Archives for category: Green Living

Green living and saving money go hand in hand more often than you may think! We love this 4 minute video on eco friendly home products, and you can get them all at sustainablesply.com! Inhabitat shows how you can potentially knock hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars off your annual energy bill. On top of that, a home that is energy efficient can also dramatically transform how you and your family live by creating a comfortable space that promotes both health and well-being.

Read more: VIDEO: 6 Smart Home Products Which Will Cut Your Energy Bill | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

ImageThere’s a reason why LED lights are taking over the lighting industry. Long story short, LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode and emits light in a process called electroluminescence. Here’s where the environmentally-friendly part comes in- they last up to 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs and are four times more energy efficient. The benefit of LED lighting is clear to see: LED lights use nearly 80 percent less energy, LED is cleaner for the environment, and LED lighting translates to financial savings for you. Sustainable Supply makes it super easy to stuck up and save on LED lights. Check out a great selection of RoHS compliant and Energy Star rated LED lamps. Take advantage of Sustainable Supply’s fast shipping on Lumapro, GE Lighting, Lithonia, and many other LED lighting manufacturers. Go green the easy way and switch to LED lighting from Sustainable Supply today!

LED Lights

Shop a great selection of LED Lamps at Sustainable Supply!

We all have a few bad habits. Some of us bite our nails, crack our knuckles, or even twirl our hair. But, what if our bad habits were exposed…on Facebook?

From the article “Bad Trash Habits Posted to Facebook” by Alex Petru, computer scientists at Newcastle University in northern England are planning on doing just that. The computer scientists plan on testing the theory that if you’re publicly shamed, you’ll change your bad habits. The plan is to monitor the trash that is used in student households by planting a camera phone in the kitchen trash bin that will catch a picture of the contents that were tossed out every time the lid shuts. The pictures will then be uploaded to the program’s Facebook page where they can see what they and other households are throwing away. The plan also “aims at a friendly competition between the households” in hopes that the comments left on the pictures and activity on the Facebook page will encourage recycling all over campus.

Researchers, according to Petru’s article, state that the plan is already working. It has been reported that “after two weeks, students were emptying trash cans less because they were recycling more.”

With the economy currently in a recession and gas prices hitting record breaking highs, many people have decided to cut back on their spending and vacation time for the summer of 2011.

From the article ‘Tips for saving on home energy use’ by Dan Serra, Serra states that in a recent survey taken,  “fewer than 50 percent of business owners plan to take a vacation this year, down from more than 60 percent last summer.” Noted in Serra’s article and in ‘Smart Ways To Cut Energy Costs At Home’ by Elizabeth Alterman, both authors state that if you want to reduce energy costs, start with improvements to the common areas of your home, such as “sealing window leaks, adding insulation and having your air conditioning unit tuned up.”

Another way to keep the energy costs low in your home is through your appliances.  Serra states that you should check and make sure that your refrigerator is at about 37 degrees and that your freezer is at about 3 degrees and to only run washing machines if they have full loads.

Alterman references in her article that cutting down on energy costs starts with buying energy efficient appliances, such as ‘ENERGY STAR’.  ENERGY STAR “offers thousands of models on products in 60 different categories for the home and office.” And, in 2010 alone, with the help of ENERGY STAR products, “Americans saved $18 billion and greenhouse-gas-emissions equivalent to that of 33 million cars, according to the program.” So take that extra vacation time and dig out your swimming suit, because while temperatures are rising, your home energy costs won’t be.

“Are you paying to cool the outdoors?” Many of us have heard this phrase when leaving a window or door open while the air conditioner is on in the summer. Leaving a window or door open isn’t the only way we waste our money and efforts to cool down our home. Hidden places all around your home are wasting energy and your money. The good news is, the U.S. Department of Energy Website has some eco-friendly instructions for an energy-efficient home. Follow these Do-It-Yourself Tips for how to green your home, and save money!

As the heat rises this summer, we’re all trying to cool down without sending our energy bill through the roof  (Literally, that air could be leaking through your roof). Strategic placement of fans in combination with air conditioning is an electric bill nightmare! You can hire a professional to perform an energy assessment in your home, but for those green-conscious individuals on a budget, here are some tips for how to save money and make less of an impact on the environment.

The U.S. Department of Energy site states, “You can easily conduct a do-it-yourself home energy assessment (also known as a home energy audit). With a simple but diligent walk-through, you can spot many problems in any type of house. When assessing your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found.” Here is a list to help you prioritize your energy assessment:

  • Locate air leaks
  • Look for gaps around pipes and wires
  • Inspect windows and doors
  • Conduct a basic building pressurization test (instructions on site)
  • Inspect the outside of your home
  • Check insulation efficiency
  • Check heating/cooling equipment and filters

This may seem like a lot, but the U.S. Dept. of Energy Website has details on just how to conduct this checklist. Go green this summer, and don’t pay to cool down the outdoors! Conduct an in-home energy assessment yourself, and make your summer more sustainable!

Eco-friendly gardening is any easy, chemical-free way to grow a healthy green garden! Here are 4 tips for how to maintain a sustainable garden:

Use Companion Planting

Protect your green garden from pesky bugs and animals without using chemicals! Companion planting is an eco-friendly way to protect your garden, by maximizing plant diversity.  Planting veggies like broccoli or cabbage alone makes an easy target for insects, like the cabbage moth. But if you companion plant, you mask the scent of the favored food and confuse the pest.  Try surrounding the bed with carrots and onions! Other plants that improve the health of their neighbors include garlic, chives, and pole beans. Set garlic around roses or apples to prevent scab, and plant pole beans around lettuce or spinach during summer’s heat, to provide shade! Sprinkling a little bit of cayenne pepper around your crops deters hungry rabbits from feasting on your veggies too!

