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How to Get an Energy Audit from the Comfort of Your Own Home

September 12th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

If you’ve been thinking about going green, you’ve probably heard about home energy audits. Taking off work for an afternoon, paying someone to come out to look at your home, then waiting weeks for the results can be simply too much of a hassle and end up living at the bottom of your to do list.

Now is the time to move that energy audit to the top of your to do list! We offer an easy, do-it-yourself online home energy audit that you can do from the comfort of your own home. You can even audit your home in your PJs!

How to Get an Energy Audit from the Comfort of Your Own Home {The Dirt on Green}

When you’re ready to start, head on over to our free home energy audit and take a few minutes to tell us about your home. From the kitchen to the attic, the living room to the yard, we want to help you save the most in every area. The more we know, the more we can help you save! Once you’re done, we’ll supply you with fully customized product suggestions complete with your estimated savings for each product. Then, simply add the energy saving products you want to buy to your cart and we’ll estimate the total savings for your purchase. It’s that easy!

We offer a wide selection of energy saving products, including green lighting, weatherization products, water saving devices, green outdoor products and energy efficient products. If you need anything from a low flow shower head to LED lights, look no further. We’ve even put together five different energy conservation kits to help you save up to $13,447 on your utility bills! Those are savings that just can’t be beaten.

How to Get an Energy Audit from the Comfort of Your Own Home {The Dirt on Green}

We want to help you save money while making your home comfortable and energy efficient. Visit us today and explore all the ways we can help you save money and energy every day.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

How Does a Dimmer Switch Work?

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

Good lighting in your home is one of the most important customizations you can make. The light levels in your home have a huge effect on how you and your family feel and what tasks you can and cannot do. Every room in your home has multiple purposes and these different functions need various amounts of light. You can’t read very easily by a 15 watt incandescent and a romantic dinner isn’t so romantic by the light of a bright spotlight. You can save power by simply using the proper amount of light for the activity!

Enter: the dimmer switch. These money and energy saving accessories enable you to adjust light levels from nearly dark to full brightness with a simple slider or a knob.

How Does a Dimmer Switch Work? {The Dirt on Green}

So how do they work?

Instead of diverting energy from the light bulb into a resistor, modern resistors rapidly shut the light circuit off and on to reduce the total amount of energy flowing through the circuit.

Here’s what your traditional light switch is doing right now: the switching cycle is built around the fluctuation of household alternating current, generally known as AC current. This type of current has a varying voltage polarity — in an undulating sine wave, it fluctuates from a positive voltage to a negative voltage. In other words, the moving charge that makes up AC current is constantly changing direction (60 times a second in the US!).

A modern light dimmer switch breaks up this wave by automatically shutting the circuit off every time the current reverses direction – that is, whenever there is zero voltage running through the circuit. This happens twice per cycle (that’s 120 times a second!). It turns the light circuit back on when the voltage climbs back up to a certain level.

How Does a Dimmer Switch Work? {The Dirt on Green}

If the dimmer is turned to a brighter setting, it will switch on very quickly after cutting off. The circuit is turned on for most of the cycle, so it supplies more energy per second to the light bulb. If the dimmer is set for lower light, it will wait until later in the cycle to turn back on, using less energy and saving your money.

We offer a wide selection of dimmer light switches. Simply find the right dimmer control and the perfect dimmable energy saving bulbs for every room of your home that you want to reduce your energy usage and start saving today!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/dimmer-switch.htm

Take Advantage of Free Power with Solar Devices!

September 5th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Ask the Expert - (2 Comments)

How do solar lights work? They convert sunlight to energy, store it in a battery and release it at night.

More specifically, outdoor solar lights use standard solar cells in a very straightforward application: solar cell produces varying voltage and current depending on the size of the cell and the amount of light striking the surface. The solar cells are wired directly to the battery through a diode (which prevents the battery’s current from flowing back through the solar cell at night). During the day, the battery charges, reaching maximum charge except on heavily overcast or shorter winter days, and at night the solar cells stop producing power and the photo resistor turns on the LED. Simple as that!

Take Advantage of Free Power with Solar Devices! {The Dirt on Green}

Gama Sonic Solar Spot Light

Why go solar? It’s free light when and where you need it!

Power outages: Storms like Hurricane Sandy can unexpectedly leave you without power. One great way to shed some light is to bring your outdoor lights inside when the power is out!

