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Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

A new ecological community, Rancho San Roque, is being developed in the foothills of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano in Costa Rica.  The developer has engaged the services of The Project Office (TPO) to manage the project; Deppat to create the master plan; and Zurcher Architects to create the architectural detail for a private residential community in harmony with nature.  Each of the 37 fully-titled lots available for purchase has at least 1.25-acres (5000M2) and incorporates sweeping views of the Guanacaste countryside, enjoying cool mountain air and rich volcanic soil.

Residents will enjoy the tranquility of country living with the convenience of modern services.  Located in Cañas Dulces – only 30 minutes from Liberia – where modern shopping, fine dining, and premium services are abundant.  The international airport in Liberia is just 40 minutes away, and some of Costa Rica’s best white-sand beaches and fishing are also an easy drive from the community.

Rancho San Roque is situated at a comfortable 1500 feet above sea level, offering fresh cool mountain breezes.  The area is host to a growing number of ecotourism facilities such as Buena Vista Adventure Center and Spa, which offers adventure sports such as canopy tours, rappelling, waterslides, horseback riding, hiking, thermal spa baths, and much more.  A high-end eco-resort, Borinquen Mountain Spa, showcases hot springs, a luxury hotel, restaurants, nature trails, and many more attractions within just minutes of the community.  The community is also located within minutes from the planned Guanacaste Country Club designed by Jack Nicklaus and being developed by a U.S. group that includes Frank Biden (Joe Biden’s brother).

“Most of the development in Guanacaste has happened at the beaches, but an increasing number of full-time expats find it to be too hot and too touristy,” said Dan Harris the CEO of The Project Office. “That is why we chose a tranquil country setting with a cooler climate for our community.  We’re in a laid-back rural area, yet still close to all modern services and amenities in Liberia.”

The city of Liberia is continually expanding with modern services.  Several banks, shopping centers and restaurants make up the town center along with the Home Depot-style hardware store called the Do It Center.  Large commercial developers are betting that Liberia becomes the business capital of northern Costa Rica, similar to the Central Valley, as evidenced by the million square-meter Solarium office industrial complex.  Furthermore, the best hospital in Central America, CIMA Hospital San Jose, has plans to build a new full-scale private hospital in Liberia.

Rancho San Roque will engage in a permaculture project to restore the pastureland, and will feature a community center with a pool and fitness center, walking trails through orchards, a greenhouse, organic gardens and aquaculture ponds.  The rich volcanic soil is perfect for gardening where the project aims to produce fresh organic vegetables, many fruit and nuts, fresh-water fish, chickens and eggs for the residents.

“Our goal is to restore the land with an edible forest and permaculture gardens producing healthy food security for residents” Harris added. “The intention of permaculture is not only to produce food, but also give immeasurable benefits to the environment while creating a beautiful and diverse landscape to enjoy.”

All environmental permitting is in place and all lots are ready to sell with clear title.  The developers are encouraging alternative energy such as wind and solar power, but are providing electric grid service in the community.  Satellite TV is readily available and high-speed Internet will be on site creating a fully connected community.

Each lot comes with a Costa Rica corporation allowing for clean transfers with low fees, and gives buyers a vehicle to obtain cell phones and other utilities.  The community is currently one of the best values in Costa Rica starting at $50,000 during the development phase. Financing is available with 40% down at 8% interest for 5 years ($20K down, $608/mth).

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by T. Caine

There are a number of encouraging examples of cities trying to slowly evolve themselves into a vision of urban sustainability.

Implementing bike infrastructure, upgrading the ecology of alternative transit, increasing recycling and addressing the state of our energy production systems are all noteworthy efforts being tackled by numerous cities around the world. But despite the show of goodwill, there are other examples that force one to wonder if we are simply taking two steps back for each that we take forward. The city of Dubai, rising in defiance to the surrounding environment of coastal deserts in the United Arab Emirates, stands as the hallmark of a digressing trend taking us farther away from the goals of a new cultural reality. As a poster child of modern ingenuity driven by the perpetual desire of humanity for unbounded excess, the city of Dubai casts a long shadow over our path to a greener future.

