Christmas is a great time of year, filled with joy, friends, family, fun and, of course, shopping and gifts.
All of that shopping, wrapping, driving and mailing takes quite a toll on the environment. Each Christmas season, more than 1.9 billion Christmas cards are sent. Those cards require almost 300,000 trees to be cut down. If you laid the cards end to end, they would stretch around the Earth five times. We use over 8,000 tons of wrapping paper, the equivalent of 50,000 trees. Add in 125,000 tons of plastic packaging too. And all of the toys we buy for the kids? Within three months, 41% of them will be broken and thrown away.
The above statistics do not even take into account all of the oil used to create, package and deliver all of the products. If you start to think about it, it becomes pretty easy to see how huge the environmental impact of Christmas can be.
Your personal environmental impact does not have to be that huge though. Luckily there are many ways to have a green Christmas. Here are our top ten tips for a Green Christmas.
We are always talking about new ways to go green and save money. Every 3 or 4 months, we sit down to review our finances to see if there are any expenses we can reduce or ways to do something better, and more green. When we sat down recently to review our expenses, there was one item that stuck out like a sore thumb: cable TV.
Like most families that have cable or satellite TV, we were spending close to $100 per month for cable television service. We had cable service, one cable box, one DVR box and DVR service. Although we do like to unwind some nights by watching some of our favorite shows or movies, $100 per month seemed a pretty steep price to pay for that luxury. So, we started to discuss cutting cable.
However, cutting cable is not an easy decision. It can be nice to be able to plunk down on the couch and watch an hour of TV to relax. Also, our daughter likes to get up early and watch cartoons until we come downstairs for breakfast, which gives us an extra, and much needed, 30 minutes in the morning. However, as we began to think about what it would be like without cable and as I started to research the different options available out there, it turned out that we could greatly reduce our energy use and save money by cutting cable and still be able to watch most of the shows we like.
Are you thinking that it may be time to build a home solar power system on your house? I recently completed an 11 kilowatt solar pv (pv: photo voltaics=electric) home solar power system on my home, and I’d like to share the experience with you.
I had been thinking about installing a home solar power system for several years now. Until recently, though, it has been on the back burner, as life is busy. However, one evening this past spring while I was waiting for my daughter to finish her lacrosse practice at a local high school, I decided to take a walk around the school for a bit of exercise. On my walk, I encountered a couple of the contractors putting solar panels on the roof of the school. I stopped to talk with them and they gave me some great information and advice that got me interested in home solar power again. Read more on Home Solar Power – The Story of One Solar Installation…
Whether you know it or not, there is a vampire loose in your house. However, it is not a traditional vampire that sucks the blood of living creatures. No, this vampire sucks energy out of your electronics and other appliances. He is a tireless worker that sucks energy all day and all night and does not take breaks. All of his energy sucking not only costs you extra money every single day, but also adds more carbon dioxide to the environment and contributes to global warming.
Ever since I can remember, I have used a clothes dryer. It is a modern convenience that we just don’t think about. If you want to dry your clothes, you put them in the dryer. It’s as simple as that. But, like most appliances, dryers use electricity (or natural gas), which produce carbon emissions. Dryers are particularly bad in their energy use and carbon emissions because they have to generate a lot of heat for a long time in order to dry our clothes. But, despite the energy use and carbon emissions, our clothes dryer justs make my life as a Mom easier. So, when Nate asked me to stop using our dryer to see what it would mean to our daily lives and how much money it would save, I was pretty anxious. Read more on Drying Clothes Indoors – An Experiment…
I was trying to explain what electricity was to our daughter and thought of the old Schoolhouse Rock videos. We watched a whole bunch of the Schoolhouse Rocks videos, including “Electricity”, “Three is a Magic Number” and “Conjunction Junction”. However, I thought the best one was “The Energy Blues,” where the earth sings all about the history of energy and how and why we should conserve it.
Our daughter, who loves singing and music, quickly caught on to the tunes and was humming them. I think the songs and videos were pretty effective at explaining pretty complex issues to her in a fairly simple way that is easily remembered because it is set to a cartoon and song.
Apparently, in 2009, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released a Schoolhouse Rock: Earth DVD with ten new Schoolhouse Rock songs about water conservation, recycling and biodiversity. However, the reviews on it are mixed, so you will have to decide for yourself whether it is worth watching.
Summers just seem to keep getting hotter and utility costs seem to keep going up, which has many of you wondering how you can keep your house cooler in the summer without having to run the air conditioning all day long. Luckily, there are many cheap and easy ways to help keep your house cooler during the summer. Read more on Tips to Keep Your House Cooler…
Like many families, when we bought a new refrigerator a couple of years ago, we kept our old one and put it in the garage to use for drinks and extra food. I knew that our old second fridge was not as efficient as a new one, but I thought that, if I kept the temperature settings way down, it would not use all that much electricity.
However, according to several articles I have read recently, having a garage fridge leads to pretty substantial extra power consumption and carbon emissions. Read more on Second Fridge Guilt…
I must admit that I love Google. I am a devoted user of their web search, mapping tools, email, portal and other services. So, when I read that they were branching into household energy use, I was pretty excited. I mean, can you imagine adding a widget to your Google portal that shows your household energy usage? Way cool. Read more on Monitor Home Energy Use…
Winter means shorter and colder days, which means using the heat more and higher utility bills. Many of us often wonder how to keep the house warm in the winter without breaking the bank. Here are five simple and easy tips to keep your home warm during the winter without having to use the heat. Read more on How to Keep the House Warm in Winter…