The Greener Home - Building for the Future
"Growth for the sake of growth
is the ideology of the cancer cell."
of Clean Coal
For over 70 years the coal industry has been claiming "clean coal is just around the corner" -- even though there is not yet one single genuine 'clean coal' power plant in America (or anywhere else). Big Coal continued to push this same old empty claim all through the eight years of the Obama administration -- and has now sold the Trump White House on their fairy tale.
This story gets told over and over again to the congress and the people of this country with endless variety, backed up by a massive advertising budget and a never-ending lobbying campaign. To add injury to insulting our intelligence, the U.S. Energy Department always seems willing to give the industry yet another chance to make good on all those decades of broken promises by regularly handing Big Coal more grants and "pilot funding" every year.
Big Coal? Who Are Those Guys Anyway?
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) spends over $10 million every year to convince the world that "Yes, West Virginia, there really is such a thing as clean coal... we only need to work out a few bugs. It will be here Real Soon Now... Trust us."
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>
"Seven Ways 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>
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://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/carboncalculator
Calendars & Events | What's happening throughout the region | More>
Germany becomes the first major renewable energy country | Reported by Renewableenergyworld.com: 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>
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.
On the energy gap and climate crisis | By Andrew Revkin | More>
OUR ENERGY CHALLENGE | By Richard Smalley | More>
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:
What You Can DO NOW to Win the Climate War in Washington, D.C.
There are more than 2,300 lobbyists working the climate issue in Congress -- but only about 280 of them represents the clean energy side of the climate issue. And they don't have the kind of money to throw around the 2000+ do. If you want to give the few who are working to win the battle for clean energy in America, send e-mail not only your own Congress person, but donate to some of the organizations who are in Washington fighting for your future and that of your family. To read the whole story, Click Here>
"Each day brings further evidence
that the way we use energy strengthens our adversaries and threatens our planet."
— President Barack Obama, Jan. 20, 2009
Can You Really Make $546 in one hour
Just by Changing Your Light Bulbs?
1: Do those CFL and LED light 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 searched the web to find some real proof that those funny-looking spiral shaped CFL bulbs and pricey LED blubs 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 8,647 hours. The second LED bulb we replaced it with has now been burning for over 10,000 hours and is still shinning.
So you can rely on getting 8,000 to 10,000 hours of use out of a single CFL or LED blub, unless you happen to get one which has a manufacturing defect (which does happen on a rare occasion). Compared to the pitiful 1,000 hours or less you get out of the old standard household incandescent bulbs, that is very impressive. And it means that in the long run these "expensive" bulbs cost less that traditional bulbs -- and that's not figuring in the money you save by using 60% to 90% less electricity whenever you turn on the lights.
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 and LED 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 or LED 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 and LED 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).
Also, you are no longer stuck with just the spiral-shaped bulb. They now make globe-shaped CFLs and LED bulbs that are almost identical to the old familiar iglobe-shaped incandescent bulbs, plus reflector types, mini-styles floodlight styles for overhead lighting fixtures, etc.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CFL AND LED BULBS:
No, it's not just that the LED will cost you twice as much as the CFL (although that is irritating, isn't it?). The important difference is that CFL blubs use a tiny amount of mercury to cause the gas inside them to glow and LED bulbs do not — they use a technology similar to your big flat-screen TV to produce light).
But even the tiny bit of mercury in CFL bulbs is highly poisonous if the bulb cracks or breaks and it escapes into the atmosphere (or the bulbs are improperly disposed of). So they are simply not the best choice anymore, now that we have LED bulbs which do the same thing even better.
Finally, because they don't "burn hot" like CFL bulbs do, the LED bulb is going to last much longer. So their extra up-front cost works out to be not too bad after all. The Greener Home seriously recommends paying a few extra bucks and going with LED bulbs these days.
As for making $546 in just one hour...
The editor of The Greener Home 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 energy-efficient bulbs.
Then it took him another 30 minutes to go around the house taking out the old 60 to 75 watt incandescent bulbs and screwing in the new bulbs in their place. Total time: 1 hour. Total cost: $23.96 plus tax. So, how did he make $546 in that one hour? He went to an online cost calculator and put the specifics of what he'd just done and looked at the bottom line results:
You can do the same for yourself — with one of the newer calculators designed for using LED blubs: http://www.bulbs.com/learning/energycalc.aspx
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 or LED bulbs — well, what are you waiting for?
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
*SUPER SOLAR PANEL Videos | 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 | A compendium of green building practices. Subjects include orientation for site planning, solar gain, efficient home plans, xeriscaping, efficient water heating, permeable paving materials, and more. | Click Here
*WHY SOCIETIES Collapse | 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
*ASAP - Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project | Click Here
*ASHEVILLE AREA 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>
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. Emai tol: byron(at)thegreenerhome.com or Click Here>
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