Many questions have come up on GreenAnswers about eco-friendly products and suggestions for a greener lifestyle. I’m here to give you a better idea about how you can make little changes in your daily routine that will help out the environment.
We’ve covered how to green your morning routine and make your work day greener, so now I would like to go over some green home improvement ideas, products, and even apps for those tech-savvy people with the latest phones.
Solar panels and wind turbines can be installed for home use, but they can be expensive. The idea is that it will pay off in the long run with your electric bill, but many will still shy away from that initial installation fee. I want to focus on additions that are a little less intimidating for people beginning to go green.
That’s not to say you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of solar power! Thanks to Veranda Solar, you can set up a small solar panel right outside your window. This product is currently still in development, but it will be great for apartment owners. Each panel is up to 60 watts.
For something currently on the market, you can also get solar powered phone chargers and solar powered watches. If you want an eco-friendly cell phone, Samsung Blue Earth is a phone that has solar powered charging embedded in it, among other features such as being made from recycled materials.
To reduce your energy use while cleaning, check out the Electrolux Green Ultra Silencer vacuum. It uses 33% less energy and is made up of 55% recycled plastic. And speaking of saving energy, did you know some appliances can use up energy just by being plugged in? Although it’s a small amount, plugging your appliances into something such as the Energenie will eliminate that problem. It automatically cuts off power to the appliance when it goes into standby. Of course, you can always unplug appliances when you are finished using them.
There are many more gadgets you can pick up for daily use, and it’s good to pick ones that will be most beneficial to you. But what about all that unnecessary wood and plastic you are using?
Use Bamboo instead
Bamboo has become more available in stores and is gaining popularity. It is an eco-friendly alternative to wood because bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world. It also spreads quickly, and is a pioneer plant, which means that it can grow in an area not currently colonized by plant life. It’s also highly efficient at reducing carbon dioxide and can prevent soil erosion. Besides all these benefits to the environment, it’s also more durable than wood, and termite and rot resistant. You can use bamboo for your floors, furniture, blinds, fences and many other things.
You can find apps that can help you have a greener lifestyle. Good Guide provides a reference for while you’re shopping, allowing you to make sure you are selecting eco-friendly products. You just point your camera at the bar code and the Good Guide will provide reviews for the product. It’s not limited to those that can purchase apps, you can also use text messaging to get product information.
Here are a few others:
3rd Whale lists green businesses in your area.
iRecycle explains what you can recycle and where you can recycle it in your area. It will also provide directions to the recycling place.
Green Lemur provides general tips to make your life green.
There are many green apps out there, so find one that works best for you!
Submitted by crystalg (969) on Wed, 07/21/2010 – 17:57
Notes by Peter O’Connor (pfiddle).
Appliances left on standby use as much as 60 % of domestic energy in American homes according to several studies! So SWITCH IT OFF !! We put a double-pole switch between our TV/DVD/satellite box etc and the wall socket a few years back and we ended up being raided by the electricity company – convinced that we had ‘fiddled’ the meter. I showed the switch that turned all units off and they asked if it included the satellite-box when I affirmed this they were satisfied. We found we were saving €42,- per month about 40% of our bill ! Switch it OFF.
Solar power isn’t expensive – that’s a myth. Solar water-power is the cheapest way – BY FAR to heat water. Here in Ireland most houses use about €2 – 3000,- per year to hat th house and domestic hot water (DHW). Solar usually supplies at least 50% of the DHW and since it heats the hot Tank (calorifier) from the bottom up – the water for the radiators is already warmer than normal ambient (about 12C) it can be even on a cold-clear winter’s day 50C+. That means the oil/gas only has to heat the water 15 degrees to run the system correctly. So there’s massive savings there too.If one spends £2000,- on heating per year the ‘payback for any reasonable system is 3 – 4 years after that oil/gas bill is 50% of original (probably far less) and the house has more value as the system is fitted and proving itself. Less expense for any new owners. Plus ALL the hotwater you can use.The Surface Power (Heat Craft) systems are the only ones tested by TUG and give 783kW/m2 per annum. This qualifies for grant and the new payback system in Britain. Pocket money for a holiday affordable now because of savings on DHW and central heating.Photo Voltaic – PV – is at this point only recommended for lighting and for running say a central-heating pump. However the beauty of PV is they can be added to bit by bit as the years go by and even if some idiot doesn’t want them when buying the house – they can come off as easily as they went up. I use them to light up our entrance by night and the interior hallway by day & night. Never worry about turning them off AND they work as security lights too. When the PV gets chap enough (about 2 years) enough can be bought to (part)run a geothermal-pump system. Hot water + warm floors all year – for ever for installation costs only.
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