Originally sited for its coastal access to shipping trade, the city has exploded infinitely from its historical size. With the discovery of oil in the mid 1960’s money flooded into the region, beginning to fill coffers that could one day be leveraged to lift life and prosperity out of the sands. Over the past quarter-century Dubai has fashioned itself as a temple to the unusual feats of how nature can be bested by humanity. Islands can be coaxed to rise from the sea. Mountains of snow can sit amidst lashing heat. The world’s tallest tower can sit in the sand and be visible for miles around.While the city lacks a Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center or its own Universal Studios, make no mistake–the creation is just another Disneyland, an attraction meant to draw people from around the world to be awed and impressed at the surreal.

Building:

Prone to sudden, heavy rains, sandstorms and hot, arid temperatures, the surrounding landscape has provided no shortage of reasons for why not to build a city in the desert, but the gait of the government-funded movement has been unfettered. The fact that sand is not the ideal medium for siting high-rise development did nothing to temper the race to build a current estimated stock of 43.6 million square feet of office space. One thing that natural ecosystems and capitalism have in common is a concept of supply and demand, equalizing forces that help balance population or production. Dubai, however, seemed to ignore such indicators given that according to Jones Lang LeSalle, the current vacancy rate for its commercial space is near 33%–a number that could rise as high as 65% with the new construction projects already in the pipeline. For comparison, the vacancy rate for office space in New York City was 11.1% in January and falling.

Of course, the crown jewel of Dubai’s high rise bonanza is Burj Khalifa, formerly known as the Burj Dubai and designed by architecture firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill. Towering 2,625 feet into the air, the building boasts the title of the tallest structure in the world. Amongst the 160 floors is a combination of residences, commercial office space, an observation deck and the Armani Hotel. Undeniably, the building is a testament to the capabilities of engineering. Getting glass and steel to stand a half-mile into the air in the middle of the desert is no easy task, one accomplished by using 110,000 tonnes of concrete to pour 192 piles that descend 540′ below the surface. Given the height of the building and high temperatures during the day, the pumping and pouring of the higher concrete floors was done at night where the curing process could be more gradual to avoid cracking and subsequent future instability. All impressive achievements, but necessary?

And yet within months of opening, the observation deck at the tower has already been closed to tourists indefinitely while precise reasons for the closure were unspecified. I found one tourist’s disappointment rather ironic. “It was the one thing I really wanted to see. The tower was projected as a metaphor for Dubai. So the metaphor should work. There are no excuses.’’ On the contrary, I think that the fact that the tower is a metaphor for Dubai is exactly why it does not work. It is a city destined to be punished for its misguided battle against an inexhaustible force: nature.

Water:

dubai villaA picture of water conservation

Unsurprisingly, there is not enough natural water to supply a city of over 2 million people in the desert. Instead taking such an impediment as cause for consideration, the city looked to the oceans. As of 2007, the city had a desalination capacity of 188 million gallons per day. Ocean desalination is a fleeting attempt at cheating the climate, requiring enormous amounts of energy. In her essay featured on The Oil Drum, former Mayor of Huntington Beach, CA, Deborah Cook notes that “The next worst idea to turning tar sands into synthetic crude is turning ocean water into municipal drinking water. Sounds great until you zoom in on the environmental costs and energetic consequences…There is no more energy intensive water source than ocean desalination.” It is important to note that Dubai residents are not exactly the image of conservation. With their swimming pools, fountains and lush green lawns, the emirate used 10% more water than the average American (formerly the largest consumer in the world) and six times more per capita than nearby Jordan as of 2009. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and gas will be used to power these efforts in the years to come.

The World Wonders of Excess:

And then there are the islands. Oh, the islands. Construction began on the Palm Jumeirah island in June 2001. 94 million cubic meters of sands, 7 million tonnes of rock and $12 billion later, we have artificial islands in the shape of a palm tree. Eventually the island will be joined by the finished likenesses of Palm Deira and Palm Jebel Ali. At this point, Dubai World would not have to worry about being outdone by foreign endeavors (who else would build islands in the middle of the ocean) so they had to resort to trumping themselves. Started in 2003, the 300 world islands have risen from the waters only to halt in construction as Dubai developer Nahkeel recoils from $26 billion in debt.We can only hope it is never repaid.

world and palm islandsEach of these islands requires the dredging of the ocean floor to lift sand up onto its new home. The damage to the aquatic ecosystems in the form of waste, pollution and noise must be far-reaching. Not to mention we have already seen what can happen when people decide to build a city on a Louisiana swamp lying somewhere in the vicinity of sea-level. While the coast of Dubai may not be in a prime path for hurricanes, creating a series of islands against the natural correlation of water movement in the middle of the ocean is destined to have future problems of maintenance and structural issues. We are in a world where regardless of the fact that island nations are at risk of being eradicated due to rising sea levels, oil funds are put towards building new islands in the water.

