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How Can Being A Green House Reduce The Greenhouse Effect?
Having an eco-friendly office is fantastic and will really help to save the environment from global warming. So why not be as green at home as you are in the office? There are so many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint within the home and protect endangered wildlife, with minimal effort.
Why is being green at home so important?
If you have children, it’s a great idea to teach them the importance of protecting the environment from a young age. Children admire their parents so it’s important to set an example of how to look after the environment.
If they are also made aware of the effects humans have on the environment, they can have a clear understanding of why being green is so important and have a positive attitude towards eco-friendliness.
Being environmentally friendly in the home can cut your expenditure too, with solar PV panels becoming an increasingly popular form of renewable energy and investment for homeowners.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy involves getting energy from a source that doesn’t pollute the environment. Compared to fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, renewable energy is continually available whereas fossil fuels take millions of years to form.
The process of burning fossil fuels to produce energy causes significant damage the ozone layer; leading to global warming which has shown devastating effects on climate, wildlife and even human health. Renewable energy on the other hand, is a “clean” energy source causing no harm to the environment.
How can I reduce my carbon footprint?
Domestic solar panels are a popular renewable energy source used to reduce your fossil fuel usage and cut electricity bills. There are also other benefactors like free electricity, being paid for electricity generate by solar PV and installation costs reducing.
Small changes to everyday life in your house can reduce your energy consumption. Leaving electronic equipment on standby is a real waste of electricity and money; simply turning off equipment properly is a simple, yet effective change to make.
Recycling is definitely a practice that should be applied in the home in addition to the office. Chopping trees down to make paper destroys rainforests and habitats, endangering species of wildlife. Recycling paper reduces the number of trees being chopped down for humans’ purposes.
The fact that more people are becoming aware of global warming and its effects gives the environment greater hope for the future. Respecting and looking after our planet is extremely important and the greater use of renewable energy, energy saving products and recycling in the home are definitely positive steps towards preventing global warming and climate change which is
affecting the world we live in.
Saving Money on Heating Costs in an Eco-Friendly Manner
Saving money on the heating bill during the winter is a critical issue, especially this year. With heating oil prices up and possibly record-breaking cold in many parts of the country, improving the energy efficiency of your home should be a priority.
Not only will improving the energy efficiency of your home help save money, but it will minimize your impact on the environment. You can go all out and purchase the latest whole house heating system that runs on geothermal power which will cost you thousands of dollars and take months to install, or you can make some minor adjustments that could save you big bucks this winter.
Many people decide to forego whole home heating. If you live in a two-story home with a lot of unused space, it is a wise idea to limit your use of the HVAC system. You also should always make sure to replace your HVAC filters on a regular basis. You can purchase an advanced systems gas or electric heater for each of the rooms that you use frequently. Most of these heaters are portable and put out 1 to 2.4 kilowatts of heat. Some gas heaters can radiate up to 6 kilowatts of heat. In terms of cost, an electric heater is cheaper to purchase but more expensive to run, while the gas heaters are more expensive at the outset but have cheaper operating costs. Running a ceiling fan at the same time will help circulate warm air and lower the necessity for constantly running a heater.
If you are concerned about which type of heater is more eco-friendly, gas heaters produce considerably less greenhouse gases than electric heaters. An electric heater will emit three to four times as much greenhouse gas. Although the heater itself will not produce the gases, the circuitous route that electricity production requires is much more damaging to the environment than natural gas.
If you live in a wooded area and are handy with an axe, it is wise to utilize the fireplace to warm your home. The wood burned in a fireplace is considered carbon neutral as it only releases carbon dioxide already stored in the wood. If you want to go the extra mile, then burning pellets made from waste materials is considered very eco-friendly.
Spending time outdoors is something a great many people do during the winter in order to remove snow, get some fresh air or enjoy the wintery sights. If you spend enough time outdoors and would like to be comfortable, it is a good idea to purchase a heater.
As with your indoor portable heaters, it is more eco-friendly to purchase a gas heater, but an electric heater may be more care-free and simpler to operate.
Maintain the vents of any type of heating system you utilize. Replace the air filters on your whole house system regularly and clean the dust from grills. Not only will this improve air quality, but it will enhance the efficiency of your system. Weather seal all windows and doors as well; you don’t want your precious heated air drifting outdoors or into unused parts of your home.
Turning down the temperature setting for your water heater is also a prudent option. A setting of 115 to 120 degrees will still produce heated water without any discernible difference, and it will save on heating costs.
For more dedicated environmentalists, the tankless water heater is the most eco-friendly option, but these can cost three to five times that of a conventional heater.
Turning your winter residence into an eco-friendly, cost-effective home is much simpler than many people assume. A few simple modifications like weather sealing your windows and doors or using an advanced systems heater can make a big difference to the environment and save you money.
Green Button Helps American Families Reduce Energy Costs
Back in 2010, the US Department of Veteran Affairs unveiled Blue Button, which successfully gave veterans online access to their medical records. This past March, the same logic was applied to the energy industry following a call-to-action by the White House.
