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Going

Green Thursday, April 22, 2010

Date: 4/22/2010

Discovery Shutters & Shadings

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The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

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30 Days to a Greener You By Jennifer Parrish

April 22, 2010 • The Record’s Guide to Going Green



Later for carbon neutrality and net-zero waste goals. Today, do just one thing to walk more lightly on the earth. Tomorrow, do another. Go green, one slightly carbon-reduced footstep at a time. Looking to go green but don’t know where to start? How about one step at a time? Implement each of these daily suggestions and, in one month, you’ll be leading a healthier, happier, more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Day one: Inspire yourself!

Reading books by people who have succeeded in greening their lives will inspire you to take the plunge. Try Vanessa Farquharson’s Sleeping Naked is Green, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) or Mindy Pennybacker’s Do One Green Thing, (St. Martin’s Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books, 2010).

Week 1: Create less garbage

Reduce junk mail. Save paper and aggravation by reducing the amount of junk mail landing in your box. Visit stopjunkmail.org for a free, downloadable Stop Junk Mail Kit. Use cloth instead of paper towels. Use a dishcloth to wipe up your spills. Compost – with worms! Let little red worms break down your food scraps into rich, fertile compost for your garden. You’ll need a large container, worms and leftovers – and you’re ready to go! Pack reusable, stainless steel containers. These are perfect for school lunches and to use as doggy bags when dining out. Recycle your shoes. Turn your old athletic shoes into sports surfaces such as tracks or courts with the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program. Find a drop-off location near you at www.nikereuseashoe.com. Trade for it. Is a child in your life pestering you for a new video game? Just have to own that movie you watched last night? Try swaptree.com and trade for what you want. Stop e-waste before it starts. Buy refurbished rather than new cell phones, cameras and other electronics.




The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

Week 2: Save energy and reduce your carbon footprint

Choose LCD TVs over plasma. In the market for a new television? LCDs use 40 percent less power than plasmas, according to a study by the Florida Solar Energy Center. Insulate your switch plates. Stop an air leak or two. Simply unscrew your switch plates and install pre-cut insulation that fits over electrical sockets. Install the NightBreeze night ventilation cooling system in your attic and reduce your A/C usage. These nifty systems work nightly to exchange the warm air indoors with the cool air outside, helping keep home temperatures comfortable all day long. Get a home energy audit. A professional energy auditor can offer valuable suggestions for reducing your energy consumption and lowering your monthly utility bills. Go tankless. On-demand water heaters can save the average family $100 a year on their gas bills, reports Energy Star. Eat lower on the food chain once a week. Eating red meat adds an average of 5,000 lbs to your yearly carbon footprint. Try going veggie once a week, and start a new culinary adventure. Install a Solatube. These skylights are tubular – and save energy! Cylindrically shaped Solatubes look and act much like recessed lights, so you can turn off your artificial lighting and let the sunshine in!

Week 3: Protect your family’s health

Make your own green cleaners. Many common household cleaning products are full of chemicals that may endanger your family’s health. For a cleaner, greener home, use baking soda, vinegar and lemon to make your own cleansers. Invest in an EPA-rated wood burning fireplace. In addition to polluting the outdoors, fireplaces also release dangerous particulate matter back into the home. An EPA-approved fireplace can reduce these emissions by eight to sixty times over older models. Visit your local farmer’s market. Get to know your food and those who grow it. That fresh produce at your local farmer’s market is often organic and travels a shorter distance from farm to plate, leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Choose less-toxic personal care products. You may be surprised by the number of harmful chemicals in your personal care items. Learn which are the safest for you and your family by visiting the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic safety database at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. Green your pet. Even Fido can go green with organic shampoos, digestible hemp rope toys and pet waste compost bins. Install a whole-house water filter. Discover which toxins may be lurking in your tap water by entering your zip code into the EWG’s drinking water quality database: www.ewg.org/tap-water/home. Then, install a whole-house water filter to remove these pollutants before you ingest or absorb them into your skin. Avoid smelly products. That odor emitted by new products indicates they are releasing toxins into your home. Trust your nose. Choose low-VOC carpeting, paints and sealers, formaldehyde-free furniture and shower curtains made without vinyl.