Perhaps the only thing that can trump the world’s tallest tower and man-made islands is Ski Dubai, an interior ski resort fashioned right in the middle of the desert. The experience comes equipped with multiple trails, life-like snow, chair lifts and temperatures of -5 degrees Celsius. Once again, the structure is architecturally impressive due to the level of engineering required to keep snow from melting with outside temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius (that’s 122 degrees Fahrenheit.) The wall is actually a double-skin construction with two high-insulating layers separated by an air-gap that serves as a buffer for heat transmission. In theory the system is similar to a double-skin glass curtain wall like the one in One Bryant Park that faces the New York Public Library and holds small interior gardens. Nevertheless, it should have been enough to know that such a feat could be accomplished. There is no pride to be taken from achieving a luxury at a limitless cost of energy and resources.

As an oasis of extravagance built as a tourist trap, Dubai is a frightening reality. There is no better urban example of disregard to the environment as it resets the limit of how far from rational evolution we will travel before we decide to turn around and retrace our steps. This is not the example we should be setting for developing nations who may soon encounter the ability to craft their own cities in the landscape. I find any mention of “sustainability” linked to this city insulting and degrading. Such efforts are beyond simply “greenwashing,” but rather dipping a project in a vat of green tinted resin before dumping the waste into a landfill built over an aquifer.

But we can travel up 160 floors on elevators going 25mph to look out over a series of islands completed fabricated by humans! Aren’t you impressed? Quite simply, no. I already have the utmost of confidence in humanity’s abilities in science and technology without wasting $4 billion to make a giant spire in the desert. Perhaps there is a silver lining yet. Dubai’s very existence epitomizes the opposite of sustainability. Its logical course is destined for failure with 25% of its economy based on property and construction–a service that is limited and threatened by rising vacancies and a world recession. Such an urban downfall may help hit home the concept of such hollow endeavors and help justify the efforts of local cities to distance themselves away from new urban theme parks. Maybe the loss of billions of dollars in investment capital may help lenders not make the same mistake again when some group of innovators decide they want to build a resort at the bottom of the ocean or open golf course on the slopes of a volcano or plant a massive orange grove on the peaks of the French Alps.

Photo Credits: laughingsquid.com, kiwipulse.com

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By Alex Leff
Tico Times Staff | aleff@ticotimes.net

A new Costa Rican solar power plan will see the light of day thanks to an approximately $9 million gift from Japan, officials from both countries said this week.

The “Project to Introduce Clean Energy through Solar Electrical Generation,” proposed last year by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), will enable Costa Rica to have its first solar power plant, which officials expect will help steer Costa Rica closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by the year 2021.

The first phase of the plan is called the “Miravalles Solar Project,” which will join ICE geothermal and wind power plant in Miravalles, in the northwest province of Guanacaste. ICE officials said the state-run institute has enough land there to install a micro solar generator capable of cranking out 400 kilowatts, which will help provide electricity for rural communities in the region.

Phase 2 of the plan – the “Solar Sabana Pilot Project” – will be built at the ICE headquarters in the western San José neighborhood of Sabana Norte. Workers will install solar panels on the institute’s high-rise building to “show residents of the greater metropolitan area the possibilities offered by solar energy,” according to a statement from ICE.

The institute has not set a date for these projects to start, as both phases are pending final details of the donation, ICE said.

Costa Rican Foreign Ministry officials expressed gratitude for the donation from the “nation of the rising sun,” Japan.

“This cooperation will allow us to achieve 100 percent use of clean, renewable energy, reducing part of our carbon emissions, with the goal of being the first developing country to become carbon neutral by the year 2021,” Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said at the signing ceremony.

The donation comes through Japan’s Cool Earth Partnership, which is a $10 billion program to “cooperate actively with developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions, such as efforts to enhance energy efficiency,” according to the program’s Web site.

“I hope through our cooperation that friendly nations such as Costa Rica can have access to technologies developed in Japan to combat climate change and achieve their objectives,” said Japanese Ambassador to Costa Rica Hidekazu Yamaguchi, who signed the agreement Tuesday along with Stagno.

Renewable energy – whether through hydroelectric, geothermal or wind power – makes up 94.6 percent of the total energy generated for Costa Rican consumption, according to Roger Carvajal, director of ICE’s Corporate University Division.

