lot too.

We all use too much water. Go green in the home by cutting back as much as you can. We could all, collectively, save one billion gallons of water a year by changing our old flush toilet cisterns. The old ones use three and a half gallons per flush and the new high-efficiency ones use just over one and a quarter gallon. It makes a big difference! If you did only this to go green in the home you would save 20,000 gallons of water every year, and pay a lot less in water bills.

The standard light bulbs that most homes have are very inefficient. Compact fluorescent light bulbs burn around 5% of the old bulbs and they last 10 times longer. They may cost slightly more to buy initially, but this is an obvious way to go green in the home and save a bundle in the long run. But you can do even better, The new LED lights are almost twice as efficient as even the compact fluorescent light bulbs, and they will last even longer too.

Heat leaks out of a house in winter and into the house in summer. Better insulation all round is a great way to go green in the home. Look at your loft, your wall cavities, your windows and your doors. Sort out all of these and you can go green in the home and really save too.

Home utilities are a drain on energy. Did you know that modern washing powders are so good that they don’t really need hot water? your washing machine uses most of its energy heating the water, so wash your clothes cold. They will clean great while you go green in the home. You may think your dishwasher is also an energy drain, Strangely, it isn’t. If you use it fully filled it uses less resources than if you wash by hand. Once you know these little tips and tricks, it’s easy to go green in the home!

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Live Green And Save Money

February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

We all want to live green and save money at the same time, and we can too. Kermit the Frog was wrong when he said, “It ain’t easy being green.” It’s really easy, and highly effective too, if you know how. This article will provide you with 5 essential steps you can start taking today to live green and save money.

1. Turn your heater thermostats down one or two degrees in winter, and turn your air conditioning thermostats up one or two degrees in summer. If we all did this, the combined difference would be phenomenal. We’d still feel warm in winter and cool in summer, so learn how to live green and save money with your heating and cooling appliances.

2. The other appliance that needs your attention is your washing machine. Start washing your clothes in cold water. Modern powders work just as efficiently in cold water as hot. Most of the energy that goes into a clothes wash is in heating up the water, so you will save on electricity, live green and save money too.

3. When your clothes are nice and clean, don’t throw them into the dryer. Unless it’s pouring rain, hang them out to air dry. It’s what your grandmother did, and she managed just fine. She may have liked having a dryer, but they weren’t around back then, so she just had to live green and save money. You can too!

4. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a dream come true for anyone who wants to live green and save money. They burn just 25% of the electricity that a standard light bulb burns, and they can last up to 10 times longer. Change your old bulbs today!

5. Try to consume a little less of everything, from electricity, to gas in the car, to the food you eat. Take time to write out a shopping list, and stick to it. If you feel the impulse to buy something you don’t really need, get into the habit of waiting 24 hours, then review it. The chances are you either won’t want it any more, or you will have forgotten about it.

It’s easy to live green and save money. You just have to give it some thought. Get into a routine that works and before you know it, you will find yourself in the situation where you live green and save money every day.

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Is Biomass A Green Energy Source?

February 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Is biomass a green energy source? According to experts, yes it is. In fact, it is one of the three main areas of bioenergy.

But what is bioenergy? Well, it is a process by which organic material such as animal waste, plants and wood are used to generate electricity, produce heat and also aid in the production of biofuels.

In the case of biomass, hot air or water is generated to produce electricity. This is done through direct combustion and is considered the simplest and most common method of generating energy from biomass.

Aside from generating electricity, biomass can be used for hot air production so you can keep a place warm. For this to work, biomass has to be combusted in a furnace where it heats either water or air. Speaking of water, this enables you to have warm water so you can take a shower. In short, biomass in itself can also be used in a small scale as a heating system.

Since you can generate electricity and heat, some people have been able to combine the two which is known as combined heat and power or CHP. Something that many consider to be good as you use one energy source for two purposes.

If you are able to compare the amount of electricity generated between biomass and let’s say solar energy, you will notice that biomass produces more because the energy in plants is already captured and stored.

