January 11, 2007

Fire Starter: Eco-friendly, Renewable Firewood

20031110.jpgGot to love the Dirt Works newsletter. Last fall, it featured a story on how to renovate your lawn. (Rototiller, anyone?) This winter, it's all about eco-friendly, fuel-efficient firewood.

They explain:

Heating our homes these days has become very expensive and those of us who burn wood have probably noticed the price of firewood going up right along with price of oil and gas. Not only that, as more people turn to wood as a home grown renewable source of heat the air pollution levels in our villages and urban areas has increased as a result. In response, we are introducing a firewood product that makes very little smoke and green house gases, little ash and you almost never need to clean the chimney.

This new firewood contains 30% more heat per pound than regular cord wood too and takes up a lot less space. One pallet is equal to about 2 cords of standard cord wood and fits nicely into the corner of you garage or driveway. Even if you don't burn wood full time, you can find uses for this wood product. When purchased in individual packaging it can be used for nearly smokeless barbecues, camp outs, tailgate parties and the like while providing all the benefits of firewood. It's clean, efficient and renewable.

Eco-wood-single.pngThe sawdust logs, from True Fuel are made using heat compression from 100% recycled hard wood fiber from sawmill residue, so no new trees are cut down to make them. Feel good about saving the forest while you're feeling warm and cozy.

Available by the pallet or the pound at Dirt Works.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 8, 2007

Lights, Camera...Wait, Check the Lights: NYTimes on Fluorescent Light Bulbs

07hamilton_CA1.190.jpgWilliam L. Hamilton writes in interesting cover page article in "Week in Review" section of this Sunday's New York Times about the rise (and the limitations) of energy saving fluorescent light-bulbs.

WHEN I found out last week that Wal-Mart, America’s biggest company, was putting a push on compact fluorescent light bulbs, hoping to make them a new lighting standard at home because they use 75 percent less energy, last 10 times longer and would save me $30 over the life of each bulb, I thought to myself, what’s not to like?

Well, fluorescent light’s not to like, many people might say.

What’s the problem? For one, it’s not incandescent.

The article goes on to discuss the evolution of fluorescent lighting -- its energy efficiency, its longevity, recent advances in fluorescent coating to make the light almost indistinguishable from incandescent light. At least until you look at yourself under it.

The problem, and Hamilton would argue, the barrier to the widespread adoption of fluorescent light bulbs for home use, is that it makes people look sickly, cool, and, well, industrial, instead of healthy, warm and homey.

Hamilton urges scientists and home designers to look for ways to make the lighting more palatable for home use. In the meantime, he says, don't expect to find it lighting the dressing rooms at The Gap (never mind your neighbor's living room).

Read the full article at NYTimes.com.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 14, 2006

Charge It: Solio Universal Solar Charger

DUqqUYeoE-1.JPG.jpgWill that be credit or charge? Both, if you do it right. The Solio Universal Solar Charger gives you extra charge - enough to power your cell phone, your iPod or your Blackberry. And you get extra credit - for saving electricity by getting your energy from the sun.

The Solio Universal is one of the top-selling solar chargers on the market. It gets top marks for adaptability - it comes with a USB cable, a mini-USB tip and adapters that make it usable with Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung devices (as well as iPods), as well as a Universal cable and 12 volt Universal Adapter.

Other key features include:

o High capacity internal battery which stores energy for up to a year
o Rechargeable from the wall or the sun
o One hour of sunshine gives you about one hour of play time
o Weather-resistent
o Elegant, ergonomic design
o Light weight and easy to use
o One Year Warranty

Plus, Solio has been made carbon neutral by planting trees in protected bio-diverse forests. So go ahead. Listen to that song. Talk a few more minutes. Send that text message. Because there's more energy where that came from. And it's yours for the taking - free and clear and good for the earth.

Available at Amazon.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

November 30, 2006

Candle, Candle, Burning Bright: LED Rechargeable Candles

philips aurelle.gif

My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - it gives a lovely light! - Edna St. Vincent Millay

I'm a huge fan of candlelight around the holidays. Heck, at any time of year. But I hate dealing with melted wax on my dinner table. And don't get me started about the time one of our dinner guests (who shall remain nameless!) set himself, and nearly the whole house on fire.

