Tag Archives: going green

Coming Down to the Wire to Save on Green Home Upgrades

Tax credits for green upgrades expire soonWe are down to the last few days to save on taxes by purchasing energy-efficient upgrades, so don’t delay. The tax experts at the Equifax Finance Blog point out just what it takes to earn the

federal tax credits and offer more great tips, as well!

On December 31, the legislation that gives homeowners a federal tax credit expires so be sure to go out and purchase any energy efficient windows, water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps and insulation before then. Many cities and states also offer tax credits to homeowners who make energy-efficient home improvements, such as dual-paned windows, solar-powered systems and tankless water heaters. Just like the federal tax credit, you don’t need have everything installed, but you do need to make the purchase before the year ends and let Uncle Sam finance your future energy savings.

These upgrades can make your home both look and feel better, but also save you on month–to-month upkeep and, if you are considering upgrades for putting your home on the market in 2014, can add to your curb appeal. After all, homebuyers love saving money and will value your investment to help them decrease energy costs. Best of all, upgrading now rather than waiting means you get to enjoy the savings, too!

The full article, “

Five Real Estate Tax Tips You Should Know Before 2014” has many more ways you can save on your 2014 taxes, but you better act fast! The Equifax Finance Blog has more information about how to go green and save green, as well as key information on credit scores, retirement planning, budget balancing and much more.

Save Money and Help the Environment with these Tips

Although the economy may be beginning to turn around, many families are still looking for ways to save money while becoming more energy efficient. Record summer temperatures in many states and an impending cold winter in other’s can cause a huge dent in our monthly budgets. Not to mention the rising cost of fuel, food and other necessities. If you’re looking to save money, as well as energy, then we can help.

Below are some tips provided by the National Corn Growers Association to get you started.

  • Fill Up with Ethanol: Gasoline with 10 percent ethanol not only helps lower gas prices, but it also assists with stretching the petroleum supply. Recently, experts noted that ethanol has lowered gas prices by 15 percent, saving drivers $70 billion dollars this year alone.
  • Purchase Hybrids or Flex Fuel Vehicles: You can save money at the gas pump while helping the environment when you invest in a hybrid or vehicle that runs on E-85, an 85 percent ethanol blend fuel.
  • Buy Locally Grown Foods: Packaging, transportation, advertising and profits account for 24 cents on the food dollar. By choosing local meat, milk and produce, you not only support your local farmers, you also eliminate the costly transportation bill.
  • Turn off Your Home: According to the United States Department of Energy, a whopping 75 percent of electricity used in a home occurs while your appliances are off. Unplug these items or use a power strip to cut off power when not in use.
  • Set Your Thermostat: Although winter may seem months away, keeping your home nice and toasty raises your energy bill. Keep in mind that for every degree you lower the thermostat in the 60 to 70 degree range this winter, you’ll save 5 percent on your home’s heating costs.

These are just a few of the things you can do to help lower your energy bills while making a positive impact on the environment.

Do you have more money and energy saving tips? Share them here.

Reduce Unwanted Mail with Catalog Choice

How much unnecessary mail do we end up with in stacks on the kitchen counter? Most of it doesn’t even get read…it just clutters the house, collects dust and gets in the way until we get around to putting it in the trash. Now, thanks to Catalog Choice and retailers, we can alleviate the clutter in life by stopping unwanted mail.

In 3 easy steps you can make your life more green-friendly:

  1. Fill out the online registration form, including your primary mailing address (only used to have appropriate mail stopped)
  2. Find and set mail preferences for catalogs. They contact the providers to request your mail preference.
  3. It can take up to 12 weeks to process your request and for you to stop receiving catalogs.

This program is designed for continued use and as a registered user, you will discover features related to managing catalogs at multiple addresses adding new catalogs to our database and other ways to go paperless.

Benefits to going paperless:

  • reduce mailbox clutter
  • lowers merchants costs of distribution
  • positive impact on the environment, reducing energy consumed, carbon emmissions, lost forests resulting from production and discarding of unwanted catalogs.

