Green Power


Go to fullsize imageCheck it out Greenies!  Especially the kids section, there is lots of great info here!

www.newdream.org

That’s all I have to say about that.

“Tons of Change Thursday”

Tweenie’s Greenies: Thursday Edition

Go to fullsize image

It’s fall and the leaves are turning into deep reds, yellows and oranges.  I love fall.  The crisp, fresh air is such a welcome change from the Michigan humidity that often accompanies the summer days.  It may also be time to start thinking about that heating bill again as some of you begin to turn the thermostat up.  However, before you turn on the heat, I would like to urge you to stay cool this year.  

I think this is one of the easiest ways to cut home energy costs and to green up your home at the same time (heating and cooling accounts for about 1/2 of an average homes energy bill).  The fuel sources for most of our homes (75% of U.S. Homes) are either coal, oil or natural gas.  All of these are fossil fuels will impact the environment in some negative way (air pollution and greenhouse gases) and they are non-renewable to boot (can’t be replenished in a relatively short amount of time).  So, I know you are all thinking “Yada, Yada, I have heard it all before.  Use a programmable thermostat (save about $150 per year doing so).  Check insulation in my home and improve as needed (Save up to 20% on heating costs by caulking, filling, and insulating).  Be sure to clean and keep my furnace maintained properly (Save up to another 20% by using an Energy Star Furnace and keeping it properly maintained not to mention the tax incentive).  Blah, Blah, Blah. ”   Well, I might say things like that to you but I am going to go one step further and suggest that you explore an alternative renewable energy resource for either part or all of your residential needs.

So, how about those renewable energy resources….solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal.  I know that these sources can be hard to find depending on where you live, but give it a shot.  You never know what you may find.  For example, you may find that your natural gas provider has a program called “green currents”.  Pay attention here all you Michigan DTE Energy costumers.  About 20 states have renewable energy portfolios.  In Green Currents, you can pay a little bit more to receive a portion of energy (a percent) from wind energy.  Therefore, you would be supporting renewable energy sources and the Michigan economy.  Link to the FAQ page for questions regarding DTE Michigan’s program.  It is a little confusing to understand how they use this money but the FAQ clarifies it for you.  The nice part about Green Currents, is that you can “receive” more renewable energy without setting up large solar panels or wind turbines around your home.

I am also going to challenge you to follow me in keeping a cool house.  If you simply set your thermostat a degree lower you will save big over the course of the cold season.  For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 5% of your heating bills.  Who couldn’t use that extra cash over Christmas?  OR you could try to not turn on your heat at all.  Well, at least not for a while.  The weather here in Michigan is nice and warm right now.  It’s already October and we still haven’t turned on any heat since spring.  I am going to see how long I can hold out on turning on the stinky furnace.  I have 3 little ones and I am not going to turn them into popsicles, but I will layer them with shirts and sweaters before I turn on the heat.  I will let you know how long I can hold out on turning on the heat.  Perhaps I should offer a prize for any of you Michiganders who dare try to last longer than I.  Hmmm…I should have some extra money after saving it on the heating bill or lack there of.  I am the Master of my Domain 🙂

Go to fullsize image

I found this link over at Green Mommy ThoughtsCheck it out.  I was giggling the whole time.  It totally fulfilled my dorky science humor quota for the day.  I have watched it 3 times now.

For those of you who are attempting to “Go Green” in your home in order to help your family and the environment, may I suggest the following read:

“The Green Book:  The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time”  by: Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time

I purchased this book to read while I was on vacation and found it to be an awesome resource for going green.  It is filled with very simple ways that you can go green without necessarily changing your lifestyle.  So you can do what you do, while being more environmentally friendly!  How great is that?  For instance, I used to feel bad for going through the car wash instead of washing my car by hand.  (I just don’t like that chore and would prefer to be doing other things.) Well, this little green book just informed me that you SHOULD go to the car wash because most of them recycle the wash water and avoid polluting the water supply with soaps and chemicals.  Yippee!  I was going green without even trying.  That was an easy step for me, not to mention that my children are totally entertained by the car wash.  It’s a 2 for 1 deal for us 🙂

Today is Stress Release Saturday!!  I got to sleep in until 9am today.  I am rejuvenated and spunky once again.  Unfortunately for my husband, the kids woke up at 6:30am.  They are all pretty sleepy yet today.  Zack is even taking a nap today and he NEVER asks to do that.  So with the 2 boys sleeping and my stud of a husband playing in a tennis tournament, I decided to try and get some things done.  I chose to work outside on this beautiful day.  I love to garden/work on the yard, so I could accomplish 2 things at once:  keeping the yard nice and keeping me relaxed on this GLORIOUS BLESSED day!  Can you tell I have more energy today by all the Caps and exclamation points?  I can’t figure out any other way to show you how great I feel.

I put little Gret in the Ergo carrier and set out into the yard.  We watered flowers and picked up dog poop.  We have 2 70-75 pound dogs in our busy little household so this is always a must do when you go out in the backyard.  I told you we have lots of poop issues in our home!  I then decided the lawn definitely needed to be mowed.  But I hate to use the gas powered lawn mower.  It scares me and the noise of it takes away all relaxation.  So, I pulled out my old friend, the reel mower.

We originally bought this mowing machine when we lived in Kalamazoo, MI.  Our yard was fairly small and we didn’t want to have to worry about getting gas, or the tune ups that go along with a gas powered mower.  Plus, since there is no gas, there is no contribution to the destruction of the ozone or local watershed.  Al Gore would be so proud!  So we got a little bit crunchier and got this mower.  All you have to do for maintenance is adjust the cutting level and sometimes sharpen the blades.  They are lightweight and easy to push.  Yes, our more “modern” neighbors would point and laugh.  Joking with us “Did you know they’ve improved those things?”  Our neighbors here do the same thing.  But I don’t care!  Whose going to be laughing all the way to the bank because they haven’t had to pay $3.20 a gallon for gas?  Me!

Anyway, I walked around the yard pushing the mower, enjoying the quiet whir of the blades as Gret snuggled peacefully in the carrier.   Could I look any crunchier than that!  I love it!  The yard is now neatly kept and green, the kids are still asleep (thanks to a quiet mower!) and I feel good about my little effort to help aid Mother Earth.  What a great Stress Release Saturday!  I am going to sit outside, read a book and appreciate the day!

Some Reel Mower Dealers/Info:www.cleanairgardening.com/reelmowers.html

http://www.reelmowerguide.com/http://www.reelmowersetc.com/http://www.reelpushmowers.com/

You nearest home impovement store should also have reel mowers stocked.

Go to fullsize imageI stumbled across this interesting link on the EPA website.  It determines how clean your electricity is.  Meaning, how does it contribute to air quality by the amount/processing of fossil fuel that is used to supply it.  When you take the quiz, it will show you how your provider compares.  It will also help determine whether or not there is a more ecofriendly supplier in your area.

I took the quiz and our provider did not rate very well, but unfortunately there is no other provider option for us.  I guess I will just have to keep cutting down on the amount of electricity used!  Turn off those lights when you leave the room!!

http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/powerprofiler.htm