Tuesday, May 10, 2011

9 Benefits Of Using Solar Energy

The sun has long been recognized as the most important and primary source of energy, as it is a ball of gases and every day the sun radiates an enormous amount of energy.

In order to harness alternative solar energy from the sun, many technologies continue to be developed, such as solar panels, and solar cells, among others. Here are the benefits of solar energy:

It’s Renewable!

1. Because alternative solar energy is renewable, we never have to worry about running out of it. The sun consistently provides radiant energy every day, and this can be saved through certain sources on earth.

It’s Free!

2. Solar technology may be costly such as purchasing solar panels in the beginning, but eventually it will pay for itself and you never have to worry about seeing another electric bill again. The sun produces energy for us completely free of charge!

It’s non-damaging!

3. The electricity produced by the sun does not damage the environment or contribute to the current problem of climate change.

It’s safe!

4. Alternative solar energy is completely safe for installation in your home. Even if you have children, the technology is located at your roof and it does not emit harmful chemicals or gases.

It can be used by anybody!

5. Just about anybody can start using alternative solar energy, various models are available that can fit your budget and the size of your home.

It can be used to heat water!

6. Through solar water heaters, we can enjoy warm water in homes, schools, offices, and even swimming pools.

It can be used to warm or cool homes!

7. The sun’s energy can also be used to heat and ventilate homes and commercial as well as industrial buildings. Depending on the climate and daylight availability of the location, we can use technologies such as thermal mass methods to cool or heat indoor spaces.

It can be used for cooking!

8. Alternative solar energy can also be used for cooking and pasteurization methods. Through the use of panel cookers, box cookers, reflectors, and other methods of harnessing the sun for use in the kitchen, we can now rely on the sun to help sustain us.

It can be used to filter water!

9. We can also enjoy clean, potable water through alternative solar energy. This works by combining the sun’s energy with other methods, sometimes making use of plants, to clean water and kill bacteria.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

20 Ways To Live Green!

Small changes made by individuals can add up to big changes for the environment. Here are 20 Ways To Live Green!

1. The most effective way in which energy can be conserved is to use it ‘less’.

2. Plug all the places from which air can pass – go out or come in. Simply ‘air seal’ or ‘weatherize your home for energy conservation.

3. Heavily insulate your entire house to stop heat being transferred from one place to the other.

4. Turn down the thermostat of your house and slip on a cardigan, jacket or a sweater instead. Increase personal insulation rather than burn so much energy. Apply the same rule for winters.

5. Cleaning air conditioning units’ air filters at least once in a month is a good idea.

6. Empty rooms should be kept closed so that the heat or the cold does not escape to those rooms.

7. Instead of turning up the heat, simply staying under covers during night and insulating yourself is a better idea.

8. Use solar energy as much as you can.

9. Although using ceiling fans may seem outdated, it actually helps is reducing your utility bills largely as it helps cool your room faster by air-circulation.

10. Cook foods that require the same temperature together in the oven and preferably with a lid if on gas top, to conserve energy in the kitchen.

11. Switch off all the light that you are not using.

12. Cleaning your dryer lint filter regularly helps save on energy.

13. Using a microwave as an alternative to a conventional stove or an oven is a great idea!

14. Washing clothes in tepid water instead of cold or hot water helps you conserve energy.

15. Proper ventilation in the kitchen area helps in removing heat, dampness and cooking smells.

16. Unplug all electronic appliances not frequently used.

17. Save money as well as energy by using compact fluorescent light bulbs.

18. Hook up your outdoor lights to a timer device.

19. Do not keep the door of your refrigerator open for a long time. Conserve energy by opening
it once and taking out all that you need in one go.

20. Conserve water while dishwashing. Also reduce the use of heated water.
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Top 8 Benefits Of Using Solar Powered Landscape Lights!

Solar-run appliances are a great way to preserve energy and lessen your carbon footprint on earth.

