Energy saving products & green living
Header

Electricity is needlessly trickling from dozens of devices in each of our homes, costing Americans $3 billion in energy costs each year.1  Vampire power, also called phantom power, ghost load or idle current, is a slow but constant flow of electricity that occurs even when devices appear to be off.  Although vampire power is sneaky and probably lurking in your home at this very moment, a little knowledge and a few great products will turn you into a vampire slayer – no garlic required.

I Vant to Suck Your Energy: The Truth About Vampire Power

Let’s face it, we all use electricity and we don’t like feeling guilty about it.  In response to the 1973 oil crisis, President Nixon asked Americans to “accept some sacrifices in comfort and convenience so that no American would have to suffer real hardship.”2 Today, if we eliminate just the electricity we waste in standby mode, we would meet 10% of Nixon’s reduction goals with absolutely no sacrifice in comfort or convenience. In fact, you won’t even notice until you get a lower electricity bill.

Many of our previous blogs have highlighted easy ways to save a lot of money by using electricity more efficiently (with CFLs, LEDs and other ENERGY STAR qualified products, just to name a few), but stopping vampire power is about conservation.  So what’s the difference?  Energy efficiency depends on technology to get the most out of each kilowatt of energy you buy. Conservation, on the other hand, is just plain using less electricity, regardless of the method. Eliminating vampire power is conservation without the sacrifice.

Vampire Hunting: How do you identify the extent of vampire power that is drawn in your home? Basically every device that rests in standby mode or has an indicator light is drawing power – and we have a lot of these. I found out how much electricity I was wasting a while ago when I stumbled to the kitchen in the middle of the night for a glass of water.  I was shuffling my feet across the floor, sure that my dog was laying in my path, when I realized that I could actually see. My fire alarm indicator, VCR (yeah, I have one of those), DVD player, TV, speaker, laptop charger and microwave clock provided just enough light for me to see the heap of fur in the hallway and the water glass in the kitchen. Groggy, I returned to bed thinking about those twinkling eyes staring at me in the darkness.  These were the eyes of vampires that were sucking my electricity – and money!

How to Identify Vampire Power:

Look for:

        • External power supplies
        • Large plugs (some cell phones)
        • Chargers with brick batteries (laptops)
        • Indicator lights and continuous display (clocks)
        • Devices with remote controls

Listen for a hum indicating an active drive or a fan

Feel for warmth indicating the flow of electricity

Measure the draw of electricity using a monitoring device

Sometimes that small draw of electricity is necessary. Devices with internal clocks, cable modems or routers, and appliances with temperature monitoring functions (such as refrigerators and HVACs) actually need to be on all the time. For most people, the biggest unnecessary drain of electricity comes from AV and office equipment with lots of peripherals, or accessory electronics. For instance, in my home office I have a desktop computer, laptop, printer, scanner, internet router and computer speakers. Even when I did remember to turn all of these devices off at night, they were still drawing electricity in standby mode.  I will admit that I never – and I mean never – bothered to unplug them all.  The same goes for my TV and its peripherals. There is no way I would tackle that mess of wires just to prevent what seemed like a mere few watts of electricity sacrificed to the vampires. When I learned from energystar.gov that an average US household wastes over to $100 annually on standby power, I realized it was worth taking action.

The Worst Offenders*

  • Desktop computer: $7/month
  • Game consoles: $6/month
  • Plasma or LCD TV: $5/month
  • Cable box with HD DVR: $3/month
  • Laptop with screensaver images: $1.50/month
  • DVD player: $1/month

*Data from: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Weapons for Slaying Vampire Power: Of course, the quickest fix is to unplug all of the devices that you are not using. This may be reasonable for the television in the guest bedroom, but are we really going to unplug all of these things every night and each time we leave the house for work or vacation? Probably not. Even if you’ve purchased ENERGY STAR qualified devices with the lowest power consumption in standby mode, you can take it one step further.

I Vant to Suck Your Energy: The Truth About Vampire Power

Smart power strips are the most powerful tool in your vampire slaying arsenal. I bought this BITS Smart Strip Power Strip and now I need to turn the lights on when I get up during the night! I plugged my television into the blue Control outlet, my cable modem and phone into the red Always On outlets, and the peripherals like my DVD player in the green Energy Saving outlets. It’s pretty remarkable how my peripherals power up automatically when I turn on my TV. Once the TV is switched off, the power strip stops the flow of electricity to all outlets except those designated to stay on all the time. It just doesn’t get any easier than that.

I Vant to Suck Your Energy: The Truth About Vampire Power

A host of other devices will accomplish the same result. The Save A Watt TV Standby Killer ensures your TV is actually off, not just in standby.  Chargers like the Belkin Conserve Valet draw no current once your phone is fully charged. Better yet, if you want to make an informed decision about where to start conserving, you can always use an energy monitor like the Kill A Watt to measure the amount of electricity used and cost of operating your devices even when they appear to be off.