You don’t have to collect it first which is what happens with solar or even wind energy since this is manufactured technology. It is readily available unlike the other two which is totally dependent on the weather.

Another is the fact that you can even use organic waste to product electricity. No other green energy source can do that and by using this extensively, any government can save money because you don’t have to spend money to dispose of the waste and you will no longer depend on foreign oil that much to power your plants.

The downside to biomass is that because you have to burn waste and other organic materials to product power, you add to the pollution which is already in the atmosphere. But this can be offset of course by planting more crops which we know helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

You will also have to shell out a lot of money initially for the costs of labor, the transport of these fuels and how these should be stored.

Biomass uses renewable natural resources which is why it is considered a green energy source. This means that we have an endless supply of it around just like the power of the sun or the wind which flows from the ocean. The challenge is to find suitable land that has a sufficient water supply so these will be able to grow.

This means that in areas where water is not that abundant, you cannot rely on biomass technology to generate power. When that happens, you use other means and one good example given the right geographical location is wave energy which is the process of generating power from the water.

There is a way to generate power without causing harm to the environment. We have the technology and the green energy sources. We just need to muster the willingness to make it happen.

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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Examples Of How Going Green Saves You Money

January 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

There are many examples of how going green saves you money. Kermit the Frog was wrong – it IS easy being green, and it saves you money at the same time. As the planet faces a period of warming where our actions are believed to be the prime cause, it makes sense to seek out examples of how going green saves you money and act on them.

That cell phone charger that stays plugged in, the DVD player that waits for the occasional playing, and the TV that sits on standby all night, these are prime examples of how going green saves you money – if you unplug them, that is. For even if the items are not working, they are consuming energy!

Another of the prime examples of how going green saves you money is switching from bottled water to filtered tap water. The average family spends some $1,400 a year on bottled water. And the worst part is that 95% of the plastic bottles are not recycled! For less than $100 you could get a high quality staged water filter to make your tap water perfect.

Examples of how going green saves you money are everywhere. Do you drive as fast as the law allows? You shouldn’t. Car engines perform most efficiently at around 55 miles an hour. If you combine that with gentle driving on properly inflated tires, you will save money and help the planet too.

You could always use a bicycle to travel around town. Or you could simply walk for those short trips. You won’t be pouring hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, warming the planet, you will save money, and you will get some good exercise at the same time. Walking and cycling when you can are excellent examples of how going green saves you money.

Some 65 million newspapers are printed every day in the US. Some 70% of them will not be recycled. What a waste of trees! You can do your bit to help, and read whatever news you want to read at the same time simply by going online. Very few newspapers don’t have an online presence these days, so save some money and read from the web pages.

Do you want more example of how going green saves you money? They are all around you. Just look and you certainly will find them.

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An honest question for climate skeptics in the southwest

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under No Impact Man

The federal government today came out with a report saying that the southwest is going to get much dryer in the coming decades. That means:

  • Less drinking water
  • Less water for crops and livestock
  • More wildfires
  • More conflict between states and cities over river management

According to the New York Times:

… the places that are feeling water stress now are going to feel more in the future because snow will melt faster, bringing a decline in summertime stream flows. And as Mr. Salazar observed on Monday, this reordering of natural water supplies “will mean significant potential dislocations to the economy and the environment.”

Furthermore, federal officials, in releasing the report, hoped:

to create or bolster a sense of urgency among Western water managers who are planning for the future.

Now to the point of this post. The cause of this coming shortage of water, according to the federal report, is climate change.

In other words, if you don't believe in climate change, then you wouldn't believe the conclusions of this report. You wouldn't believe that it would be necessary to prepare for water shortage in your region, if you're from the southwest.

So my honest question for you is this:

Are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is and not prepare for the water shortage–since you don't believe in climate change? Are you prepared to risk your crops, livestock, economy and drinking water?

Just wondering.

If it came to it, would you choose energy or drinking water?

