Learn about solar installations

Here’s some great information about the affordability of installing solar panels. This video focuses on San Diego, but the same principles apply around the country. Learn more at SolarAllianceofAmerica.com.


5 Easy Ways to Turn Your Home Green

Turning your home green does not mean grabbing a can of paint and changing the color. If you are truly interested in protecting the environment, turning green will help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Here is a list of fairly easy ways that you can contribute to the going green effort and turn your home into a more energy efficient place to live.

1. Check your appliances to ensure that they are Energy Star listed. If not, consider trading them in for appliances that are. Energy efficient appliances like stoves, refrigerators, washer and dryers are easily found in most stores today. They may be a bit more expensive to purchase but the energy savings you will enjoy more than makes up for the added cost.
2. Check your insulation. If your home is not properly insulated then you are losing heat and cooling air. This will cause your energy costs to increase and makes your home a bit less than comfortable during very cold or very hot days. Installing insulated windows and sealing cracks around your door frames will go a long way in helping you to turn your home green.
3. Speaking of windows, ensure that yours allow enough natural light into your home. Having windows that give you natural light provides you with the ability to keep your lights off during the day. Skylights are an excellent way to conserve energy as they provide you with adequate indoor lighting from the sun. Windows will also improve the aesthetics of your home and cause smaller rooms to appear larger.
4. Think about water conservation. This is an overlooked area in most homes that are going green. Low flow toilets and appliances will cut down on the water that you use. Check washing machines and dishwashers to ensure that they are water efficient. Again, these appliances may cost a bit more to purchase but will considerably lower your water usage, saving you money in the long run.
5. Check your roof. You do not have to install solar panels in your roof to make it energy efficient. A cool roof will help to reflect light as opposed to absorbing it and keep your home cooler during the summer months. Planted roofs are also a good idea as they enable you to grow a garden when you have no yard space available and also provide an added layer of protection from the elements.

This article was written by Enerfina, an independent market intermediary in the renewable energy sector. For more information on how we can help you to turn your home green, click here.


How to Recycle Old Technology

English: A spiral CFL bulb on a white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone should recycle. Not because some environmentalist says so, but because it’s just a responsible use of resources. If something can be reused or broken down and rebuilt into something useful again without consuming new resources, it means less trash building up and more resources available for the future.

But not everything is as easy to dispose of as plastic, cans and paper. And some things shouldn’t be thrown away because they may be harmful to the environment or are still usable. This often applies to technology. Old tech often needs to be recycled or disposed of in certain ways. Here is how to dispose of or recycle some common pieces of technology.

Cell phones

New blackberry phones are great. They offer so many wonderful features and can replace most any phone on the market. But what should be done with the old cell that the blackberry is replacing? Like all the technology in this article, cell phones really shouldn’t be thrown into a trash can. They contain plastics and metals that shouldn’t be incinerated or left to accumulate in landfills.

The EPA has a program called “Plug-In to eCycling” through which people can dispose of their old phones. The program either recycles them or donates them to community organizations who distribute them to people who can still use them.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs

CFL bulbs use less energy than standard incandescents and can reduce energy costs. Disposing of CFLs can be tricky though. They contain a small amount of mercury, which is harmful. If CFLs are thrown away then there will be a small but cumulative amount of mercury in landfills.

CFLs should be taken to recycling centers. The materials of the bulb can be recycled and used again. The EPA recommends using Earth911.com to find local disposal sites.

Also, in the event a CFL bulb breaks and leaks its mercury, the EPA provides clean-up instructions.

Televisions / Computers

Computer monitors and televisions, both LCD and CRT, need to be disposed of correctly. Both may contain hazardous materials. Broken or burnt-out televisions or monitors should be taken to a recycling center (check Earth911.com for locations). The EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program also takes televisions and computers.

If the TV or computer still works, consider donating it to a charity. But, also consider using a disk drive cleaner to remove any potentially sensitive information from the hard drive.

Household appliances

Refrigerators and air conditioning units both contain many materials that are harmful to the environment (like oils, mercury, fluorocarbons, foams, metals, etc.). Many of the materials in these appliances are reusable, and some utility companies offer appliance recycling programs. Or, once more, Earth911.com provides local disposal sites for large and small appliances.

Recycling may take some extra effort, but it’s not difficult. It is said that the earth is not ours, and that we borrow it from the next generation. If that is the case, we should try to recycle and dispose of things correctly so we don’t leave them with a mess.


Ohio’s Fracking Debate

Here’s an excellent debate at the City Club of Cleveland between Michael Chadsey of Energy in Depth Ohio and Jack Shaner of Ohio Environmental Council to discuss fracking in Ohio.


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