How to Slay Vampire Power:

  • Unplug devices that aren’t in use
  • Use smart power strips
  • Switch to ENERGY STAR qualified devices with low standby power use
  • Use chargers that power down once  the device is fully charged

Forewarned is Forearmed:  Now that you know how much you stand to save and how easy it is, get out there and do something about it! Without sacrificing your way of living, you’ll begin to notice your electricity bill creep downward. Once you’ve been bitten by the energy savings bug, you’ll thirst for more. Check back often for more energy saving tips and product information.

— Dawn Richards of EnergyEarth

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

  1. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.vampires

  2. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=4208#ixzz2hERYMG93

  3. http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/pdf/aer.pdf

  4. http://standby.lbl.gov/faq.html

vampire power infographic: http://www.radiant.co.za/blog/index.php/about-standby-vampire-power/

vampire tools image: http://www.savvyhousekeeping.com/antique-vampire-killing-kits/

 

Don’t be scared of being green during the spookiest holiday of the year! We have the tips you need to stay sustainable and save money this Halloween.

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas – Spoonful

Make your own costumes at home for the cutest, greenest disguises this year – no matter if you have a lot of time or just a little, there are great DIY options for every member of the family. If you simply don’t have a crafty bone in your body, try swapping costumes with friends, family and other members of your community for a fun and free option year after year!

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Use the Whole Pumpkin – 30 Pounds of Apples

Whether you’re making a pumpkin pie or carving a jack-o-lantern for the front porch, you can reduce food waste by using the whole pumpkin – inside and out. If you haven’t tried them before, roasted pumpkin seeds are healthy, delicious and wonderfully simple to make. Try this classic recipe or get creative and make up your own!

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Light the Way Efficiently —EnergyEarth

Be sure to bring along extra light while trick-or-treating. Choose LED flashlights and rechargeable batteries for the brightness and reliability you need, and the savings and efficiency you want. If you’re passing out candy, light your pathway and porch with LED bulbs in your porch fixture and solar-powered lamps along your pathway for maximum savings.

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Decorate Naturally – Real Simple

Whether you prefer simple and elegant or fun and funky décor, try going all-natural for unbeatable savings and sustainability. Plus, nothing beats the fun and flexibility of making your own decorations from inexpensive or free finds from everywhere – the farm stand, the grocery store or your own backyard!

Ghouls, Ghosts and Green! 5 Ways to Make Your Halloween Eco-Friendly

Skip the Highly Processed Snacks and Treats – 100 Days of Real Food

Depending on your neighborhood or community, you may be able to make your own treats and wrap them in recyclable paper. If you don’t think the parents in your area will go for that, you can still make sure to hand out healthier (without high-fructose corn syrup, chemical coloring or artificial flavoring) pre-packaged treats in eco-friendly packaging. Try checking at your local Earth Fare, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for tasty, affordable options.

Have a safe, happy and sustainable Halloween!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It’s fall and cooler temperatures are just around the corner, if they haven’t already settled in your area.  So what can you do to prepare for the winter so the cold temperatures don’t take a bite out of your budget?

10 Fall Weatherization Tips to Keep the Cold Out {The Dirt on Green}

Keep the Cold Out

Did your energy audit reveal that you need better insulation? If so, prepare early so you aren’t caught off guard by the cool weather.

1. Sealing and insulating the exterior of your home — its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors — is one of the most cost effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR estimates that you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% of your energy bill) just by sealing and insulating. Here are a few easy ways you can save:

  • Caulking drafty windows and door frames is a great way to eliminate the energy lost through these spaces. For hints on using rope caulk, check out our post all about what it does and how to use it. Keep in mind that rope caulk is most easily applied before it gets too cold, so you’ll want to do this right away!
  • Check under your sinks, in your bathrooms, in basements and other areas for places where pipes and vents go through the floor, wall or ceiling. If you need additional help, consider purchasing a handheld leak detector. You may have gaps that could be letting cold air in and your warm air out that you don’t even know about! These gaps are easily sealed with rope or traditional caulk.
  • Easy-to-apply weather stripping can keep drafts from coming through door jambs and window sashes.
  • Foam switch and outlet gaskets are easy to install (requiring just a screw driver!) and can eliminate leaky outlets and switches, especially on exterior walls.

10 Fall Weatherization Tips to Keep the Cold Out {The Dirt on Green}

2. Seal ducts. Sealing air ducts can dramatically improve the efficiency of a heating and cooling system. Unsealed ducts typically leak about 10-15% of the conditioned air flowing through the ducts while pulling unwanted air into the conditioned parts of your house. This creates pressure differentials, exacerbating air leak problems.

