Tag Archives: solar power

Dreaming of a Green Christmas : 3 Ways to Make Your Holiday Environmentally Friendly

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.10.28 AMBy: Elizabeth Eckhart

The holidays are a time of family celebrations, reconnecting with old friends, and celebrating all that we’re thankful for. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time of stress, busy schedules, and worse of all, excess. No matter how frugal you may be, chances are you’re finding that extra cold weather and party hosting costs are eating into your budget. And perhaps, if you’re like many other Intent Blog readers, the idea of so much waste, with food and energy, may bother you quite a bit. In order to both keep our habits clean and green, and save some costs, we’ve put together a list of energy saving holiday tricks to get you through the season.

Decorating Tips

If you haven’t already, consider replacing all your holiday lights with energy efficient LEDs, which actually perform better in cold weather. For larger lights, switch to 5-watt bulbs, and place all your lights on a timer or just unplug, ensuring that they won’t be left on during the day when no one can enjoy them. When shopping for outdoor decorations for yourself or others, keep in mind the wide availability of solar powered options.

If you’re really feeling green, you can also decorate with candles. Many families already use luminaries along outdoor walkways on special nights. Consider holiday scented candles, which are a beautiful addition to any home. You can also turn off the lights inside when your brightly decorated tree is on and lit. This will not only save energy; it will immediately make your home feel full of holiday spirit.

Hosting Tips

It may go against holiday tradition, but you can cook some party dishes in the microwave. The typical microwave uses 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven, so even one dish can make a large difference. Using the same reasoning, look up recipes you can create using a slow cooker. Since you’ll still be using the oven for trickier dishes, check progress through the window instead of cracking open the door (which can make the temperature drop 25 degrees in less than a minute!), and feel free to turn the oven off before the food is fully cooked. As long as the door stays shut, your food will finish perfectly and on time. Using glass or ceramic pans also means your dish will cook more quickly, so turn the oven down 20 degrees to save costs.

To keep your fridge running efficiently no matter the number of guests, keep it as stocked as possible — an easy task if feeding a large group of people! You can also defrost items in the fridge instead of a watery sink. Both tips will result in the fridge keeping cooler with less energy.

If you do happen to find your fridge is full, hold off from hauling out the spare fridge, and instead keep extra beverages and holiday leftovers cold by storing them in the garage or in the backyard. And as much as you’d like to clean up quickly following a large holiday meal, your fridge will thank you if you wait until all the food has cooled to room temperature before storing it away.

On the day of your party, turn down the thermostat to 66 degrees. Most people will find this is a comfortable range in a holiday sweater, and the increased body heat should take care of the rest. Keep a few blankets handy for older guests and chronically cold friends. If you plan on setting the mood by using the fireplace, install a tight-fitting set of glass doors and crack open a window nearby. Open-hearth fireplaces actually draw in the heated air from your home and send it straight up the chimney — a problem glass doors can stop. With increased holiday lights on top of heat usage, your bills may still come out higher than expected. If you haven’t already, start monitoring your light usage and reevaluate your energy plan using sites like Energize Connecticut and TexasElectricityProviders.com. Not only can you switch to less expensive plans, you can also choose to have most or all of your energy generated from green sources such as wind or solar.

Gift Giving and Shopping

Although many of us enjoy wandering around decorated stores during the holidays, perhaps even stopping to see Santa, before the perfect gift emerges on its own, you can save time and costs by planning out the gifts necessary for each person. Make use of outlets and strip malls, which mean you have less driving to do from store to store. You can also shop for products made locally or buy materials to craft gifts on your own, which not only supports local businesses but detracts overall from the amount of overseas transit costs and pollution that trucks, boats, and planes cause. The same goes for shopping online  — if you buy your gifts from one store instead of three, you’ll have lower costs associated with packaging and transit.

Regarding the actual gift, aim to buy fewer gifts that use electricity and batteries. An amazing 40 percent of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season, which means a lot of energy is used. If you must buy electronic gifts, definitely opt for the energy efficient versions, and maybe even throw in rechargeable batteries instead of singular usage batteries.

The holidays are the perfect time to show appreciation for those around you. Whether it be through gifts, parties, or decorations, the holidays can be exciting, albeit expensive. But, if you plan accordingly and shop wisely, you’ll find the damage to your wallet and the earth can be greatly reduced.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Why Choose Solar Energy?

Solar energy is a tried and tested power source that is already being used around the world for numerous commercial, industrial, government and domestic applications.  Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the Sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies.

Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the Sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies.

For every change in the world, one being had to advance lead the others joined. Even if you anticipate you cannot change the bearings all by yourself, do not worry. When humans acquisition you adequate the abundant advantages of application solar power, they will chase your example.

Solar panel is apple-pie and does not could cause any pollution. It does not bankrupt the earth’s accustomed non-renewable assets of energy, appropriately allowance to conserve the eco-system. Using solar ability can accomplish the apple a cleaner and bigger abode to reside in.

Solar panels may crave an ample bulk of amplitude area they can be set up, and added so if there are an amount of solar panels, the after-effects can be actual rewarding. You can save up to 90 percent on your ability bills.

Once you complete the accession aspect of a solar ability unit, you can eventually go absolutely off the filigree and never accept to pay ability bills. You can adore charge less and ceaseless ability after annoying about the costs.

Solar energy is not acclimated alone for electrical ability generation. It can as well be put to an amount of added uses that are as abundant important. You can use solar energy to fry food, light solar bulbs, heat water, run solar buses and solar trams, run a centralized cooling or heating arrangement and abundant more. Appliances like solar powered calculators, attic fans, etc. are as well added examples that appearance you the advanced ambit of use for solar power.

Solar energy can change the atmosphere of your home into a cleaner and safer one.