Security lights may be even more critical during extended periods of power failure. Even if you have evacuated because your power is out, your solar security lights will still illuminate your home and help to keep it safe.

Hands-off: Long lasting solar lights use LED bulbs that last up to 50,000 hours or longer, meaning you won’t need to worry about replacing the bulb. Since it’s not using electricity that you’re paying for, you don’t need to worry about turning off the lights either.

No wires: More options for placement and much easier to install.

Take Advantage of Free Power with Solar Devices! {The Dirt on Green}

Heath/Zenith Solar Security Light

What type is best for you?

–          Ambient — Solar powered lights placed around gardens provide the type of illumination that tastefully emphasizes the presence of flowerbeds and garden paths.

–          Spotlighting —Solar spotlights directs the eye’s attention to a highlight in the garden or the front door. Numerous focal points can create a well-lit and attractive backdrop for parties and entertaining.

–          Functional lighting — Steps, walkways and driveways need to be illuminated for safety after dark. Choose light fixtures that cast their glow downward so that the majority of the light falls on the walkway.

Can these lights last all night?

Yes! The solar lights we offer can illuminate your yard from sunset to sunrise, if needed. Lights have continuous illumination power 2-10 hours and have varying on/off switching methods. Choose lighting with photo sensors or motion sensors for highest level of efficiency!

Take Advantage of Free Power with Solar Devices! {The Dirt on Green}

Brinkmann Sierra Solar Light

5 Tips for Smart and Easy Installation

  1. Decide on the area of your home or yard that receives plenty of sunlight.
  2. Decide on the style of fixture you want to use.
  3. If you need solar lights for a shaded or indoor area, some lights operate on a small system allowing you to install a solar panel on your roof or other sunny area.
  4. For ground lighting, position lights in a line or circle by placing them closer together instead of further apart to create a more effective lighting system.
  5. All of the solar lighting options we offer are easy to install. Simply push them into the ground or attach them to your patio or wall and you’re done!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/solar-light.htm

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yago141.html

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/summer-loving-energy-efficient-outdoor-lighting

http://voices.yahoo.com/basic-solar-landscape-lightingsecrets-professionals-11979997.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Landscape-With-Solar-Lighting  

What is Rope Caulk?

September 3rd, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Ask the Expert | Green Tips - (0 Comments)

Rope caulk is a putty-like substance that is used primarily for sealing drafts in windows or around door frames. The caulk is sold in long rope-like rolls which can be cut or torn off to the desired length. The caulk is pressed into a gap in the window pane or frame and seals the void, preventing air from passing through and increasing efficiency. Rope caulk is often easier to use than a conventional caulking gun and tube of caulk due to its ability to be pressed into tight spaces where it may be difficult to operate a caulking gun.

What is Rope Caulk? {The Dirt on Green}

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Liz West.

When applying rope caulk to a window or door, clean the surfaces of the window first where the caulking will be applied. A dirty surface can create a poor seal between the caulk and the window pane. Dirt and debris hinder the rope caulking from adhering, and the material may peel off after a short time, meaning the caulking will need to be re-applied to the window. After cleaning the surfaces, allow them to thoroughly dry before the caulk is applied.

What is Rope Caulk? {The Dirt on Green}

An installation trick is to dip the rope caulk into a container of lukewarm water for a few seconds prior to pressing it into place. This creates a more pliable caulk, which is easier to press into small gaps. The caulk should not be left in the water for any prolonged period of time as the water will soon dissolve the caulk and render it useless. When using the water-dip application method, a pair of disposable rubber gloves will keep the sticky caulk from attaching itself to any exposed skin.

What is Rope Caulk? {The Dirt on Green}

Temperature is the key to a successful rope caulk installation. The window should be no colder on its exterior surface than it is on its interior. Applying rope caulk to a window that is cold outside and warm inside will usually result in a failed adhesion of the caulk and an air draft. Rope caulk should be applied in the early fall months in most areas. This will allow the seal to set prior to cold weather setting in.

What is Rope Caulk? {The Dirt on Green}

Available in either grey or brown, rope caulk looks great, is easy to apply and cleans up well with water. The caulking compound creates a durable seal against most types of weather when installed correctly, and will reduce wasted energy from drafty windows and door frames. Before applying, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions when applying this product and store or dispose of any unused materials according to the package and local specifications.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Via WiseGEEK (edited).