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under No Impact Man

Watch the video. If you don’t like what’s going on so much, maybe take a next step by looking at this citizen’s guide. Leave ideas for what else we can do in comments.

Reader Tip: Hydroponics for Beginners

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Upgrader

hydroponics

Reader Brandon Koots is a 15-year-old student from Curacao who’s been growing his own food for over 4 years. He runs a site where he talks about hydroponics and gardening, and he shared some great tips on starting a simple hydroponics system, called a “raft system.”

Build a simple raft system in just a few minutes

Hydroponics is an easy way to grow your own food. It can be made very small and put anywhere you want. It reduces work, and you don’t have to water your plants, since  that happens automatically. That means that you save more time with watering plants, and you save more water because you keep using the same water over and over.

A raft system is a hydroponics system where the plants grow in a medium and their roots hang in the water. This system is easy to set up and is perfect for when you don’t have a lot of space. It is commonly used in very large commercial gardens, but you can make a smaller one to use at home.

In a hydroponic system you can plant more food than in the same area of soil. The plants grow faster than normal, and it hydroponic plants are less prone to diseases than when they are in soil.

hydroponics how to

Materials:

  • a knife or drill
  • a plastic bin (size doesn’t matter)
  • some plastic cups
  • a marker
  • a ruler
  • an oxygen pump – choose one that comes with an airstone

Here are the steps:

1. Measure the cup’s diameter. Then, drill holes that are slightly smaller into the lid of your bin, so the cups won’t fall in the bin. If you don’t have a drill, you can use a knife. For example: I used a cup with a diameter of 7 cm, so I made 6×6 cm squares. If you heat up the knife, it will cut through the plastic lid much more easily.

cutting the holes

2. Start making holes in the cups. This is how the water will get to the roots. You can make the holes with a knife, scissors, or a heated nail. The more holes you make the better.

cutting the cups

3. Add water to your bin. If it is hydroponics, remember to add nutrients for the plants, but if you’re using your raft system for aquaponics (see below), put only the fish in the water. Choose your fish based on the size of your bin and your climate. I use guppies, since these don’t become larger than 6 cm and are perfect for the hot climate here. Ask at your local pet store to find which fish are best for your aquaponics setup.

4. Place your oxygen pump in the bin. Put the pump’s airstone into the bin with water. This is important, so that the plants or fish get enough oxygen.

5. Fill the cups with your growing medium. Place the cups into their holes and fill them with the medium. The best medium is hydroton, because it keeps the water at the perfect temperature and also the pH at the perfect temperature. The downside to hydroton is that it can be expensive, so you can also use gravel or crushed coconut.

hydroponics growing medium

6. You’re ready to plant your plants in the system! I’ve planted 3 peppers, 1 celery and 1 tomato. But you can plant anything you want in this system.

You can also use your raft system as an aquaponic system

The only extra supplies you’ll need are fish and fish food. Aquaponics has almost the same advantages as hydroponics. It:

  • reduces work that has to be done in a garden
  • helps you to save more water
  • requires less space.

And in an aquaponics system you can grow fish while you’re growing vegetables at the same time!

pepper plants in my hydroponic gardenThey say that the plants’ roots shouldn’t be in the same water as the fish. But I don’t think that it matters. I have a few peppers growing in a raft system and look at them, they’re growing great!

Extra tips:

  • If you have another bin, you can fill it up with water and put it in the sun to create algae to feed your fish.
  • If you’re using a transparent bin for your raft system, you should paint it white. Otherwise algae will start growing into the bin, and algae take the oxygen out of the water.

My name is Brandon and I’m a 15 year old gardener from Curacao. I’ve been growing my own vegetables for almost 4 years now mostly in hydroponics and aquaponics. I write gardening tips on my blog and right now I’m writing my own gardening book too.

Related posts:

  1. Space Saving Vertical Earth Gardens
  2. Small Space Garden Inspiration
  3. Spotted: Indoor Herb Garden

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