Energy saving products & green living
Header

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

 

Need a Creative Boost? Hit the Dimmer Switch and Purchase CFL Lights.

 

One more reason to add a light dimmer switch to your home or office – a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology finds dark rooms may improve creativity.

When someone enters a room, he or she receives visual cues as to how to behave and appear. In turn, they must decide whether to behave as if in an open and welcoming environment or a confining one.

According to findings, dark rooms promote a more global perspective, which can enhance creativity.

That’s not surprising since previous research has shown soft light is often relaxing (that’s why you love to work from the coffee shop down the street) and makes people feel safe. Such environments can also make them more apt to take risks – from writing harsh reviews online to hugging a stranger – because they don’t feel they are being watched or under pressure to act a certain way.

Two researchers based in Germany, Anna Steidle and Lioba Werth, used six experiments to observe different aspects of creativity. The first three studies primed participants by having them describe a dark or bright environment or do a word search where the words were related to one of two illuminations. From there, creativity was measured by an imagination task, an alternative-use game or a speed-accuracy test.

LED Lights - Need a Creative Boost? Hit the Dimmer Switch.

Priming dark conditions induces a risky, more explorative behavior, leading to creativity, Steidle concluded. But to generalize it, she and her partner had to use actual lighting variations.

In the fourth study, subjects were placed in one of three types of rooms: dim, bright, or a control room, where the light was at the level recommended level for offices. Participants sat in the room for fifteen minutes before beginning a creative logic task, which was then followed by a self-evaluation of how comfortable they had felt.

Turns out the dimmer rooms promoted more insight problem-solving, as well as higher levels of comfort among the participants.

There was one caveat: The researchers noted dim light didn’t promote creativity if the participants felt inhibited. And dimmer light might hinder analytical, logical tasks.

If you want to design a creative workspace, consider grabbing a dimmer light switch or two, CFL lights and dimmable bulbs, and adding plants and windows. Also, don’t forget to check in with everyone in the office to make sure they feel comfortable as well.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Via Inc.com

The Belkin Conserve Valet Smart USB Charging Station is an extremely handy, all-in-one charger with four different USB ports so you can easily charge pretty much any device whenever you need. It senses when new devices are added so you always get a full charge, no matter what and once every plugged in device is fully charged, it automatically cuts all power to save money and energy.

Energy Saving Products Review – Belkin Conserve Valet Charging Station {The Dirt on Green}

Simply plug in devices that charge using a USB cable, push the start button and power will flow until devices are fully charged, then automatically shut off. The valet is only compatible with power cables with a standard USB plug on one end (but that shouldn’t really be an issue in this technology age). It includes short charge-only cables for a variety of devices.

Energy Saving Products Review – Belkin Conserve Valet Charging Station {The Dirt on Green}

The handy cord keeper just below the no-slip shelf on top keeps cords neat, concealed and safe from kinks, making charging easy.

Energy Saving Products Review – Belkin Conserve Valet Charging Station {The Dirt on Green}

Personally, we love the Belkin Conserve Valet. It keeps all of our charging cables from ending up in a tangled mess on the table, frees up outlet space and saves energy all at the same time. Not your style? Check out the rest of our energy saving products!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

Let Light Bulbs Dream

July 4th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

Let Light Bulbs Dream {The Dirt on Green}

 

Design company Hudson-Powell created this endearing poster, encouraging us to show light bulbs a bit of compassion and turn them off when not in use.

Simply can’t seem to remember to flip that switch off? Check out these energy saving lighting controls that will help you save money and energy without a second thought.

Love the poster? Buy it here. All proceeds go to Do the Green Thing, a non-profit organization that aims to inspire people to lead a greener life.

—The EnergyEarth Team

Via Do the Green Thing.

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ditch the Disposables - 4 Ways to Have a Green 4th of July {The Dirt on Green}

1. Ditch the disposables. Reusable tableware will save you money and lower your impact on the environment. Worried about an enormous pile of dishes after your get-together? Try asking your guests to bring their own plates or pitch in with cleaning duties.

Skip the Fireworks - 4 Ways to Have a Green 4th of July {The Dirt on Green}

2. Skip the fireworks. Stay safe and avoid the toxic fumes this year with fun alternatives like biodegradable confetti, a bonfire, attending a parade or light show and other fun activities. If you simply have to get your fireworks fix, try attending your city or community’s display instead or setting off your own at home.

Choose Real Food - 4 Ways to Have a Green 4th of July {The Dirt on Green}

3. Choose real food. It’s no secret that real, homemade food tastes better, but did you know that it can also help lower your impact? Highly processed snacks and ingredients often travel farther and have a larger carbon footprint than their simpler, often regionally-sourced alternatives. And did we mention that it tastes better?