Week 4: Improve your global community

Volunteer for a local environmental organization and feel good knowing you’re making your community a better place. You will make new friends and a difference. Don’t toss your meds. Studies show pills and powders can end up in your community’s drinking water supply if not disposed of properly. Return expired medications to your local pharmacy. Donate used sheets, blankets and towels to an animal shelter. Faded and stained fabrics can offer welcome comfort to a homeless animal. Avoid palm oil products. The Girl Scouts and Fox News agree, palm oil plantations in southeast Asia are destroying rainforest habitat and endangering species such as the orangutan. Reuse produce bags. Disposable plastic produce bags often wind up in our waterways, where they are mistakenly consumed by aquatic life. Bring reusable bags to the market for your fruits and vegetables, and stop plastic pollution. Start a community garden. By working together with your neighbors and local elected officials, you can start a community garden project right where you live. These gardens offer a source of fresh produce and the opportunity to experience nature to everyone in your hometown. Visit the American Community Gardening Association at www.communitygarden. org for ideas on how to get started. Use rain barrels. With many communities facing water shortages, collecting rainwater for use in irrigating your garden is one way to help prevent waste of our most precious resource.

Day 30: Celebrate the new, greener you with a glass of organic bubbly. Cheers! © CTW Features

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Greener Grocery Shopping Can’t afford to go all organic, all the time? Mindy Pennyback, author of “Do One Green Thing,” (St. Martin’s Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books, 2010) suggests taking a strategic approach when selecting organic produce. Choose It. Buy non-organic in food you eat only once in a while, or those having the lowest pesticide residues. The Tasty 13 listed here are generally low in pesticides and OK to buy non-organic.

Asparagus Avocados Broccoli Cabbage Eggplant Mangoes Onion* Pineapples Sweet corn Sweet peas Sweet potatoes Tomatoes Watermelons *Which had the very lowest number of pesticides? The lowly onion.

Lose It. Buy the organic version of the produce you and your family eat the most. You may also want to buy organic in the following foods, which otherwise have the highest pesticide residues:

Apples Carrots Celery Cherries Grapes Kale Lettuce Nectarines Peaches Pears Spinach Strawberries Sweet bell peppers © CTW Features


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April 22, 2010 • The Record’s Guide to Going Green

Grey Goes Green in San Joaquin

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32nd Annual Senior Awareness Day Celebration Micke Grove Park in Lodi, CA Thursday, May 27th 8:00 am to 1:00 pm Brought to you by San Joaquin County Aging and Community Services.

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Monday - Saturday 8am - 6pm Sears Two- Step Deep Cleaning System Is The First To Earn The Carpet Industry’s Gold Seal of Approval For Superior Carpet Cleaning

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Valid on residential orders and single furnace homes only. Extra charge may apply for homes with furnaces that are not easily accessible. An area is defi ned as a room, hall, bath, landing or walk-in closet. Combination areas and areas over 250 sq. ft. are considered as specialty fabrics, loose back cushions, wool and oriental carpet and special services. Carpet protector or deodorizer each available at added cost. Minimum order may apply. Offer/service not available in all areas. Call for details. 812010

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America’s largest carpet manufacturer recommends the Two-Step Deep-Clean Process used by Sears over the one-step process offered by many other companies.

May is Older Americans Month, and it is with great pride that San Joaquin County Human Services Agency, along with many other public and private agencies, hosts this worthwhile event on the last Thursday of May. This annual information fair offers resources for seniors, caregivers and families, along with networking opportunities for professionals. This year’s theme is “Grey Goes Green in San Joaquin.” Learn how you, too, can “go green” by visiting “The Green Zone,” a sector of vendor booths and exhibits offering earth friendly tips and information promoting “green” living. Kermit the Frog could not have said it better, “It’s not easy being green.” From the smallest to the largest, as a community we must strive to increasingly draw attention to the environment in which we live – both in public and at home. In the spirit of Senior Awareness Day, you are invited to participate in the many activities offered, such as, health screenings, a 1.5K walk/run, senior art show, bingo, classic car show, food, live entertainment, and much more.

