6 Energy Saving Tips Every Homeowner Should Follow

Front of the House

Most of us want to save energy.

We realize the environment is counting on us not to destroy it and anything we can do will help.

One of the easiest ways we can do this starts at home.

If everyone started saving as much energy as possible it would make a huge difference! Obviously this isn't something that's going to happen overnight, but at least if you start doing your part you can be happy with yourself.

It's possible you have no idea how to get started, so here's some great ways you can start saving energy today:

1) Use ceiling fans

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Air conditioning units are great for keeping the place cool, but you know from your electric bill that it takes a lot of energy to run them. It's sometimes too hot and you obviously need something that's going to keep you cool, so that's why you should install more ceiling fans. They use much less energy than an air conditioning unit and they are also much cheaper to run. If the worst was to happen and you were boiling hot they would keep you cool.

2) Change your air filters

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If you're using air conditioning units, dehumidifiers, or heaters you should always be changing the air filters when they are all used up. You can't expect equipment to work properly if you're not looking after it and changing the filter will take you about 2 minutes. When you purchase your equipment it should tell you how often you should change them. Stick to the instructions and you shouldn't go far wrong. You can always change them more regularly if you need to.

3) Do you have a thermostat?

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Making the smallest changes imaginable to the temperature of your home can swing the energy bill in your favor. A few degrees will make a nice difference. It's going to work out much easier for you if you use a thermostat, then you can set it to whatever you want and you won't need to worry about your heating in the immediate future. If you need to there's always the option to override it should it get too hot/cold.

4) Use a tankless water heater

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With normal water heaters that come with tanks there will always be a huge amount of hot water that's kept heated for whenever you need it. If you're not using hot water all the time then it's obviously a waste of energy keeping it hot. Install a tankless water heater and it will heat the water when you need it. You will always have hot water on demand and not have to worry about waiting for the tank to fill up, which is sometimes a right pain.

5) Seal yourself in

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Just think of your home as having thousands of little escape holes that all your precious heat can squeeze through. You need to go find those holes and stop the heat from escaping. Using insulation in the attic and in between the walls does a good job of helping the problem. So does resealing the frames around your windows and doors. After a while little holes start to appear around them. Then you have things like electrical sockets, telephone boxes, and your fireplace to check.

6) Save water in the bathroom

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You can get low-flow toilets installed and they will use much less water to flush everything away. It's terrible knowing how much water you're wasting when there's no need to. The same goes for low-flow shower heads. You can choose different shower heads that control the flow and let a lot less water out. The biggest one has to be reserving a bath for special occasions, because the water you use for each full bath is far too much.

Gemma Hastings provides information pertaining to solar panel grants. To know more you can visit the website http://www.solarpanelgrants.org , you can also follow her on Twitter and get to know the latest updates on solar panel grants .

 

The Top 5 Ways you can Go Green in the Holiday Season

Happy Stuffed Animals, by fajalar

This was written by Kelly Cavanaugh of http://www.professionalsystemsusa.com/index.html.

It’s that time of the year again! In the weeks following Halloween, stores start pumping out holiday tunes, commercials start featuring reindeer and jingle bells, and your gift list and to-do list seem to grow every day. The excitement and chaos of the holiday season may mean that it’d be easy to forget your normal earth-friendly practices.
While cheerful holiday decorations emerge in red and green, here are the top 5 ways you can stay “green” in your business and at home.

1. Print holiday cards with vegetable or soy-based inks
Whether you are sending holiday updates to friends and family, or mailing well wishes to vendors and business partners, chose to print green! The ink that is used in most printing projects is petroleum-based, and its production process emits harmful agricultural residue. Find a printing company that offers vegetable or soy-based inks… they’re just as crisp as petroleum-based ink, but the production process is more environmentally friendly.

