Essential eco-friendly fixtures to incorporate into your home

February 20, 2019 by  
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Being a steward of the environment means evaluating how many resources you and your family consume and consistently looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to make small eco-friendly fixtures to your home that can have a huge impact towards those goals. Water costs WaterSense, a federal program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency provides information about the most water-efficient fixtures for your home. Look for a label that indicates the device has met the strict restrictions certified by an independent testing facility for the best water conservation and lowest water costs. Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Faucets The bathroom and kitchen faucets provide a convenience water source for washing hands, brushing teeth and cleaning dishes. With the ability to crank out significant amounts of water, most of the water you pay for heads right down the drain. Instead of free-flowing the cash out of your wallet, look into aerating faucet heads. They work by forcing air through the system, which provides good water pressure while using significantly less water. Look for a model with WaterSense certification and replace each faucet as they begin to leak or as your budget allows. Toilets Standard toilets are a culprit for much of the water usage in the average home. By replacing standard toilets with low flow models, you will see the savings add up. Basically these devices work by providing two flush options: one for solid waste  and one for liquid waste that uses about ? the amount of water. Doing the math, that will save you 25-33% on your toilet flushes alone. With a standard flush requiring around three gallons, that’s some big savings. Showerheads Low flow showerheads work in the same way as other water fixtures. In addition to the aforementioned aerating design, there are other options for slowing the flow in your morning shower. Shower heads equipped with a laminar-flow shower head that feeds individual beads of water through the holes, allows less water flow over all. Other shower heads use a flow restrictor, which allow more or less water through depending on your water pressure preference. Whichever style you choose, look for a shower head with less than 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute) flow rate and a WaterSense certification. Bathtubs Bathtubs are notorious for requiring copious amount of water. After all, submersion in a hot bath averages a consumption of around 30-50 gallons. Showers with a standard shower head, by comparison, use about 10 gallons every four minutes so calculating your shower time will help you evaluate the best water savings. If you’re a disciplined sort, keeping it under ten minutes, than a shower is probably the way to go, especially if you invest in a water-conserving shower head. If you just can’t seem to shut it down in less than 20 minutes, than a bath won’t cost you any more. Lighting One of the best conveniences in a modern home is the ability to flip a switch and bring light to nearly any room in the house. But each flip of the switch costs you at the meter. One option to lower those costs is to replace the type of switch you use. For example, dimmer switches allow you to set the bulb at a lower output level. Lower output means lower consumption and therefore, a lower bill. Timers are another useful option if your family tends to leave lights on frequently. A device that tells your lights to turn off at a specified time will keep the meter from running all day when they are not needed. Motion sensored lights also save money by automatically turning lights on when you enter the room and turning them off behind you when they sense inactivity. Of course, the bulbs you use also make a huge difference in the amount of energy you’re consuming. Traditional incandescent bulbs suck up significantly more energy than the more modern halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) that not only require less energy, but also last 3-25 times longer. Look for the Energy Star rating on the bulbs you select and be sure to responsibly recycle old bulbs that contain mercury. Electrical costs Your day to day activities are reflected in your electrical bill, whether your house is powered by electricity alone or a combination of sources such as natural gas. The costs of heating, cooling and providing power to the outlets in your home add up quickly, so any changes you can make to reduce your usage will pay you back in the wallet and environmentally. Related: A renovated Toronto home boasts energy savings of over 50% Heating and cooling Heating and cooling costs make-up the lion’s share of every home’s electrical bill. Air conditioners and furnaces should be maintained for the best performance and replaced when they fail or when convenient to you. As your budget allows, swap out old systems for new ones that are more efficient and, of course, Energy Star certified. Although the unit is an investment up front, the savings long term are worth it. In addition, there are often local, state and federal tax credits that help offset the cost. Insulated windows and doors are another investment that can add up to huge savings. Energy Star models are much more energy efficient than those made even ten years ago, keeping warm air in and cold air out, which also equates to lower heating and cooling costs. Another relatively inexpensive fixture that can save you on your heating and cooling bills is an automatic thermostat. These smart devices are easy to find and install. By programming your thermostat to keep the temperature of the home lower during the night and when nobody is home, you avoid paying unnecessary heating and cooling costs automatically. Water heaters Another mainstream fixture that uses both water and electricity for heating is the water heater. By switching over to tankless water heaters, the average homeowner can save up to $100 per year. You can either install a central unit that provides on-demand water for your entire house, or you can use individual units, installed in each bathroom , kitchen, laundry, and other areas that require a water heater. These units work by only heating water as the faucet requests it, rather than keeping a huge tank of water heated and at the ready constantly. Images via Skitterphoto , 955169 , Karishea , TBIT