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From Inside Costa Rica

India’s state, Himachal Pradesh, would replicate the Costa Rica model for protecting Himalayan ecology by conserving the environmental conditions, said Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal at the concluding ceremony of the International Conference on Environment in San José, Costa Rica.

According to an official release, Prof Dhumal said Costa Rica and Himachal Pradesh had many a similarities in climatic conditions and added that mutual exchange of expertise was bound to result in achieving the objective of emerging carbon neutral State of the Country in near future.

Emphasizing that ecological conditions of the State had direct impact upon rest of the northern states of the country, he said out of total geographical area of 55,674 sq km, 37,033 sq km was under forest cover. Of the total 45 thousand plant species 3,295, making 7.32 per cent were in Himachal Pradesh.

Prof Dhumal said a major chunk of population of the state inhabited in rural area and the forests had been contributing significantly in absorption of the green house gases to maintain ecological balance in the northern region of the country.

The Chief Minister, while maintaining that Himachal Pradesh was leading in education in the Country with the highest literacy rate, he said people were aware about environment protection a an important subject.

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By The Daily Green Staff
The Apple Tablet (or iSlate, or the iPad, perhaps… no one yet knows) will be unveiled Wednesday, and there’s rampant speculation about what it will look like, what it will do, what apps will work on it … which publishers will make their print publications available on it, whether or not it will help or destroy the book, magazine and/or newspaper industries … and, of course, what Steve Jobs will call it.

What is it? Well, that’s another little detail we don’t know for sure. Newsweek‘s Tectonic Shifts blog put it like this: “After early speculation that the gadget would be a ‘Kindle killer,’ a gaming device, or just a really big iPhone, it appears possible that the Apple slate will be … all of the above.” (The writer then readily admits that the description is just speculation based on speculation.)

What seems clear is that Apple will offer up a new electronic device, bigger than a phone and smaller than a laptop, that performs many of the functions of both, with an added bonus: an e-reader for those aging old print products, like newspapers, magazines and books. (You know, the media that still produce most of the relevant news the rest of us talk about.)

The Daily Green wanted to add some speculation: Is this is a game changer for the environment?

The death of printed media would be an awful thing for a lot of our friends, but it would save about 125,000 trees annually. That’s a lot of trees — enough that a book reader who burns through one new book every two weeks would pay off the environmental debt created by an e-reader in just a year (at least as measured in carbon dioxide emissions). That’s according to a Cleantech analysis that measured the relative impact of e-readers, using the Amazon Kindle as its test case. Of course, because Amazon doesn’t make plain just how resource-intensive the Kindle is, and because many people read fewer than two books a month (or choose borrowed, used or library books rather than buying new hardcovers) the analysis has inspired some persuasive skepticism by Raz Godelnik, CEO of Eco-Libris, an organization trying to reduce the environmental impact of reading. But he’s optimistic about the Apple tablet.

“Although we have had the Kindle and other reading devices around for over two years, we still can’t say if these devices are better for the environment compared to the traditional paper books,” Godelnik said. “We’re still waiting for a life cycle assessment that will tell us if e-readers are greener or not, and one of the reasons we don’t have it yet is that the current manufacturers don’t seem to be willing to provide all the necessary information required for such an assessment. My guestimation is that they just don’t see too much importance in proving that digital books not only save paper, but are actually better for the environment. We hope Apple will look at it differently.”

But one shouldn’t consider only displaced print media in the tablet equation, according to both Godelnik and Christopher P. Conway, of GreenT Digital.

“What you’re going to see is these devices will replace netbooks and laptops, and the Kindle and the nook,” Conway said. “A lot of people may have it be their primary means of accessing the Internet. I think that’s very positive.”

“These devices are 3G-enabled,” Conway added. “It is a game changer. People could stop getting cable Internet at home. If you could do all your social media, emailing, accessing photos … what is really left that you need a desktop or laptop for?” And with those clunky desktops and laptops goes large demands for precious metals and plastics (replacing a 5 or 10-pound laptop or 30-pound desktop with a one-pound tablet) as well as energy (replacing as much as 100 watts of energy demand with as little as 1 watt).

