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Sustainable Living and Green Building Resource for Western North Carolina

Cultivate a better world | This short video, entitled "Back to the Start," artistically and succinctly promotes the concept that it's smarter to support naturally raised food than one based on industrial processing. Featured is Coldplay's song, "The Scientist," which is performed by Willie Nelson. The video was produced by Chipotle Mexican Grill, a restaurant chain known for its organic ingredients and mission to rebuild a greener food supply.

FastCompany.com publishes "Seven Ways That Companies Greenwash | This report covers the sneaky things that companies do to convince you their products are great for the planet, when they really aren't | More>

Sustainable Shelter exhibit at NC Arboretum | This special exhibit in the Baker Building will last through Jan. 2, 2012: More>Related Green Home tours at various locations through 2011 include: (1) Green Home Driving Tour on Nov. 6, 2011 in West Asheville (2) Green Makeover of an existing traditional home in Asheville on Nov. 12, 2011 (3) Green Star apartment complex tour at Weirbridge Villiage in South Asheville on Dec. 3, 2011 (4) Modern sustainable village tour at Gaia Village in West Asheville on Dec. 10, 2011: More>

Calendars & Events | What's happening throughout the region | More>

Green Home Renovation courses | Western North Carolina Green Building Council is now partnering with AB Tech to provide timely green building courses | More>

Germany to become the first major renewable energy country | Reported by Renewableenergyworld.com: More>

"A Picture of Sustainability" • Photo: Jerry Nelson/JourneyAmerica.org

Our Southern Community Center in Hendersonville closes | More>

Annual SEE EXPO closes after 10 years | If you have a green company, product or service, you will no longer be able to show at the annual Southern Energy and Environment Expo. Co-founder Ned Ryan Doyle thanks everyone for the support, but has made the decision to close down the expo for good. SEEEXPO had offered a wonderful opportunity to get the word out to Western North Carolina about green products and initiatives. Every year thousands of attendees enjoyed learning new and better ways to go green. | More>

Asheville Green Drinks offers free presentations and networking in Downtown Asheville | Free presentations by Asheville Green Drinks is a weekly gathering every Wednesday. The public is invited to attend. | More>

Retrofitting the suburbs for sustainability | By David Holgren | More>

Western North Carolina Nature Center | What's new | More>

World's first vertical forest is underway in Milan, Italy | A 27-story high-rise apartment tower will look like a forest in the sky, reports Grist.com | More>


"As of Wednesday (7-14-10), the 85th day of the disaster, between 92 million and 182 million gallons of oil had spewed into the Gulf since the rig leased by BP exploded." - NYTimes.com

News reports as they developed about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster created by BP and others | More>

Does America Care?

CLIMATE PROGRESS: Help spread the word about 'Straight Up' | There are two must-read books, recommends Change.org, "if you want to be culturally literate about climate change." | Posted on Climate Progress, one of the world's most informative and readable blogs to learn what's really going on concerning climate science, politics and solutions. | 'Straight Up': More>

On the energy gap and climate crisis | By Andrew Revkin | More>

Don't worry, be happy. It's really getting cooler! | Just look at all the snow storms this past winter (or how to reinterpret scientific data) | As the U.S. Congress moves to try and pass the Waxman-Markey clean energy bill, the anti-science climate change deniers are ramping up their propaganda machine to delay and derail the process — even going so far as to twist the scientific data in order to claim global warming has stopped and that we are now in a cooling trend! Some people actually fall for this. Click on the video below to see how it's done:

OUR ENERGY CHALLENGE | By Richard Smalley | More>



"Each day brings further evidence
that the way we use energy strengthens our adversaries and threatens our planet."

 U.S. President Barack Obama, Jan. 20, 2009


'Whatever happened to low-cost solar power?' 


The promise of Stan Ovshinsky’s low-cost 'solar laminate' technology has been betrayed by corporate greed and the bottom-line mentality of simply doing business as usual. Yes, today you can buy Ovshinsky panels. But you won’t pay half the price of what other solar panels cost as Stan promised. No, instead you will pay the SAME price — and often a higher price — on a per watt basis. To read the article, Click Here>

Is Boone Pickens only half right?

Pickens Plan pushes natural gas and wind power

Click Here>

BUT... Click Here>
Others question natural gas vehicles (including the editor of this website): "If you want to stay focused on the single biggest threat to the world today — the runaway emission of greenhouse gases — then calling natural gas a 'green' fuel for cars, trucks and buses puts you into a very fuzzy area."