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Essential eco-friendly fixtures to incorporate into your home

We tried the new Impossible Burger at CES heres what we thought

January 8, 2019 by  
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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 is in full swing in Las Vegas. While smart home technology, televisions and wearable tech takes center stage, many surprising innovations are grabbing media attention. Take, for instance, the latest iteration of an Inhabitat favorite — the Impossible Burger. We tried the newest recipe from Impossible at this year’s CES ; keep reading for our thoughts. Delicious in tacos or served as a classic burger, the Impossible Burger has become a favorite for vegetarians and vegans since its inception in 2016. Now, the company is debuting a new and improved recipe that boasts a flavor and texture identical to meat with a smaller impact on our planet than its animal-based counterpart. Related: Impossible Burgers to hit grocery stores in 2019 The new recipe is gluten-free and remains free of animal hormones or antibiotics. The kosher-and halal-certified “meat” will please a wide array of people with dietary restrictions. In addition to its striking resemblance in taste and texture to meat, a serving of the new Impossible Burger offers the same amount of bioavailable protein and iron as a serving of traditional ground beef. It also boasts 30 percent less sodium and 40 percent less saturated fat than the original recipe. The original recipe used wheat in its ingredients, while the new burger is made with soy. We tasted the first round of patties made with the new recipe at Las Vegas ’ Border Grill. Executive chef Mike Minor praised the meat substitute, mentioning the smell and flavor of the new Impossible Burger is “addicting” to himself and his fellow chefs. With this in mind, we couldn’t wait to dig in. Our burger was cooked medium well and looked shockingly identical to a real beef patty cooked the same way. We could already see the juiciness and charred bits before taking a bite, but we were still surprised with how delicious the burger was. It tasted like a high-end burger made from animal protein — it was juicy, tender and full of flavor. As we all know, meat has a huge carbon footprint . With a meat alternative that mimics real meat so closely, the Impossible Burger could transition hardcore meat eaters to a plant-based alternative that saves water, energy and animal lives without compromising the distinct flavor and texture that so many other alternatives miss the mark on. The new recipe is rolling out to select restaurants starting Jan. 8, 2019 and will hit grocery store shelves later this year . + Impossible Images via Impossible

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We tried the new Impossible Burger at CES heres what we thought

Start Reducing Your Home’s Carbon Footprint With Propane

December 18, 2018 by  
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Editor’s note: This guest posting is from the Propane Education … The post Start Reducing Your Home’s Carbon Footprint With Propane appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Start Reducing Your Home’s Carbon Footprint With Propane

‘Uncanny’ Art Repurposes Recyclables

December 18, 2018 by  
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For some innovative upcyclers, aluminum is a favorite material. It … The post ‘Uncanny’ Art Repurposes Recyclables appeared first on Earth911.com.

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‘Uncanny’ Art Repurposes Recyclables

4 things you need to know about smart thermostats

November 2, 2018 by  
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Stuart Lombard has a mission: to reduce people’s carbon footprints while saving money. He found that heating and cooling made up the bulk of utility costs and searched to find a better way to monitor a home’s energy usage. He founded ecobee in 2007. The company developed a smart thermostat that allegedly saves people up to 23 percent a year on their heating and cooling bills. Some energy companies also offer rebates on smart thermostats, saving homeowners even more money. ecobee offers a few different products; the ecobee4, a smart Wi-Fi thermostat with room sensors, currently retails for $249. But even better than saving money, smart thermostats can help you do your part in reducing energy consumption and protecting the environment. Here are four things to know about smart thermostats. Reduces your carbon footprint Riding a bike to work instead of driving a car and installing solar panels are all positive steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint, but there are easier things you can do as well that will have little impact on your day-to-day life. Things like closing your curtains at night can have a positive impact on your heating and cooling bills and the environment. Lombard said, “There are some other great things like looking at your home and eliminating drafts, doing weather stripping, caulking, those are easy DIY projects for a lot of people.” Heating and cooling make up 40 to 70 percent of a home’s energy use, according to ecobee. In addition to making small changes yourself, a smart thermostat can greatly reduce this. Saves money Smart thermostats like the ecobee save you money in the long run. Lombard added, “The exciting thing about thermostats is from a consumer value proposition … it pays for itself in about a year.” Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home Works with other technology A major trend right now is connecting all devices in your home. ecobee smart thermostats offer remote access from devices like your phone through an app. The ecobee4 works with Alexa — you can simply give Alexa a command to control your thermostat. Earlier models, like the ecobee3 lite, were Wi-Fi connected but did not have voice technology . Makes decisions for you The word “smart” is often thrown around to describe technological advancements. Generally speaking, smart technology is connected to the internet, which allows you to connect to a different device from your phone. The technology can use algorithms and other data to make decisions. Lombard said, “Our smart thermostats use weather to make smarter heater and cooling decisions.” The ecobee uses wireless room sensors to measure hot and cold spots in houses. It can also sense if someone is home or not and heat or cool the house accordingly. Because smart technology is connected to the internet, you can get frequent software updates, meaning devices work for longer periods of time. Whether you are looking to save some money each month on your utility bills or you want to do your part in saving the planet, investing in a smart thermostat is a good bet. + ecobee