If you haven’t made the switch to solar outdoor lights yet, here are some benefits of it and why you should switch soon:

1. Solar outdoor lights use a photovoltaic cell that charges the light’s batteries throughout the day with the use of the sun’s rays; this provides sufficient electricity to power your solar outdoor lights. The lights will be able to power just about any type of outdoor environment for you at nightfall, and will last anywhere between 8 to 10 hours.

2. It’s also a much safer choice if you have children and want to avoid the use of electrical wires as much as possible. The lack of electrical wires also makes your home safer against fires.

3. If your area has power outages, you don’t need to worry about darkness because you can depend on your solar outdoor lights to work and provide light even when there is no electricity.

4. These types of lights are also very easy to maintain.

5. Solar outdoor lights come in various sizes and styles to suit your needs for lighting in various locations. These can be used as street lights, parking spaces, doorbell lights, gate lights, patio or garden lights, and even by your pool.

6. When used in gardens and outdoor areas, solar outdoor lights can also provide excellent aesthetic value; you can use the light to highlight certain areas in your garden and give focal points to outdoor areas.

7. Well-lit outdoor spaces add to your safety and lessen your risk for burglar attacks.

8. One of the best advantages to solar outdoor lights is that they are very cost-efficient. Also because they provide powerful lighting, you don’t need to purchase several types of fixtures. You don’t have to worry about high installation fees, because they are very easy to install yourself.

Choosing the right solar outdoor lights for your home is a breeze, because most home depots carry a wide variety to choose from.

Be sure to measure your sockets before you purchase any replacement bulbs, and also be sure that you carefully consider the use of the lighting spaces when you go shopping.

Each space has different requirements, so it’s also important that you use the right kind of light.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Jabuticaba – Amazing Plant

The Jabuticaba (also called Brazilian Grape Tree, Jaboticaba, Jabotica, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabará and Ybapuru) is a fruit-bearing tree native to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The fruit is purplish black, with a white pulp;
it can be eaten raw or be used to make jellies and drinks (plain juice or wine).

The fruit tree (named jabuticabeira in Portuguese) has salmon-colored leaves when they are young, turning green posteriorly. It is a very slow growing tree which prefers moist, lightly acidic soils for best growth. It is widely adaptable, however, and grows satisfactorily even on alkaline beach-sand type soils, so long as they are tended and irrigated.

Its flowers are white and grow directly from its trunk in a cauliflorous habit. Naturally the tree may flower and fruit only once or twice a year, but when continuously irrigated it flowers frequently, and fresh fruit can be available year round in tropical regions.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We Never Imagined Top 3 Green Mobile Phones

"Green" and "gadgets" haven't always intersected, but cell phone manufacturers have jumped on the eco-warrior trend. We now have handsets that are made from recycled materials, use less power, and come cradled in recycled packaging.

Very few of us can live without a mobile device that keeps us connected while on the go, but our cell phones and PDAs contribute to toxic waste and lost resources, especially at the rate with which we upgrade. You can do your part by choosing a greener cell phone the next time you’re looking to trade-up.

GreenHeart by Sony Ericsson

With some of the greenest features of any cell phones on the market, Sony’s two new options—the Elm and the Hazel—are being billed as devices that go above most other green phones out there. Part of their GreenHeart project which aims to integrate environmental advances across Sony Ericsson’s entire product lines, these phones are loaded with eco-friendly features.

Both are constructed in part of recycled plastic and are made without toxic chemicals commonly found in electronics. And both come with energy-efficient chargers to cut back on phantom energy losses. Additionally, they’re packaged in minimal packaging and use eco-friendly paints.

Samsung’s New Blue Earth Phone

Already available in the UK, Samsung’s Blue Earth Phone is another take on the solar-powered mobile phone. It is a touch screen smart phone that can generate its own power with a built-in solar panel on the back.

What makes this mobile device even more green is that it is made from post-consumer recycled content—PCM, which is a plastic made from recycled water bottles (recycled waste).