Read the full article and get all the facts: Click Here>

Myth of Clean Coal

For 40 years the coal industry has been claiming "clean coal is just around the corner." Even though there is not yet one single 'clean coal' power plant in America, they continue to push the same old empty claim to the Obama administration, the congress and the people of the world with a massive advertising and lobbying campaign. For some reason the new U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, seems willing to give them yet another chance to make good on all the broken promises.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) spent $9.95 million -- more than any other group solely dedicated to climate lobbying -- to convince the world that "Yes, West Virginia, there really is such a thing as clean coal". The ACCCE is a collection of 48 mining, rail, manufacturing, and power-generating companies with an annual budget of more than $45 million. To read the whole story, Click Here>



What You Can DO NOW to Win the Climate War in Washington, D.C.

Even as the ground-breaking clean energy bill called Waxman-Marley comes up for a vote in Washington, D.C., the clean-energy lobbyists are badly outnumbered. There are more than 2,300 lobbyists working the climate issue in Congress -- a 300 percent increase over the past five years -- but only one in eight of them represents the clean energy side of the climate issue. Those who want to win the battle for clean energy in America need to actively e-mail not only their own Congress person, but those from other states as well. To read the whole story, Click Here>


The Power of Scale
Why "fleet efficiency" matters

Pass along this 90-second video to your local government officials and company executives. Let them know: "fleet efficiency matters." For more information, visit edf.org/greenfleet or Click Here>

"Growth for the sake of growth
is the ideology of the cancer cell."
 -Edward Abbey

how we measure success

Forty years ago, Robert F. Kennedy gave a speech warning us about the dangers of unthinking growth and how poorly the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the success of our nation. A video worth watching more than once:


Get to know your personal C02 emissions

We hear all this talk about greenhouse gas emissions and how the big culprit in climate change is the burning of hydrocarbon fuels which sends C02 gas (carbon dioxide) into the upper atmosphere where it stays, builds up and traps extra heat from the sun, eventually over-heating out planet. OK, we get that. But when it comes to our personal contribution to this very serious problem -- and what we as individuals can actually do about it -- it seems too big, too hard to get a personal sense of how we fit in to any real solution.

Knowing how your personal activities affect the situation is the first step towards making a real change -- and to turn the world around everyone will have to make an effort. Here's a very easy and fast online tool you can use to get to know your personal carbon emission footpint. It is a government website, so there is no hidden agenda buried in this tool to try to get you to purchase some company's product or buy any so-called 'carbon offsets'. If you can get hold of your latest electric and natural gas bills you can get more accurate results with this tool, but that isn't necessary to try it out: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html


1: Do those CFL bulbs really last 10,000 hours?

2: Is the light quality they put out any good?

3: Can I really make $546 in just 1 hour by putting them in my house?

The answer is "Yes" to all those questions.

We at The Greener Home searched the web trying find some real proof that those funny-looking spiral shaped CFL bulbs actually do last as long as the 8,000 to 10,000 hours claimed on the package, but we didn't have much luck. So we decided to test the claim ourselves:

Here at The Greener Home we have a lamp in the office that stays on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We realized it would make an ideal test subject because that works out to 8,760 hours per year. So two years ago we replaced the standard 60-watt  incandescent bulb in that lamp with a 13-watt CFL (which puts out about the same light as the old 60-watt bulb) and then we waited. That CFL bulb finally burned out after 8,347 hours. The second CFL bulb we replaced it with has now been burning for over 9,000 hours and is still shinning.

So, the truth is that you can rely on getting 8,000 to 10,000 hours of use out of a single CFL bulb unless you happen to get one which has a manufacturing defect (which does happen on a rare occasion, just as it does with regular incandescent bulbs). Compared to the pitiful 1,000 hours or less you get out of the old standard household incandescent bulbs, that is very impressive.

The quality of the light put out by modern CFL bulbs is excellent -- if you don't make the mistake we did and buy one that is  labeled as a "sunlight" or "daylight" bulb.

Those sunlight CFL bulbs put out a very harsh, cold light most people find irritating which also tends to make everything in the room look kind of green. Yuck. We don't even know why the manufacturers continue to make the "sunlight" CFL. Are people using them to grow weed in their houses or what? Anyway, if you buy the CFL bulbs labeled "soft white" or "standard" you'll find the kind of light they put out is very close to what your old incandescent bulb provided, only maybe not quite as bright. If you need the exact same brightness from a lamp, then you should get a 20-watt CFL (75-watt equivalent) to replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

Modern soft white CFL bulbs do *not* flicker like some of  the old ones did many years ago (and like the big flourescent tubes in office buildings still do today). On a final quality of light note, while a CFL bulb does comes on immediately, it takes about 30 to 60 seconds to completely warm up and put out its full brightness.