So then, there is some real potential for the Apple Tablet (or whatever it might be called, or whatever tablet manufacturer wins the hearts of the most users) to reduce the strain on the environment caused by both our print and electronic habits … if, that is, it is built smartly and responsibly and we change our existing habits. A big part of the growth in electricity demand in the past decade is the proliferation of electronic devices. A big part of the toxic waste stream is the e-waste from all those discarded last-generation devices. Will we substitute the tablet for our other electronics?

If you are ready to get rid of an old cell phone, laptop, iPhone, digital camera or other electronic device and want to harvest some cash in exchange for it, one option is NextWorth, which will pay you for your old phone. Other recycling options include Dyscern, a 2009 Heart of Green award winner, these four charity cell phone recyclers, and the electronics manufacturers themselves.

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By Shane Brennan Inside Costa Rica

The dreams of the Global Renewable Energy Education Network Team transformed into reality over winter break when their renewable energy program in Costa Rica launched its pilot session.

Students landed at the San José airport on Jan. 5 and spent 12 days learning and applying renewable energy ideas, enjoying the environment and giving back to the locals.

“Despite having busy days learning different types of energy sources, we would go out and take on adventures which dealt [with] what we learned,” said Melissa Lee, one of the three founders of the GREEN Team. “For example, for geothermal energy, we went to the hot springs near the hotel.”

Ben Lapidus, another team founder, said the Costa Rican natives were also part of the experience.
“The locals were so interested in what we were doing, and the different adventures that we went on really offered a different environment that no classroom could create,” said Lapidus, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

The trip allowed students to give back to the local community, Lee said.

“We were able to give back to them by developing a rain collection system for a poverty stricken family,” said Lee, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “We left a lasting impression in Costa Rica, and helping out the locals was our favorite part.”

The program concluded with presentations by pairs of students who reflected on what they learned and how to incorporate their ideas back home.

Overall, the pilot session received positive feedback from the 15 students who traveled.
School of Arts and Sciences junior Dinesh Rai was glad she took the opportunity to learn and volunteer abroad.

“It definitely is a lot more fun than book learning. I would not be so motivated to learn more on my own if it was in a traditional classroom setting,” Rai said. “Looking at everything was awesome. The people, culture and country were amazing.”

School of Arts and Sciences junior Krista Bono said one particular activity, The Capstone Project, put what she learned into action.

“It helped us see things in different perspectives and really think about what we experienced over the past couple of days,” Bono said.

The program also enabled students to earn three credits.

“Costa Rica was amazing, and the program allowed me to learn much more than I would have been able to because it was hands-on and more beneficial than a classroom,” said Brady Halligan, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior.

The GREEN Team was created based on three pillars, said founder Mike Naumov.

“Education, adventure and culture is what this program is all about,” said Naumov, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

The trip’s itinerary was set up so the students could experience all three aspects, Lee said.
Lapidus is optimistic of the program’s future because of its popularity and the recent awareness for environmental protection.

“[Going] green is becoming a big trend. There are going to be a lot of job opportunities opening up for all majors,” Lapidus said. “Our goal is to create a program which will harvest awareness and teach students the major impact it will have.”

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Frugality and quality are the new mantras in our changing world. Gone are the days of “the one with the most toys wins.” And good riddance. Earth911 has put together 10 simple things each of us can do to conserve, not only to save the environment, but to regain an appreciation for the things on which our lives depend.

by Earth911

How can you go green at home? Here are 10 simple steps to green up your life and change the planet.  (Photo: Schipul.com)

1. Buy Only What You Need

  • Plain and simple—don’t over purchase.
  • However, when buying items that you use daily or in large quantities, consider buying in bulk. You will save money and packaging. Consider splitting bulk purchases with neighbors or friends to get that savings but not the full quantity of the purchase. Sometimes we can’t always use 50 rolls of toilet paper!

    Going green doesn’t have to require a ton of money or time. Simple changes to your daily routine can make all the difference.

2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!

  • Earth911 offers recycling, reuse and proper disposal options for more than 250 different materials, everything from plastic bags to construction materials.
  • Remodeling? Don’t forget to look for recycling and reuse programs for your household items—windows, doors, tile, etc. New technology has enabled some companies to recycle old porcelain toilets and tubs into beautiful counter tops and tile.
  • Don’t forget the last step in the recycling loop—buy recycled! In order for recycling to be sustainable, we need to purchase recycled-content materials! Look for and purchase post-consumer recycled content packaging and products whenever possible.

