Energy saving products & green living
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Welcome to The Dirt On Green, EnergyEarth’s contribution to the blogosphere. We like to focus on educating our readers about energy efficiency products like LED light bulbs and low flow shower heads, but we also branch out into many other disciplines of green living. Occasionally we’ll share a green recipe or information about how to reduce, reuse and recycle! The fun part is that we continue to learn new things and hopefully, you will, too. If you like what you see here, click on Shop EnergyEarth.com in the top navigation bar to visit our ecommerce site where we feature an online home energy audit, an energy education section and tons of great energy saving products. Connect with us on Facebook and please, if you like what we write, share it! We really do appreciate it.

Sincerely,

The EnergyEarth Team

 

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Have you ever wondered about your office’s impact on the environment? According to the EPA, in the United States, “buildings account for 35% of total energy use and 65% of electricity consumption”. This represents a large chunk of our country’s overall energy consumption.

The tips in this article are all simple changes that you can make right now without anyone’s help to reduce your office’s energy use. They will work great with your company’s reduce, reuse and recycle policies that may already be in place. Take the initiative and get started today!

Tips to help you go green at work:

- Use a reusable coffee mug and water bottle as much as possible to avoid unnecessary waste

- Don’t use disposable stirring sticks or straws. Instead pour in your cream and sweetener first and add coffee next to have it mixed

- Turn off lights when you can in your office, the break room, bathrooms, hallways…etc (Don’t turn the lights off in stairwells as this can be a safety hazard!)

- Switch the old incandescent bulbs in your desk lamp to CFLs or LED bulbs

- Go paperless whenever possible:

  • Print and write notes only when absolutely necessary
  • Take some recycled paper from the bin to use for notes vs using a notepad
  • Always print double sided

- Bring your lunch:

  • Not going out to lunch saves on gas and money
  • Reusable containers help reduce waste from paper and plastic bags

- Get into good computer energy habits by adjusting your settings to:

  • Turn off display after being idle for 15 minutes
  • Turn off or sleep hard drives after being idle for 15 minutes
  • System standby or sleep after 30 minutes
  • Put the computer to sleep with no screen saver if you’re away for a short period of time
  • Turn the computer off when you leave for the day
  • Switch your desktop out for a laptop if possible

Remember, every little bit counts. If everybody makes a small change in their daily habits the impact can be great. Please share this list with your friends, family and co-workers!

By: Thomas Weld

family-with-bikes

 

1. Walk, bike or take public transit

Teach your children the importance of conserving resources by biking or walking as a family. This can also provide a great opportunity for them to learn the safety, etiquette and rules of the road. In your neighborhood, on off-road trails or to and from school is a great place to start. Just don’t forget your helmets! Check out Walk & Bike To School’s website for more info about pedestrian safety, bike safety and local route guidance.

2. Grow vegetables at home, visit  local farms and farmers markets

Growing your own vegetables at home is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and make sure your fruits and veggies are organic and chemical free. Teaching your kids how to grow their own food or source local seasonal vegetables will help ensure that the farm to table movement lives on and prospers in the next generation. Check out KidsGardening.org to learn more about getting kids involved in gardening at home and at shool.

kid-in-garden

 

3. Include recycling in your child’s education

Many people consider recycling simply separating out glass, aluminum and plastic into a different bin, which, isn’t a bad start. However, there is much more to recycling, it can be fun and educational. Get your kid involved in the recycling process by teaching them what can be recycled and why, working with them on arts and crafts projects that reuse materials and visit your local recycling center so they can see where it all goes and how it’s processed. Find more info about getting your kids excited about recycling here!

4. Encourage conservation and limit consumption

To teach your children that water is a limited resource, you may have to do a little more than simply telling them to turn off the water while brushing their teeth. However, it’s not always easy or cool to nag your children about water usage, so thankfully, the EPA has put together this list of games to help teach your kids about water conservation. Check out all the fun games and start conserving today.

