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Blob-Shaped Austrian Art Museum Kunsthaus Graz Generates its Own Solar Power {The Dirt on Green} Blob-Shaped Austrian Art Museum Kunsthaus Graz Generates its Own Solar Power {The Dirt on Green} Blob-Shaped Austrian Art Museum Kunsthaus Graz Generates its Own Solar Power {The Dirt on Green} Blob-Shaped Austrian Art Museum Kunsthaus Graz Generates its Own Solar Power {The Dirt on Green} Blob-Shaped Austrian Art Museum Kunsthaus Graz Generates its Own Solar Power {The Dirt on Green} Blob-Shaped Austrian Art Museum Kunsthaus Graz Generates its Own Solar Power {The Dirt on Green} Blob-Shaped Austrian Art Museum Kunsthaus Graz Generates its Own Solar Power {The Dirt on Green}

We love solar lights, so naturally, we love this solar powered art museum in Austria!

Located on the west bank of the River Mur in the historic center, the Graz Art Museum opened its doors back in 2003. Created as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations, the one-of-a-kind building rapidly became a city landmark. Measuring 27,000 square feet, this massive building was designed for showcasing contemporary art exhibitions, new media displays and hosting events.

Far from your average art gallery, the Kunsthaus Graz is covered by thousands of semitransparent acrylic glass panels that form a “BIX Façade” (a combination of the words “big” and “pixels”). Designed by Berlin design firm realities:united, this oversize urban screen features light sources under its skin which are computer controlled and are used for massive displays communicating with its environment. While the glazed outer skin takes an important mediating role, it also generates power through integrated photovoltaic units.

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Via Inhabitat, photos by Eduardo Martinez, Nicolas Lackner, Christian Plach.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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