3. Change a Light, Change the World

  • When your incandescent light bulbs stop working, replace them with the new, energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) CFLs use 2/3 less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and last 10 times longer. Making this switch will save you money and energy.
  • Some incandescent light bulbs may contain mercury, so remember to dispose of both properly at your local household hazardous waste facility.
  • Take the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR pledge to save energy and help reduce the risks of global climate change by replacing at least one light in your home with an ENERGY STAR qualified one.

4. Bag It Up the Green Way

  • Plastic bags are getting the “thumbs down” in several communities around the country because of litter problems. When going to the store, consider bagging your own groceries in cloth, reusable bags. Many stores sell reusable bags and charge to provide plastic grocery bags.
  • When walking your dog and cleaning up after then, use a biodegradable bag rather than a plastic bag.
  • If you decide to use plastic bags, remember to recycle them. Thousands of locations are available across the country.

5. Green Your Gadgets

Electronics become “outdated” so much more quickly than 10 or 20 years ago. To insure you are responsible with your gadgets, consider doing the following:

  • Resist the urge to upgrade every time a “newer” or “cooler” gadget comes out. Reduce at the source—you save money and the time (and frustration) to learn how to operate and program the new gadget.
  • Donate working electronics to charities or school programs resell or refurbish them.
  • Completely broken? Recycle! Electronics are the new “hot” item being recycled across the country.
  • Refill or recycle your inkjet or toner cartridges.
  • Close the recycling loop and buy recycled, post-consumer content paper for your printer. Most local office supply stores, such as Staples, offer a growing selection of environmentally friendly papers.
  • Keep in mind even computer game equipment and iPods now have reuse and recycling programs available. G4 TV offers a new campaign encouraging e-gadget reuse and recycling.

6. Make Every Drop Count

Even though 70 percent of the world is covered by water, we should conserve all that we can. Here are some quick tips to save that last drop:

  • Turn off the water faucet when brushing your teeth.
  • Use your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full. Try to avoid small, partial loads.
  • Compost food scraps instead of using your garbage disposal. You’ll save gallons of water every time and have a great soil amendment for your garden.
  • Clean your driveway or sidewalk with a broom instead of hosing it down with water. You’ll save at least 80 gallons of water every time.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw food.

7. Turn Up the Savings

  • A few degrees can make all the difference in your energy savings and your wallet. In the summer raise your thermostat two degrees. In the winter lower your thermostat two degrees. You probably won’t notice the difference, at least until your utility bill arrives!
  • Use a ceiling fan to cool off a room or house. It consumes as little energy as a 60-watt bulb, which is about 98 percent less energy than most central air conditioners.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to better regulate the temperature in your house through the day and night. Remember to recycle your old, mercury containing thermostats.
  • When replacing an appliance, be sure to look for one that is more energy efficient. Always look for the ENERGY STAR symbol and compare water and energy usage to ensure you get the best product and environmental savings to suit your needs.

8. Clear the Air

  • Carpool, ride the bus, use public transportation or bike to work
  • Telecommute. Employee productivity will increase.
  • Trip chain! Save fuel and time by planning ahead and consolidating trips into one trip. Also, vow to only go to certain, far away stores less frequently.
  • Keep your tires inflated to the appropriate air pressure level. This will extend the life of your tires and give you better gas mileage.
  • Drive the speed limit.
  • Service your car on a regular basis per the manufacturer guidelines.
  • In the market for a new car? Consider one of the new hybrid or fuel efficient vehicles.

9. Save A Tree

  • Save paper, time and postage, and pay your bills online.
  • As the price of paper cards and postage increases, consider e-mailing e-cards.
  • When printing documents, print on both sides of paper. You can cut your paper consumption almost in half.
  • E-mail documents and information instead of printing and mailing them.
  • Save documents on your computer or on a disk instead of in a print copy in your filing cabinet. You’ll free up lots of space.

10. Home Sweet Home

  • Clotheslines are making a comeback. Dry your clothes on the line instead of in the dryer. They will smell better, and you will save money.
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. They can be used over and over again and thrown in with your weekly load of towels.
  • Make your own less toxic cleaning alternatives using baking soda, soap and vinegar.
  • When repainting a room, be sure to look for paint that is low VOC (volatile organic compounds). Several manufacturers now offer VOC paints and they don’t leave that paint fume smell.
  • Open the doors and windows to let the fresh air in! Indoor air quality is often times worse than the air outside. Open doors and windows daily to circulate fresh air in and germs and smells out.

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