5. Nature and wildlife conservation

In order to get kids excited about the outdoors and conservation efforts, get out into nature and let them see the animals and habitats that we’re effecting every day. Teach kids how humans and animals both depend on the planet and its resources. Go to a museum, a zoo or a National Park near you. If you can’t get out, bring wildlife to you by putting out bird feeders or salt licks to get deer and other wildlife to come into your backyard. Check out Activity Hero for more ideas to get your kids into nature and wildlife conservation!

family-on-hill

 

– The EnergyEarth Team
© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

What Are Energy Saving Motion Sensors?

Motion sensors automatically turn on lights and appliances when they detect movement and turn off after a period of time that you can set yourself.  

How Do They Work?

Motion sensors have two common methods of operation: ultrasonic (sound detection) and infrared (movement and heat detection). Most household sensors use infrared technology.

 

 

Products like Lutron’s Occupancy-Sensing Wall Switch control the main lighting in a room.  

This sleek, unintrusive motion sensor switch detects when someone enters a room and automatically turns the lights on, then detects once a room has been vacated and turns the lights off. An adjustable timeout function allows you to set the amount of time before the lights turn off.

 

 

Products like Lutron’s Radio Powr Savr Occupancy/Vacancy Sensor can be used to control up to 10 wall switches.

Easy to install and easier to use, you’ll never have to think about turning the lights on or off anymore, it will automatically turn on the lights when you enter the room and off after you have left. Since up to ten wall switches can be installed in conjunction with a single Radio Powr Savr Sensor, making your whole house energy efficient is a breeze!

How do they save money?

Every light and appliance that is left on when not in use is a waste of electricity and money; whether it’s kids, guests or simply inconvenience that keeps the lights on, unnecessary power use will eventually add up.

motion-sensor-home-image

Where are they most useful?

Motion sensors have many handy uses in and around your home.

  • Outdoor security lights that will turn on only when activity is detected, but turn off when they’re not needed.
  • Any place where you might accidentally leave lights and appliances on for long periods of time. In low to medium traffic rooms, you might accidentally leave a light or appliance on for hours or even days (basements, guest rooms, closets, laundry/utility/storage rooms) without realizing it.
  • Places where there is added convenience from not having to turn lights on or off, such as the garage.

Are they easy to install?

 

Occupancy sensors typically require little or no wiring. The above video provides great step-by-step instructions for many different motion sensors in less than three minutes! Of course, they need to be placed where they will be able to detect the occupants.

 

– The EnergyEarth Team

© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Eco-friendly appliances and LED bulbs are a great way to make your home significantly more sustainable. But did you know there are also green alternatives to almost every home cleaning product you use each day? Being green doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, it can be as simple as switching the brands you buy. Below we’ve picked some of our favorite eco-friendly cleaning products for each area of your home, from computer screen cleaner to fruit and veggie wash and everything in between!

 

Kitchen

kitchen

1. Countertop Cleaner: Earth Friendly Products Countertop Cleaner

Countertops can breed germs and bacteria if not cleaned properly, but toxic, harmful chemicals aren’t the only way to get your kitchen counters clean and pristine. This countertop cleaner uses only 100% plant based ingredients and is safe to use on natural or engineered stone surfaces. Earth Friendly Products pledges that each product they sell is environmentally responsible, works well and provides value. Plus, they never test on animals or use animal ingredients.

 

2. Dishwashing Liquid: Planet Inc. Ultra Dishwashing Liquid

It’s quick and easy to grab a discounted dishwashing liquid off the shelf at the grocery store, but have you ever stopped to think about what might be behind its powerful scent and flashy hue? You won’t have to worry when it comes to this unscented dishwashing liquid, which is certified biodegradable and hypoallergenic. No artificial coloring or scent is used to keep this liquid pure, gentle and non-irritating. Planet Inc is able to keep their product free and clear without compromising its effective grease-cutting formula that’ll leave your dishes spick and span!

 

3. Fruit and Veggie Wash: The Honest Company Fruit and Veggie Wash

Pesticides, pathogens, wax, dirt and germs can contaminate the outside of what’s supposed to be your healthiest, greenest food – fruits and veggies. Just spray on this 100% natural non-toxic formula from The Honest Company and quickly eradicate all things unwanted.