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4 things you need to know about smart thermostats

6 tips to reduce your foodprint while dining out

November 1, 2018 by  
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When you eat at home, it is relatively easy to make choices that will lower your ‘foodprint,’ because you are in charge of the shopping, preparation and disposal of all the food. But when you eat out at a restaurant or grab takeout, it is much more difficult to eat sustainably. To make it a little bit easier, we have put together six tips to help you eat green while dining out or grabbing something to go. Ask questions Ask your server about the restaurant’s sources. What farms do they buy from? Is this dish in season? If the server doesn’t know, they can ask the manager or the chef. If the restaurant has a philosophy of incorporating seasonality into the menu, the workers will be more than happy to share the food’s origins, and the menu items will change with the seasons. Do your research to know what is in season where you live and what local restaurants embrace seasonality. When you are looking over a restaurant menu, also keep in mind your location and what is in season locally. If you are in a landlocked area, ordering ocean fish isn’t smart, because it certainly isn’t local. If you live in Missouri and it’s the middle of winter, tomatoes are not in season. Get a box American restaurants are famous for the extra-large portions of food that they pile up on plates, making it nearly impossible to finish the meal in one sitting. According to Sustainable America , the average restaurant meal is eight times larger than the standard USDA and FDA serving sizes, and 55 percent of leftover restaurant food doesn’t get taken home. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now Big meals mean even bigger waste. Instead of leaving behind food and letting it go straight to the trash, ask for a box. It will help cut down the food waste, and it gives you an instant lunch for the next day. If you don’t want to take leftovers home, consider splitting a large appetizer or entree with your dining partner. Choose farm-to-table Farm-to-table is one of the most popular buzzwords of the moment, and many restaurants have been more than willing to capitalize on the trend. More chefs have started to incorporate local and seasonal items on their menus, and some restaurants have even started growing their own food. Eating at a restaurant that locally sources its ingredients results in a major downsize of your foodprint, because there is no need to ship the ingredients across the country. Just make sure that the restaurant is truly farm-to-table — that’s when asking the right questions becomes important. Just say no If you don’t want that basket of rolls or chips they automatically put on the table, just say no. Tell your server not to bring it, so it isn’t wasted. The same thing goes for items on your entree. If you don’t want onions on your burger, tell your server to leave them off it. If you don’t want that side of coleslaw, ask for a substitution or tell them to skip it completely. Watch buffet portions To reduce your food waste at a buffet, use smaller plates. People who use large plates waste 135 percent more food than those who use smaller plates. Watch your portions when enjoying a buffet, or avoid going to one. Decline takeout bags, utensils and condiments When you order takeout, reduce your carbon footprint by bringing your own coffee or water cups, saying no to straws and plastic bags and declining plastic utensils and napkins. You can bring your own reusable container and see if the restaurant is willing to use it. Say no to extra condiments and seasonings. All of these to-go items might seem convenient, but they often end up in the trash. Instead, just grab the food, and use the cutlery, condiments and seasonings that you have at home. If you really do need some of the extras like sauces or condiments, only take what you need. When you dine out, you can eat sustainably by keeping these tips in mind. Just remember to choose the right restaurants, ask questions and minimize your food packaging and waste , and you will be doing your part to reduce your foodprint. Via Foodprint and  Sustainable America Images via Steffen Kastner , Thabang Mokoena  and Shutterstock

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6 tips to reduce your foodprint while dining out

Earth911 Quiz #23: Drawdown Your Carbon Footprint

August 9, 2018 by  
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Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global … The post Earth911 Quiz #23: Drawdown Your Carbon Footprint appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #23: Drawdown Your Carbon Footprint

Reversing global warming requires nothing short of a ‘total reorientation’

August 9, 2018 by  
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The call for collective action is growing increasingly urgent.

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Reversing global warming requires nothing short of a ‘total reorientation’

Why are our clothes so bad for the environment?

August 9, 2018 by  
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Minute fibers are polluting oceans, streams, rivers — even the air we breathe — with unknown consequences.

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Why are our clothes so bad for the environment?

Can data improve the lives of women around the world?

August 9, 2018 by  
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BSR wants to close the gender data gap — the lack of data on what women’s issues are and how many women face them.

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Can data improve the lives of women around the world?

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