Category Archives: Got Energy?

The Science Behind Saving Gas

gas pump

There has been lots of talk in the past and even recently about how to increase your fuel efficiency. This talk is usually associated with gas mileage, but in places like where I live, that also includes power. Our power comes from a petrol generating plant. Gross, I know.

While saving gas is very important, where, exactly, does all of the information floating out there in cyber-space come from? Is it reliable?

The most quoted numbers are actually from a company subcontracted by the US Government to do these studies. The researchers are known as Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc. and helped compile most of the information on FuelEconomy.gov.

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Dry Your Clothes Green

After a reading a few comments on my post called Saving Green by Going Green, I thought that the topic of clothes drying could use a little more attention. So, this week I am going to focus in on a few different issues about living green and drying our clothes that I believe everyone can benefit from.

First of all, it was brought to my attention that the dryer balls I referred to in my original post were, indeed, made of PVC, which is obviously not a green material. With that said, I was assured by distributors of these balls that they are made with safe practices, but let’s face it, any way we can avoid PVC (especially heating it) is probably a good idea.

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2009 Tax Breaks For Going Green

Are you ready to install solar panels or a wind turbine at your house? How about adding insulation or installing more energy efficient windows? 2009 may just be the year to take the plunge, thanks to some new, extended and improved tax credits.

Details can vary depending on your project but energy efficient home improvements including replacement windows (capped at $200), insulation (10% of the cost, capped at $500), sealing cracks in the shell of your house and in the duct work, and energy efficient water heaters and furnaces (capped at $300) can get you some very helpful tax credits.

The existent tax credit for installing solar panels was extended for 2009 giving you a 30% credit against the cost of your equipment with the previous $2,000 cap removed.

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Going Green for Special Needs

A few years ago I lived my life in 20 minute increments. Then I had to rest. Fibromyalgia and Asthma ruled my life. With 3 children, a husband and all the normal mess that life assures, my brain constantly told me that I wasn’t doing enough. But I simply did NOT have the energy to spare; it needed to go to things that HAD to be done, not things that I wanted to do like living a greener lifestyle.

I’ve since been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and eating a gluten-free diet has improved my quality of life massively. But I still remember the dreams I had, the ones that seemed so far away from my reality.

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Keeping it Real…Warm

Here in Western Michigan, it is cold. Real cold. My bet is that unless you live quite far south, this time of year it is cold for you as well.

It can be hugely frustrating to stay green while also staying warm. Not to mention the fact that we are all trying to be more frugal, and an enormous gas or electric bill is not something anyone is happy about. In my home, with a small toddler, I am more concerned about her comfort and warmth than my own.

So what is a cold, eco-friendly mama to do? Make a list, that’s what.

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Around The Greenosphere: Weekly Link Roundup

Here are 5 posts from elsewhere that had us thinking this week, to help start your new year off a bit greener. Happy! 2009.

Monday CNN ran an article discussing the business and potential profit (both economically and for the planet) of sustainable farming and green industry. Here’s an excerpt from the article, though the full length version is definitely worth a read:

But a complex mix of push and pull factors are making environmental business practices increasingly attractive to investors and with that, some say, providing fresh hope for a planet in trouble.

Not only are the emerging markets for alternative power booming — and corporate efficiency initiatives looking more attractive — as fossil fuel prices rise, but many companies are also increasingly aware that there are real costs associated with doing nothing.

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Holiday Recycling Resources, Wrapped Up With A (Recycled) Bow

Recycle, recycle, recycle. It’s a mantra of sorts for so many of us here at 5 Minutes for Going Green, and as festive celebrating with family and friends has most likely already begun, you are about to become busier than ever.

But don’t worry, we’ve got all your post-holiday recycling needs covered, so you can spend less time worrying how to recycle and more time circled around that last cheese log. (Don’t worry about that cheese log, either; remember, resolutions start next year.)

Step One: No recyclable left behind.

In other words, figure out what, exactly, you have to recycle and if it can be recycled.

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Reflecting On The Best Of 2008

As the end of the year draws near, we all get inundated with the “Best of 2008” programs, lists and commentaries.

Well, as I am a junkie for montages that reflect on what happened over the past year, and how it impacted one’s daily life, I thought I would share my own!

The Best Eco Friendly Changes I Made In 2008:

1. Used Miracle Mulch (eco-friendly coconut)
2. Added weather stripping to conserve energy.
3. Used motion sensors for outdoor lights to save energy. Turned off the porch light whenever we could.
4. Installed ceiling fans throughout the house. Never turned on the AC in 2008!

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Holiday How-To, Green Edition

The Holidays can be a tricky time of year to navigate while staying green and not going over-budget. Here at 5 Minutes for Going Green we’re here to help you think outside the box this gift-giving season. We want to help keep you and your family green this holiday season, while also keeping more green in your pocketbooks, too. Keep reading for our customized How-To Holiday Guide.

(Keep in mind, too, that nearly all of these How-To tips are not holiday-centric and can themselves be recycled for birthdays, anniversaries, group social events, and just day-to-day green living.)

How To…

Wrap Recycled:

  • My new favorite recycled wrapping trend that I’ve seen suggested and modeled everywhere from Etsy to Martha Stewart Living is wrapping with maps and pages from atlases and other travel-related paperie.

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Programmable Thermostat Giveaway!

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when slippers become a daily staple, hot tea seems to pour itself in your mug, and heating bills begin to climb to sometimes uncomfortable levels. The Home Depot wants to help you save energy and money this brisk winter season (and all year round), but we’ll get to that in just a moment.

First, let’s talk for a few minutes about programmable thermostats and what they can do for you and your home.

A programmable thermostat monitors the temperature of your home while you’re asleep or away. For example, the Rite Temp 7 Day Programmable Thermostat, an ENERGY STAR-qualified thermostat available at The Home Depot, offers temperature programming for every day of the week. 

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