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The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

One Simple Step By Deborah Douglas

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Going green doesn’t mean a complete lifestyle change. It starts by finding the one thing you can do – right now – to make a difference For families who’ve fully embraced recycling and shopping for locally produced food at farmer’s markets, the call to be “green” is more than a notion. When you think about it, it’s really a charge to save the world. And in an age of earthquakes, tsunamis and economic downturns, well, saving the world can start to feel like quite the burden. What can one person do to make a difference to cool off global warming? Can a person be greener without getting all crunchygranola about it? Well, according to people in the know, yes, it’s possible to up the ante on committing to live a greener more eco-friendly life. The place to start is by changing your mind. For that, take an audit of your living space and work outward from there, the experts say. The

Web has loads of carbon-footprint calculators that help families determine how much carbon they’re producing based on the energy sources they use at home, the type of groceries they buy, how much they travel annually and other measurements that provide a complete carbon dossier. Carbon calculators like the one at the Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org) calculate how much energy individuals use, how they compare with people in their state and country, and offer meaningful ways to offset the impact of those behaviors. “A good place to start is at the opposite end,” says Stephen Hren, co-author of The Carbon-Free Home (Chelsea Green, 20080) and blogger at www.thecarbonfreehome.com. “Buy one or two things locally or handmade to see how important the connection is when


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April 22, 2010 • The Record’s Guide to Going Green planet. We asked: If you could do just one thing to leave a greener, more eco-friendly life, what would do you?

Do the Homework

Do the Math

Hren and his wife, Rebekah, who coauthored The Carbon-Free Home, practice and share what they preach at their blog. People often know what to do; they just need help rationalizing why they should, Stephen says. So when Stephen advises families to take advantage of nature’s “solar clothes dryer� by drying laundry on a clothesline rather than plopping it in the dryer, he challenges individuals to think in terms of money – a language anyone can understand. Don’t think a certain eco-step is worth the effort? Price it out and compare the results. “Using a ’solar clothes dryer’ is the equivalent of installing $8,000 of solar panels on your house,� Hren says. “You can always rationalize things out in a monetary way: I’m saving X amount of money. Price it out. Often you see you’re making $20 or $30 an hour doing so.�

Do It with Style

“I’m a believer you don’t have to give up anything to do well by your planet,� says Sloan Barnett, a Today show contributor and author of Green Goes With Everything (Atria, 2008). “It’s as simple as making better choices when we go buy consumer goods. Food is a good place to start. It impacts the world and

directly impacts the health of your family. “Buy more sustainable, more organic food,� Barnett says. “Not all at once, not a clean sweep at all.� By buying locally, families reduce the amount of fuel used to transport food from grower to store shelf and the amount of preservatives and chemicals used to grow and maintain its quality, says Barnett. She offers a “Body Burden� calculator at her Web site (www.greengoeswitheverything.com) to help families rethink their commitment to things that harm the environment, like nonstick pans, dry cleaning and hair coloring.

Fill It In

Domestic maven Martha Stewart’s trick is to use bags of ice to fill in the blank spots in her freezer. The ice helps cool the big, energy-sucking box, reducing its need to tap electricity to keep everything cold. After all, the refrigerator is the biggest energy user in a home, since it is constantly working. Remember, though, just fill it with bags of ice; don’t cram it full. Your freezer will work more effectively as a result. Š CTW Features

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you know the person. When you see it is possible to make things and get things locally, and it has this immediate reward, when you go to [the local big box chain store] you say â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lost my personal connection with this item, and this is what I have lost in the process.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? So, yes, a little homework is involved, but after that, building in new behaviors and a firmer commitment is pretty easy. And these eco-gurus can testify that individuals donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to give up style to reduce their carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment. With few changes, average people really do have the power to save the

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The biggest thing you can do right now is to get an understanding of the big picture,â&#x20AC;? says Marianne Cusato, an award-winning architect known for her work on Katrina cottages, which make the most of alternative energy sources. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My advice for that is reading The Smart Growth Manual (McGraw-Hill, 2009).â&#x20AC;? While the economy is slow and not much building is going on, Cusato encourages people to think about the impact of what they build and how they build it. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be informed when buying a new home, renovating an old one or even contributing to local zoning rules on how cities should develop. Cusato urges everyone to be more civic-minded. Attend a town meeting and see what city fathers (and mothers) are up to planning-wise, Cusato says. She favors more mixed-used areas that make it easy to eschew cars and still have walkable access to shopping and services. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To me, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fascinating to think about the impact of how and what we build,â&#x20AC;? says Cusato, who chose to live in Coral Gables, Fla., because of its walkability. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of issues weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re dealing with right now are because we

built the wrong things. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re spending all our time in cars.â&#x20AC;?






