What’s the Real Deal with Energy Star Appliances?

What’s the Real Deal with Energy Star Appliances?

  We all have appliances in our homes. From the refrigerator to the washing machine, big and small appliances are used every day. Because of their convenience, electrical appliances make up about 30% of our energy bills each month. Energy Star appliances were first introduced in 1992. The Energy Star symbol is a government-backed label that lets consumers know the product they’re buying will help to cut down on energy costs and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While Energy Star appliances started out solely on computers, now just about any energy-efficient appliance can carry the label. So, what actually qualifies as an Energy Star appliance, and what are the benefits? Let’s take a closer look.   What Does it Take to Be an Energy Star Appliance?   In order to garner the label of “Energy Star,” an appliance must meet certain criteria. This criteria is set in place by the US Department of Energy. Criteria are different based on the type of appliance, the size, etc. The bottom line is that they need to use less energy than standard appliance models. They need to be able to save you money on your energy bills, and they need to be committed to protecting the environment by causing fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The criteria might seem complicated. Thankfully, as consumers, we don’t have to worry about checking the standards when we’re buying appliances. Energy Star has made it easy to identify the best appliances with their notable labels.   Why Should I Choose Energy Star Appliances?   There are plenty of reasons to seek out appliances with an Energy Star label....
Saving Water is a Family Effort – How to Get Everyone Involved

Saving Water is a Family Effort – How to Get Everyone Involved

Did you know that the average American family uses about 400 gallons of water each day? We’ve covered some tips in the past on how to save water at home. But, it really is a family effort. If everyone in your family made one different choice each day that conserved water, think about how many gallons you could save each day? Not only will you be shocked at how much water you’ve been wasting, but you’ll also love saving money on your water bill! One of the best ways to get the whole family involved in saving water is to turn it into a challenge. See who can save the most water each week. Turning anything into a healthy competition is bound to motivate your family to do their best! So, how can you get everyone, from your spouse to your kids involved in conserving water? Let’s look at a few easy tips.   Don’t Take Baths Sometimes, nothing sounds better than a nice relaxing bath, right? Many young kids also prefer taking baths to showers. Unfortunately, filling up the tub ends up wasting a lot of water. It’s unnecessary to use that much water just to get clean. Instead, opt for a quick shower! That’s actually another hidden tip: Try shaving a few minutes off your daily shower. Even shortening your shower by just five minutes can have a huge impact.   Fill the Sink It might seem contradictory for us to tell you not to take a bath, but to fill up your kitchen sink for dishes. Let’s clear that up. Putting a plug in your kitchen...
Conservation Efforts Made by Our National Parks – Sustaining a Beautiful Future!

Conservation Efforts Made by Our National Parks – Sustaining a Beautiful Future!

When most people think about our national parks, things like hiking trails, beautiful scenery, and animals in their natural habitat come to mind. While these parks are usually protected by the government, that doesn’t mean they don’t give back. In fact, there is a National Parks Conservation Association dedicated to preserving the parks for years to come. Many national parks across the country are also doing their part to conserve water and energy. Not only does that help to ensure the parks will be around for many years, but that the resources of our country (and the world!) will be as well. Water Conservation One of the biggest ongoing efforts for many national parks throughout the country is water conservation. Different parks are taking initiatives to reduce the amount of water being used on a regular basis while using natural resources whenever possible. What’s so important about this? When a national park that gets visited by hundreds (or thousands) of people each day takes steps toward saving water, it leaves a huge positive impact. It can also inspire others to do their part, too. For example, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California implements several different methods to retain rainwater and conserve the water they use each day. Some of the methods used there and in other parks across the country include: Low-flow faucets Dual-flush toilets Water-reduction laundry facilities Drought-tolerant plants Improving Energy Conservation Just as each park uses their own tools and resources to conserve water, they do the same with energy. It’s important to note that the more a park can retain natural rainwater and put...
3 Easy Hacks to Save Energy While Renting

3 Easy Hacks to Save Energy While Renting

When you’re renting an apartment, a room, or even an entire home, you still may be responsible for many of the utilities. But, you might not be able to make permanent changes in your living space as a tenant. So, what can you do to save energy (and money) as a rental tenant, without breaking the rules of your lease? We’ve got good news – there’s actually plenty you can do! Use these little “hacks” to make your apartment more energy-efficient. In doing so, you’ll be able to save a little money and reduce your environmental impact with just a few simple changes. Quick Window Insulation Chances are, you’re not going to be able to install insulation throughout your apartment or rental home. Unfortunately, an improperly-insulated living space means it’s easy for cold air to get in and warm air to seep out. One quick and inexpensive way to put a stop to this is to quickly insulate your windows. There are a few different ways to do this that don’t take a lot of time and won’t change the integrity of your living space. Try using “draft stopper” on your window ledges or underneath any doors where you feel a breeze. These are inexpensive and can even be decorated to match your decor.     Turn Down Your Thermostat If you’re able to control the thermostat in your rented space, try turning it down a few degrees. Turning it down just 10 degrees for eight hours can add up to a savings of 15% in your energy bills each year. You can turn it down while you’re away...
3 Tips for Teaching Your Children About Conservation

3 Tips for Teaching Your Children About Conservation

 There has never been a more crucial time to educate the next generation on the impact they can have on the planet. When it comes to the health and sustainability of humanity in general, our kids will be the ones who make the difference. So, teaching them about the importance of conservation is key. This includes everything from wildlife to water. If you’re not sure how to get the conversation on conservation started with your children, keep these three tips in mind.   Set Positive Examples One of the best ways to teach your kids about conservation is to be their ultimate example. No matter their age, children are always watching what their parents do, and they learn best through our actions. In your own life, work to develop conservatory habits when it comes to using water, saving energy, and even dealing with wildlife. When you’re ready to talk to your kids about how important conservation really is, they’ll already have some base knowledge just by watching what you do each day.   Talk About Climate Change The subject of climate change can be a scary one for all of us, but especially for kids. That doesn’t mean it should be avoided. Having a talk about climate change is important, not only so your children know what could happen if things don’t change, but to encourage them that they can be the generation that makes a difference. Don’t use the “climate change talk” as a way to frighten your children. Instead, use it to give them hope that they can have a powerful impact on the future of the planet....
Save Money and Energy with a Home Energy Audit

Save Money and Energy with a Home Energy Audit

Did you know that you could be using unnecessary energy throughout your home? Of course, the environmental impact of that is something to seriously consider. As a result, though, you could also be spending a lot of extra money each month on utilities. The best way to figure out how much energy your home uses is by getting an energy audit. Home energy audits or assessments not only show you how much energy is being consumed. They can also help you to figure out what you can do to lower your home’s energy consumption. These fixes can include anything from updating your appliances to installing insulation. So, how do you go about getting a home energy audit? It’s easier than you might think!   Professional Home Energy Audits One of the most convenient ways to get a home energy audit is to hire a professional. When you do that, you can feel confident in knowing they’ve covered every inch of your home and they know exactly how to determine where energy is being wasted. Auditors start out by getting information from you about your household and your living habits. Some areas of information usually include things like: Average thermostat settings How often people are home How many people live in the house Measurements of the outside of the home The auditors will also usually want copies of your utility bills. This will give them a good idea of how much energy is being used (and how much money is being spent) on a monthly basis, and how that fluctuates throughout the year.   What to Expect During a Professional...