"Energy Savers" Booklet from the U.S. Department of Energy: A True Gem

What splendid reading!

This booklet, produced by the U.S. Department of Energy, is chalk full of energy and money saving tips.  It begins with the unsettling statistic that "the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on utility bills," and that "unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted."


Thank goodness the rest of the book focuses on the how, the why, and the what we can do about it.  Sections provide more than enough information, with spotlights on insulation, sealing air leaks, windows, heating and cooling, lighting, appliances, home office, car maintenance, and renewable energy.  Within each of these sections is a paragraph or two on long-term savings tips.  The pamphlet ends with references and some websites that are well worth exploring.

If I could, I would provide the whole book for you, right here on Making a Greener House Today.  But, unfortunately, I cannot, so I will do the next best thing.  You can visit http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/ download the PDF, and view the whole book online. 

Thirty-three pages definitely worth reading.  Let me know what you think! 


Has Your Home Been Haboobed?

With the monsoon season upon us, we know to brace ourselves for our old pals, Blustery Wind and Vigorous Rain, but this year brings with it a newcomer and attention hogger:  Roiling Haboob. 

The haboob.  A dust cloud with the span of the Superstitions churning its way across the valley, engulfing homes from Queen Creek to Cave Creek and on.  This celeb of the moment certainly deserves attention.  I've lived in Arizona for over 20 years and have never seen anything like one.  And I'm not saying there hasn't been one before; I've just not seen it.  And even if there has been one; have there ever been three in the span of two months? 

I may not know the haboob's cause, but I certainly know its effect.  Dust.  Outside and inside.  Yes, haboob dust makes its way through those little cracked seals around your doors and windows and peppers your carpet and coats your counters. 

Just another reason to have Greener House Today come out and find those cracks and seal them up.  Air sealing, haboob proofing, it's all the same.  The bottom line is:  air and AC stays in the house, dust and hot air stay out.  One more way you can save money, save energy, and save the earth all at once!  



8 Tips for an Arizona Summer

We know it's coming.  We watch the weather nightly, just to cringe at each rising degree.  I've said to Bryan countless times throughout the years, "Whoa.  It's gonna be in the 90s next week!" or, "Holy cow.  We're hitting 100 this weekend!"  Like it's some big surprise.    

The mercury rising does have its perks:  the pool becomes bathwateresque and, therefore, finally swimmable, I don't have to carry around a jacket at night, the laundry loads get lighter (have you seen the clothes teenage girls are wearing these days?)  These are joyful things, and I truly appreciate them. 

But then, there is the dreaded  ELECTRIC BILL.  This, I'm not very fond of.  Not.  At.  All.

So in the spirit of another Arizona scorcher approaching, I've compiled a list of things we lucky Zonies can do to help keep that utility bill at bay.      

1.  This one is the easiest.  Turn off the lights!  You would be surprised how many watts that light left on in the, uh-hum, tiny toilet room, is using.

2.  If you have a programmable thermostat, you're lucky, and you can set it to energy-saving levels when not home.  If not, it may be time for you to do some swimsuit trotting and set your T-stat to 78 degrees or above.    

3.  Another no-brainer:  replace incandescent lightbulbs with CFLs.  They last much longer and use 75% less energy.  

4.  Air dry your clothes.  The dryer is a huge sucker of electricity.

5.  Use power strips for appliances that don't need to run constantly, and turn the power off when you are not using them.  Easy!

6.  Use electical applicances less.  Do you really need to bake the lasagne in the oven for an hour and a half when you can pop it in the microwave for 17-25 minutes?

7.  HAVE A HOME ENERGY ASSESSMENT!  Yes, this is my business, and yes, this may be a shameless plug, but really it is another no-brainer.  We have lowered bills up to 40% right here in Phoenix.  Visit our website to see exactly what we do to lower those bills (http://www.greenerhousetoday.com/). 

8.  Use natural light, but use it wisely.  Blinds open on a large west-facing window at 4:00 in the afternoon will just make it hotter in there. 

Do you have a summer-saving tidbit?  I would love to hear it!


Green Baby Step - Calculate your Carbon Footprint!

Take just a minute to find out how large your carbon footprint is!  You need to have your electric, water, and gas bills handy because they ask a few questions that only a bill can answer.  When answering, take this into consideration:  if you have a pool heater and never use it, answer "no" to pool heater.  Good luck and let me know your results!   

Happy New Year!

And it's going to be a good one, this 2011, I feel sure.  Something about a new year always brings a fresh view to light.  A clean slate feeling.  We chuck the old calendar (in the recycle, of course), with its cluttered squares, grimy erasings, and sloppy cross-outs, and pin up that unmarked, prestine new replacement.

Maybe this is how the whole New Year's resolution concept came about.  With this new beginning, some of us feel  an overwhelming desire to change something. 

I'm not going to get preachy and tell everyone to get greener this year.  But it would be interesting, wouldn't it?  To have a resolution that bettered something bigger than ourselves? 

Here's to a happy, healthy, (greener) New Year!