TIPS

The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

Save Now!

for going

GREEN

Save Now!

Home Energy Miser Not all home energy savings projects require a budget of thousands and the mobile phone number of Norm Abrams, the friendly Mr. Fix-It on “This Old House.” Each of these steps can cost less than $20. Flip the switch

The energy you never consume is the cheapest. Turn off lights and electronics when they’re not in use.

Tame vampire devices

Look for little red or green lights on the control panels of computers, TVs and appliances that are turned off. These lights indicate that the appliances are consuming small amounts of energy 24/7. Standby power accounts for about 5 percent of all residential energy use. Plug these devices into a smart strip; when the smart strip is switched off, vampire devices can’t suck power.

Eliminate incandescents

Replace an old-fashioned incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent lamp. An Energy Star-qualified CFL will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb – while using 75 percent less energy. Besides, by law, incandescent bulbs will be phased out in the U.S. starting in 2012, and they’ll be gone by 2014.

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Be kind to the furnace

Clean and change the air filter on your furnace to improve air quality and reduce the amount of energy the furnace consumes in order to make and distribute warm or cool air. There are 30-day filters and 3-month filters. A filter’s MERV number (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) indicates its efficiency. Find the furnace, turn off the power, open the front casing, replace the old filter with the new one, and close it all back up tightly. For information on how to conduct your own home energy audit, drop by the U.S. Energy Department Web site – www.energy.gov – and click “How to conduct your own audit.” © CTW Features

Rein in the Gluttons Start conserving electricity through efficient appliance usage today. “There are many opportunities for substantial energy savings through equipment replacement, but there are many ways we can change how we use the products we already own,” says Jennifer Thorne Amann, director of the buildings and equipment program at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and a specialist in residential energy efficiency. “Small improvements and minor behavior changes can yield cost savings right away.”

Scrape, don’t rinse

Studies show that most people pre-rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, even though most dishwashers purchased within the last decade can adequately clean even heavily soiled dishes. If you can’t break the habit, try at least switching to cold water.

Inspect door seals

Check the door seals or gaskets on refrigerators and freezers. Try this test: Put a dollar bill in the door as you close it and see if it holds firmly in place. Or, put a bright flashlight inside the refrigerator and direct the light toward a section of the door seal. With the door closed and the room dark, inspect for light through the crack.

Use lower temperature settings

Use cold water for the wash cycle instead of warm or hot (except when cleaning clothes with greasy stains), and use only cold water for the rinse cycle. Experiment with different laundry detergents to find one that works well with cooler water.

One best home insulation tips is one of the cheapest. Foam gaskets that cost about 10 cents each will help insulate your home envelope around light switches and plug outlets on exterior walls. Unscrew the switchplates and place the slim foam cutouts between the switchplate and the walls.

Relocate the refrigerator

Save water and energy with a low-flow showerhead. A 2.5-gallon-per-minute showerhead uses about 25 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower, saving about five gallons of water over a typical bath and about $145 each year on electricity, according to Energy Star.

When burner pans turn black from heavy use, they can absorb a lot of heat, reducing burner efficiency. Shiny pans reflect heat up to the cookware.

Go low-flow

If a refrigerator is in the sunlight or next to a stove or dishwasher, it uses more energy to maintain cool temperatures. Move the fridge to a cooler spot and it won’t have to work so hard.

Shine up the stovetop

© CTW Features


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Four Spring Tips for Healthy Lawns Story by SJ Public Works

Spring is finally here, the air is fresh and crisp and the trees are flowering. April is a great month to get those lawn chores done, while it’s still cool outdoors and with the threat of summer right around the bend. Here are four tips to get your lawn off to a good start:

Fertilizer

The application of fertilizer should bring your lawn out of hibernation with a bang, improving both color and appearance. Use a spring-type fertilizer, applying it to the lawn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or use more natural options such as composted manure or organic fertilizers. Natural fertilizers release nutrients into the soil over a longer period of time, allowing the lawn to grow at a slower pace while strengthening roots to promote healthy new growth. Irrigate the lawn after fertilizing and avoid overwatering that may cause fertilizer to be washed away.

