Greening the Holidays, Part 2
We love the twinkling glow of holiday lights. But, at Terralogos, we started looking at them a little differently when we realized their beauty comes at some expense – both to our wallets and the environment.
Fortunately, our elves came up with some great tips, which give us the twinkle without the added expenses.
Turn ‘em Off
When I was young, my Dad, with much pomp, bestowed upon me the coveted position of Holiday Light Lighter. At eight, I was honored by his confidence in me and excited by the power of the plug. Let there be light!
It was really cool . . . for the first few days. Then, it became just another chore, and an especially obnoxious one when it was rainy or cold or both = snow. Unplugging was never fun.
Now I use a timer. Set it once and forget it. They always come on at dusk, whether I’m home or not, and they always go off at midnight. I save money and my lights last longer too.
Timers are inexpensive and easy to use. Then, give your kids the honorable position of Window Shade Dropper instead.
Get Better Lights
Reduce the size of your holiday lights from the ones the size of your thumb to the icicle ones that are the size of your fingernail. And/or reduce the quantity – less is more. This will reduce the amount of electricity used and resulting environmental impact.
Even better, switch to LEDs. They use from ¼ to 1/100th the amount of energy of conventional lights. According to the DOE, U.S. households could save $410 million if everyone used LED lights. That’s an awful lots of presents!
All of MOM’s stores will take the lights from Black Friday, 11/29 until January 31st.
Lights should be “bare”, meaning no boxes, packing material or things to bind them together. Click here for the details on MOM’s program.
This is the 4th year MOM’s has partnered with HolidayLEDs.com for this service. Last year, they recycled 64,237 feet of holiday lights, enough to string up Mt. Everest and back down again.
More Holiday Tips
While researching about lights, our elves found this great article with another 8 energy saving tips.
Plus, check out our blog from last year on greening your holiday in ways besides energy.
We encourage everyone to make this year’s holidays a little greener – together we’ll make a difference.
From the TerraLogos-Efficient Home team,
we wish you and your loved ones much joy this holiday season.
Reducing Winter Energy Use Without Hurting Yourself
As the days get colder, we start worrying about our winter energy bills. They can get pretty scary. We’d all like to generate more heat for the same price. So, many of us start thinking of creative ways to do this.
Unfortunately, sometimes we come up with some really bad ideas for ways to save money.
Building science expert, Bill Dove, discusses nine common mistakes people have tried in an effort to save on winter energy bills. Not only does he explain why these ideas don’t save money, but also that these attempts can be dangerous.
Clearly Energy Makes it Easy
A recent Baltimore Sun Article exposed the scams some energy suppliers are running on their customers. We wanted to share a new tool that will help you avoid these scams.
ClearlyEnergy provides a new service that empowers Marylanders to make the best decisions when switching electricity providers. We asked ClearlyEnergy’s co-founder, Norma Jean Autry to guest blog about their web tool.
You Can Choose
Maryland is one of the 16 states that has deregulated its electrical supply system.
In a nutshell, that means all Marylanders can choose their electricity provider. So far, only about a quarter of MD households have taken advantage of this opportunity. If you’re one of the 75% who haven’t, we encourage you to exercise your right to choose.
Going Green is Easy
Everybody uses electricity differently and many of us care about the environment. BGE & PEPCO are only required to supply about 8% of your electricity from renewable sources. So, if you choose (or by default are using) their “standard offer” service, only 8% comes from sources categorized as green. In reality, less than a quarter of that 8% comes from wind or the sun.
Competitive providers offer choices, some of which are less expensive than the utility’s rate and some are greener.
From 1,000 “Friends” of TerraLogos
Our TerraLogos Facebook page has truly thrived! Since last June, our number of “Likes” has almost doubled! And we’ve sent our first check to 1000 Friends to honor our pledge to donate a$1.00 for every new Facebook fan.
As the new TL social marketing manager, I want to urge all readers to help us donate more. We want to give.
Help Us Donate $1,000
Preparing Your Home For the Cold
Surprisingly, and to our advantage, the simplest, no-cost actions can make a big difference. Here are a few TerraLogos energy efficiency tips which will save you money while making you warmer this season.
- Avoid using the fireplace. Read the rest of this entry »
Even though we don’t think of them as such, many common household items are classified as household hazardous waste (HHW), including:
- CFL bulbs
- Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides
We need these items for cleaning, powering our tools and devices, lighting our homes, and more. However, when we do use them, we need to recognize our responsibility to dispose of them properly, so that they do not cause unintended harm.
Ah, but how do you do that? Here’s our primer on recycling these commonly used household hazardous materials.
Unfortunately, Maryland does not regulate the disposal of household hazardous materials, but the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) does encourages everyone to dispose of them properly. And provide some guidance. Read the rest of this entry »
Interning for a Sustainable Company
Learning of the pollution problems created by batteries in landfills, the option of simply tossing them out became unsatisfactory. So, I started a battery recycling program at my high school.
I followed my passion during college and grad school, earning a BA in Environmental Studies from Florida Atlantic University’s Honors College and a Master’s degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.
Learning About the Environment
In Maryland (my home state), Florida, and Vermont, I’ve seen many environmental issues first hand, both those that have been improved and those that still require our attention.
Growing up in Maryland, I am particularly concerned by the problems in the Chesapeake Bay, with memories of the trash strewn waters of the Inner Harbors as constant reminders. Read the rest of this entry »
Curbing Energy Use and Bills, too
On Labor Day Sunday, the front page of the Baltimore Sun‘s Business Section featured an article on the growing interest in energy efficiency in Maryland. TerraLogos and the successes we have been seeing were a focus!
Reporter Jamie Smith Hopkins interviewed TerraLogos President, Peter Van Buren, for the article and also featured 2 of our customers. Jim and JoAnn Allis discussed the improvements TerraLogos helped them complete that have resulted in substantial documented energy savings. They are now paying less than half of their previous energy bill – from $450 down to $220/month.
Top Tips to Save Money Include Home Performance
The August issue of Consumer Reports included an article on energy efficiency, stating that,
“Energy efficiency tops the list of home features that today’s savvy consumers want. And they’re willing to pay for it—an extra $7,100 for a home that will reduce annual energy costs by $1,000, according to a recent report from the National Association of Home Builders.”
TerraLogos customers already know that investing in energy improvements makes good financial sense, but we’re really glad to see this prominent magazine validating our mission!
The article goes on to state that the place to begin improving your home’s energy effieicny is with a Home Performance contractor, like TerraLogos Energy Group! We’re also an Accredited BPI contractor and are a listed participating contractor in all of Maryland’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs.
They write, “Home-performance contractors, as they’re known, will do a blower-door test and use infrared cameras to pinpoint air leaks, Read the rest of this entry »
In the Sustainability & Values Series, we are searching for the keys that will unlock our will to make the changes we know are necessary.
Blog #1 highlighted the substantial hidden costs we are already paying for our current energy use. Blog #2 suggested considering what we really value as we make our daily spending decisions. Here we focus on quality and long term value. Blog #3 dealt with the true costs of only looking at price – a bad pizza might cost less than a good one, but do you really want to eat it?
Making Change Happen
Being the Catalyst That Can Make a Difference
Since my college days in the early 70’s, I knew that I wanted to see changes made. I did not agree with the general direction that the world was taking, and felt that we could all do better in the way we address our society’s concerns.
Over the last 40 years, I’ve thought a lot about how to make change happen.
Early on, I realized that you can’t change anyone. They have to change for themselves. That’s the deal. Read the rest of this entry »