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

 

The unmistakable flavor of cool creamy ranch – homemade with only natural, wholesome ingredients at a fraction of the price of those little packets you can buy at the store. Go on, indulge a little while you eat your vegetables.

Homemade Ranch Dressing and Dip

Here’s what you’ll need for the mix:

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Homemade Ranch Dressing and Dip

Combine all of the spices in a small container and mix. Store in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it.

Homemade Ranch Dressing and Dip

To make dressing, combine 1/3 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon spice mix and salt, to taste.

To make dip, simply combine 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon mix.

Homemade Ranch Dressing and Dip

Whip some up any time you need it. Serve with salad, fresh veggies, whole wheat pretzels or pita chips or anything else you like! Refrigerate for up to 3 days; makes about 4 tablespoons of mix.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

What is ENERGY STAR®?

June 4th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Ask the Expert - (1 Comments)

What is ENERGY STAR®?

Established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992 as part of the Clean Air Act, ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary program that can help you save money and protect our environment through superior energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR® makes it easy for you to find and buy quality energy efficient products. Any time you see this label, you can rest assured you’ll be doing your part for both your wallet and the environment.

What is ENERGY STAR?

How do products receive ENERGY STAR® qualification?

Products that meet the EPA’s energy efficiency standards can earn the ENERGY STAR® label. These standards include:

–          Product must significantly save energy across the US.

–          Qualified products must offer the features and level of performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.

–          Energy efficient products that cost more than comparable conventional products must provide enough savings that you will earn back the extra money spent through savings on your utility bills within a reasonable period of time.

–          The type of energy efficient product is offered by more than one manufacturer.

–          The product’s performance and overall energy consumption is tested and verified.

What is ENERGY STAR? What is ENERGY STAR? What is ENERGY STAR?

Why does EnergyEarth carry some products that aren’t ENERGY STAR® qualified?

Seeking ENERGY STAR® qualification is optional; many products that meet or exceed the EPA’s standards don’t necessarily bear the label. The ENERGY STAR® label is meant to help make your job of finding energy saving products easier, but it isn’t exclusive.

For products that don’t bear the ENERGY STAR® label, and even those that do, we offer customizable product calculations so you can know exactly how much you’ll save by switching. It’s that easy.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

6 Ways to Make Your Pets More Eco-Friendly

1. Upcycle old towels and clothes for potty training, lining the crate, wiping off dirty feet, drying off, cuddling and cleaning. You’ll be surprised how many new uses those old threads can have.

2. Keep your home airtight with an energy efficient pet door. Pick the right size for your pets and let them come and go as they please while minimizing outside air coming in. All the benefits without the hassle!

3. Make your own accident cleaner with hot water, vinegar, baking soda and rosemary. Sprinkle baking soda over the area before spraying a 1:1 vinegar and water mixture with a few drops of rosemary essential oil to prevent any stains and discourage any re-staining from occurring.

4. Go thrifting! Score some deals for you and you and your furry friends at your local thrift store or resale shop. You’ll save money and help a worthy cause.

6 Ways to Make Your Pets More Eco-Friendly

5. Feed your pet high quality food from a sustainable manufacturer. While there’s a lot of debate on what’s the best option, the bottom line is that the food should be made of simple, healthy ingredients (just like your food!).

6. Scoop poop with biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags from the grocery store. Yes, you read that right – biodegradable bags allow poop to fertilize the landfill instead of immortalizing it in a plastic bag forever. Fill the litter box with an eco-friendly cat litter, avoiding brands with mined minerals.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Earthmate’s T2 Spiral CFL is a miniature compact fluorescent lamp equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent bulb while using just 13 watts of electricity. It’s ENERGY STAR® qualified, so you can rest easy knowing that is meets or exceeds the highest level energy efficiency standards.

Product Review – Earthmate™ 13 Watt T2 Spiral Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

The reduced size allows makes it incredibly versatile. See? This compact little bulb is less than 4” tall – smaller than a Sharpie highlighter. Plus, it’s only $3.95! That’s quite a steal for a bulb that we estimate will save you around $58 during its lifetime. Can’t beat that for value and savings!

