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Should I Use Rechargeable Batteries?

September 19th, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

We’ve all asked ourselves this question at one time or another. But do you know the answer? Let’s take a closer look at rechargeable batteries versus standard alkaline batteries to see just how they measure up.

How are they different from regular alkaline batteries? How do they work?

A rechargeable battery is a battery that can be recharged and used many times. It is also known as a storage battery, as it has the ability to accumulate and store energy. Rechargeable batteries come in many sizes and types. NiMH is a common type, so 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.

Should I Use Rechargeable Batteries? {The Dirt on Green}

Where do my disposable batteries go and are they harmful to the environment?

Unfortunately, the jury is out on this one. Unless you live in California (where recycling of all types of batteries is required due to the potential toxicity of their components), they probably end up in the landfill. If they do get recycled, they will, in all likelihood, get turned into rebar or angle iron.

Are rechargeable batteries really cost effective?

According to one journalist, after just a few charges the rechargeable batteries will pay for themselves! That’s quite a bit of savings – as much as $100 or more each year depending on how many batteries you typically use. If you’ve got kids, digital cameras or a myriad of other things – you probably use a lot.

So where do I get good quality rechargeable batteries?

At EnergyEarth, we have your rechargeable battery needs covered. Just a few clicks and you’ll be well on your way to saving money and energy for years to come.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://humantouchofchemistry.com/how-do-rechargeable-batteries-work.htm

http://www.opb.org/news/blog/ecotrope/what-happens-to-recycled-batteries/

Don’t throw away those old, holey tshirts, jeans and sweaters – turn them into something new and useful! Upcycling old clothes saves money and helps the environment. What more reason do you need? Check out seven of our favorite DIYs below!

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Tshirt Produce Bags {The Dirt on Green}

Easy Tshirt Produce Bag – Delia Creates

Everybody buys groceries. Make the trip a little greener with these easy, almost no-sew produce bags upcycled from old tshirts! You could even color-code them for the specific loads you intend to carry in them or grab a little fabric paint to spruce them up even more.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Boot Wallet {The Dirt on Green}

Old Cowboy Boot Wallet – Poppytalk

Even if the soles of your beloved leather boots and shoes have worn out, they can have new life! These easy, step-by-step photo instructions show how to turn otherwise useless old leather goods into a beautiful new wallet! You’ll even be able to pad it a little more with your extra savings.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Memory Quilt {The Dirt on Green}

Old Clothes Memory Quilt – Lil Blue Boo

Turn your beloved dresses or your kids’ too small clothes into a beautiful, new blanket full of memories from your family’s best days. You can even back it with an old blanket or sheet instead of buying new fabric. Make more memories with your newly made treasure!

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Sweater Stockings {The Dirt on Green}

Christmas Stockings Made from Sweaters – Imperfect Homemaking

Good Christmas stockings can be hard to find. Turn a cozy old sweater into a truly personalized Christmas stocking in no time with this easy, DIY pattern for everyone from the sewing novice to the professional stitcher.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Sweater Mittens {The Dirt on Green}

Sew Your Own Sweater Mittens – A Beautiful Mess

Accidentally shrink your favorite sweater in the dryer? Instead of throwing it out, keep your fingers warm and cozy this winter without spending a dime with these upcycled mittens! A few simple snips and stitches will turn even your worst laundry mistake into something fun and useful again.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Tshirt Romper {The Dirt on Green}

Tshirt Baby Romper – The Seamery

Turn unwanted knit shirts into fun, personalized baby rompers for your baby or as a present for a baby shower. Turn too big hand-me-downs into something useful while helping the environment and saving money. Choose fun snaps on the shoulders or add a little extra stitching in a contrast color for a personalized touch.

7 Ways to Repurpose Old Clothes - Tshirt Headband {The Dirt on Green}

Braided 5 Strand Tshirt Headband – Make It & Love It

Keep yours and your little ones’ hair in check with this fun, money saving tshirt upcycle. A pair of scissors, a needle and thread, and a few extra minutes and you’ll have a whole new creation from an old, holey or stretched out tee! Staying green and looking good has never been so easy.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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

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.

