Archive for best practices

Green Wii

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The National Resources Defense Council released a report yesterday finding that video game consoles use a significant amount of energy, costing up to $134 per year if not shut off when not in use.

The Wii is far and away the most energy efficient model, says this article from Yahoo!. The console uses between $3-$10 per year in energy (depending on habits of turning the console off if not in use).


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Shower Timer

Well ring a bell and make me drool. I thought I was the stubbornest of the untrainable. Even four months of minimal showering in Morocco was not enough to break my junior-high-instilled habit of showering daily. Usually a 10-to-15 minute user, I never thought I could be trained to take a shower in five minutes.

Little did I know.

This amazing little shower timer (stolen from my co-worker’s desk.. hi Laura!) has me whipped into shape! The first day felt rushed, but a week later I was squeaky clean with time to spare. And I have more time to read the Chron in the morning!

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Green Your Apartment

So winter is just around the corner, and most “Green Winter” resources are for homeowners who need to seal their basements up. But what if you want to green up your apartment?

1. Consider composting.
(from Low Impact Living’s Green Apartments)
2. Buy bulk food to cut down on packaging.
(from Humboldt State University’s “12 Ways to Green Up Your Apartment”)
3. Bake, dry hair, cook, and iron in the early morning or late at night when you need the extra heat produced from these activities the most.
(from Apartment Living Think Green)
4. Use your dishwasher, but use it efficiently. It is actually greener than hand washing – it uses 35-37% less energy.
(from Apartment Therapy)
5. Donate your clothes hangers to your local dry cleaner to re-use.
(from Jeff Swett’s Ezine Article Tips for Going Green in Your Apartment)
6. Collect grease, even olive oil, and dispose of it in the trash – not in the sink.
(from CHOW’s Counter Measures: Ten Ways to Green Your Kitchen)
7. Buy your apartment cat a piece of tree.
(okay, this one from Apartment Therapy is silly)
8. Rent a steam cleaner to remove toxins tracked in from the bottoms of your shoes.
(from LA Green Living)
9. Open your windows to ventilate the toxins out.
(from GreenHomeGuide)
10. Get houseplants! They suck up carbon and filter dust and dirt. Amazing.
(from Cookiemag’s Urban Green)

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Oh, Eco Tourism.

EcoEscape is an online green trip planner for travels in the UK.
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) offers training and resources for sustainable travel
and so does the Nature Conservancy.

Now, I tend to shy away from these things. Maybe it’s growing up in Colorado, but I have never had the drive to travel to far away places and look at a mountain or something. Maybe it’s a lack of adventurous spirit. Or maybe it’s the 1990 trip to Cave of the Winds, where a well-meaning tourguide sternly told our group that we shouldn’t touch anything, that our very breathing destroyed the caves a little bit. Sensitive five year old that I was, I tried to hold my breath most of the tour… aaaaaand suddenly you have a very unhappy five year old.
I still remember a guide in the Sahara desert complaining about the Czech tourists throwing water bottles straight into the sand. Cool to see the desert, but even careful me probably had a huge impact on the environment just by living there. Still, I’m happy I’ll die having seen the Sahara. It’s all a balance I guess.

On another note, the Lapa Rios Ecolodge in Costa Rica is powered by pig feces.

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What To Do With a Water Hog Like Me

Confession. I am one of those bad people who take a shower every day.

It’s cosmetic, and silly, but it is one of those things that helps me get through life. So here’s what I do to make it better.

I keep an old yoghurt container and plop it in the shower with me. Then, I use this sullage/greywater to water my houseplants.

At least that’s a pint or so that I’m not completely evilly wasting. I started off with two collectors, but it was more water than I could really use. Someday, I’ll have a garden!

There is this thing called “Bucket” officially designed to harvest greywater, but for now I think I’ll stick with the yoghurt containers.

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Green Up Your Driving Habits

So I have to drive sometimes. Like to take advantage of Home Depot’s plant warrantee (they replace dead plants within a year.. oopsies)… I just can’t walk or bike, and there aren’t busses to go there. I can, however, make the best of things. Behold, top 5 do-able driving best practices to save gas – reducing costs and carbon emissions.

1. Go the speed limit. Herky-jerky stop and start means more gas. Plus, it makes the herky-jerk car behind you delightfully angry, especially here in California.
2. Have good directions and/or call ahead. No aimless driving around!
3. Windows instead of A/C.
4. Keep the tires full and go for regular tune ups. This means your car is operating most efficiently and you’ll use less gas.
5. Take as much stuff out as you can. A heavy load means more gas.

Find out more from TreeHugger’s How To Green Your Car.

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When do you turn your car off for a train?

Q. Do you turn your car off for a train or not?
A. If the train will take more than 30 seconds to pass, yes. Idling for 30 seconds or more uses more gas than re-starting a car.

(From The Green Guide.)

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