Our Top 5 LED Light Bulb Picks

August 29th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (1 Comments)

Thinking of making the switch to LED light bulbs? Now is a great time! Not only will you save hundreds over the lifetime of these bulbs, you won’t be hassled with frequent burn outs or changing light bulbs. Make your life a little easier and your wallet a little fatter with these great energy efficient lighting choices today!

Our Top 5 LED Light Bulb Picks {The Dirt on Green}

Feit LED 7.5 Watt (40 watt replacement) Dimmable A19 in Warm White (3000 Kelvins)

This dimmable FEIT LED bulb features an A shape and a standard medium base. Replace your 40 watt incandescent light bulb and use just 7.5 watts. Only $9.95 and estimated to save you more than $100 over its 25,000 hour rated lifetime. If you use this bulb for an average of 3 hours every day, this bulb could last over 20 years! And even after 20 years it still has our 4ever Limited Lifetime Warranty. It’s quite the energy efficient steal!

Our Top 5 LED Light Bulb Picks {The Dirt on Green}

Greenlite LED 8 Watt (40 watt replacement) Dimmable A19 in Warm White (3000 Kelvins)

Greenlite’s 8 watt dimmable A19 LED lamp uses approximately 80% less electricity than a traditional 40 watt incandescent light bulb, making it a great replacement. On top of that, its 25,000 hour rated life makes it an ideal solution for hard to reach areas where a medium amount of light is needed and its medium base means it will fit in nearly any of your existing sockets!

Our Top 5 LED Light Bulb Picks {The Dirt on Green}

TCP LED 8 Watt (40 watt replacement) Dimmable A19 in Warm White (2700 Kelvins)

This dimmable TCP LED bulb features a traditional A shape and a universal medium base. Replace your inefficient 40 watt incandescent light bulbs with this 8 watt LED with an outstanding 35,000 hour rated life today for unmistakable savings and convenience!

Our Top 5 LED Light Bulb Picks {The Dirt on Green}

TCP LED 12 Watt (60 watt replacement) A19 in Warm White (2700 Kelvins)

This 12 watt TCP LED bulb features a classic A shape, a medium base and a comfortable, warm white color just like the incandescent light bulbs you’re used to. Makes a great, energy efficient replacement for a 60 watt incandescent light bulb while using just 12 watts and features an exceptional 35,000 hour rated life – that’s 35 times a regular incandescent bulb!

Our Top 5 LED Light Bulb Picks {The Dirt on Green}

TCP LED 14 Watt (85 watt replacement) Dimmable PAR38 in Warm White (2700 Kelvins)

This dimmable PAR38 TCP LED bulb has a medium base, making it perfect for recessed lighting throughout your home or office. Replaces an 85 watt incandescent light bulb while using just 14 watts and features an unmatched 50,000 hour rated life.

Don’t see the bulb you need here? Check out the rest of our wide selection of energy efficient LED lighting!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

What in the World is “Earthship Biotecture”?

August 27th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green News - (0 Comments)

If you’ve been reading up on sustainability and going green, then you might have heard of Earthship Biotecture, but do you know what it is? While is sounds like something found in the next Star Wars movie, it is actually one of the most versatile and economical building designs around right now.

What in the World is "Earthship Biotecture"? {The Dirt on Green}

New Mexico Global Model Earthship

What in the World is "Earthship Biotecture"? {The Dirt on Green}

Georgia Global Model Earthship

What in the World is "Earthship Biotecture"? {The Dirt on Green}

Interior of an Earthship Villiage Home Under Construction

These “radically sustainable” buildings are made out of recycled materials and are designed to “take care of you, while still being sustainable, affordable, strong and [meet] your local building codes.” In short: totally awesome.

Earthships are designed around six main principles:

  1. Thermal/Solar Heating & Cooling—Earthships maintain comfortable temperatures in any climate. Our planet is a thermally stabilizing mass that delivers temperature without wire or pipes. The sun is a nuclear power plant that also delivers without wires or pipes.
  2. Solar & Wind Electricity—Earthships produce their own electricity with a prepackaged photovoltaic and wind power system. This energy is stored in batteries and supplied to the electrical outlets. Earthships can have multiple automated sources of power, including grid-intertie when needed.
  3. Contained Sewage Treatment—Earthships contain use and reuse all household sewage in indoor and outdoor treatment cells resulting in food production and landscaping with no pollution of aquifers. Toilets flush with greywater that does not smell.
  4. Building with Natural & Recycled Materials—Earthships are comprised of indigenous, sustainable materials occurring naturally in the local area.
  5. Water Harvesting—Earthships catch rain and snow melt and use it four times, but can have city water as backup. Water is heated from the sun, biodiesel and/or natural gas and do not pollute underground water aquifers.
  6. Food Production—Earthship wetlands, the planters that hold hundreds of gallons of water from sinks and the shower are a great place for raising some of the fresh produce!