Cool Down with Homemade Treats - 4 Ways to Have a Green 4th of July {The Dirt on Green}

4. Cool down with homemade treats. Turn off the air conditioner and step outside with a delicious fruity (or creamy!) popsicle. You can even make some for your furry guests!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Planey Earth

1. EnergyEarth’s own Home Energy Audit. Just answer a few questions about your home; we’ll help you figure out problem areas and give you personalized product suggestions to help you save money, water and energy. We don’t want to brag (okay, maybe we do), but we haven’t seen another online audit quite as helpful for figuring out how to make realistic, practical changes as this one.

2. Global Footprint Network’s fun and interactive Footprint Calculator helps you determine approximately how much of the Earth’s natural resources you use each year, along with tips on how to reduce your impact based on your answers. We actually had a lot of fun figuring out our global footprint, even if the results weren’t as stellar as we hoped they would be.

Calculator

3. World Wildlife Federation’s EcoGuru calculator is a quick and fairly simple footprint calculator that provides simple overall footprint results (no breakdown, unfortunately) and compares it to world averages, which is pretty interesting to note. They also offer a handy to-do list full of helpful tips to green your lifestyle.

4. The EPA’s Emissions Calculator is aimed at kids, encouraging them to think about their actions and how they affect the environment. It is set up sort of like a quiz and suggests actions that kids can take by themselves or with the help of parents and other family members, showing the results of their actions in pounds of CO2 they can reduce from entering the atmosphere.

Footprints in the Sand

5. Conservation International has two handy tools: one to measure your eco-footprint and one to calculate your carbon footprint (yes, those can be two different things!). One is more about how you choose to recycle, the items you purchase, etc., while the other is more your home, your car and your travel habits. Both are integral to your usage of natural resources and are very interesting to see broken down separately. Like the others, they provide unique conservations tips that can make a big difference without meaning living entirely off the grid or never leaving your house.

So that’s our round-up for now, but we know there many more out there that can help you calculate your impact and guide you to greening your lifestyle. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Kale is all the rage these days – and for good reason. This low calorie, fat free leafy green is high in fiber, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium and vitamins A and C. What isn’t to love?

It can be hard to keep fresh greens on hand all the time without it wilting. Next time you pick up a bundle and don’t quite finish it before it’s about to turn, try blanching and freezing it for an easy and healthy boost in soups or sautéed as a side dish. If you just freeze fresh greens, they will get bitter, but blanching them for a few minutes will kill all the enzymes that cause that unwelcome bitter flavor.

Chopping the Kale

First, wash and trim your kale, as nobody wants to eat the tough, bitter stalk, then chop the leaves into smaller pieces.

While you’re doing that, start boiling water in a large stockpot and place a large bowl in your sink and fill it with cold water and ice.

How to Blanch Kale (and Other Greens) for Easy Freezing

For the easiest results, place the kale in a steamer basket, dunk it in the pot of boiling water, put the lid on (the steam helps cook the bits bobbing on top) and leave it for approximately two minutes.

How to Blanch Kale (and Other Greens) for Easy Freezing

When the time is up, quickly lift the kale from the pot of water into the bowl of ice water. Retrieve bits left behind with tongs.

How to Blanch Kale (and Other Greens) for Easy Freezing

Remove from the ice bath and lay it flat on a kitchen towel to lightly dry. Put it in a resealable container and pop in the freezer. You’re done! Repeat as many times as needed to blanch all your kale.

When you’re ready to eat it, simply pull out of the freezer and sauté in olive oil with a little minced garlic and sea salt or add to soup for a delicious nutrition boost.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui {The Dirt on Green}

Globally-renowned contemporary artist El Anatsui’s solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum features twelve monumental wall and floor sculptures made from recycled metal and wood. According to the museum’s website, Anatsui converts found materials into original sculptures combining aesthetic traditions from his birthplace in Ghana, his home in Nigeria and global abstraction.

The metal wall works are largely comprised of bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, Nigeria, pieced together to form colorful textured hangings in experimental new shapes. The materials’ nomadic history reflects the artist’s own background combined with African, European and American cultural influences through a new, yet distinctly African, medium.

See it now through August 4th only at the Brooklyn Museum. Admission is free to the public, but a donation is suggested to keep great art like this on display.

—The EnergyEarth Team

Photos ©Eva Blue (used with permission); everything else ©2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We all know rechargeable batteries are better for the environment. But most of the time, it’s so much easier just to pick up a pack of the least expensive single-use batteries at the corner store when we need them. Did you know that rechargeable batteries cost significantly less overall and have a much lower environmental impact than disposable batteries? While they may cost a bit more initially, these energy saving accessories can be recharged and used hundreds of times, saving you money and helping you stay green with ease.

Why Use Rechargeable Batteries? {The Dirt on Green}

How do rechargeable batteries work?