Participating Catalogs include:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Ann Taylor
  • REI
  • UncommonGoods
  • Early Advantage

Imagine the trees, energy and waste saved if you stop getting your unwanted mail…join the craze to go green and make your life clutter free!

O Recycled Tree

by Megan McLaughlin

Cutting down a tree, for many, is a Christmas tradition families could never live without. For others, plastic serves us well. But for those purists who need the thrill of hunting for the perfect, live tree, consider another option this year. Make this Christmas one Mother Nature will never forget and consider renting a recycled tree.

Yes, its true...in several places around the country, and the world, people are renting live, potted trees, that can be returned at the end of the holiday season. EVERGROW Christmas Trees Company in British Columbia, Canada does just this. Their philosophy? "Cutting a tree down just for the Christmas season is a waste of a beautiful resource that is beneficial for the environment. Having an EVERGROW Christmas tree in your home will allow you to have a real tree while helping to reduce our impact on our environment." Most of us in the eco-concious community couldn't agree more.

A service such as this seems to be rare at the moment, but perhaps its popularity is growing. Here are a few other places that rent living trees:

The Original Living Christmas Tree Company
in Portland, OR
Adopt A Christmas Tree in San Deigo, CA
and Christmas Tree Man in the United Kingdom

If this rental service isn't available in your area, you can always purchase a potted pine tree from your local nursery, or a tree that comes with a root ball, so it can be re-planted at the end of the season.

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Are You Green Certified?

by Megan McLaughlin

Just about everyone uses computers and a large percentage of those who do are definitely using the internet. Many people also have websites, whether for personal or business purposes, but not everyone has a Green Certified website! CO2Stats is out to change that.

Now that you're reading this, you may begin to notice this little bug on many of the web pages you usually browse. CO2Stats offers green site certification by calculating the combined electricity used by computers visiting a site, the servers providing it and the networks that connect them. CO2Stats then helps to make a site more energy efficient (and load faster), and purchases renewable energy to neutralize the carbon emissions due to generation of that electricity. Pretty cool, huh?

According to the CO2Stats site, "it is an easy-to-use service that makes your website carbon neutral and energy-efficient, and that provides certification that you have taken steps to make your site environmentally friendly." So if you haven't already found ways to make your website more eco-friendly, check out CO2Stats and get your site Green Certified! Its an interesting, fun way to care for the environment while bringing some green appeal to the web!

For more about websites and web design, check out these links:
How a Website Comes Together
90s Web Design

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Get Naked!

by Megan McLaughlin

You haven't lived until you try Naked Juice! It is delicious and its creators are committed to making the world a greener place!

"From fruit to blender to bottle to gulp, Naked Juice is dedicated to making it easy for you to contribute to a greener world." And just how are they doing this? They use recycled plastic bottles that can be recycled again and again. They also have big plans for the future...
By 2010, they are planning to reduce their oil consumption by 57,000 barrels a year, which, in turn, will cause them to use 48% less energy in the process!

Now for the best part - the juice: 100% all-natural, 100% juice made from the best fruits and vegetables, they never add sugar, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors! Each of their bottles contains over 3 servings of fruit and they are oh-so-delicious.

Do yourself a favor and give Naked Juice a try! You'll be helping Mother N. out as well! Look for these guys in your local grocer...

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

(Pre) Winter Green

by Megan McLaughlin

For many of us across the U.S. and even in other parts of the world, it seems as though we have skipped right over fall and found ourselves in the middle of winter! The lack of an Indian summer has left many of us longing for warmth again already, but for others, it is a cue to start gearing up for the winter season. For plenty of people, winter means hibernation, and for sports enthusiasts, it means skiing, snowboarding and all sorts of outdoor, snowy activities.

Greenzer.com provides a very informative list of ways to think green when planning winter activities. As usual, the number 1 tip involves staying local! Transportation to and from winter sport destinations like ski areas can be very costly. If you are fortunate enough to live close to winter sport destinations, keep within the area. If you need to travel further to find what you're looking for, do it wisely!

The article also makes an interesting suggestion; consider the amount of carbon emissions expended to run a ski lift and to groom the trails...it would be greener to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing! But if you just need the thrill of the slopes, be mindful of your actions and think green at all times!

