Greenhouse Gases 101: 5 Easy Prevention Tips
Earth is estimated to be roughly 4.5 billion years old. Our atmosphere has been continually evolving ever since. An extraordinary balance of elements come together allowing life to form and thrive on this planet. It’s our legacy to protect this unique planet for future generations by reducing greenhouse gases. Learn how using these efficient lighting, fan, cutting excess, driving and gardening tips can reduce this generation's carbon footprint.
What is the greenhouse effect?
A very basic definition of the greenhouse effect is when greenhouse gases form a protective layer around the Earth that captures some of the heat rays from the sun, which keeps Earth from being a frozen planet and allows for organisms to grow.
The theory of global warming is that the more greenhouse gases we release into the air the thicker the protective layer grows, capturing more heat from the sun, ergo, Earth gets continuously warmer. Many worry Earth may one day become too warm to sustain life.
10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Summer Savings
Spring is a time of growth and renewal for many plants and animals. It’s also the ideal time to prep your home for rising summer cooling and lighting costs. Use these easy-to-follow spring cleaning, organizing, and decorating tips for a cost-saving summer.
Getting your home in shape for summer is no small undertaking whether you live in a studio apartment or a sprawling five-bedroom house, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed if you don’t know where to start. Make a plan and stick to it. Use a trusted pen and paper list or a cleaning app to help you stay on task and motivated (there's something very rewarding about checking something off a to-do list).
First, make a list of all the rooms in your home including outdoor spaces. Next, list the tasks you want to accomplish. Then, list the supplies and tools necessary to complete these tasks. Stock up on supplies such as all-purpose cleaner, wood cleaner, microfiber cloths, and scrub brushes. Pick up an extendable duster or a ladder for hard-to-reach spots. Use a bucket or a carryall apron to stow supplies so everything you need is within hand’s reach.
Spring cleaning takes time because you’re dusting, scrubbing, and rearranging spaces that are not part of your weekly housework routine. Allow yourself several days or even a week to complete the task on your list. Split large tasks into small chunks to make progress and avoid burning out. Focus on one room at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for assistance with difficult tasks.
How To: Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) averages most families spend roughly $1,900 a year on electricity. The bulk of that comes directly from the heating and cooling of your home. Adjusting a handful of factors will save your wallet and the environment big time. We will break these energy efficient heating and cooling tips into winter, summer and anytime categories. At the end of this article we will highlight why energy efficient heating and cooling is so important to our environment.
Keeping it Efficiently Cool in Summer
If you’re trying to beat the summer heat without beating up your electric bill or the environment, we have a great list of summer energy efficient cooling tips for you. We have compiled them in order ranging from easy-peasy to serious-lifting.
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- Lower your AC. A good rule of thumb when using your AC in the summer is to try to keep it at 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees when you leave your home. Do not turn the unit completely off unless you’re leaving for more than 24 hours. You will be saving one to three percent of your energy bill for every degree higher you set it. Consider using this tactic with energy saving ceiling fans to help keep you cool.
Let a draft flow. One main reason your home begins to heat up is the lack of air circulation. Opening the windows and doors in the early mornings or evenings, when the temperature is still low outside, will allow cool air to move through, letting your home cool itself naturally before the summer heat kicks in. Pair this technique with ceiling fans, desk fans or floor fans and you will not even need your AC on during the first part of the day.
The Facts About Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
With so many countries phasing out heavy wattage incandescent bulbs, we feel it's time to take a hard look at the light bulb options on the market right now.
Using light bulbs to save energy is extremely important to our environment and your energy costs. We now have a better understanding of how much energy small gestures such as changing your light bulbs can make. Remember these numbers the next time someone says replacing your bulbs will not save much energy.
Over the last few years in the European Union incandescent bulbs have been phased out and replaced by compact florescent light bulbs or CFLs. The Ecodesign Regulatory Committee believes this small change will save citizens almost 40 TWh a year, a TWh is equal to 114 million watts. If you are not sure what that means, this infographic puts those numbers into perspective.
Cost Effective Lighting: When to Turn It Off
In most houses, lights get turned on and off quite frequently, especially if you have children. A lot of parents deal with the bedtime light war when their children are constantly turning the lights on after the parent turned them off. But according to the latest research on cost effective lighting, you might be better off giving up on the light switch war and just leaving the lights on, especially since many lights are rated according to the number of times they are turned on and off.
Recent Energy Star findings suggest, flipping a switch off is not always the best route to cost effective lighting. In fact, to find the most cost effective solution, you need to take into account the type of light bulb used, as well as the cost of electricity.
For example, incandescent lights, which are the least energy efficient, need to be turned off whenever they are not in use, particularly in the summertime, since a lit incandescent bulb also adds heat to a room. You can also add Lutron dimmers to control the voltage output that the light bulb is getting, this will reduce energy consumption quite a bit.
Halogens, though more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, are still not the most efficient options, and should also be turned off whenever you leave the room. Try to always turn off fluorescent lights. The cost of energy savings by having them off for five seconds is greater than the energy consumed by turning them off.
Once you start talking about CFLs and LEDs, the topic of cost effective lighting becomes a little more complicated. Since CFLs are so energy efficient, the rules for their usage varies. In general, if you plan to be out of the room for less than 15 minutes, leave the light on. If you’ll be gone longer, turn the light off. As a rule, the life of a CFL is greatly affected by the number of times it is turned on and off, so if you want to prolong the life of your CFL bulb, you are more likely to do so by switching it on and off less as opposed to just using it less. Many people believe that CFLs use a lot of energy to get going and that this is a reason to avoid switching them on and off, but bulbs with an Energy Star rating are required to endure frequent switching.