2. Show your appreciation to your team with green gifts
Many companies take time in the holiday season to recognize the hard work their employees have contributed during the year. Order re-usable coffee mug and tumbler sets that feature your company’s logo. Everyone loves a new coffee mug, and you’ll cut down on paper cup usage at the water cooler. Other green gifts may include a tree-planting kit, bamboo coasters, or products from a company that is recognized by a national environmental agency.

3. Create your own wrapping paper
Instead of buying wrapping paper for gifts for the family, get creative! Wrap a box in a paper grocery bag, so the plan brown side is left showing. Have the kids decorate with drawings or stickers, or keep a classic look by tying colorful ribbon or yarn around the box.

4. Serve organic
Try to incorporate organic foods purchased from local farmers in your holiday meals. On your next trip to the local farmers market, look out for seasonal fruits and veggies like buttercup squash, date plums, mandarin oranges, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and grapefruit. Local produce doesn’t have to travel across the country, or the world, to get to your table, which means less environmental impact, and fresher meal!

5. Take a pledge!
Brainstorm ways you can “Stay Green in 2013.” Write down all your ideas on a piece of paper, and have either your family members of co-workers sign-off on the pledge if they are committed to making small changes in the upcoming year that could help the environment for years to come.

This post was contributed by a guest poster. Find more resources for green women business owners at http://www.GreenBusinessWomen.com/WhatsNew

Going Green in the City: Install a Wind Turbine

a small wind turbine

This was written by Belinda Mills of http://dollar-pig.com/.

There's a lot going on right now in wind turbine design, and many new designs are trying to maximize the potential of the urban microgeneration movement, where microgeneration is generation of wind power using a small wind turbine, with a rating of 2.5 kW or less. Rural areas are ideal for wind energy because they get more wind, whereas urban settings are less than ideal but have many more locations that are more likely to be candidates for microgeneration.

Large wind turbines in wind fields that produce power at mass scale for utility usage are tall and powerful. They can generate 1,650 kW, or the equivalent of 970 households' use of energy per year, according to the Carbon Trust's 2008 study on the application of small scale wind energy systems.

A small wind turbine is at a disadvantage compared to the utility-scale turbine simply in terms of catching the wind. The difference in size is dramatic and so is the difference in yields. The yield of a typical small wind turbine is directly related to the size of the rotor and also the height of the turbine. Wind turbine design also tries to maximize energy production by changing variables like rotor friction and angle.

Winds are at their fastest high up in the air. So, to catch the fastest winds, your turbine should be located as high as possible. Winds also tend to speed up when the ground is hilly, so hilltops are great places for wind turbines.

One solution to the height problem, besides advances in wind turbine design, is mounting the small urban turbine on a pole or from a mast on a building. That can overcome some building obstacles that block the wind from the rotors.

This post was contributed by a guest poster. Find more resources for green women business owners at http://www.GreenBusinessWomen.com/WhatsNew

Who to Have on your Green Team

Green Team

For green businesswomen who are co-founders or founders of their companies, you face a real real need to put together an initial team that can deal well with the complexities of the company's development, from sourcing product, securing partnerships, developing and monitoring supply-chain methods, business finance analysis, understanding marketing and sales, delivering on customer support, and ongoing strategic development of the business. 

If you have a good understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, it becomes necessary to find other co-founders, partners, or consultants who bring other skills to the table.

 

  • If you're already a "numbers person," make sure the technology and operations are covered by someone with experience.
     
  • If you're already a "techie," find a marketing and business development guru.
     
  • If you're already a "sales superstar," find the logistical expert you need.

 

In terms of finding excellent support team members, make sure to hire the best you can afford. "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" is one of my favorite quotes from James Goldsmith. Know that the success of your company will depend on a significant amount of equity, ownership, or consulting fee given to the other people you bring on board in return for their best work.

Just as you would never expect a plumber to take on electrician requirements in your house, or you wouldn't expect your coffee shop to sell Chinese food, you wouldn't expect one person to be able to take on the different roles needed to build your business.