No matter what you decide this winter, make sure you always consider what you can do to make your life a little greener.

Some people tend to spend more money in the winter. If that's you, check out this article: Winter Time Spending
Everyone hates being sick, especially during the cold winter months. Read this article about battling the "winter sickies."
And here are some interesting suggestions about snow removal!

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

On Target: Eco-Friendly

by Megan McLaughlin

We're all familiar with Target's bright red bulls eye symbol, but does everyone know about Target's push to be a bit more Eco-friendly. Now, everyone's favorite, trendy, cost-effective and convenient department store is offering an array of Eco-friendly products. Still affordable and smarter than ever, Target has been turning very greener every chance it gets.

Online shopping is super quick and easy at Target.com and this is the best place to see all of the Eco-friendly products they offer. Target's Eco-friendly page breaks items down into categories like "Home Essentials," "Kitchen + Dining," and "Apparel + Gear." Under Home Essentials, for example, you will find many bedding sets, pillowcases and other bedroom/bathroom needs made from natural materials, bamboo and 100% organic cotton.

From baby clothes to water filters and cookware products, reusable bags and home decor made from recycled materials, Target is offering some great, green solutions that won't break the bank. Next time you go to make a purchase from a department store, consider what you can do for the environment by choosing to shop at Target. You can go green and save: stay on Target!

For more tips about shopping and saving the Eco-friendly way, check out these links:

Green is your style

Labeling the Grocery Store
My Reusable Bag Payday

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Learning Green Lessons

by Megan McLaughlin

Summer is wrapping up quickly and you may not have given school a single thought yet! However, now is the time to get ready to hit the books again and, this year, you should consider trying it the green way! There are tons of school supplies that are better for the environment and you don't even have to special order or scour the earth to find them. Most of these supplies can be found right in your usual stores...you just need to know what to look for!

According to an article on Care2.com called Green Pencils and Pens, "Every year Americans discard 1.6 million pens. Placed end to end, they would stretch 151 miles—equivalent to crossing the state of Rhode Island almost four times!" Another article on Care2.com, Best Cool Green School Supplies, offers great solutions to the anti-green school supply issue. Here are some tips to remember when shopping for school or office supplies this fall:

- If you're looking for pencils, find some that are made from recycled materials
- Buy paperclips that are made from recycled steel
- Find a staple-free stapler (so cool)!
- Buy cardboard notebooks and recycled paper
- Stop using paper bags for your lunch!

If you're still wondering how you can start off the school year on a green foot, check out some of these blog articles on Experience.com:

Be a back-to-school green machine
Work Green
And when you're done with your supplies, check this out: Winter Break Can Be Green

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post

Got a Clunker? Want Cash?

by Megan McLaughlin

If you haven't already heard of Cash For Clunkers, listen up! As detailed by Wikipedia, "The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), colloquially known as "Cash for Clunkers," is a U.S. federal scrappage program intended to provide economic incentives to U.S. residents to purchase a new, more fuel efficient vehicle when trading in a less fuel efficient vehicle. The program was designed to provide stimulus to the economy by boosting auto sales, while putting safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles on the roadways."

Although the program ran out of funding rather quickly, last Thursday it won an extension when the Senate voted in favor of providing an additional $2 billion with the hopes of boosting the tiring auto industry. According to The Washington Post, "[the program] offers vouchers worth up to $4,500 for drivers trading in their gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient vehicles."

Not everyone is pleased with Cash for Clunkers, but the program's popularity speaks for itself. Its a multiple-edged sword; it encourages American's to buy new cars, which will ultimately spur the economy. It offers citizens a chance to purchase a car at a lower rate, which, in these tough economic times, can be very helpful to some people. Most importantly, it takes unsafe cars off the road and replaces them with vehicles that are better for the environment!

Check out these links to read more about buying cars and doing your part for the environment!
Get rid of your clunker
Save Gas By Car-Sharing
Car Buying 101

Originally Posted At: To Green or not to Green | Read Original Post