By K. Emily Bond
Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod, left Apple last year to revolutionize the thermostat. Hot, huh? But not too.
Did you know that heating and cooling costs take up half of our monthly household energy bills? That's as much as the refrigerator, lighting, TVs, computers, and stereos combined. Thermostats are in control of all that usage. In the United States, thermostats determine 10% of our consumed energy usage overall, which equals some 1.7 billion barrels of oil per year.
The thermostat is boxy and stout and not nearly as sleek as a brand new Energy Star icebox, but it is an essential tool in the fight against climate change. Nevertheless, need it look so plain and utilitarian?
Heck no, says Fadell who founded Nest Labs upon his departure from Apple. In October, they released their first product: the world's sexiest thermostat.
At $249 it's expensive and, by some accounts, a bit tricky to install. Nest however, is smarter than your average thermostat in
heroRead More »from Meet Nest, the World's Sexiest Thermostat
By Lori Bongiorno
Packaged salads are certainly convenient, but they’re not nearly as clean as their "pre-washed" and "triple-washed" labels suggest. Ready Pac Foods recently recalled more than 5,000 cases of bagged greens in 15 states because E. coli bacteria showed up in tests. Consumer Reports’ tests found bacteria “that are common indicators of poor sanitation and fecal contamination” in many of the packaged salad greens it tested last year.
No one is suggesting that you stop eating salad. Just take some of the precautions below to make sure you're eating the safest greens possible:
- Always wash salad greens, even if the bag says "prewashed" or "triple-washed." Rinsing won't remove all the bacteria, according to Consumer Reports, but it may remove residual soil. Washing with plain water works as well as anything else, says Nestle. There's no need to use detergent, vinegar, or special produce washes.
- Buy packaged greens as far from their expiration
By Trystan L. Bass
Most Americans love a burger, but we also know there can be too much of a good thing. Studies continually point out that eating a lot of meat leads to heart disease and cancer. Plus, worldwide livestock farming creates 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions -- that's a little bit more than the world's transportation emissions. But it's pretty easy to improve our health and the planet's and still enjoy our food.
The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health suggests we go meatless on Mondays. Just one day a week without meat can reduce your consumption of saturated fat by 15% and reduce your chances of heart disease. Scientists estimate that if every American lowered meat consumption by just 20%, it would lower greenhouse gasses as much as if everyone in the country switched to driving Toyota Priuses (and think how much cheaper and easier eating less meat is!).
The Meatless Monday website is chock full of tasty recipes and tips for making healthy meals basedRead More »from Go Meatless Just One Day a Week
Computer power switchBy Lori Bongiorno
It's well-known that most electronic devices in our homes are sucking up energy even while they are turned off. But for all the information out there, many questions remain. People have heard about this "vampire power" usage, but they're not sure how big a deal it is and what they should do about it.
Below are answers to the five most common questions about vampire power:
Which electronic devices waste the most energy when they are turned off but still plugged in?
Set-top cable boxes and digital video recorders (DVRs) are some of the biggest energy hogs. Unfortunately, there's little consumers can do since television shows can't be taped if boxes are unplugged. It also typically takes a long time to reboot boxes.
However, some of the other major consumers of standby power are more easily dealt with: computers, multifunction printers, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, VCRs, CD players, power tools, and hand-held vacuums. The Lawrence Berkeley NationalRead More »from Energy Vampires: Fact Versus Fiction
Green is the grass and tree. Sky in the dark becomes blue. So many mistakes humans make of this planet Makes me want to scream green until my life is through. Like this poem? I wrote it because there is only so much a person can do in one day. As I was driving along the highway, some one had lost about 50 pounds of garbage. Over two weeks I went by and still nothing was done. So I got some gloves and sunglasses. I put on the oldest nasty clothes I could find, parked way off the road for safety and picked up their trash. I think 300 cars and trucks passed me by.Read More »from Scream Green
I live in Texas. People love to throw stuff out of windows here. We have burned road side fires from people throwing out the filter of ignited carbon monoxide inhalers. People throw beer bottles at road signs for fun. I am speaking of grown men. We have paid people who go out and clean up.
We have too many rules. We have to call and get government permission to burn old wood piles out here in the Country. Too much government
By Melissa Breyer, Care2
Did someone say cold and flu season? Just as sniffling and sneezing is beginning to invade schools and offices across the land, a new series of tests in six major U.S. cities reveals the dirtiest surfaces Americans touch. The results, released by Kimberly-Clark Professional, show which surfaces are most likely to be highly contaminated, potentially exposing people to illness-causing bacteria.