Based in Taos, New Mexico, the Earthship Biotecture team travels around the world teaching about sustainable living and building Earthships for people for more than 40 years. Right now, the folks at Earthship are raising funds to build a sustainable community center in Malawi, Africa. Pretty cool, huh?

To learn more about Earthship Biotecture, rent one for the night, attend a seminar about sustainable living or simply sign up for their newsletter, visit their website.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ten Reasons to Pursue ENERGY STAR Certification

August 22nd, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green News - (0 Comments)

ENERGY STAR certified buildings and plants are good for the environment and good for the bottom line. Read on for 10 compelling reasons why your organization should pursue America’s most trusted symbol of energy efficiency for your properties.

Ten Reasons to Pursue ENERGY STAR Certification {The Dirt on Green}

1. Lower operating costs.

Once in operation, ENERGY STAR certified buildings use, on average, 35% less energy than similar buildings nationwide. Those are substantial savings! For example, ENERGY STAR certified office buildings cost $0.50 less per square foot to operate than non-certified building. Currently, ENERGY STAR certified buildings are saving nearly $140,000 per building – that’s $2.3 billion every year!

2. More marketable.

In an era when fears of “greenwashing” abound, cut through the clutter with ENERGY STAR, the most trusted environmental label in the United States. ENERGY STAR is the only energy efficiency certification that is based on actual, verified energy performance, making your buildings all the more attractive to potential buyers and lessees who want guaranteed savings.

3. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Because ENERGY STAR certified buildings are verified to use an average of 35% less energy than similar buildings, they can also be verified to contribute 35% fewer greenhouse gas emissions to our atmosphere. By earning the ENERGY STAR, you’re joining the front lines in the fight against climate change.

Ten Reasons to Pursue ENERGY STAR Certification {The Dirt on Green}

4. Lease to federal tenants.

If you want to lease your space to a federal tenant, your buildings must be ENERGY STAR certified (per Executive Order 13514).

5. Higher rental rates.

According to a CoStar Group study1, rental rates in ENERGY STAR certified buildings are $2.40 per square foot higher than similar buildings. The same CoStar Group study found occupancy rates to be 3.6% higher in ENERGY STAR certified buildings, too.

6. Increased asset value.

Reliably persistent energy performance makes it more likely that the higher net operating income from energy cost savings will be recognized through higher building value. Experienced managers of large portfolios of ENERGY STAR certified buildings interviewed2 confirm that ENERGY STAR helps increase building value!

7. Manage risk when developing properties.

Are you developing commercial real estate? Achieving the Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR label for your building’s designs can help diminish risks to profitability by validating assumptions made during the development appraisal, such as operating costs, rents, asset value and occupancy. Some jurisdictions even allow expedited permitting, review, processing and inspections to projects that have been designed to earn ENERGY STAR qualification.

Ten Reasons to Pursue ENERGY STAR Certification {The Dirt on Green}

8. Hedge against future mandates.

Numerous cities and states have passed legislation containing energy efficiency mandates for commercial new construction projects and existing buildings. The vast majority of them incorporate ENERGY STAR and Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR. The trend is growing every year as more and more cities and states look for ways to reduce costs and emissions. By earning the ENERGY STAR now, you’re in a better position to respond to any future laws or mandates that come your way. See the list of legislation and campaigns leveraging ENERGY STAR.

9. No cost.

All of EPA’s tools and resources, including Portfolio Manager and Target Finder, are free to use. So you can spend your budget on finding other ways to save, rather than on a third-party program.

10. It’s the right thing to do.

We are big believers in doing the right thing. Studies have shown that 68% of adults like to do business with companies that are environmentally responsible3.  More than 80% of workers are attracted by an employer with an environmental reputation. And about half of workers said they would forgo higher pay or a promotion to work for an organization with a good reputation4.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Via EnergyStar.gov (with minor editing).