The top three relationships you'll want to develop are an excellent working relationship with your banker, your attorney, and your tax professional. These three external professionals are key to the success of your business. With these experts on board, you are freed up to dream, envision, and build upon the green principles you wish to embody in your business.

  • A reliable banker can help with financing strategies, risk management, cash management, deposits, and international trade as you grow.
     
  • A strong attorney will help you structure the company to protect assets and reduce liability, and retain your intellectual property rights.
     
  • An experienced tax professional will help you file your tax obligations in a timely fashion.

 

Consider other professionals who can help you build your business to survive and thrive past that initial startup and growth phase. These may include your web team and social media outreach team, your sales managers and primary customer service point people, your coach or advisory board, and others to help with risk management, strategic planning, intellectual property, contracts, general operations, and more complex legal and financial issues. 

With the right people helping you and your team, you'll be able to build a company that feeds you and your family, creates value for your customers, employs others, treads lightly on the earth, and embodies your green and sustainable values, hopefully for years to come.

 

 

Wind vs. Solar: The 2012 Showdown

Solar Wind Politics

Many people in the United States are split on energy production. Some want to gain energy independence in this country to keep dependence on foreign oil out of the equation. Others want to develop renewable sources of energy to lower our need to use coal and oil for energy production. Believe it or not, the two are not mutually exclusive. Wind and solar power are both options to create energy independence as well as developing renewable power supplies. The argument should be on what source of renewable energy is better: wind or solar.

Wind energy has the potential of providing 16 times the energy currently needed for national consumption. With the open Plains in the center part of the country, there is plenty of land for installation of wind turbines. Solar energy on the other hand is inefficient, takes large amounts of land, and has a high manufacturing and installation cost.

Which should it be in 2012: wind or solar?

 

SolarWindPolitics

Source: GreenCareers.biz

 

Do's and Don'ts for Eco Friendly Bookkeeping

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Every day it becomes more difficult to deny the fact that our environment is at risk, and we are the ones responsible. Years upon years of reckless actions have brought us to a state where we need to think very carefully about how we treat our resources. There are simply too many people in the world for us to continue treating our environment like a bottomless cookie jar. Businesses can help support the cause by going green in a number of unexpected ways. Put your business on the green path by following the do's and don't's eco-friendly bookkeeping practices.

Do: Go Paperless- The amount of forest destruction that goes on in the world for the simple reason of producing paper would probably boggle your mind. Deforestation is a significant problem today as it destroys the natural habitats of thousands of species, many of which are endangered, as well as contributing to erosion and greenhouse gases. Not only this, but the amount of paper that is thrown away and wasted every day by people all over the world is at shockingly high levels. Going paperless for your bookkeeping helps you do your part to cut down on destruction and waste.

Don't: Forget About Green Hosting- There is another side to the paperless equation, of course. Many people imagine that as soon as they stop using paper and turn to electronic filing that they've eliminated an environmental concern for good, but this is naive thinking at its best. The companies that provide hosting for data storage are environmentally destructive themselves, requiring large amounts of power that is often derived from unclean and environmentally damaging sources. Look for data storage and web hosting from companies are powered by sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power to truly promote green bookkeeping.

Do: Opt for Green Accountants- There are, quite literally, thousands of accountants and accounting services available to help you with your bookkeeping, but not all of them may be right for your eco friendly business. When looking for a bookkeeper, try to shop around with contractor accountancy providers who run their businesses with an environmentally friendly spirit to match your own. The struggle for an eco friendly society and sustainable living can only be won if individuals and businesses alike come together in support of this common cause. Remember that your dollar is your voice, so use it to enlist the help of a green accountant.

Don't: Miss Out On Tax Credit- With all the green activity in which your business is engaging, be sure not to neglect the benefits that you can reap. The government supports eco friendly business practices in its own way, by offering tax breaks to companies that demonstrate a proactive approach to green development and sustainability. Talk to your account about tax credits for utilizing energy efficient equipment and clean power sources for your business. Investing in a sustainable future is not only good for your conscience and your environment--it can be good for your bank account as well.

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