The testing was conducted by hygienists in busy locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia. Using a device commonly used to monitor sanitary conditions in industry, hygienists tested the objects to measure levels of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Everyday objects with an ATP reading of 300 or higher are considered to have a high risk for illness transmission. In all, more than 350 separate swabs were taken and analyzed.
The percentage of public surfaces tested and found to have high levels of contamination (an ATP count of 300 orRead More »from Top Seven Dirtiest Surfaces
By Lori Bongiorno
Shopping online can save you time and is much less stressful than battling the crowds at the mall. It's also better for the planet than making a dedicated trip to the store, but it can be a real hassle to get rid of the resulting packaging, which can really pile up.
As much as halfof the 85 million tons of paper products Americans consume every year goes toward packaging, wrapping, and decorating goods, according to Earth 911.
Here are some tips for tackling it with a clear conscience:
You have many options for reusing bubble wrap. Set it aside for another time when you need to ship something fragile, if you have the room to store it. Or give it to someone who has a use for it now. Try listing bubble wrap on Freecycle or in the free stuff section of Craigslist, or bring it to your local mailing center (such as the UPS Store or Mail Boxes Etc).
Otherwise, try clever ways to reuse bubble wrap such as keeping produce fresh longer,Read More »from How to Get Rid of Annoying Packaging
By Trystan L. Bass
Everybody loves a roaring fire in the winter -- the picture is immortalized on holiday cards, and the smell of wood smoke evokes the season for many people.
But can a wood-burning fireplace really heat the house? Will you save money by stoking the flames? What about that smoke filling the air? Get the facts before you pile on another log.
Fire is humankind's oldest form of heat, but that doesn't mean it's the most efficient or cleanest. According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, about 27 million American homes feature conventional masonry fireplaces. But this study (PDF) found that these traditional fireplaces are the least effective means to heat a room.
A conventional open radiant fireplace has a thermal efficiency of a mere 7%. Most of the heat escapes straight up the chimney. Various estimates show that firewood costs more one to four times more than electricity or natural gas per 1,000 BTUs of energy created. The traditionalRead More »from Fireplace Myths Busted
Are Homemade Solar Panels Possible, Economical, and Useful?Read More »from Homemade Solar Panel
With energy prices rising steadily over the last few decades and no reason to think they'll fall anytime soon, many homeowners are exploring the option of powering their homes with renewable, or "green", power systems. The two most common home green energy systems are wind turbines and solar panels. Of these two, solar energy panels have emerged as the most popular, due to their solid-state nature - meaning that with fewer moving parts, they require less maintenance over the years.
Unfortunately, installing a solar power system in your home can be prohibitively expensive. Having pre-made solar power panels professionally installed costs at least $3000 - and the price tag only rises quickly from there. To reduce this huge cost, many homeowners are exploring the possibility of building and installing their own homemade solar panels. You may be one of them.Read Full Story>>>
heritage turkeysBy Trystan L. Bass
While the pilgrims might have eaten some fowl at the first Thanksgiving, historians doubt the original American colonists had a turkey dinner with any of the trimmings we'd recognize today.
But if you want your holiday dinner to have a little authentic history -- and be kinder to the earth -- order a heritage turkey this Thanksgiving. These varieties have changed little from their 19th-century forebearers and don't have a lot of the ills associated with more recent, mass-produced birds.
Heritage turkeys have long lifespans, mate naturally, and grow slowly. They're smaller than the modified birds because they don't have overdeveloped breasts, and heritage birds have a more balanced ratio of white and dark meat.
Farmers usually raise heritage turkeys "free range" so they get a richer, game-like flavor, plus the meat is leaner. Most, but not all heritage turkeys are organic, so make sure to ask.
Search for heritage turkey farms in your state on LocalRead More »from Old-fashioned, Eco-friendly Turkeys
- 10 Self-Help Books for the New GenerationMon, Feb 4, 2013 6:38 PM EST
- Do You Have the Most Vivid Memories from Your Life from Age 15 to 25?Tue, Feb 5, 2013 11:35 AM EST
- Is Your Gym Making You Sick?Tue, Feb 5, 2013 10:10 AM EST
- Better Together: 4 Reasons Why I'm Glad My Kids Share a RoomTue, Feb 5, 2013 2:51 PM EST
- Is Lisa Ling's Father a Pothead?Tue, Feb 5, 2013 3:29 PM EST
- Nerding Out in Nature: One Smart Phone. Two Kids. Tons of FunTue, Feb 5, 2013 3:07 PM EST
- PHOTOS: The Best Chevron Wedding DetailsTue, Feb 5, 2013 1:42 PM EST
- Roadblocks to Intimacy--and How to Get Around ThemMon, Feb 4, 2013 6:50 PM EST
- How to Conquer Your 10 Biggest Marriage FearsFri, Feb 22, 2013 3:23 PM EST