1Does Green Pay Off? July 12, 2008

2Summary of the financial benefits of ENERGY STAR labeled office buildings, 2006

32007 National Technology Readiness Survey

42009 Kelly Global Workforce Index

Images from http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/tvs-get-greener-with-yellow-en-132244

5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects

August 20th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Crafts & DIY Projects - (0 Comments)

Got a junk drawer? We do, too. Before you just dump everything in the trash can, turn those forgotten treasures into something new and useful!

Floppy Disk Planters | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Floppy Disk Planters – Brit + Co.

Turn old floppy disks into a fun and funky desk or table planter. These are fun to make, a great gift for your nerdy friends and 90s fanatics and add a cool burst of retro color.

Hanging K-Cup Planters | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Hanging K-Cup Planters – Earth911

Great for small spaces, this recycled vertical garden is a unique way to hang plants almost anywhere. Use empty K-Cups (or yogurt cups?) to decorate with plants in an office, kitchen or apartment window using minimal components to create a big visual impact.

Old T-Shirt Braided Rug | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Old T-Shirt Braided Rug – A Beautiful Mess

Super durable and recycled, this braided rug can be customized in any color scheme. While this may be one of the more time consuming projects we’ve seen, the end result is totally worth the effort.

Wine Cork Garden Labels | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Wine Cork Garden Labels – My Chic Life

Don’t waste money on expensive plant markers, make them from wine corks and bamboo skewers instead.  No more trying to remember which seeds are planted where; these are functional and keep the garden looking great.

Tin Table Numbers | 5 Green Junk Drawer DIY Projects {The Dirt on Green]

Tin Can Table Numbers – 100 Layer Cake

An excellent way to make cute, inexpensive decorations for your table, these recycled cans can be customized with numbers or other beautiful designs. Simply pop in an old tea light candle or a Dot-it light for gorgeous illumination.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Product Review – Belkin Conserve Switch

August 15th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Product Features - (0 Comments)

The Belkin Conserve Socket is a handy little device that eliminates wasted energy by shutting off power to plugged devices when you don’t need it.

Product Review – Belkin Conserve Switch {The Dirt on Green}

Measuring only about 2” square and a little over an inch thick, the Conserve Socket is perfect for use with cell phone chargers, cordless drill chargers and battery chargers, as well as blow dryers, hair straighteners, fans, space heaters and more.

To turn the connected device on, simply press the button on the top of the Conserve Socket. The Power Timer will then automatically shut off power after a designated time interval, saving you energy and money.

Product Review – Belkin Conserve Switch {The Dirt on Green}

The off-time can be set to automatically disconnect power to your devices after 30 minutes, 3 or 6 hours with an easy toggle switch on the side of the socket.

Product Review – Belkin Conserve Switch {The Dirt on Green}

Overall, we love this product! It’s sturdily built, simply designed and fairly small, so it’s attractive, travels well and isn’t intrusive. It’s a great for saving money and ensuring you don’t accidentally leave on the iron or other appliances all day when you leave the house.

Not what you need? Check out our wide selection of energy conservation products.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

BMW's New i8 Hybrid Will be the First Production Car to Use Gorilla Glass {The Dirt on Green}

BMW is going to unveil the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, but in the meantime the automaker has released the first batch of specs for the i8, the flagship of its new i sub-brand. In addition to featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain wrapped in a sports car body, the i8 will be the first production vehicle to be equipped with Gorilla’s chemically-hardened glass.

BMW's New i8 Hybrid Will be the First Production Car to Use Gorilla Glass {The Dirt on Green}

Until now, technology for the chemically-hardened glass has been used primarily for smartphones, as it is very strong and scratch-resistant. For the BMW i8, the partition between the passenger compartment and trunk of the BMW i8 consists of 2 layers of chemically hardened glass, each of which is just 0.7 millimeters thick and weighs about 50% less than conventional laminated glass.

BMW's New i8 Hybrid Will be the First Production Car to Use Gorilla Glass {The Dirt on Green}

Thanks to the i8′s carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell and the addition of technology like the Gorilla Glass, the BMW i8 weighs less than 3,285 lbs. The BMW i8 is powered by a 231 horsepower turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine that is mated to a 131 horsepower electric motor. The four-cylinder engine powers the rear wheels, while the electric motor sends its power to the front. The i8 can travel up to 22 miles in full electric mode, reaches 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds and can be recharged in 1.5 hours using a 220-volt outlet.

BMW's New i8 Hybrid Will be the First Production Car to Use Gorilla Glass {The Dirt on Green}

So, what do you think? Would you buy it?

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Via Inhabitat, photos by BMW.

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