Product Review – Earthmate™ 13 Watt T2 Spiral Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

Because of its size and medium base, this energy saving CFL fits perfectly in pretty much any fixture you currently use a regular incandescent bulb. It’s a super handy bulb to stock up on and have on hand for quick replacements that won’t break the bank.

Product Review – Earthmate™ 13 Watt T2 Spiral Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

This Earthmate CFL provides comfortable, warm white light just like the incandescent bulbs you’re using now, making the switch effortless. You won’t even notice you switched – except on your electricity bill!

Product Review – Earthmate™ 13 Watt T2 Spiral Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

Overall, we loved this bulb. It fit anywhere we tried it and the light didn’t hurt our eyes while reading, watching TV or doing any other daily tasks.

Not the right bulb for you? Browse our wide selection and find the energy efficient lighting that’s right for every fixture in your home.

—The EnergyEarth Team

Soft, warm homemade banana bread straight out of the oven reminds us of childhood mornings waking up at grandma’s house. Whip up this healthy spin on an old classic in just about 5 minutes prep time with ingredients you already have on hand.

Healthy Banana Bread Ingredients

Here’s what you need:

–          3 or 4 ripe bananas

–          5 tablespoons butter, melted

–          ½ cup raw sugar

–          1-2 tablespoons honey

–          1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

–          1 egg or ¼ cup applesauce + 1 tsp baking powder or EnerG Egg Replacer

–          1 teaspoon baking soda

–          Dash of sea salt

–          1½ cups whole wheat flour

–          Extra virgin olive oil (for greasing the loaf pan)

Overripe Bananas

Peel and mash your bananas in a mixing bowl. Overripe bananas work best, as they are sweeter and softer. We like to use a potato masher because it leaves sweet little chunks in the bread without being too large.

Mashed Bananas

Add melted butter, raw sugar, egg (or egg substitute), honey and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Banana Bread Ingredients

Gradually add baking soda, salt and flour and mix.

Banana Bread Ingredients with Flour

Lightly grease a loaf pan with the olive oil before pouring the batter into it.

Banana Bread Batter in Loaf Pan

Bake at 350°F (175°C) for about an hour or until a fork inserted into the top comes out cleanly.

Warm Banana Bread Fresh From the Oven

Voilà! Simple, delicious comfort food that you can feel good about eating. Adjust the ingredients as needed the number of bananas you need to use. Enjoy on its own or with a little butter, cream cheese or honey. It’ll take you right back to your childhood with each healthy bite.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Chattanooga's Renaissance Park

Chattanooga’s Renaissance Park reminds us of greener days gone by while leading us into a more sustainable future.  The 28 acre park was designed with ecological recovery in mind. Two large berms cap topsoil that was removed from the former Roper manufacturing site and a system of native plants and natural filters remove toxins from urban stormwater runoff.

View From Renaissance Park

Renaissance Park has been many things over the years:  a key area to many parts of the Civil War, a location along the Trail of Tears, home what would be the end of the steamboat era and a manufacturing plant for more than 75 years.

Renaissance Park Hill

Located on the north shore of the Tennessee River, Renaissance Park is now home to many unique recreational, ecological and educational features.  The outdoor pavilion’s beautiful green roof helps to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases while improving local water quality and stormwater management.

Renaissance Park Outdoor Pavilion Green Roof

The 1.5 acre constructed wetland collects, improves and releases water from two sources of urban pollution: built up water from the contaminated ground beneath the park from the industrial park to which the area was once home and urban runoff from the North Chattanooga urban watershed.

Renaissance Park Urban Wetland

13 acres of the park sit within the Tennessee River’s flood plains and are regularly inundated. Through education and restoration efforts, the park will return native flooded woodland ecologies to this area, providing both an ideal and beautiful habitat for native plants and wildlife to reemerge and thrive.

