‘Tis the season for gift giving. And, if you’re looking to gift greener – this giveaway’s for you! We’re partnering with ‘Gift It Green’ to give away three beautiful reusable gift boxes. They include two all-occasion gift boxes in medium and large and one small reusable gift box especially for the holidays. We’re also throwing in a package of eco-tissue paper. These gift boxes store flat and do not require wasteful tape or packaging. All include a “gift it forward” slip inside to encourage the recipient to reuse it! Total value? More than $50. Look below for all the ways to enter through 11:59 PST on November 30, 2012. Good luck!
Terri Bennett recently published book, “Do Your Part: A practical guide to everyday green living,” just received the prestigious APEX award. The 24th Annual Awards for Publication Excellence is an international competition that recognizes outstanding publications from magazines to Web sites.
In “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living,” Terri explores the hundreds of ways we can create a sustainable way of living that is simple, convenient and cost effective. In the foreword, Laura Turner Seydel, environmental advocate, mother and chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation says “In Do Your Part, Terri Bennett is calling for each one of us “to do our part” for our personal health and our environment – no matter how big or small the act – because together we can truly make a difference.”
The 2012 Olympic games in London will be one of the greenest Olympics yet. Organizers say sustainability is at the core of the games – everything from the venues to the food provided for the world’s most elite athletes.
Starting with the venues, many places where the athletes will compete were already in place such as the Wimbledon courts. Public transportation has been significantly beefed up for athletes and travelers. And, new bike and walking routes and paths have been added across London. Olympic organizers have also been hard at work to make sure much of the food is sustainably sourced and minimum packaging is used.
Organizers have also created what they call a revolutionary new system to deal with the waste left behind from all the incoming people – pledging to keep it all from the landfills during the games.
To see more about the eco-friendly efforts surrounding the 2012 games, check out this video.
Will you be getting away from the daily grind this summer? Before you jump in the car for a road trip or board a plane to a faraway destination, Do Your Part at home to conserve energy and money while you’re away. Here is my checklist for going green – before you go.
1) Turn Down The Water Heater
One of the easiest ways to save energy while you’re away is to turn down your water heater. For gas water heaters, simply turn the dial to the lowest setting but don’t turn it off. Some water heaters make it even simpler by having “vacation” and/or “pilot” modes. For those with electric water heaters, flip its corresponding circuit breaker off before you leave. Just remember to reset the water heater when you return as it could take several hours to produce hot water.
2) Adjust The Air Conditioning
There’s no need to have the air conditioner running when no one is there to enjoy it. However, turning it all the way off could harm your houseplants and force your refrigerator to work overtime. Consider leaving your AC set to around 85 degrees while you’re gone.
3) Unplug Electronics
Most of our electronics sip energy even when they are not being used. This phantom power accounts for about 10% of the energy we use at home. While you’re on vacation, unplug many of your electronic devices. Those will include everything from televisions, computers, kitchen appliances, electric toothbrushes, and any charging cord.
4) Put Lights On A Timer
Putting a few lights on a timer is a smart idea. It will cut down on your lighting costs and it will also make it look like someone is home. You’ll want to be careful about which bulbs you put in which timer. For instance, certain digital ones are not designed to work with CFL bulbs and can actually create a fire hazard. Make sure to read directions that come with the timer and the particular bulb you plan to use with it.
5) Refrigerator Reminders
Our refrigerators take an enormous amount of electricity to run. If you are planning to be gone for a while, empty it out and unplug it. Don’t forget to disconnect the water supply to it. However, if you’ll only be away a matter of days, you can easily turn up the temperature setting a few degrees since no one will be opening and closing the refrigerator’s doors.
Going away on vacation is a good way to find out exactly how much energy your home uses – even when you’re not there. Read the meter when you leave and again when you return home. That way can Do Your Part to see which energy efficiency methods worked best and if you should do more the next time you’re able to get away from it all.
A new poll is shedding light on just how much Americans know about conserving energy at home – and why they still aren’t doing all they can. The poll was recently conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The majority of those polled believe that their personal choices will not add up to a significant energy savings and say they look to the government and larger institutions to execute the bigger energy saving initiatives. In fact, 7% of those surveyed say what they do at home makes no difference at all.
Those surveyed say they understand that driving more fuel efficient cars, carpooling, and evening adding insulation to their homes can result in energy savings but most say those actions are not practical.
The poll also showed that the majority of people polled do not fully understand the government’s Energy Star programs or how to find out how much energy they are actually using at home. For more information, read more on the poll results here.
Higher energy standards are coming to clothes washers and dishwashers. In an effort to reduce water and energy consumption from our most used home appliances, there will soon be new government energy efficient standards in place.
Starting in 2013, dishwashers will be required to be 15% more energy efficient and conserve 20% more water. This will mean a savings of about $100 in utility bills. Starting in 2015, top loading clothes washers will use 15% less energy and consume 35% less water. The front loading versions will be 33% more energy efficient and use 19% less water. That means a savings of anywhere between $400 and $600 in utility bills for that appliance alone.
Many dishwashers and clothes washers already meet the standards. You can read more on the energy savings here at Energy.gov.