 

Bathroom

bathroom

4. Hand Soap: Method Gel Hand Wash

Washing your hands is a sure-fire way to stay healthy and germ free, right? Well, Method takes it a step further with naturally derived hand soap assessed by a leading research firm to ensure safety for both people and the environment. Traditional hand soaps can’t compare to this non-toxic formula in luscious scents like Fig+Rhubarb and Mandarin+Mango.

 

5. Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Toilet bowl cleaning doesn’t rank high on the list of favorite chores, but this cleaner made from natural essential oils and plant-derived ingredients might help it move up a few slots. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Toilet Bowl Cleaner cleans and deodorizes without using chlorine or solvents, and is safe, effective and 100% biodegradable. Added bonus: scents include geranium, lemon verbena, lavender and basil.

 

6. Shampoo/Conditioner: Acure Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo

This moisturizing shampoo does more than just leave dry, damaged hair soft, shiny and manageable. Made with sulfate and Paraben-free ingredients, plus a vegan formula, this Acure shampoo is pure and natural making it an ecofriendly alternative to the brands you may pick up in the grocery store. The company is committed to using safe ingredients and takes a pro-customer and pro-planet approach in all they do.

 

Laundry Room

laundry room

7. Detergent: Ecover Liquid Laundry Wash

Most people know that washing your laundry with cold water instead of hot is an easy way to be energy efficient and greener. But did you know that what you wash your laundry with can have a positive or negative environmental impact too?  Ecover Liquid Laundry Wash uses plant-based and mineral ingredients and is gentle on skin, but tough on dirt! Ecover believes that all small steps matter when it comes to protecting our world, and they work to create products that find the perfect balance between green and clean.

 

8. Fabric Softener: Vaska Exceptional Fabric Softener

Not everyone’s diet determines what kind of fabric softener they use, but if you’re vegan, you’re in luck! Vaska Exceptional Fabric Softener is made from a completely vegan and gluten-free formula. Even if vegan or gluten-free isn’t a requirement for you, this lavender scented, biodegradable softener is great for everyone and uses no harmful chemicals for an ecofriendly impact. The safe botanical formula softens and protects your fabrics naturally with none of the waxy residue that other brands leave behind.

 

Home Office

office

9. Screen Cleaner: Better Life Green Screen Natural Electronic Screen Cleaner

When it comes to your home office, we recomend installing a smart power strip and LED bulbs to help keep energy use to a minimum, to take your green initiatives even further, you can use green cleaning products in your office like Better Life screen cleaner. This non-toxic cleaner restores your screens to a glistening shine using a plant-derived, 99% natural formula. No need to use synthetic, toxic chemicals to clean your tablets, TVs, laptops and more when you can use this clean, green spray. It’ll leave no streaks, static or scratching.

If you have any additions, or tips you’d like to add, feel free to leave a comment!

 

Written by: Candice Graham

© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We’ve installed programmable thermostats to efficiently heat and cool our homes, switched to CFL and LED light bulbs, and have plugged everything into power strips so that phantom energy use is eliminated. We, rightfully, feel good about our responsible use of energy, our efforts to conserve natural resources, and our commitment to the planet. We also benefit from lower a utility bill, which means more money in our wallets each month.

But there’s another side to energy use which affects the cost of consumer goods and the environment.

Image courtesy of Teeratas / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Did you know that indirect energy use accounts for approximately half of your energy footprint?

Indirect energy costs are the “behind the scenes” expenses associated with all products.  For example, your cold breakfast cereal doesn’t require any cooking and seems to be an energy efficient food. However, a lot of energy went into harvesting the grains, processing them into the product which you pour into your bowl, packaging that product, and transporting it to your grocery shelf. Throughout each stage of the grain’s journey, energy was spent. Add to that the energy required to create the packaging, create the vehicle(s) used for transportation, and manufacture the ink used to decorate the cereal box. Let’s not forget the energy spent by government departments who are tasked with inspecting the cereal for safety, monitoring the cleanliness of the facility and ensuring that the plant adheres to employee safety standards.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

It quickly becomes apparent that the hidden energy cost of one simple item is considerable. And the cost of that energy, in dollars and cents, is passed on to consumers through higher prices and, often, lower quality.