Use Cover Crops

Cover crops are also known as “green manure”.  At the end of a growing season, planting cover crops is an all-natural way to revitalize the soil, and help soil tilth and subsequent plant growth. Cover crops are planted when your garden is empty. Once the crops grow, you work them into the soil instead of eating them. As their leaves, stems and roots begin to decompose, they provide 100% organic matter, which serves as food for a host of soil-dwelling creatures that reprocess those nutrients into a plant-friendly food source for your garden plants. For examples of cover crops, check out this helpful cover crop chart.

Try Composting

Composting is another eco-safe fertilizer. Composting turns biodegradable yard and kitchen wastes into a nutrient-rich, soil-like substances through a combination of biological and chemical processes. Sheet composting is an easy do-it-yourself way to compost in an idle garden bed or area. Just spread your kitchen wastes in a 2- to 4-inch layer, cover with soil, and leave to decompose between growing seasons.

Try Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is the practice of replacing the type of plant grown in a certain area of your garden, with a plant belonging to a different family. This rotation helps keep soil healthy, ward off pests and reduce the risk of soil-borne diseases.   Ideally crops are rotated on a two- or three-year schedule. You can also rotate crops based on their nutrient needs. Heavy feeders like corn or squash can be followed up by a light feeder such as carrots. Legumes such as beans or peas are light feeders that add nitrogen back to the soil. Mixing up your garden keeps it healthy and nutrition-rich!

There are many people out there who want to go green, or are going green already. For those who are just getting started and would like a little guidance, the article 10 Ways To Go Green and Save Green by Kristina Greene lists 10 simple things you can do to jump start your eco-friendly quest.

The first way you can go green according to Greene is by “paying our bills electronically” so that you can save paper, stamps, and time.  The second way is “switch to simple cleaners.” There are a lot of harsh chemicals found in regular cleaning supplies, so if you refill your all-purpose cleaner spray bottles with water and vinegar, you can use that instead.

Another way you can start going green is by planning your meals for the week. This way, you can make your menu and shopping list for the week ahead of time and cut down on food waste.  Producing beef uses a lot of water and cows produce methane, which isn’t good for the environment.  If you want to go green, eat less meat. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you will also be spending less at the grocery store and your body will be taking in less fat.

See the original article for all 10 ways.

It’s August, and for a lot of college students that means scheduling your last vacation plans, parties, and get-togethers because at the end of the month…it’s time to move back to school. Whether you’re moving back into the dorms, or sharing a house or apartment, the article “Create an eco-friendly dorm room” by Julie Washington gives college students great tips on how to make the upcoming school year eco-friendly.

First, Washington lists a few green websites and retailers that you can search to get green products. One place is Abe’s Market.  Abe’s Market is “an online marketplace for green products, even offers wire-bound notebooks filled with elephant dung paper. Each page is made from fiber from Sri Lankan elephant dung and post-consumer waste, according to a company spokeswoman.”

Dormdelicious.com is another great website that offers eco-friendly dorm room advice and leads students to other websites that specialize in sustainable dorm room accessories.

Pbdorm.com has “organic sheets, towels and decorative pillows.” And, if you can’t afford purchasing new items, Washington suggests checking out “gently used couches, dorm refridgerators, rugs, etc.”

Other tips from the main article include:

• Share appliances with your roommates. If you buy an appliance or tech toy, look for the “Energy Star” logo to ensure it is energy efficient.

• Reuse boxes when packing, then put them in a recycling bin when you’re done with them.

• Visualize the room and make a checklist. Sketch the floor plan so that you know how much space you have to work with.

• Pack your stuff in reusable bags; you can use them to haul groceries later.

• Bring a reusable water bottle or coffee mug.

Have you ever thought about drying your clothes the old fashioned way? From the article “Fire Your Dryer” by Melissa Breyer, Breyer lists the benefits of hanging your clothes on a rack or line to dry.

One of the benefits Breyer lists is conserving your clothes for a longer period of time. It’s stated in the article that the dryer “shortens the life of your clothing by over-drying and thinning them out.” So, use the dryer less, and you won’t have to purchase new clothes as often.

Another great point when it comes to “firing your dryer” is eliminating the risk that your dryer could ever start a dangerous fire. In the article, a report by FEMA is cited. This report states that “because of clothes dryer vents that have been clogged with lint, there are more than 15,000 house fires every year.”

An added perk of air drying, Breyer says, can be “keeping the indoor winter air moist; kind of like a low-tech humidifier.”

For a list of all Breyers benefits on air drying your clothes, check out the article.

While you’re enjoying nature and sleeping on the green, the article “12 ways to have a fun, guilt-free camping trip” by Julia Austin lists 12 ways that will help make your camping experience an eco-friendly one.

  1. Use BPA-free reusable water bottles or canteens
  2. New to camping? Borrow your camping gear- Some seasonal campers can donate their old gear to second hand stores so that when others want to start camping on a regular basis, that’s where they can go to buy it.
  3. Bring extra reusable bags to throw trash in- Trash bins on the site could be full and there could also not be one close by.
  4. Check for campfire restrictions- Your firewood could introduce pests or diseases into the area that you’re camping in.
  5. Bring LED flashlights and lanterns- They have a longer service life and require less power than regular flashlights.
  6. Bring reusable supplies
  7. Bring biodegradable soap and wash dishes away from water sources
  8. Use Citronella candles- Its lemon scent and essential oils are used to repeal insects
  9. Bring dishtowels from home rather than paper towels.
  10. To reduce packaging waste, grab your friend with a Costco card and buy food and other items in bulk.
  11. If you hike during your camping trip, stay on the set path- Going off the trails can cause soil erosion and stomping of native plants.
  12. Leave your vanity at home- Particles from makeup can be toxic to the environment.