    • Adhesive sealant: Mastic fibrous sealant is used for coating thermal insulation on pipes and ducts and sealing uninsulated ducts.
    • Aluminum tape: Aluminum tape is a much more effective and long-lasting way to seal sheet metal heating ducts than duct tape. And, if you forget to seal drafts until it gets cold, aluminum tape can be applied in cold temperatures and is very tolerant of temperature extremes.
    • Duct shields: Central air conditioner draft shields and covers are an effective means of keep cold air from entering your home through air conditioning ducts during the winter than covering them with tape, blankets or cardboard or closing the louvers.

3. Prevent chimney drafts. Chimney balloons are inflatable, tight-sealing chimney dampers made of 3-ply poly plastic that stops uncontrolled air leaks.

4. Make the switch to a programmable thermostat. Never forget to adjust the thermostat while you’re away and save around the clock with these a few simple setting. For more information, check out our previous post on how to set your programmable thermostat to save the most money while staying comfortable.

5. If you need to heat a single room, consider using a space heater. A portable space heater can comfortably heat a single room quickly and without using energy to heat your entire home.

6. Clean your filters. Dirty air filters force your heating system to work harder than necessary, wasting electricity and taking longer to reach a comfortable temperature.   This is because the airflow is restricted by dust and debris caught by the filter. Can’t remember to change your filters? Install an air filter whistle to remind you that the filter is dirty and needs to be changed.

If you’re in the market for a new heating system, be sure to consider an energy efficient furnace that is ENERGY STAR qualified. Be sure to check out information on rebates available in your area, too!

10 Fall Weatherization Tips to Keep the Cold Out {The Dirt on Green}

Change Your Habits

7. Wear a sweater. For every degree you turn down your thermostat, you can save 3-5% on heating costs.

8. Turn down the thermostat when you are away. The best approach is to use a programmable thermostat.  You’ll never forget!

9. Let the sun heat your home during the day.  Open your blinds and curtains during the day and close them at sundown for insulation.

10. Is your desk or couch next to a drafty window?  First try sealing your window (see above).  If you’re still not warm enough, rearrange the room so you’re not sitting in a drafty area.

So there you have it. Weatherize your home before the cold weather moves in and save all year round!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

If you’ve been watching the weather reports – or even looking outside your window – you know that rainfall has been very unusual this year. According to the NCDC, “the nationally averaged precipitation total for July was 3.47 inches—0.71 inch above the 20th century average—making it the fifth wettest July on record for the United States. July brought both wet and dry precipitation extremes to the nation. The Northwest and Upper Mississippi River Valley were drier than average, while most other locations had above-average precipitation.”

Depending on where you live, you’ve probably had either too much rain this summer or too little – or a combination of both at different times. If your area has been too wet, you may have experienced flooding in your yard or washout from your gutters. If it’s been too dry, you’ve probably used a lot of water on your yard and garden. Conversely, if you’ve had a lot of rain, you might have flooding and washout. Rainfall patterns can change in just a few days – save that precious water, reduce your utility bills and be prepared all weather conditions by collecting rainfall for future use with a rain barrel.

Free Water: Everyday Benefits of Owning a Rain Barrel {The Dirt on Green}

What is a rain barrel?

Rain barrels are large receptacles placed under gutter downspouts next to a house to collect rain water from the roof and typically hold about 40-90 gallons.

What can I use the water for?

The collected water can be used to water gardens and yards, as well as for other non-potable (non-drinkable) uses such as flushing toilets or watering indoor plants. Harvesting rain water has many benefits including reducing utility water use, saving money on your utility bills, preventing basement flooding and keeping your lawn and garden greener. By collecting rain water, you are also helping to reduce flooding and pollution in local waterways.

How much can I collect?

 Some areas of the US have restrictions on how much water you can collect, so be sure and check with your city or county and state governments for the legislations in your area.

Free Water: Everyday Benefits of Owning a Rain Barrel {The Dirt on Green}

An estimated 9 billion gallons of water are used to water lawns and gardens each day in the US with most it coming from potable sources. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to conserve water, protect the environment, prevent flooding and have a consistent supply of water for outdoor and some indoor use.

Rain barrels are a great way to save money and help the environment – some areas even offer a rebate to reward you for your efforts! Check out our wide selection of rain water storage systems and start saving today!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://water.rutgers.edu/Stormwater_Management/rainbarrels.html

http://earth911.com/news/2009/07/03/colorado-bill-legalizes-rainwater-harvesting/

http://science.opposingviews.com/budget-rain-barrel-23684.html

 

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

AWSOM Powered