Rechargeable batteries come in many sizes and types. Since we carry only rechargeable NiMH batteries, we’ll take a look at how they work specifically.

Rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries, or NiMH batteries, work in very much the same way its more common disposable counterpart does. However, NiMH batteries use a combination of nickel oxyhydroxide positive electrodes (NiOOH) and hydrogen-absorbing negative electrodes instead of cadmium or other, more harmful materials. A NiMH battery can have 2-3 times the capacity of cheaper batteries of the same capacity.

Why Use Rechargeable Batteries? {The Dirt on Green}

Rayovac Platinum AA Batteries

Why should you use them?

–          You’ll save money. Like we said, rechargeable batteries may cost more initially, but they can be reused hundreds of times and last for years, costing you significantly less overall.

–          You’ll help protect the environment. All batteries contain corrosive materials and heavy metals, even rechargeable ones. The fewer batteries produced and used, the fewer that get tossed.

–          You’ll conserve natural resources. Because rechargeable batteries can be used over and over, far fewer need to be manufactured.

–          You’ll reduce waste. Since you won’t be throwing away all those single-use batteries, they won’t end up in landfills or fill up your recycle bin nearly as quickly.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shop smarter, eat more healthily and save money while you’re at it. Who said being healthy had to be difficult or expensive?

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

1. Bring your own bags. A lot of stores will give you a discount for bringing them! Pick up a few on your next trip or upcycle your own to save money. Make sure to wash them regularly for safety, especially when buying produce and meat.

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

2. Buy in bulk whenever possible. Bulk foods use less packaging and often cost less. If your local store allows, you can even bring your own bulk food containers.

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

3. Bring your coupons! Look for coupons for your favorite brands – including organics, produce, eco-friendly cleaners and more in your local newspaper and online on retailers’ websites.

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

4. Regrow your veggies. For stalk vegetables and leafy greens, keep the base intact while you’re chopping the rest, then place the base in water (leaving the top uncovered) near a window and wait for leaves to sprout!

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

5. If you can, walk to the store! You’ll burn a few calories and reduce CO2 emissions while getting your errands done.

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

6. Choose local products and shop seasonably whenever possible to reduce your dinner plate’s carbon footprint. And don’t forget to buy organic when it’s available! Not sure how it’s grown? The code on the little sticker will actually help you choose your produce:

Four-digit code – conventional

Five-digit code starting with 8 – genetically modified (GMO)

Five-digit code starting with 9 – organic

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

7. Consider healthier meat choices such as grass-fed beef, all-natural poultry, and line caught fish. It’s better for you and the planet.

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

8. Make a list! Buying things you don’t need and may not eat can mean that food will spoil before it’s used, wasting money and resources.

Go Green at the Grocery Store – 9 Ways to Shop and Eat Eco-Friendly {The Dirt on Green}

9. Shopping during off hours when you can, especially during the summer. Fewer cars are on the road and people in the store means less headache for you, less peak CO2 emissions added to the atmosphere and less air conditioning needed to cool the store!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen

June 11th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

1. Install a low flow faucet aerator. Faucet aerators not only reduce water consumption, they’ll save you around $50 each year in related energy costs.

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}

2. Check your refrigerator and freezer’s temperatures with a refrigerator thermometer or an eco-friendly temperature card. Setting your refrigerator and freezer at the best temperature is essential – a fridge that is 10°F (5°C) degrees colder than necessary uses 25% more energy. Refrigerators should be kept between 35°F (1°C) and 38F (3°C), freezers at 0°F (-17°C).

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green} 7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}

3. Go natural with dish soaps and kitchen cleaners. Many dish soaps and detergents are harmful, water-polluting aren’t biodegradable. Instead, choose plant-based, biodegradable soaps cleaners to wash dishes and clean counters or make your own.

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}

4. Change out your overhead lighting for LED lights and CFL bulbs. Highly efficient lighting goes beyond selecting the right light bulb. A wide range of energy saving light bulbs, fixtures and accessories can make any space beautiful and efficient.

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}

5. Keep a water pitcher in your fridge. Kick the water bottle and for cool, clean tap water (if the water in your area is safe to drink) without having to run the sink to let the water run cold. You’ll save plastic and money. Fancy it up with a few citrus wedges or cucumber slices.

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}

6. Monitor your appliances. Energy monitoring devices provide clear data on where electricity goes, how efficiently it’s used and what the costs are. A monitor isn’t a substitute for your electricity bill; however, it can provide a good indication of how much a particular appliance is costing you. 

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}

7. Invest in quality reusable food storage containers. You’ll save by keeping food fresher longer and using less disposable packaging like plastic wrap and tin foil! 

7 Tips to Green Your Kitchen {The Dirt on Green}

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

AWSOM Powered