Sprinkler Maintenance

Now is the perfect time to adjust your sprinklers. Turn on each zone to make sure all sprinklers are in working condition. Replace faulty sprinkler heads and other components as necessary. Avoid wasting water by adjusting sprinkler nozzles so that they water landscape areas and not the driveway or sidewalk.

This Year Consider “Grasscycling”

Lose the bag, and grasscycle! Grasscycling is when you leave the lawn clippings on the lawn where they can naturally break down, replenishing organic material and nutrients back into the soil. I have grasscycled for the last three years and I can tell you first-hand that it is less work, you use less fertilizer and your lawn will stay looking great. The only thing you need to get started grasscycling is a mulching blade for your mower. Mow a little high and cut only about a third off of the top of the lawn. Try it for a month and see what you think. If it doesn’t work for you, go back to your old routine.

Sharpen your tools

Sharpen all of your garden tools and you’ll be ready for anything. This includes your lawnmower blade, enough said.

April 22, 2010 • The Record’s Guide to Going Green

know your planet!

Grab a recycled pencil it’s time for an earth day quiz By Matthew M. F. Miller

Earth Day, founded 40 years ago by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, takes place on April 22 each year. It’s now celebrated across the globe as a day to discuss important environmental issues, plant trees, clean up neighborhoods and celebrate our home planet. Conceived of as “environmental teach-in,” Earth Day has become a time to take measure of our impact on the environment. In honor of the day, take this Earth Day quiz to test your eco-savvy.

1. How much water (in gallons) does the average American household waste every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets and other household leaks? a. 1,000 b. 3,000 c. 7,000 d. 10,000

2. For every gallon of gasoline reduced by carpooling, walking, biking or using public transportation, how many pounds of carbon emissions are reduced? a. 5 b. 15 c. 20 d. 30

3. Using one ream of regular, nonrecycled copy paper generates how many pounds of greenhouse gases? a. 4 b. 13 c. 16 d. 21

4. What percentage of the nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay comes from environmental deposition (acid rain)? a. 30 b. 50 c. 75 d. 100

5. Between 2003-2005, how many cell phones, in millions, were put into landfills? a. 61.3 b. 88.7 c. 104.9 d. 126.3

6. Of all newspapers printed in the U.S., what percentage is recycled each year? a. 31 b. 64 c. 73 d. 82

Answers: 1 - d; 2 - c; 3 - b; 4 - c; 5 - d; 6 - c © CTW Features

Happy 40th Earth Day!

To learn more about Earth Day and connect with events taking place in your area, drop by www.earthday.net/search and search using the name of your state.




10

The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

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How Do You Rate?

The Home Energy Audit By Melanie Wanzek

Energy auditors put homes through a sort of stress test to determine what leaks, where it seeps and how a homeowner’s money is flying out the door. The checkups aren’t cheap – but the utility savings can be huge. Ask most homeowners about the best way to save energy and cut their bills for heating and cooling and they’ll have a quick answer: Install new windows. Trouble is, says Steve Luxton, most homeowners are wrong. “By far and away, most home owners incorrectly think they need new windows,” says the national manager for residential energy audits for Maryland-based CMC Energy Services. In fact, says Luxton, unless a window is broken or structurally unsound, it may not be cost-effective to replace it. Hanging a heavy, insulated curtain over a problem window might suffice. To deliver long-term cost savings that would make a homeowner sit up and take notice requires a serious, whole-house evaluation, he says. That’s where a home energy audit comes into play. Luxton’s company is part of a growing number of private firms that provide homeowners with a detailed, measured prescription for how best to improve the energy efficiency of a home. Virtually unheard of 10 years ago, energy audit programs once were typically provided free to lower income homeowners, via subsidized government or utility programs. Today, driven by the Homestar national weatherization program (also known as “Cash for Caulkers”) that provides a $3,000 federal tax rebate to