Additionally, it has a super efficient charger (where traditionally you lose a lot of wasted energy), and is made without toxic chemicals like phthalates, brominated flame retardants (BFR), and beryllium, to name a few. Plus, it’s delivered in recycled packaging, too.

LG Pop GD510

LG is another company that has recently launched a cell phone with solar cells embedded in the actual phone. A slim-line phone with simple, sleek design features, the LG POP (LG GD510), can capture enough energy for 2.25 minutes of talk time in about 10 minutes of charge-time. And like the other green phones mentioned here, it comes with additional eco-friendly features.

These include the fact that it is PVC-free and made without BFR. And it has a feature that will notify you when the phone is fully charged so that you can unplug the charger to save additional energy. It was released in Europe during the fourth quarter last year and should be available in other regions soon.
MOTO W233 Renew Green Phone

The MOTO W233 Renew green cell phone for T-Mobile has four intriguing claims to fame:

  1. The world’s first cell phone crafted from recycled water bottle plastics (the Samsung Blue Earth S7550 is made from recycled water bottle plastics as well, but it came later, and the Samsung Reclaim is a green phone for Sprint).
  2. The world’s first carbon-neutral phone, Motorola says.
  3. A phone so cheap it’s practically free.
  4. A remarkably long-lasting battery.
Sticky phone

A concept design by Liu Hsiang-Ling integrates solar cells into mobile phones in a simple, elegant design. Though many are concerned that they can’t leave their phones charging in the sun for several hours (can’t be without my phone), this new design (which can be found on Yanko Design) tries to work through that problem by incorporating a suction system for easy charging.

Simply peel back the protective cover from a sticky surface and then stick the phone to a nearby window getting full sun.

Both phones also some with the Walk Mate feature which helps the user find a walking route to where they need to go so that they can leave the car behind.

The aim is to encourage phone users to walk more than they drive. The Walk Mate even calculates how much carbon dioxide is saved by using this more eco-friendly method of transportation. These phones are slated to be available during the second quarter of 2010.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Several Effects Of Plastic Bag On Environment

Plastic bags are widely used for carrying purchases for they are lightweight, strong, cheap, functional, and also hygienic. But, do you know that they are very harmful for environment? These bags have great contribution to causing pollution and killing wildlife. In addition, they are responsible for using up the natural resources of the earth.

In the USA, plastic bags which are used each year reach about a hundred billion. It means that the non-biodegradable rubbish is a hundred billion as well. Along with some other waste which is non-biodegradable, can you imagine how many waste produced each year? It is only a little fact in the US. What about in another populous country such as China and India? There will be a lot of waste produced without being biodegradable.

All those waste above can contribute to some effects on the environment. You can see some of the effects in the following account.

Plastic bags are one of the main factors which litter the landscape. From year to year, these bags have been widely used and ended up to littering the environment such as parks, streets, waterways, beaches, and some other places. In addition, if burned, they will infuse the surrounding air with the toxic fumes.

They can also kill the animal. A shocking fact is that they have killed for about 100,000 animals including turtles, whales, dolphins, and also penguins. Those animals are died since they ingest them as their wrong food. The worse news is that the plastic still remains even after the animals’ decomposition.

Plastic bags become one of the main problems since they are non-biodegradable. Totally, the decomposition for plastic takes around 1,000 years. It means that these bags will remain as rubbish along those years. With all the plastic rubbish produced each day, plastic rubbish problem will never be solved well.

Furthermore, plastic bags use up the petroleum. It is the main material which is used for creating the plastic. With large production of plastic bags each day, there are a lot of nonrenewable natural source used up. On the other hand, it is one of the main resources which are highly needed for daily energy supply. In other words, plastic bag will also spend the natural resource. Then, why should we spend the important natural resource for producing plastic?

It seems like there is no right solution for this problem. However, you can try to minimize the use of plastic bags by using single plastic bag for daily use. Although it is only a very small amount, it will help. Another good solution is to recycle the plastic. It can be recycled into the products for various purposes such as the garbage bins.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's greener: A refurbished laptop or a new one?