Reduce Electric Usage

  • Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). While the upfront cost is greater for a CFL than an incandescent bulb, a CFL lasts approximately ten times longer, burns cooler and utilizes seventy-five percent less energy—so you save money and resources. The coloring cast by a CFL is the cool side of the color spectrum, emitting a bluish light (incandescent light bulbs cast a warm or yellowish light). However, the newer CFL lights on the market cast a full-spectrum light—look for bulbs described as “warm white,” “daylight” or “full spectrum.”
  • When shopping for a CFL, the following is considered the standard equivalent for incandescent versus CFL. However, I have found this comparison to be a little off—that CFL’s tend to cast less light than their incandescent equivalents. However, because a watt is a watt, if your lamp indicates a maximum of one hundred watts, and a twenty watt bulb CFL isn’t bright enough, you can safely use a twenty-three CFL watt bulb.

Incandescent                           CFL

60 watts                                  11 watts

75 watts                                  18 watts

100 watts                                20 watts

150 watts                                23 watts


  • Natural-spectrum bulbs are another great choice, and they mimic natural sunlight and last thirty-five hundred hours. As the name implies, the light cast imitates the full-spectrum—or natural daylight—and so makes colors appear bright and true.
  • Purchase appliances with the Energy Star Label. Energy Star appliances use less energy than their counterparts, thus saving you money on utility bills and helping to protect the environment. For example, replacing a refrigerator purchased in 1990 with a new Energy Star qualified model would save enough energy to light the average household for three months and prevent more than three hundred pounds of pollution a year.
  • Use the “miser” switch on appliances.
  • Use rechargeable batteries for small appliances and cut down on the amount of toxic batteries that end up in landfills.
  • Choose gas appliances when possible, as they use less energy, create fewer emissions and are cheaper to operate than electric models.
  • Keep all appliances in good condition to maximize their efficiency.
  • Ensure that your refrigerator has adequate ventilation, as a poorly ventilated refrigerator can use ninety percent more energy to operate. Skip the automatic ice makers and through-the-door dispensers, as they increase energy use by fourteen to twenty percent. Check the door seal—if you can close the door on a dollar bill, for example, and easily pull it out, the seal is not effective. Replace seal. Do not over chill, but keep the refrigerator at thirty-seven to forty degrees and freezer at zero to five degrees. If every refrigerator in America were turned up one degree, three million tons of carbon dioxide would be kept from entering the atmosphere.
  • Use solar-power for outside lighting fixtures.
  • Set your dishwasher to “off” for the dry cycle.
  • Turn off lights, televisions and other appliances when not in use.
  • Buy a washing machine with a horizontal-axis instead of the tub variety, as they consume less water and energy. For even more energy savings, look into the newest washing machine/dryers-in-one.
  • Air dry your clothes instead of using a dryer.
  • Motion-detector light switches will shut off lights automatically when no one is in room.
  • Use the air conditioner sparingly and raise the thermostat. Use less air conditioning by opening windows and operating fans. Circulating air feels cooler than stagnant air. So consider installing an attic fan and adding ceiling fans.


Excerpt from the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet, copyright 2007.


Improving Lives Around the World with Solar Panels

Hi, this is my first post on Intent, so I suppose this a good time to introduce myself. My name is Deep Patel, I live in Los Angeles and I’m passionate about helping you get started with green energy. It’s quite ironic that I ended up at the forefront of the green energy revolution since if you literally translate my unique first name, it means “the one who holds the light”, I guess your name has a lot of meaning in relation to your path in life, wouldn’t you agree?

Can you believe its 2009 and there’s still billions of people in the world without reliable electricity? Reliable power is what most of us here in the U.S. take for granted. Having a stable source of electricity has not only been a vital part of our economy’s success over the last 100 years but has also given a chance for anyone to live a decent lifestyle. Toady, I want share with you how I’m fulfilling my primary intent to,“help people in urgent need, gain access to clean energy.”
Bashoy-Abucot Elementary School
Recently, I have helped two non-profit organizations with their solar power projects. Unleash the Power for the People Foundation, has a goal to donate a solar electric system to schools around the world without access to energy. Bashoy-Abucot Elementary School located in the remote mountainous region of Benguet, Philippines, 300 kids had no access to power until the foundation raised the funds to donate a 1.1 kilowatt solar electric system to the school. The solar panels installed on top of the school’s roof provides the elementary school new opportunities by powering a computer, TV, lights and fans to create a comfortable learning environment. These children now have more resources to learn and acquire the skills they need for the 21st century.
 On the other hand the Mujeres de Maíz Opportunity Foundation a non-profit based out of Sequim, Washington wanted to improve the lives of the lives of the indigenous young women of the Mujeres de Maíz en Resistencia Cooperative in the poorest states in Mexico called Chiapas. The cooperative is a group of seamstresses and more than often they have to sew through the night which is difficult due to the lack of electrical power, which forces the seamstresses to use expensive and dangerous kerosene lamps.
The Mujeres de Mujeres de Maíz Opportunity Foundation took an interesting approach to solve the lighting problem for the seamstresses by donating Everlite Solar Compact Spotlights which are basically a highly efficient LED light bulbs with a nickel-metal hydride battery and small solar panel. Now, thanks to the Mujeres de Maíz Opportunity Foundation, the seamstresses have access to solar electricity which replaces kerosene oil, an expensive item for the poor women to purchase. This is a great example of how even the smallest solar panel can make a big impact for some people. Don’t you agree?
Here in the U.S. we tend to focus on how solar panels can reduce our energy bills, but there are so many problems renewable energy can solve in developing countries. Delivering energy to the people who have never experienced life with reliable power is the largest untapped opportunity for renewable energy in my opinion. Clean power to the people will change the world as we know it by giving people the same opportunities that we enjoy today. What do you think?


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