That's why I was excited to learn about the Aurelle Rechargeable Candles from Philips. They're kind of like our old reliable Candelas, only they come in pretty frosted glass vases and flicker like real candles. Plus, they're wind and water resistant, won't catch fire, and last for 10 hours on a single charge. Great for worry-free instant ambience - for your holiday decorating or as a gift.

Aurelle LED Rechargeable Candles are available from Philips.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

November 28, 2006

Twinkle Twinkle Little LED Lights: Philips Garland LED String Lights

philips garland LED lights.jpg
Deck the halls with boughs of Philips Garland LED String Lights? Our friend Jay just wrote in to let us know he's picked up a few strings of these beauties for all his holiday lighting needs. What makes them better than regular old twinkly Christmas lights? Well, here are a few things:
- Advanced LED technology
- Bulbs are fade, chip, peel, and break resistant
- Cool to the touch when lit
- Ultra low power usage (4.8 Watts)
- Up to 76% power savings compared to super bright mini sets
- 25,000 hour average bulb life
- Connects end-to-end

led lights 2.jpgThe folks over at LED Museum published a sparkling review of the blue versions (pictured at right). Energy efficiency and twinkly lights in the window? We totally approve.

Available at Target.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

October 2, 2006

Treehugger: Not All Hybrids are Created Equal

hybrid.jpgTim McGee posted a great article comparing the energy-efficiency of conventional and plug-in hybrids on Treehugger:

Plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles may get you 100 miles per gallon, but where did those extra miles come from? What about the larger batteries needed? How does the return on investment change? A new study released last week by ACEEE (American Council for Energy Efficient Economy) compares your typical hybrid to one you can recharge at home. The study indicates that 'plug-in' hybrids may not offer the benefits a buyer expects. We highlight what you should consider before jumping to the plug-in option.

Read more at Treehugger.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

September 26, 2006

Leaf Personal Light by Herman Miller

Just because we're green doesn't mean we aren't Wired. The September issue of the techie magazine offers a sneak preview of the products that will appear at the Wired NextFest in NYC September 29-October 1. Wired calls NextFest an annual "World's Fair...(of) products, prototypes, and ideas from today's most innovative companies and researchers." And in a sign that green has gone mainstream, this year's NextFest features "Sustainable Living" as one of its design categories.

Among the products featured is this fab Leaf LED light from Herman Miller. Unlike a traditional LED, according to Wired, the LEAF's diodes flash intermittently and use 40 percent less electricity. The touch-sensitive lamp features an upper arm that functions as a "thermal sink", keeping the lamp cool to the touch. According to the Herman Miller website:

Leaf was developed according to Herman Miller's demanding Design for the Environment (DfE) protocol, emphasizing sustainable processes, materials, and recyclability. Leaf's environmental impact is perhaps most profound through its use. On average, Leaf's LEDs consume approximately eight to nine watts of power, carry a lifespan up to 100,000 hours, and cut energy use by 40 percent compared to compact fluorescent bulbs.

Leaf is manufactured with 37 percent recycled materials, and is 95 percent recyclable when you upgrade. And it looks like some kind of crazy high tech snake.

Available for pre-order at Lumens Light and Living.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

September 20, 2006

Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Looking for a simple way to save energy? Wash your clothes in cold water. 90% of the energy used in washing laundry is used to heat the water. According to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, which (get this) has created an entire website devoted to encouraging people to Switch to Cold,

If all households in Canada that currently use either hot or warm water to wash their clothes switch to cold water, approximately 1.5 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent would be prevented from entering the earth’s atmosphere.

The site says the average household can save $52 (Canadian?) by making the switch. Want a more accurate gauge of your own energy savings? Go to this site, which allows you to enter in your washer type, water heating source (gas or electric) and the number of loads of laundry you do each week. According to the site, a regular washer with gas-heated hot water doing three loads of laundry a week would save $29, not to mention 26.4 Therms and 310 lbs of CO2. Not bad for a change you probably won't even notice.

You can buy special detergents formulated for washing with cold water. But at Really Natural, we made the switch about a year ago and haven't noticed a difference.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

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