The same is true for the electronic gadgets we love, our clothing, body care products, furniture, kitchen utensils, cars, homes, etc.

So why should we care? Because conserving both direct and indirect energy helps protect our planet and helps to keep the price of consumer goods down.

Getting started is easy! Simply adopt the three, green-living guiding principles: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

REDUCE

Since everything has associated energy costs, reducing our consumption will conserve energy. Limit purchases to only items which are truly needed. Opt for local, minimally-processed foods, and less meat. Walk or ride a bike whenever possible and when driving is necessary, plan trips so that all your errands are accomplished using the least amount of gas. Reduce paper use by refusing receipts, paying bills online, and restricting the number of paper towels you pull off the roll. Here’s another consideration:  having a lot of stuff means we need a place to put it: a larger home, a storage facility, etc. Storage requires energy. So, reducing the amount of stuff we have means conserving energy.

REUSE

By reusing as much as possible, we eliminate the need to create new stuff. Before tossing things out, think about how they might be reused. For example, food jars can be used to hold leftovers or to organize small items such as buttons, paper clips and safety pins. Consider second-hand stores for clothing and kitchen items. Browse antique stores for beautiful, well-made furniture rather than buying new. Share tools with neighbors, reuse old clothes or swap children’s clothing with friends, and pass unwanted household items to someone in need. When making purchases think beyond the immediate use of the item and consider whether or not it can be used in other ways once its intended use is complete.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

RECYCLE

In many cases, recycling requires less energy than creating a virgin product. For example, the energy used to extract raw materials for such things as glass, aluminum products, and even plastic, combined with the cost of fabricating an item, is much higher than the cost of recycling, or upcycling, recycled materials. Also, recycling eliminates the energy costs associated with landfills.

Employing energy saving techniques in our homes is important. Reducing indirect energy use is also important. Doing so helps to keep the price of consumer goods down and protects natural resources.

Above all, any form of energy conservation protects our home, the planet!

Guest post written by Cyndi Hall

About the author:  Cyndi Hall is the author of Reduce Footprints, a blog about the easy ways we can reduce our footprint on the earth.

It’s time to change the way we think about lighting. 

We’ve become accustomed to recognizing what the brightness of a 100 watt incandescent light bulb should be, but that number doesn’t actually tell us anything about the light output – just how much electricity it uses.

Now that we have energy efficient light bulbs that can match the light output of incandescent light bulbs with much less electricity use, the old terminology is obsolete and confusing.

 

Choosing a bulb based on lumens will help you get the right bulb every time. 

The newFederal Trade Commission lighting labels look a lot like the nutrition facts labels you’re used to seeing on your favorite foods and will help you find the right light bulb for every application.

For example, consider replacing a 60 watt incandescent bulb. This bulb requires 60 watts of electricity to produce about 800 lumens of light. By switching to an equivalent CFL that produces 800 lumens of light, you only need 14 watts of electricity. Even better, you can get 800 lumens from an LED light bulb with only 12 watts of electricity.

Where does all of that extra electricity go? The extra 46 or so watts are generating heat, and unless you’re heating a gas station hot dog, keeping your hamster warm or cooking in your EasyBake Oven, it’s just wasted.

For more information on how lumens work, the US Department of Energy has a helpful video packed with information in under two minutes. On top of that, we have a handy Bulb Selector Guide that has it all laid out for easy reference anytime.

Purchasing new energy saving light bulbs doesn’t have to be hard. When you understand how lumens work, you have the keys to shopping smarter and easier, not harder.

 

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Many of us are working hard to use less energy at home, but what is the state of energy efficiency policies in the US? According to an American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) report, the US ranks 9th in energy efficiency out of the 12 countries with the largest economies. What is it about the US that has us lagging behind China, Japan and six other countries, and what changes are in store?

