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40 posts from September 2007

September 26, 2007

Daily Tip : September 26, 2007

Reheating that leftover Chinese food from last night? You probably have several appliances available in your kitchen that you can use, but which one you choose -- and how you use it -- can have a significant impact on your energy consumption.

To reduce your kitchen energy consumption you can:

  • Think small
    Ovens: In general, the smaller the oven, the less energy used in cooking, so choose the smallest appliance suited to the task.
    Stovetops: With an electric stovetop, make sure your pan completely covers the heating element. With gas burners, make sure the flame is fully below the pan; otherwise, you’re paying to heat the air around the pan, not just the pan itself. Also, use the appropriate size pan for your meal.
  • Take advantage of residual heat. Turn off the oven or electric stovetop several minutes before the recipe indicates. Both will stay hot enough to complete the cooking process.
  • Don't preheat the oven unless a recipe requires it.
  • Use the right cookware. Glass and ceramic cookware conducts and retains heat better than metal. If a recipe calls for a metal baking pan, switching to glass or ceramic allows you to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Don't peek. Opening the oven door can lower the internal temperature as much as 25 degrees. Use a timer to set the cooking time, and be sure your oven window is clean enough for you to see how your dish is progressing.

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September 25, 2007

Daily Tip : September 25, 2007

Do you really need your own garbage can at work? Chances are you rarely use it and more than likely the plastic garbage bag will get changed out that evening by the janitorial service whether there's trash in it or not. Save a plastic bag and go without your own can.  Use one of the main garbage cans in a common area. It's a good reason to get up from your desk every now and then and stretch your legs.


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September 24, 2007

Daily Tip : September 24, 2007

Get a home energy audit. Take advantage of the free home energy audits offered by many utilities. Simple measures, such as installing a programmable thermostat to replace your old dial unit or sealing and insulating heating and cooling ducts, can each reduce a typical family's carbon dioxide emissions by about 5 percent

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September 21, 2007

Happy Park(ing) Day!

Parking_ritual_3It was a good reminder on my hurried way to work: "Breathe." The sign, put up by a downtown yoga studio, hung over a small plot of green space where a car would usually park, part of an international effort to celebrate--and advocate for--public space. In the United States, groups from Portland to Providence, Miami to Missoula, are transforming a corner of their towns for the day. If there's a park(ing) space near you, take a break this afternoon and check it out. If not, watch a video of last year's event and get inspired to create your own temporary park next time around.

Daily Tip : September 21, 2007

I noticed that when my friends and I play board games such as Pictionary and Beyond Balderdash, we use an enormous amount of paper. Recently, I found these miniature white boards at the dollar store that can be re-used and that came with their own marker. So each player got their own little board and we used not one sheet of paper!

-- Submitted by Sharon Schiffman

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September 20, 2007

That Not-So-Fresh Feeling

Sickly sweet smells aren't the only potential hazard of air fresheners. According to a report released this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), these scented sprays can aggravate asthma and contain hormone-disrupting chemicals known as phthalates. In response, drugstore chain Walgreens has already pulled some brands from its shelves. Today's San Francisco Chronicle names some of the problematic air fresheners and provides a list of easy, ecofriendly alternatives, including:

  • "Mist a solution made from water and items like lavender or lemons."
  • "Use a cup of baking soda in problem areas such as the fridge or the trash cabinet."
  • "Make your own potpourri with dried flowers and fruits."
  • "Grind up half a lemon in the garbage disposal."
  • "Bake something. Nothing makes a home smell nicer than fresh cookies or bread."

The lemon and baking-soda tips have definitely worked for me. What are your favorite green ways to clear the air?

Daily Tip : September 20, 2007

How many parts of your outfit could be green? Take a look at your shirt, nylon and polyester suck up fossil fuel during their manufacture. These synthetics are a fashion don't -- keep an eye out for recycled polyester or alternative fabrics, like bamboo or hemp. Moving on down to your feet, why not try investing in shoes that use vegetable-tanned leather or organic materials, like canvas or cotton. Once they are worn out, try getting them resoled instead of buying a new pair.

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September 19, 2007

Trendsetter

Lauren Sullivan, age 33
Cofounder and codirector, Reverb

A former campaigner with Rainforest Action Network, Lauren Sullivan is out to prove that loving nature and being "a bit of a pop culture queen" can be complementary. With husband Adam Gardner, a guitarist for campus faves Guster, she founded a nonprofit to help musicians and venues go green. reverbrock.org

Q: What does rock 'n' roll have to do with the environment?

A: Music has been a place of activism and action. That took a hiatus after the 1960s and '70s, but now it's back. Folks listen to celebrities. And energy use in this industry is very significant.

Q: You've worked with artists from Bonnie Raitt to the Beastie Boys. How do you green a concert or tour?

A: Convert the band's bus and truck fleet to biodiesel, arrange carbon offsets for their emissions, coordinate backstage recycling programs--we even do little things like provide rechargeable batteries for monitor packs and recycle broken guitar strings.

Q: How do you get fans involved?

A: We create an eco-village of nonprofits and green businesses to reflect each band's interests. For singer-surfer Jack Johnson, we invited Surfrider, which we knew would resonate with his fans. It adds a way for folks to engage that isn't a buzz killer.

(Photograph by Kevin Brusie)

Continue reading "Trendsetter " »

Fast Fact

Switching its tour bus to biodiesel reduced rock band Guster's CO2 emissions by 100,000 pounds a year.

Daily Tip : September 19, 2007

Connect your PC, monitor, fax machine, and computer peripherals to a single power strip that can be turned off when they're not in use. This will end "leakage" from devices that drain power even when they aren't turned on. This technique can also be used for your home entertainment components.

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