individual homeowners who undertake a whole house energy audit and achieve at least 20 percent in energy savings, the audit business is booming. Energy auditors are a varied group, from one-person shops that conduct an occasional audit to big, fast-growing companies such as GreenHomes America in Irvine, Calif., which conducted nearly 2,000 audits in 2009. The Building Performance Institute, the national standards development and credentialing organization, estimates that around 53,000 home energy audits took place in 2009. This year, it estimates that as many as 178,000 could take place. A professional audit can cost between $200 and $600, depending on the size of a home, and deliver savings of $200 to $500 per year in energy costs if a homeowner follows through on recommended upgrades. “A typical home about 20 years old or older can most likely save at least 25 percent on their energy bill if they have an energy audit and carefully fulfill every prescribed measure,” Luxton says. “With an energy audit, there are no assumptions that new windows or adding more insulation ought to improve everything. It really comes down to house-by-house situations.” Energy audits can range in complexity and detail, depending on the interest and needs

of a homeowner. “Anything from an online survey of energy usage and living style to a full diagnostic home performance assessment,” says Damien Flaherty, building analyst and envelope professional with Homestar. Of the 128 million homes in the U.S., 43 million need urgent improvement for energy efficiency, comfort and safety, according to consultant McKinsey & Co. In a comprehensive energy audit, an auditor assesses the condition and efficiency of a home’s envelope, the structure of roof, walls, windows, doors and floors that protects inhabitants from the elements. Rather than calling a different specialist to assess each system in a home, such as the electricity or insulation, an energy audit provides the big picture of the entire system. An energy auditor typically conducts a room-by-room examination of a residence and scrutinizes past utility bills. They may use equipment like furnace efficiency meters and surface thermometers to detect sources of energy loss. Many audits will include a blower door test, using a powerful fan to measure how airtight the home is, and a thermographic scan, using infrared cameras to detect thermal defects and air leaks. Auditors also perform safety checks for conditions that may affect the safety or health

of an occupant, such as carbon monoxide contamination, poor moisture control, which can lead to mold formation, and natural gas leaks. Finally, the data is analyzed to determine the most cost-effective opportunities to address the home’s energy usage. Fixing the issues unearthed in a professional audit can be costly, however. The average 20-year-old home may show need for $5,000 or more in upgrades, Luxton says. However, audits enable a homeowner to make informed decisions on retrofitting energy upgrades. Those who purchase an energy-efficient product or renewable energy system are eligible for a federal tax credit of as much as 30 percent of the cost up to $1,500. In addition, some states now offer tax deductions to homeowners who have a qualified energy audit and implement its recommendations. “There is something that can be done to virtually all older homes to lower energy costs and improve comfort,” Luxton says. “Quite often, the cost of the audit alone can be paid back in a year or less, and sometimes dissuading a customer from installing marginally cost-effective measures can save thousands of dollars.” © CTW Features


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12

The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

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You Oughta Know

and low water consumption. The Scandinavian company that started in 1950 also boasts that most of the parts in their appliances can be recycled. Whirlpool’s latest Cabrio HE topload washers with the H2Low wash system use 75 percent less water and 65 percent less energy, says Warwick Stirling, global director of energy and sustainability for Whirlpool in Benton Harbor, Mich. He adds that over a 10-year lifespan, Whirlpool’s Duet front-load washer can offer a savings of up to $1,000 in water and energy costs, compared to pre-2004 conventional washers. Napolitano notes the LG SteamWasher series as an energy-efficient combo.

Refrigerators

The refrigerator is the single biggest power-eater in most households, accounting for about 15 percent of residential electricity usage. In most households, it’s the one appliance that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Replacing a refrigerator from the 1980s with an Energy Star model will save more than $100 annually on utility bills, the DOE reports. Replace a 1970s fridge and save $200 each year. Energy Star refrigerators are required by the DOE to use 20 percent less energy than uncertified models. “Energy Star models are a great starting point for any consumer looking to purchase a new refrigerator,” Napolitano says. “Most manufacturers offer Energy Star models that are significantly more efficient than older models.” Fisher & Paykel’s DCS 36" Side by Side refrigerator uses 20 percent less energy than required by current federal standards. Purchasing any refrigerator with a capacity of 25 cubic feet or less can add up to significant energy savings. For consumers seeking a super-efficient model suitable for households run on solar, hydro or wind power, Sun Frost, an Arcata, Calif. firm, offers what it claims to be the world’s most energy-efficient refrigerators. In a conventional home, the Sun Frost refrigerators, several of which bear the Energy Star label, cut energy costs by a factor of five, according to the company.

