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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.

The Belkin Conserve Socket is a handy little device that eliminates wasted energy by shutting off power to plugged devices when you don’t need it.

Product Review – Belkin Conserve Switch {The Dirt on Green}

Measuring only about 2” square and a little over an inch thick, the Conserve Socket is perfect for use with cell phone chargers, cordless drill chargers and battery chargers, as well as blow dryers, hair straighteners, fans, space heaters and more.

To turn the connected device on, simply press the button on the top of the Conserve Socket. The Power Timer will then automatically shut off power after a designated time interval, saving you energy and money.

Product Review – Belkin Conserve Switch {The Dirt on Green}

The off-time can be set to automatically disconnect power to your devices after 30 minutes, 3 or 6 hours with an easy toggle switch on the side of the socket.

Product Review – Belkin Conserve Switch {The Dirt on Green}

Overall, we love this product! It’s sturdily built, simply designed and fairly small, so it’s attractive, travels well and isn’t intrusive. It’s a great for saving money and ensuring you don’t accidentally leave on the iron or other appliances all day when you leave the house.

Not what you need? Check out our wide selection of energy conservation products.

—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

Everyone loves a good shower. To help you save money, water and energy without compromising comfort, we picked three of our favorite water saving shower heads! (But really, who could choose? They’re all so great!)

Our Top 3 Low Flow Shower Head Picks {The Dirt on Green}

AM Conservation White Spoiler Shower Head

This eye-catching white and chrome water saving 2.0 gallons per minute (GPM) shower head features an adjustable spray selection between a conventional spray and a more focused massage stream, a pressure compensator to deliver a consistent spray velocity over a wide range of water pressures, a non-aerating spray to reduce heat loss and increase comfort and an anti-sediment screen to prevent line debris from clogging.

Our Top 3 Low Flow Shower Head Picks {The Dirt on Green}

Niagara Earth Massage Handheld

This beautiful chrome water saving hand held shower head uses a non-removable flow-compensator to guarantee a feeling of great force while using a maximum of 1.5 GPM. The non-aerated 9-jet turbo massage is adjustable, ranging from a gentle needle spray to a forceful jet. It delivers a consistent flow rate regardless of the water pressure and features a handy 72″ hose!

Our Top 3 Low Flow Shower Head Picks {The Dirt on Green}

AM Conservation Chrome Handheld Shower Head

This striking chrome water saving 2.0 GPM hand held shower head features an adjustable spray selection between a conventional spray and a more focused massage stream. A pressure compensator delivers a consistent spray velocity over a wide range of water pressures, a non-aerating spray to reduce heat loss and increase comfort and an anti-sediment screen to prevent line debris from clogging. The 4’ foot hose makes it easy to use and versatile for washing kids and pets!

Didn’t find the low flow shower head that was right for you? Check out the rest of our wide selection of water efficient shower heads and start saving every drop today!

—The EnergyEarth Team

© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.

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