Energy Efficiency Policies - How Do They Affect You? (The Dirt on Green}

The ACEEE 2012 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard includes metrics like the efficiency of buildings, industry, transportation and a category called national effort. We find ourselves so far down the list largely due to poor performance in transportation (due in part to our sprawling size and lack of a robust public transportation system) and “national effort,” which reflects our commitment to energy efficiency policies and programs.  

So what’s happening at a national level?

Even though we are behind our peer countries, some exciting things are happening that should ultimately trickle down to us. For some things, we aren’t likely to see the impacts in our own pockets for a while, but less expensive fuel and more jobs will incrementally make things better for all of us.  


Appliance and Equipment Standards will have an immediate impact on energy costs for many people. A series of laws and regulations, beginning with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (1975) through the Energy Independence and Security Act (2007), have established appliance standards that have benefited consumers directly. Examples include reducing the amount of electricity microwaves use in standby mode by 75% and mandating that, independent of the technology used, light bulbs must consume about 25% less electricity than they used to. R. Neal Elliott, Associate Director for Research at ACEEE, writes that consumer savings from standards that are already in place will add up to a cumulative savings of about $1.1 trillion by 2035.

Building Codes

One of the easiest ways the government can help consumers save energy and therefore money, is to include energy efficiency requirements into building codes. According to the Department of Energy, the Building Energy Codes Program is estimated to save consumers up to $230 billion on their utility bills by 2040. They plan to achieve this in many ways, including climate-specific design, high efficiency windows, lighting and insulation.

Other initiatives offer exciting changes that will take some time to trickle down to the consumer. For example, the Department of Energy’s federally funded budget allots over $2.7 billion to energy and the environment.  Just a few of the ways this money is spent includes:

  • making algal biofuels more available and less expensive
  • funding for Next Generation Power Electronics Institutes to develop more efficient power electronics that will make devices smaller, faster and more energy efficient
  • tax credits for companies manufacturing things like energy efficient furnaces, energy conserving light technologies, specialized electricity transmission towers, and components to enhance electric-motor transportation
  • advancement of high-tech fuel efficient American automobiles

Recently, significant energy efficiency measures were written into the 2013 Climate Action Plan. By reducing wasted energy, families and businesses stand to save a tremendous amount of electricity. This is accomplished by:

  • emphasizing appliance standards (like those for microwaves)
  • funding energy efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily properties
  • incorporation of energy efficiency factors in mortgage underwriting and appraisals
  • expanding the Better Buildings Challenge

There are many programs and policy frameworks that can help local, state and federal law makers prioritize energy efficient policy decisions. For instance, the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy was created in 2012 and has identified solutions for increasing US energy productivity (the amount of productivity we get for the energy we use) while stimulating the economy. Their approach includes tactics as simple as educating the public about energy efficiency and as involved as reform of energy efficient tax incentives. They estimate that if their recommendations are implemented, Americans could realize a net savings of over $1000 a year in energy and transportation costs.

Another example is the Energy Productivity Innovation Challenge, an amendment to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. Originally introduced in 2011, the next step is for it to pass the Senate, then the House, before making its way to the President’s desk. Among other things, this act specifically addresses building codes, industrial efficiency and an interesting program called Supply Star. Like its cousin EnergyStar, Supply Star will allow consumers to make informed decisions by recognizing companies and products with highly efficient supply chains. If implemented, it is projected to create tens of thousands of jobs by 2020 and save over $2 billion in energy costs. 

Energy Efficiency Policies - How Do They Affect You? (The Dirt on Green}

While some national efforts aren’t making an impact yet, states are taking up the slack. For example, many of our peer nations have national energy savings targets that provide reasonable goals that encourage investment and the implementation of existing technology and programs. Simply put, we don’t have one. Fortunately, half of our states have put together something similar: Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS). For example, Massachusetts, Vermont and Arizona require an energy savings of 2% annually. Some states are using the framework created by the EPA’s National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.  

Energy Efficiency Policies - How Do They Affect You? (The Dirt on Green}

There’s no way to tell which of the frameworks will ultimately stick, but there is certainly a rising tide that stands to benefit us all. In the meantime, you can stay ahead of the curve by continuing to upgrade your light bulbs to LED lights, appliances and devices to energy efficient products and install proper insulation. The best part is that politics aside, all of these changes are designed to save you money on fuel and electricity.