by Jeff Schnauffer

Home appliance energy-gluttons have gone the way of the Hummer. Here’s what every homeowner needs to know about energy options. With a new government program offering cash for old appliances, there’s never been a better time to get a new refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine that can save money on energy bills while lending a helping hand to Mother Earth. “There is a rapid growth in the number of appliances marketed as energy-efficient or green,” says Tony Napolitano, publisher of Portland, Maine-based Smart HomeOwner magazine. “By introducing new energy-efficient appliances and methods into the home, families can reduce costs, and their associated environmental impact, by cutting down on the large portion of energy that is wasted,” adds Sean S. Miller, the director of education for the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Earth Day Network. Consumers may already be eligible to receive rebates for the purchase of new Energy Star-qualified appliances when they replace used appliances. Funded with $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, these rebates vary from state to state, but generally range from $50 to $250 on appliances including freezers, furnaces, refrigerators and dishwashers. The government also is offering tax credits of up to $1,500 for the purchase of water heaters and other energy-saving home improvements.

Dishwashers

Washing Machines

While taking advantage of a sunny day by using your clothesline is the most eco-friendly way to dry clothes, beating your laundry on rocks by the river isn’t a throwback – energy efficient or not – that most people would embrace. But this week’s laundry still needs to be cleaned, doesn’t it? Energy Star-qualified washing machines use roughly 30 percent less energy and at least 50 percent less water than regular washers, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Many qualified models also have a greater

capacity than conventional models, which translates into fewer loads of laundry. “The biggest development in clothes washers is the demand for new front-loading models,” Napolitano says. “A number of manufacturers have released front-loading washing machines, and they perform exceptionally well as a green product – requiring less water and energy than a traditional top-loader, and often reducing the amount of drying time needed.” Miller says that ASKO washing machines are a solid contender for their energy efficiency

Dishwashers across the board are becoming more energy-efficient. “An even more exciting trend is the development of water-conserving units,” Napolitano says. For example, the Evolution Series from Bosch is recognized as big water saver, using just 1.8 gallons of water per wash and beating Energy Star standards. The DOE estimates that a dishwasher built before 1994 wastes about 8 gallons of water per cycle compared to new Energy Star models, and a pre-1994 model also costs an extra $40 a year to run. Whirlpool will be offering tall-tub dishwashers with an eco cycle, which cuts cycle time in almost half. © CTW Features


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The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

Making Green Beautiful with Hunter Douglas Story provided by Discovery Custom Shutters & Shading

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Hunter Douglas offers an extensive selection of window fashions, but you may not know that their products can impact energy efficiency. Not only do they help protect against UV damage to furnishings but most products are Greenguard Indoor Air Quality-certified as well. Hunter Douglas window fashions also add insulation to the window to reduce heating costs, moderate the sun’s heat to reduce cooling costs, and improve the quality of natural daylight to reduce the costs of electrical lighting. Today our window fashions are so much more than fashionable; they are tools to save energy and important contributors to reducing energy use, utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, Hunter Douglas window fashions are one of the easiest ways to “go green.”

Make insulation beautiful

How do we make the windows more like walls? We add insulation. Not with the fiberglass you would find in the walls, but with window coverings – products that also control light and privacy, and add a fashion statement to the room. The patented honeycomb-withina-honeycomb construction of our revolutionary Duette Architella shades forms three air pockets

for superior insulation between the window and the room. Insulation values are especially high with opaque fabrics, which incorporate a metalized mylar inner call. Choose Architella opaque fabrics for maximum energy efficiency, and add up to four points to a window’s R-value, tripling the energy efficiency of a standard double-pane window and cutting heat loss through it by up to two thirds.

Solar heat: bad in summer, but good in winter

In winter, to reduce heating energy consumption, take advantage of as much free heat energy from the sun as you can. This means raising or opening the windows covering whenever direct sunlight is shining on the window – in the morning for east-facing windows, in the afternoon for the west-facing windows and most of the day for south-facing windows. By opening and closing Hunter Douglas window fashions at the right time in summer and winter, it’s easy for you to make the sun friendlier in your home. Contact Discovery Shutters & Shading to find out more on how to turn your home’s windows into stylish, energy-saving windows.


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April 22, 2010 • The Record’s Guide to Going Green

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The Record’s Guide to Going Green • April 22, 2010

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Going Green Apr 2010  

Going green in San Joaquin Valley

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