Also, you are no longer stuck with just the spiral-shaped bulb. They now make globe-shaped CFLs very similar to the old familiar incandescent, plus reflector types, mini-styles for overhead lighting fixtures, etc.

As for making $546 in just one hour, the editor of this website did exactly that -- by simply by taking 30 minutes to go down to the local mega retail store and buy a couple of six-packs of CFL bulbs. It took him another 30 minutes to go around the house taking out the old 60 watt incandescent bulbs and screwing in the new CFL bulbs in their place. The total cost was $23.96 plus tax. So, how did he make $544 in that one hour? He went to a website called E3living.com and put the specifics of what he'd just done into their marvelous on-line form and looked at the bottom line results:

You can do the same for yourself at http://www.e3living.com/cfl-savings-calculator

Of course, you may not care about making an extra $500 for one hour of easy effort. And you may not care about how easy it is to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 you personally are causing to be put into the atmosphere by continuing to use the old energy-hog incandescent light bulbs.

But if that is not who you are and you haven't yet changed over to CFL bulbs, what the heck are you waiting for?

Oh, one more thing: If that *is* who you are then you should know that in December of 2008 a federal law went into effect in the United States which effectively bans the sale of 40-watt to 150-watt household incandescent bulbs starting in 2012, so you might as well just go ahead and make the money now and start reducing those emissions anyway.



Metal waterwheels for energy?

American manufacturer offers elegantly simple, proven way to generate hydro-electricity across America

Not all alternative energy solutions need be complicated, massive or expensive. Robert Vitale, owner of The Waterwheel Factory, Franklin, NC, says his firm is the world's largest manufacturer of metal waterwheels. Although he doesn't market his view beautiful hydro-electric water wheels as viable solutions for generating electricity, it's still something to consider if you prefer low-tech over high-tech. | Visit Waterwheelfactory.com or Click Here | To view the installation video of the 12-foot-high Poncelet Waterwheel that generates electricity for lighting, Click Here

Small ways to cut carbon emissions

SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO to Cut Carbon Emissions | Every day in many small ways, you can green up your home life. | Click Here

| TheGreenerHome.com has selected several solar panel videos worth your viewing time. May they help you bring renewable energy into your home. | 
Click Here

*BEST PRACTICES Green Building Videos for Pros | A series of informative videos for green building professionals by HGTVpro.com. Subjects include orientation for site planning, solar gain, efficient home plans, xeriscaping, efficient water heating, permeable paving materials, and more. |
Click Here

| Jared Diamond examines a five-point framework that explains the collapses of past societies. He looks at what makes some societies fragile, and others not. Can the American society avoid collapse? View this intense, educational video that tries to make sense of the complexities, both past and present. Most curious is his examination of why socities failed to identify their destructive behavior and avoid their ticking time bombs. |
Click Here

Buy fresh! 

*ASAP - Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture ProjectClick Here

 Farmers and Tailgate Markets |
Click Here

*STANFORD SOCIAL INNOVATION REVIEW takes a look the changing family farm. | Well-written article about fast food and the family farm, and why it's time to reform how we grow food. |
Click Here

How to can, freeze, dry, cure & smoke, ferment, pickle, and properly store

National Center for Food Preservation at University of Georgia offers online instruction and publications, including the new 5th edition of a favorite: "So Easy to Preserve." | Click Here

50 people who could save the planet
It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. The Guardian of the United Kingdom gives their list. Click Here>

'Peak Oil' beginner's guide
"The Wolf at the Door" is an online book with free contents that explains why the end run of peak oil is really bad news. Click Here>

A few more greener solutions...

Builder's Guide to Reuse and Recycling

Sustainable Design Resource Guide

Water Conservation Tips

NC Recycling Markets Directory

Frequently Asked Questions About Saving Energy


We want to post your GREENER ideas and events 

TheGreenerHome.com requests your news, essays and press releases that can benefit the sustainability and greener quality of life for the residents and visitors of Western North Carolina. Email: byron(at)thegreenerhome.com or Click Here>

TheGreenerHome.com is published by MediaBear.

Please mail, email, or call in your news and comments to:

Byron Belzak, Publisher
PO Box 902
Skyland, NC 28776


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