Renaissance Park Tiered Seating

On top of all these important green aspects, Renaissance Park connects to the Tennessee Riverpark, an 8 mile greenway along the river beginning at John Ross Landing on the south shore and ending at the Chickamauga Dam upstream. The park features winding walking trails, picnic areas, a small amphitheater, tiered seating along the wetland, historic markers and several public art installations.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We love summer. I mean, who doesn’t? Longer days, backyard pool parties and delicious barbecues with loved ones are just a few of our favorites. But the warmer months can also mean a higher water bill; save money while helping reduce your water use without compromising summer fun or a luscious, green lawn with these five easy tips.

Water Saving Rain Barrel

1. Get a rain barrel. These easy to use and virtually maintenance free rain water storage systems come in a variety of colors and styles to make your backyard look pretty while keeping it green. Plus, rainwater is better for lawns and gardens because it isn’t fluoridated or chlorinated!

Washing Fruits and Veggies

2. Wash fruits and veggies in a bowl of water instead of letting the water run from the tap, then reuse it to water houseplants.

Water Saving Hose Nozzle

3. Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation and add a water saving nozzle to your hose to prevent over watering. Skip watering on windy days when most of the water just blows away into your neighbor’s yard.

Eco-Friendly Landscaping

4. Next time you do some landscaping, choose plants with lower watering needs for longer color with less headache and more savings. Be sure to only them water when necessary. More plants die from overwatering than from underwatering!

Leaky Water Spigot

5. Check your outdoor faucets for leaks. You could be losing gallons of water without even realizing it! While you wait for the repairman or find time to fix it yourself, put a bucket underneath to catch the drips for your garden!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

What is an LED Light?

May 14th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Ask the Expert - (0 Comments)

LED light bulbs are the most efficient light bulbs on the market – you’ll save more than 75% on related energy costs just by switching from incandescent light bulbs to LEDs! New technology is quickly evolving to make them more affordable and versatile to fit your every need.

Feit 7.5 Watt (40W) Dimmable A19 LED

Feit 7.5 Watt (40W) Dimmable A19 LED

How Do They Work?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a Solid-State Lighting technology, or an SSL. Instead of emitting light from a vacuum (as in an incandescent bulb) or a gas (as in a CFL), SSLs emit light from a piece of solid matter. In the case of a traditional LED, that piece of matter is a semiconductor. The movement of electrons through the semiconductor material illuminates the tiny light sources. The color of the light in the LED is determined by the energy gap of the semiconductor. A small amount of heat is released backwards into a heat sink in a well-designed product, making LEDs basically cool to the touch. LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are more expensive than incandescent bulbs and CFLs, however; they have many advantages, including the lowest energy consumption of all light bulbs, longer lifetime, smaller size, faster switching, and greater durability and reliability.

LEDs do not have to be recycled since they do not contain any toxic materials. Because of their long lives and dependability, disposal is not pressing issue at this time. Although recycling options are limited right now, there are several drop-off locations available for both regular LED lighting and holiday string lighting. Visit Earth911.com or call 1-800-CLEAN-UP to find drop-off locations in your area or mail-back services.

Where Should I Use Them?

LEDs are an excellent choice for lighting in every room. They provide the same quality lighting that you’re already used to while using the least power of any light bulbs and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. LEDs last up to 41 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 6 times longer than CFLs, thereby significantly reducing waste. This means that making the switch to LED lighting can save you $300 or more in energy costs per bulb. That’s amazing!

What Shapes of LED Lights Do We Offer?

Greenlite 8 Watt (40W) Dimmable Globe LED

Greenlite 8 Watt (40W) Dimmable Globe LED

Globe/Semi Globe: Just like the globes you already have, but more efficient; ideal for use in bathroom vanities, pendant fixtures and other areas where the bulb is visible. Semi globes eliminate light waste by directing the light forward.

 

TCP 12 Watt (60W) A19 LED

TCP 12 Watt (60W) A19 LED

A-Shape/A19: These maintain the same looks as incandescent bulbs and are often used in fixtures where the bulb is visible.

