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Frugal living at home is the best way to be able to afford that vacation in a few months, or to take your family to that fancy restaurant next week. Not only will cutting back on expenses at home help you to save money, but it will help you to reduce energy costs, teach your children wise money-handling habits, and keep your home in working condition for years to come. Here are some nifty ways to save money at home:
Hang to Dry - The dryer is the most useless appliance in your home, and it's just raising your gas and electric bill. It's best to use a clothesline to hang clothes, especially during the spring and autumn months. Hang clothes later in the afternoon during the summer, and only consider using a dryer if your winter months are very cold or rainy.
Get Rid of Frill Foods - Do you really need to serve your family chicken nuggets for dinner, or could you whip up a healthier meal in the same amount of time using natural, healthy ingredients? Too many families rely on instant meals, but they will be bad for your health as well as for your wallet. Buy raw ingredients, and cook meals for much less.
Consider Your Appliances - Is it absolutely necessary to have a TV and a computer in every room? Not only will it make it harder for your kids to sleep, but you'll find that you'll use a lot more power. Keep your electric bill low by reducing the extra appliances, and only keep what you really need.
Switch to Gas - Using a gas heater may not be as safe as using an electric one, but it will cut costs drastically. Switching over to a gas boiler and water heater will also be cheaper, and the same goes for using a gas stove. If it can be powered by cheaper natural gas, consider switching.
Spend Time Together - When your family members are in three or four different rooms, all of the lights and appliances in those rooms will be on. The best way to keep your electric bill low is to spend more time together. By being in the same room, you'll just have one set of lights and one AC unit running at all times.
Decorate Cheaply - Decorating can be expensive, especially if your family has costly tastes. Find ways to decorate cheaply, such as using printed out pictures in fancy frames, making DIY decorations, and buying nifty little trinkets from Goodwill or the Salvation Army stores.
Reduce Waste - If you throw away a lot of food, you're throwing your money into the trash. Try and reduce the amount of food that you cook, as it will help to reduce the amount of food that sits in the fridge as leftovers. Not only will fewer leftovers mean less energy needed to keep your fridge cool, but you'll spend less on your weekly shopping as well. If you're ready to find out how an indoor clothesline can change your way of living for the better, simply contact us so we can help you pick the product that is perfect for your needs.
We've talked in this space about the beauty and simplicity of drying clothes on a laundry line, rather than in a gas or electric clothes drying machine. On one hand there's the elegance of carrying on an old-world tradition, still popular in much of the world (if often forgotten in the US); on the other, there's the innate satisfaction that comes from adopting a practice that's not only frugal, but also good for Mother Earth.
Let's look at the numbers. Most homes and apartments already have a gas or electric dryer in them, so the purchase cost is often overlooked in many cost comparisons. But Ii's there, nonetheless: consider you'll pay between $500-$1,600 per unit, depending on the bells and whistles of a particular model. Most manufacturers admit you can expect to need a new clothes dryer about every ten years, so if you spread out the cost you can estimate between $50 and $160 per year in purchase price.
Operating costs vary depending on the local cost of your electricity or gas, but if you do about one load per day, a good estimate is about 15 to 20 cents daily for a gas dryer, and 30 to 40 cents for an electric one. That's between $55 and $146 per year. So depending upon the kind of dryer you buy and your energy costs, drying on a line can save you between $105 and $306 each and every year.
What's more, consider the carbon footprint; the electricity required to dry each load also represents about 5 pounds of CO2 -- 1,800 pounds annually. Even drying half your clothes on a line essentially keeps 900 pounds of CO2 from the air -- surely a worthy goal! -- as well as saving the money as outlined above.
Save money, lower your carbon footprint, and save the planet? Seems like a good deal, right? For more information about clothes drying, contact us!
This looks like a promising move towards less reliance on fossil fuels:
President Barack Obama proposed on Monday increasing funds for renewable energy research by 2012 and also reducing subsidies for fossil fuels.
The Department of Energy has $29.5 billion available for the fiscal year 2012. About $8 billion would be invested in solar, wind and advanced batteries. “Whomever leads in the global, clean energy economy will also take the lead in creating high-paying, highly skilled jobs for its people,” the administration said about the budget.
Novel small-sized nuclear energy technologies, such as modular reactors, will also be funded $853 mln from this budget. To raise funds for clean energy, the White House asked the Congress to withdraw $3.6 billion in oil industry, coal and natural gas subsidies, a move that will lead to the loss of $46.2 billion by these industries over ten years.
Many Republicans are opposed cutting subsidies for fossil fuels, claiming that it would affect industries that offer jobs at a time when the economy is still fragile.
“Given the broad difference in priorities between House Republicans and the White House on energy issues, we believe that few of the proposed cuts and expansions … will become law,” Whitney Stanco, an energy policy analyst at MF Global, said in a research note
A team of researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have recently set up a new laboratory (the first in Asia) that will be used to convert water into hydrogen fuel.
As the scientists said, the development of this technology may reduce the cost of using to the same price as using conventional energy sources. The laboratory will use what is known as “artificial leaf” technology. It is inspired by the way leaves use sunlight to generate electricity.This technique will make possible the separation of water into oxygen and hydrogen. Large quantities of hydrogen can be produced in a clean and sustainable manner.