Dawn Richards of EnergyEarth

© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

LEDs are the most efficient choice for lighting your home, office, or anywhere you need light, indoors or out. And they come in every style!

Decorative and Dimmable LED Bulbs (Specialty LEDs)

Decorative bulbs can outfit your beautiful, decorative fixtures with your choice of LED lights that will look just like any other candelabra bulb. The Feit LED 3.5 watt clear flame tip bulb gives off an inviting, warm white light and replaces your 15 watt incandescent candelabra bulbs. You can save over $25 over the life of each bulb. Have a chandelier with six lights in it? You could save over $150 on that one fixture!

Decorative and Dimmable LED Bulbs (Specialty LEDs)

If you have a light fixture with a higher profile and you want a little more light per bulb, the MaxLite Candelabra 2.2 watt LED will also give off a warm white light while replacing your 25 watt incandescent bulb and save you a whopping $140 per bulb over its lifetime (that’s $840 for a six bulb fixture)!

Decorative and Dimmable LED Bulbs (Specialty LEDs)

Dimmable bulbs are available in nearly every light output and shape. We have nearly 50 dimmable LEDs backed with our 4everLED guarantee! Choose from light bulbs ranging from warm white light (2700k) to cool white light (4100k) and a brightness equivalent to 15 – 120 watt incandescent bulbs.

Decorative and Dimmable LED Bulbs (Specialty LEDs)

Dimmable LEDs may not work as intended with a typical dimmer switch (sometimes known as a legacy dimmer switch) because of the drastic difference in their design. For the best results and the most savings, purchase an energy efficient dimmer switch rated for use with dimmable CFL and LED bulbs.

With prices like ours, there’s no reason to wait to switch to LEDs. Make the switch and start saving today!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/electrical-plumbing/how-to-use-a-dimmer-switch-with-cfls-and-leds-15882096

Fireplaces look great and can make a room seem cozy and inviting. Unfortunately, most fireplaces are so poorly designed that they end up wasting energy rather than providing heat. Any time you waste energy, you waste money, too. You can improve fireplace efficiency and save money in the process by following the tips below.

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Fireplace {The Dirt on Green}

Install an insert – An insert is essentially a metal box that fits tightly inside the fireplace space to reduce drafts and radiate heat. Some models feature variable speed blowers that send heated air back into the room. Glass doors on the insert let the fire shine through and emit additional heat as well. Inserts may burn wood, but they may also burn gas or pellets. Pellets, made from recycled wood waste, dried corn, sunflower seeds, or other bio fuel, are fed through a hopper to maintain a steady flow of fuel. Some inserts resemble a wood-burning stove, and feature a shelf that gets hot enough to boil a kettle full of water. NOTE: When choosing an insert, select a model approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Not only will it be highly energy efficient, but an EPA-certified insert will reduce the air pollution associated with conventional wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Inserts are best installed by a professional.

Add doors – If it’s not possible to install an insert, add doors to the fireplace to help seal off drafts when the fireplace isn’t being used and to add a measure of safety when the fire is burning. Doors made from ceramic glass will radiate heat back into the room but still let the fire inside shine through.

Replace the grate that the wood sits on – Often, the wood in a fireplace sits on a metal grate that just props the wood up. Grates with blowers on the bottom send heated air back into the room; those made of C-shaped metal tubes draw in cool air, heat it, and circulate it back out.

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Fireplace {The Dirt on Green}

Add a Fireback – Put a metal plate at the back of the fireplace to protect the masonry and radiate heat back into the room when the fire dies down.

Close the damper – The damper is a metal plate inside the chimney that can be adjusted to let air into the fireplace and smoke out. Whenever the fireplace is not being used, close the damper to prevent hot air in the room from getting sucked up the chimney.

Better yet, seal up the damper – Because dampers warp over time, even when they’re closed, the fireplace may still be drafty. The Fireplace Draftstopper is an inflatable, tight-sealing chimney damper made from a rectangle of polyurethane that fits in the fireplace just below the damper level (not up inside the chimney). It can be easily removed before a fire is lit, then re-installed after the fireplace has cooled. It has been extensively tested for safety; in case you accidentally start a fire without first removing the Draftstopper, the product will melt, then drop down and smother the fire.