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.

6 Green Back-to-School Tips

August 1st, 2013 | Posted by EnergyEarth in Green Tips - (0 Comments)

1. Take Inventory of Your Supplies. Before heading out to the store, check last year’s supplies for nearly-empty notebooks or extra pencils and erasers. Rip out used notebook pages and reuse it for a different class, redecorate old pencil boxes and refill old mechanical pencils with new lead rather than buying new ones!

2. Green Your Electronics. Computers, graphing calculators, printers, e-readers and many other school supplies these days plug in or run on batteries. Purchase rechargeable batteries and invest in a couple of smart power strips. They might be a bit pricier up front, but they are completely worth it. Rechargeable batteries can be used hundreds of times, while green power strips stop drawing electricity from electronics and appliances when not in use without any effort on your part – you’ll save money and have one less thing to think about!

3. Opt for Used Books. Save money and greatly reduce your impact by buying used, opting for ebooks or renting this year’s textbooks – some schools are even experimenting with online textbooks, reducing both your costs and strain on your backpack! Check with your school or university for easy used and rental options.

6 Green Back-to-School Tips {The Dirt on Green}

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bsabarnowl.

4. Green Your Commute. According to the EPA, school buses drive 25 million students about 4 billion miles every year in America – that’s a lot of fuel! To help make your daily trip to and from school more sustainable, join the EPA’s Clean School Bus Campaign and check to see if your child’s bus is a newer model that already meets higher emissions standards or an older bus that needs to follow stricter green standards.

5. Get a Reusable Lunch Box. Bringing a brown paper bag filled with baggies or pre-packaged snacks to school every day can add up to a lot of trash quickly. Invest in a lunchbox, reusable plastic containers, cloth napkins and a thermos to save money and eliminate nearly 70 pounds of trash each year (US EPA) – and don’t forget to lead by example and start bringing your own lunchbox to work, too!

6 Green Back-to-School Tips {The Dirt on Green}

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mr Moss.

6. Sell and Swap Last Year’s Uniforms and Outfits. Every school year requires new clothes, but that doesn’t have to mean a shopping spree at the mall. Organize a clothing swap among your friends or pay a visit to local consignment shops and thrift stores you can pass on those too small tops and shorts to another grateful parent and your child could end up with a new favorite tee or hoodie. Even if your school requires uniforms, everyone will be just as happy to trade in their too small shirts, pants and skirts for “new” ones that fit!

—The EnergyEarth Team

We know this is what recycling feels like sometimes…

7 Tips to Make Recycling Easy! {The Dirt on Green}

via Doghouse Diaries

…but it doesn’t have to be that way! Trust us, we used to be overwhelmed by the daunting world of #647 plastic, recyclable paper products (what exactly is this mixed paper?) and steel vs. aluminum cans. Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you help the planet and your wallet.

  1. Curbside pickup or drop-off location? This handy recycling center locator helps you find where to drop off your recyclables and what kinds of materials each location accepts – just put in your zip code all the locations in your area. They even have an app for iPhone and Android!
  2. Plastic bottle caps are usually recyclable along with the bottle, and don’t worry about rinsing plastic or glass bottles before recycling.
  3. Although you can’t recycle the whole pizza box, tear off and recycle the top half, as long as it’s grease-free.
  4. Many recycling programs don’t accept paper cups because of the waxy lining, but don’t forget to recycle the cardboard sleeve.
  5. In addition to grocery bags, recycle dry cleaning, newspaper bags, plastic film on products like paper towels and bread bags.
  6. Keep bags for both trash and recycling in your car. Pre-sorting makes it easier to recycle on the go!
  7. Buy products made from recycled material. Recycling is the first step, the material is processed and the final step is up to you – keep recycled content products in demand!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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