Thursday, December 31, 2009

Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Available in 2010

If the 2010 budget has room for a new major appliance, now is the time to start looking. A federal appliance rebate program will be launched early in the year to help defray the cost of energy smart appliances that have earned the federal “Energy Star” designation that denotes energy conservation.

Energy savings with the use of green living appliances can add up. Washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and other appliances that reduce the use of electricity and water saved American consumers over $19 billion on utilities last year, according to the Department of Energy.

The rebate program is proposed to run through February, 2012 or until the money runs out. As only $300,000,000 has been set aside for the program, the quicker you act the better. Eligibility differs by state, and you can find out how your energy efficient purchase will be affected at The U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Savers.

Home Energy Efficient Appliances Eligible for Rebates

The Department of Energy has recommended that central air conditioners, heat pumps, room air conditioners, oil and gas furnaces, boilers and water heaters be eligible for the appliance rebate program along with dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers, clothes washers, and water heaters. States and territories, however, can select which appliances will be covered.

Who is Eligible for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate

Energy-Star qualified appliances purchased during the time period established by the individual states and territories will be eligible for the rebate. Some states may allow only certain types of consumers, like low income residents, to apply. Check here to find move information on your state.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eco-Friendly Post Holiday Cleanup

Pat yourself on the back for shopping for your holiday with a keen eye to the environment. You've brought your own bags to the store, searched for recycled items, and upgraded to energy efficient lights. You've used alternative gift wrapping choices and turned down the heat for your parties, depending on the body heat of the guests to make up the difference.
Carry on the economically green commitment to the end of the year, and hopefully through 2010

Gift giving and holiday parties seem to breed debris. Before putting items on the curb pickup, consider the following:

• Can old, unwanted tree decorations be donated?

• Is the wrapping paper in good enough condition to save for next year?

• Can this item be repaired?

• Can this item be donated?

• Can the tree be recycled? Call the city for information.

• Can you put out reusable items for your guests instead of disposable paper and plastic?

• Will you use cloth instead of paper to clean up the mess?

• Can the leftovers be composted?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Green Resolutions for 2010

Sometimes living green means thinking outside the box, or this case, the house.

Instead of investing large amounts of money to replace items in the home with energy efficient items, simply turn off the energy eaters and find a different location to relax.

January is the time to plan the garden and changes to the back yard. As you think of new garden designs, consider ways of saving energy this summer by simply moving your family out of doors. Turn off the TV, air conditioning and lights and let the family relax in the shade or putter in a new vegetable garden. With little up front investment, this change of scenery can add up to big energy savings.

Consider a gazebo or pergola as outdoor family space. If you’re lucky enough to have the house facing the right direction to offer afternoon shade, use that yard space for outdoor living.

Build some raised plant beds for flowers and vegetables. Let the kids have their own plots, keeping them away from the TV, computer or game consoles for a few hours and letting them contribute their crops to the family dinner table.

Cut down on garden watering costs by catching water runoff from the roof in a rain barrel. Simply redirect a downspout into it. My grandparents always had a rain barrel. We used the water for plants, to rinse our hair after shampooing, and sometimes, Grandpa would let us fish in it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Patrice Campbell at Suite 101

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Computer Privacy and Information Security While Shopping Online

While you're trying to save the earth by buying eco-friendly gifts this Christmas, you may also be trying to save on your fuel  consumption by doing a lot of your gift shopping online. Did you ever wonder why the ads that pop up seem to be targeted directly at you? Do you wonder why most of the ads at certain sites are local?

Did you ever wonder what happens to all that information you give marketing websites?

Browser cookies make it convenient to find items and purchase them online, but you have to enter a lot of private information. If you delete all of the browser cookies each time you shut down the browser, all the information must be entered on your next visit to the website.

Understanding browser cookies and how they affect computer security and computer privacy will allow you to make the right choices about your information security. Read my full article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Green Alternatives to Gift Wrap

Landfill Clogging Holiday Gift Wrap

I'm starting to get in the holiday mode. Now that it's almost Thanksgiving, I don't mind hearing holiday music in every store. I'm making side trips to the toy department, browsing through the gift areas, and basically spending a lot of time I don't have to spare looking at Christmas decorations and gift wrap.

I usually use a few early purchased holiday gifts, wrapped in festive colors with pretty bows for holiday decorations until it's time to present the gift. Looking at the price of wrapping paper this year, I was struck with the thought that it was a lot of money to spend for those gifts that would be ripped open immediately after they were received. So much of my hard earned money on something that would spend more time in the garbage can waiting for a trip to the landfill than it would spend time for its main purpose.

While I agree that the look of anticipation in a child's eyes is a treasure worth the price, I really don't think there is that much of a payback by wrapping a gift for an adult with all that costly landfill clogging paper and ribbon. There are so many other ways to spruce up a gift with eco friendly, homemade decorations that can also be a part of the gift. Many ideas are given here.

The Christmas tree shape of the herb rosemary lends itself so well to gift embellishments, while at the same time the scent invokes memories of holiday gatherings long past. Once the gift has been presented, the herb can be tucked into a wreath, next to a candle or added to the saucer of potpourri to keep on giving. The rosemary can be picked up in the produce aisle of the grocery along with the other holiday meal purchases.

Homemade cards tied to a gift will also give it a festive and personal touch. Frugal and environmentally friendly, wrapping paper alternatives give the impression that the gift is wrapped in your love.