 

TCP 14 Watt (85W) Dimmable PAR38 LED

TCP 14 Watt (85W) Dimmable PAR38 LED

Reflector: As these provide directional lighting, they are ideal for ceiling fans, recessed cans, and tracking lighting; available in BR30, MR16, PAR20, PAR30, PAR38 and R20.

 

GE Energy Smart® 1.8 Watt (15W) Flame Tip LED

GE Energy Smart® 1.8 Watt (15W) Flame Tip LED

Flame Tip/Torpedo: These are perfect for wall sconces, some ceiling fans and fixtures, and covered outdoor fixtures where candle lights are desired.

 

Sylvania Silver DOT-it

Sylvania Silver DOT-it

Portable: These handy little lights are small enough to fit in your pocket but powerful enough to provide you with the light to need where you need it.

 4everLED

No matter what LED lights you choose, you’ll save every time you turn them on. And, with our 4everLED Limited Lifetime Warranty, should anything happen to your LED lights, we’ll replace them – for free! Just look for the logo to find eligible products and start saving today!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Hearty chickpeas blended with tangy tahini, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and your choice of spices make this creamy, versatile treat both healthy and delicious. Making it yourself is surprisingly easy, inexpensive and better than store bought. And you can customize the flavor exactly how you want it!

Hummus ingredients

Here’s what you need:

–          2 cups of chickpeas (15oz)

–          ¼ cup fresh citrus juice (lemon juice is preferred, but oranges will do in a pinch)

–          ¼ cup tahini (can be found at some supermarkets or international markets)

–          2 tablespoons minced garlic or half of a large garlic clove

–          2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

–          Dash of sea salt

–          2-3 tablespoons water (as needed)

And you may want:

–          Cracked black pepper

–          Ground cumin

–          Paprika

–          The possibilities are endless!

Beginning the hummus

If you’re using chickpeas from a can, simply wash and drain them in a colander. If you prefer dried chickpeas, we suggest following these instructions for soaking and cooking.

In a food processor or blender, combine tahini and citrus juice and blend for about a minute. Add the olive oil, minced garlic and salt to whipped tahini and juice. Blend for another minute, scraping the sides occasionally.

Mixing the hummus

Add the chickpeas and desired spices to taste and blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically. Most likely the hummus will be too thick or slightly lumpy. To fix this, gradually add the water until the consistency is perfect.

Finishing the hummus

And there you have it! Super easy and delicious. Top with olive oil and a dash paprika, a spoonful of garlic or whatever spices you used for a real store-bought feel.

We found that hummus is nearly always best after it has rested for about a day, allowing the flavors to meld fully. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week or freeze for up to six months.

—The EnergyEarth Team

Online shopping may be the greatest invention of the 21st century. Stay at home and buy new stuff? That’s the best of both worlds, if you ask us. But how green is it? We can’t speak for everyone, but at EnergyEarth, we try to make your shopping experience as green (and enjoyable!) as possible.

First, we start with cardboard boxes. Sounds like nothing special, right? But did you know that cardboard is actually naturally biodegradable? On top of that, if you help us keep used boxes out of landfills by reusing as long as they’ll still hold things, then recycling them instead of tossing them in the garbage, we can make a huge difference!

Cardboard Shipping Boxes

Then, after we fill your boxes with all the money and energy saving products you ordered, we fill the rest of the box with NOVUS® Eco-Friendly Packaging that is both made from 100% recycled material and 100% recyclable. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

NOVUS® Eco-Friendly Packaging

Finally, we hand it to our local UPS man and it’s on its way to you! UPS has taken some pretty amazing steps to being more sustainable; plus, having the products delivered to you as part of a stop on a regular route actually reduces carbon emissions over you having to drive to the store multiple times a month.

So there you have it. You can feel good about shopping online with EnergyEarth. From products to packaging to delivery, we help you help the planet while you save money!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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