Conventional technologies are not so efficient because they require huge amounts of energy to extract only small amounts of hydrogen from water. The researchers want to test in the lab if cheap substances like titanium dioxide and rust can efficiently capture solar energy to split water. Currently, such extraction technologies are available, but the team wants to find cheaper ways.
“We can do this reaction right now. It’s no problem. We can use platinum, or we can use very expensive semi-conductor materials. The challenge is to devise a technology which is cheap, and is robust,” said professor James Barber, a leading expert in this field.
A system that converts the energy of sunlight directly into hydrogen has been discovered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Scientists there have managed to design what they call a “biohybrid photoconversion system,” which consists in the interaction of plant proteins responsible with photosynthesis and a synthetic polymer they created.
The Light Harvesting Complex II proteins (LHC-II) in a spinach plant have been determined of being able to self-assemble with polymers in a synthetic membrane structure which can produce hydrogen from water in the presence of sunlight. The researchers used a technique called “small angle neutron scattering” at ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor.
"Making a self-repairing msynthetic photoconversion syste is a pretty tall order. The ability to control structure and order in these materials for self-repair is of interest because, as the system degrades, it loses its effectiveness,” ORNL researcher Hugh O’Neill, of the lab’s Center for Structural Molecular Biology, said.
The discovery is not new – ORNL researchers had previously determined the light conversion properties of platinized photosystem I complexes and based their present achievements on this data. “We’re building on the photosynthesis research to explore the development of self-assembly in biohybrid systems. The neutron studies give us direct evidence that this is occurring,” O’Neill said.
Eventually, hydrogen will get transformed into electricity through fuel cells and used to power electric motors. This is yet another points where energy is lost through inefficiency, but I tend to think it’s better to directly generate the gas than generate electricity through solar cells, then turn it into hydrogen and then into electricity again. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
It will be interesting to see what happens with this. Will the large oil companies block this initiative?
Eight years ago, President George W. Bush proposed a $1.2 billion program to help develop fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen storage systems. Now, in 2011, the U.S. still has no hydrogen fuel cell cars in commercial production.
At the State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama stated that his goal is to make the United States the first country with one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
According to Michael Omotoso, director of global powertrain forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates in Troy, Mich., the limited market for short-range compact cars and the high cost of batteries could be real obstacles to reaching Obama’s goal.
The first vehicles planned to be on the road will be the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. General Motors wants to expand its production to 120,000 Volt units by 2012. So far, a total of 19 Leafs and 326 Volts have been sold in the U.S.
As the Energy Information Administration claims, automakers will sell about 281,000 light trucks and electric vehicles from 2011 through 2015.
This is an interesting article:
At a time when economic growth remains elusive for the United States and many other major world economies, Brazil is attracting attention from the global business community because of its strong growth prospects. The Brazilian economy, the largest in Latin America, is expected to grow by 5% in 2010, according to the country’s central bank. That is almost twice the rate expected in the United States — estimated at 2.6% for 2010 and 2011 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). One of the issues companies will need to consider before making any major investments in Brazil, however, is the impact of climate change on future operations.
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Here are some great ideas to help you save money and help the environment at the same time.
Energy costs - financial and environmental
Using electricity to create heat is always an energy intensive exercise; so clothes dryers do tend to be electricity hogs. According to the California Energy Commission, the average clothes dryer will cost around $1,500 to operate over its life span.
Environmentally speaking, the energy consumed by a clothes dryer can be anywhere from 1800 to 5000 watts per hour, or 1.8 to 5KwHr. Given that 1.5 pounds of carbon emissions per kilowatt hour are generated in the production of electricity by a coal fired power station (give or take a bit), over a year this comes to a considerable amount.
Benefits of line drying
The benefits of a solar clothes dryer, aka a clothes line are many; here's just a few:
- Initial outlay is cheaper than a clothes dryer
- No ongoing energy costs
- No greenhouse gas emissions from usage
- The sun helps to kill bacteria
- A fresh smell for your clothes without the use of chemicals
Read more: http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/254/1/Line-drying-and-clothes-lines.html
Here is an interesting article about electric cars...
A transition to electric cars isn’t just a matter of the cars, but also of the infrastructure that goes with them, including public charging stations. The Electric Power Research Institute and the Tennessee Valley Authority plan to cut the ribbon on Tuesday on a prototype of a new kind of charging station, one that uses solar cells and batteries. But they do not work together in quite the way the public might expect.
The initial installation has six parking stalls, one of them extra wide for handicapped drivers, with carport roofs covered with solar panels. There are three refrigerator-size battery packs in a building that is heated and air-conditioned.
Read more on: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/if-you-build-it-will-they-charge/
I read this interesting article about the recent cold snaps in the USA and Europe;
For two winters running, an Arctic chill has descended on Europe, burying that continent in snow and ice. Last year in the United States, historic blizzards afflicted the mid-Atlantic region. This winter the Deep South has endured unusual snowstorms and severe cold, and a frigid Northeast is bracing for what could shape into another major snowstorm this week.
Yet while people in Atlanta learn to shovel snow, the weather 2,000 miles to the north has been freakishly warm the past two winters. Throughout northeastern Canada and Greenland, temperatures in December ran as much as 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Bays and lakes have been slow to freeze; ice fishing, hunting and trade routes have been disrupted.
To learn more go to:
Note: All prices in US Dollars