Known as Green Button, the new online platform will give 15 million American families and business owners the ability to download and monitor their own energy consumption. The program, which aims to help American families be more environmentally conscious and conserve energy, also mimics goals of other government programs such as Green Ribbon.
The Green Button initiative follows the concept that knowledge will empower consumers to make better decisions about their energy use. However, the results of studies looking at the effectiveness of home energy monitors (HEMs) to change behavior are mixed.
A 2009 Energy Trust of Oregon study comparing a couple hundred households with monitors to those in the same area without them found no difference in energy consumption over a six month observation period. Another study by the Routledge Taylor and Francis Group found that savings over the short term (7.8 percent) could not be sustained in over the medium- and long term.
Conversely, results quoted in a 2012 New York Times article show that HEMs can have a positive impact. Research by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) shows that real-time monitors help save households an average of 4 percent in annual energy expenses.
Furthermore, Opower, a company that provides home energy reports, says that the 11 million homes receiving them average 2 to 3 percent lower energy costs. Read more about Opower’s efforts to increase energy efficiency here.
Ben Foster, an analyst for ACEEE, says that the type of information displayed by HEMs is the key to customer engagement. This may explain the variability in customer behavior between different studies. Foster says that customers tend to act on information more frequently when they know how their homes use energy and how effective their efforts to curb energy consumption are.
Fortunately, organizations including Pacific Gas & Electric are studying how customers use feedback from HEMs.
To further encourage customer engagement, Green Button has plans to develop web and smartphone applications that will help customers:
- Choose the most economical rate plan for their energy use
- Provide customized energy efficiency tips
- Provide easy-to-use tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels
- Deliver virtual energy audit software
Solar Industry Appears to be Booming, but Don’t Take Shell’s Word For It
Europe’s largest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, recently released a new report that looks over half a century into the future and found a surprising outcome: solar may become the world’s largest energy resource. Recent reports from companies including UBS and the Macquarie Group have indeed outlined a promising future for the solar energy industry.
UBS sees the start of unsubsidized solar, and the Macquarie Group sees great growth in the rooftop solar industry. The solar company SunPower has a year-to-date gain of 108% in their stock price so far in 2013, and is the 2nd best performer of the Russell 3,000 stocks.
And while it appears multiple companies are shining light on the solar energy industry, be careful about what you take away from the Shell report.
Shell’s report, named the New Lens Scenarios, examines two different paths world energy may take in the next half century. In the first scenario, named “Mountains,” Shell sees strong government and policies that lead to plentiful natural gas resources and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Interestingly, Shell currently is involved in a large CCS project in Alberta.
The “Oceans” scenario, however, sees solar becoming a dominant source of energy production, but fossil fuels would still be accounting for 70% of road passenger travel in 2050. The natural gas industry, held by competitors to Shell, also fail to materialize.
So even though the solar industry grows, this scenario still sees greenhouse gas emissions totalling up to 25% higher than the “Mountain” scenario as a result of higher oil and coal demand and lack of CCS investment.
The most obvious reason to be skeptical of Shell’s report is the fact that they discontinued investment into solar, hydrogen, and wind back in 2009. Strange that they would be pushing for a technology that they stopped researching.
So while there certainly is plenty of reason to be excited about the solar energy industry, don’t think that Shell is necessarily the new champion for the solar industry.
Cleaners containing harsh chemicals contribute to polluting and damaging the environment. The use of green household products lessens the carbon footprint and ensures a healthier tomorrow for future generations. Green companies sell cleaning products with nontoxic chemicals that do not harm people or pets.
10 Great Green Household Products
The 10 green household products listed below are natural alternatives for toxic cleaning compounds.
10 Great Green Household Products
– All-Purpose –
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day all-purpose cleaner is safe for hard, nonporous surfaces and properly sealed wood floors. The names for the naturally scented cleaners came from the fragrant plants in Mrs. Meyer’s garden.
Plant names include basil, bluebell, geranium, lavender, rosemary, and lemon verbena. Her cleaners require no masks or gloves, are effective for general cleaning, and concentrated.
– Disinfectant –
Seventh Generation sells green household products for cleaning online and in retail stores. The Disinfecting Multi-Surface cleaner botanically kills 99.99% of household germs. It naturally disinfects viruses like Escherichia, Influenza A virus, Pseudomonas, Rhinovirus, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.
Seven Generation’s disinfecting cleaner is an Environmental Protection Agency registered product. It deodorizes and controls odors, cleans without streaking, and does not require rinsing or wiping. Bathrooms and kitchens are just two places this natural disinfectant is used.
– Glass –
Clean glass with Biokleen’s Ammonia Free glass cleaner that has vinegar cleaning power. This streak free, odorless formula cleans and shines appliances, chrome, mirrors, stainless steel and other highly reflective surfaces.
Dirt, grease, pollution, and smoke dissolve with natural soy lifters. Professional window washers prefer using this safe and nontoxic alternative to ammonia based window cleaners.
– Scrub –
A natural alternative to an abrasive cleanser containing bleach is Ecover’s Cream scrub. Remove grime without scratching the surface on chrome, enamel, stainless steel, and tile. The cleanser rinses off easily and leaves the surface clean and free of grease.