My last laptop lived till the ripe old age of six, but toward the end of its life, it went downhill fast. It took its sweet time to complete even the simplest of tasks. I developed a nervous tic of saving my blog posts every two or three minutes, since I never knew when my browser would freeze or suddenly quit. And since its battery was only good for about five minutes, my laptop was basically a desktop with a tiny screen. I considered replacing it with a refurbished model, but in the end I was seduced by a brand new laptop that I figured could probably do more tricks than a used one. Besides, I had heard that newer models were actually better for the environment, since they used energy more efficiently than older models.

I'm not the only one who prefers shinily new over gently used. According to a survey by Resource Recycling, a company that publishes industry news for recycling businesses, consumer sales of refurbished electronics have dropped in recent years, since retailers are "flooding the consumer electronics market with new devices that are comparable in price to used goods, but are packed with more features." So are newer computers really a better deal than refurbished models in the long run? And which kind is better for the planet?

Environmentally speaking, refurbished computers are the clear winners. "An astonishing amount of resources go into making these products," says Barbara Kyle, the national coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. According to a 2003 UN study (pdf), the manufacture of one desktop computer requires 48 pounds of chemicals, 1.7 tons of water, and 529 pounds of fossil fuels—about 10 times the weight of the computer itself. (By comparison, new refrigerators and cars require roughly their own weight in fossil fuels.) "The more we can reuse old products, the fewer new resources need to be extracted," says Kyle. And the less we add to the world's pile of e-waste, which is giant and growing bigger every day.

What's more, even though newer computers use energy more efficiently than older models, it's not the energy use by the consumer that's the main problem. A 2004 UN study (pdf) found that about four-fifths of the total energy consumed over a desktop computer's lifetime is used during production of the computer—and only one-fifth was consumed during its use.

Buying a refurbished computer also makes financial sense. Though prices of professionally refurbished computers vary widely depending on hardware age, software packages, and warranties, you can often find deals for as little as half the price of a brand new machine, and in many cases refurbished models will last just as long as new ones, says Willie Cade, the CEO of PC Rebuilders and Recyclers, a computer refurbishing company. (For specifics on various brands and price comparisons, check out this excellent Gizmodo post on the topic.) Cade and his team recently outfitted desktop PCs from 2001 with the latest software, then had college students use both the refurbished computers and brand new ones in a blind test (the monitors were identical). Thirty-six percent of the students couldn't tell the difference between the old computers and the new.

If you do choose a new computer, you can extend its life by cleaning up its software when it starts to get slow. People keep their new computers for an average of 2.5 years, but the majority of them can last a whole lot longer if you upgrade the software. "People often think computers slow down after a year or two," says Cade. "But that's usually a problem with the software—either there's too much of it or it's not working efficiently. If you refresh or clean up the software, it will usually get quicker." According to Cade, as a general rule of thumb, if you refresh your computer's software after its second birthday (which will usually run you a few hundred bucks), you can extend its life for three years if it's a laptop, and five or six if it's a desktop.

What you should look for if you're buying a refurbished computer: Make sure the software is legally licensed and genuine—that way you'll be able to get the necessary updates. Ideally, your refurbished laptop should come with a three-year warranty and a tech help phone number. "Someone that says 30 days—run away," says Cade. Make sure your refurbisher is registered and/or authorized: In the Microsoft world, that means being a member of the Microsoft Refurbisher Program.

If you're getting rid of your old computer, make sure you do it responsibly. Chances are it can be fixed and sold or donated to someone else: The refurbishing company Gazelle.com pays cash for used computers and gadgets. PC Rebuilders and Recyclers will sell your spiffed-up computer to a needy school or organization for about a third of the cost of new. Most manufacturers will take back your used electronics; the recycling information group Earth911 has a good guide to those programs, plus a list of organizations that accept donations of old computers, here. The EPA has more resources here.

Special thanks to the folks at the Story of Stuff Project, who helped me research this post. Can't wait for the new Story of Electronics, out November 9!

This article was written by Kiera Butler.
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