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Fireplace {The Dirt on Green}

Similarly, the Chimney Balloon, also known as a Chimney Pillow, is an inflatable tight-sealing chimney damper made of 3-ply poly plastic that stops uncontrolled air leaks. Install the inflatable chimney plug by holding it in place in the chimney while you inflate it with air. Before you start your next fire, open the tap on the handle to deflate it within seconds for easy removal. The inflation valve has a bright red card at its end that will hang down into the opening of the fireplace to help you remember that the Chimney Balloon is in place.

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Fireplace {The Dirt on Green}

Use dry wood – Dry wood burns much hotter than wood that is moist or wet. Plus, dry wood creates far less smoke than wood that contains a lot of moisture. If you’re buying wood, make sure it is seasoned rather than “green” and keep it covered to protect it from rain and snow. If you cut your own wood, give it enough time to dry out before you use it.

Burn hardwood – Hardwoods burn longer and hotter than soft woods. Ironwood, rock elm, hickory, oak, sugar maple, beech, yellow birch and ash are some hardwoods to consider. Softer, less desirable firewood includes balsam, spruce, basswood, pine, poplar, hemlock, red alder, white birch and Douglas fir.

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Fireplace {The Dirt on Green}

Remember that, whether you’re using a fireplace or a wood burning stove, it’s important to put safety first. Never leave a fire unattended, especially if curious children are about. Close the doors to the fireplace to reduce the likelihood that fiery logs will fall off the grate and into the room. Burning wood leaves a residue on the inside of the chimney that can build up and catch fire. As a general safety precaution, whether you have a fireplace or a wood burning stove, be sure to get a professional chimney sweep to clean out the creosote at least once a year.

About the Author:

Diane MacEachern

Diane MacEachern is a best-selling author, award-winning eco entrepreneur and the founder of Big Green Purse, where she writes the popular Big Green Purse blog. Diane also stays busy as a keynote speaker and her columns and articles have been published in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun and other notable publications and websites. Follow Diane on Twitter at @DianeMacEachern and on Facebook dianemaceachern1.

 

 

 

 

© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of EnergyEarth. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. 

IDAPT Universal Charger Giveaway and Product Review

We’re giving away an IDAPT i1 Eco and an IDAPT i4+!

Simply like us on Facebook to enter to win the IDAPT i1 Eco. Then, refer a friend to our page to enter to win the IDAPT i4+!

Who is IDAPT?

IDAPT specializes in the design of practical, innovative solutions that simplify your everyday life. Paying great attention to quality and detail, IDAPT has designed and manufactured its product line in house since 2006. A winner of several major international awards, IDAPT has consistently designed beautiful, long lasting and user friendly products that allow you to maximize the use of all your electronic devices.

The designer of the first universal charger based on a system of interchangeable tips, IDAPT continuously strives to design simple, quality solutions that combine innovation and style.

IDAPT Universal Charger Giveaway and Product Review

The IDAPT i1 Eco is an eco-friendly, portable universal charger. It charges one or two devices simultaneously and features an interchangeable tip system compatible with more than 5000 devices. It can charge devices when connected to a power outlet, a USB port or a car cigarette lighter. The auto-off function powers off the charger when not in use or when charging is complete. It is made of recycled materials, is ENERGY STAR qualified and helps to minimize your carbon footprint at home or on the go!

IDAPT Universal Charger Giveaway and Product Review

The IDAPT i4+ is a unique charging solution that eliminates cable clutter and charges four devices simultaneously – as fast as the original manufacturer’s charger! IDAPT’s patented interchangeable tip system allows you to safely charge almost any combination of portable devices. It is compatible with past, current and future generations of more than 5000 devices. The i4+ combines style with simplified charging, and is perfect for your mobile lifestyle.

We love partnering with other companies who share our love of the latest energy efficient technology. Enter to win one of their great products today!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2014 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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