Ecover’s scrub is environmentally safe because it has a minimal impact on aquatic life, safe for septic systems, and the nontoxic ingredients completely biodegrade. The bottles are 100% recyclable, renewable and PlantPlastic-made from responsibly harvested sugarcane.
– Dish –
Biokleen’s dishwashing detergents are phosphate and chlorine free. The Lemon Thyme Dishwash and Free and Clear liquids are super concentrated, contain no thickeners or fillers and rinse without leaving any residue. With Biokleen’s dishwashing detergents, there are no artificial colorants, fragrances or preservatives.
– Dishwasher –
It is a balancing act to get dishes clean in a dishwasher without using harsh chemicals. Biokleen’s three natural dishwasher products are Automatic Dish powder, Automatic Dish gel, and Free and Clear Automatic Dish powder. They are safe for use in high-efficiency dishwashers and remove coffee and tea stains.
– Drain –
Although this is not one of the green household products for cleaning, drain cleaning products contain very caustic and toxic chemicals. Fortunately, drains do not clog everyday but the use of commercial drain cleaners is corrosive to skin and surfaces if there are accidental spills.
Bac-Out Drain Care by Biokleen combines enzymes and natural live cultures for optimal care and maintenance of drains. Drain Care clears slow drains and keeps them flowing freely without the use of artificial colors, fragrances or preservatives. In addition, Drain Care cleans and deodorizes without harm to fixtures or the environment.
– Tub/Tile –
For tough soap scum build up on bathroom shower doors, tiles and tubs, use Seventh Generation’s Tile and Tub cleaner. This powerful soap scum remover does not have toxic fumes, harmful chemicals, and uses essential oils and botanical extracts for its fresh scent.
The United States Department of Agriculture certifies the nontoxic, biodegradable formula as a 97% biobased product under its BioPreferred program.
– Toilet Bowl –
Safely clean toilet bowl stains with Seventh Generation’s nontoxic Toilet Bowl cleaner. The cleaner’s plant-derived acid cleans the toilet bowl without creating harsh fumes and is biodegradable. Emerald Cypress and Fir give the bowl cleaner its natural scent.
Eco Friendly Laundry
– Powders –
Three of Biokleen’s green household products for naturally cleaning clothes are Citrus laundry powder, Free and Clear laundry powder, and Premium Plus laundry powder. These laundry powders are highly concentrated, safe to use in high-efficiency washers, and are phosphate and chlorine free.
Additionally, there are liquid laundry detergents and Chlorine Free Oxygen Plus powder that whitens clothes without bleach.
Green Friendly Ways to Save Money and the Environment at Home
People want to live a green friendly life but the extra cost can be a barrier to entry for many. Take environmentally friendly food for instance.
Organic fruits and vegetables are often more expensive than those that may have been grown with harmful chemicals. Expensive organic food makes people think of living a green friendly lifestyle as a financial luxury.
This mindset puts the environment on the back burner as a household priority for many families. Additionally, the economy makes it hard to make lifestyle choices that cost money.
So people prioritize the less expensive choice. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Running an environmentally friendly household can actually help you save money.
Green Friendly Ways to Save Money and the Environment at Home
While organic food may be more expensive, you can still make choices in your home that help the environment without spending money, and even saving some. It starts with the household routines you’ve done so many times now that you may overlook some simple ways to save.
This can be something as simple as your laundry routine. A few tweaks to the way you do laundry can make a noticeable difference for the planet and your checkbook.
For example, you can save yourself the cost of dryer sheets all year by supplementing them with a ball of aluminum foil. It can be reused multiple times, and it keeps the clothes free of static.
This won’t just save you money; it helps the planet. Imagine the landfill space you are saving by replacing many dryer sheets with one ball of foil. This adds up over time.
There’s another green friendly way to improve your laundry routine. You can save electricity by using the washing machine’s rapid wash setting or doing a few loads a week in cold water.
You can also drop a splash of vinegar at the end of a cold-water wash to replace expensive fabric softeners that contain harsh chemicals. The vinegar softens clothes as well.
You might be surprised to find another multi-purpose item in your kitchen: olive oil. Olive oil can act as a natural alternative to more expensive products with potentially harmful chemicals. You can apply olive oil as shoe or furniture polish instead of buying expensive polishes at the store.
It is similarly effective and doesn’t have the intense chemicals the other products contain. This isn’t the only use for olive oil outside the kitchen, however. It can also be used for lamp fuel.
The dishwasher isn’t the only utility in the house that can save money with a few tweaks. How you treat your air conditioner can make a difference on your energy bill. For examples, dust can build up in the filter, which can inhibit airflow.
This overworks the air conditioner, requiring it to spend more energy and money than necessary. Changing your filter once a month can prevent such build-ups.
There are plenty more energy and money saving techniques that apply to your air conditioner. If you want to do your own research, try to get an A/C unit from a company with a focus on customer service. Schneller Air Conditioning falls into this category.
The owner left a bigger company in 2011 to enter a business that allowed more interaction with customers. You can often ask customer service questions about the validity or safety of air conditioning tips you find on your own.