Green Living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4805/all en-US 8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_bikes_map_626852098.jpg" alt="Couple traveling greener and saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Travel can be an enriching way of understanding different cultures and developing an appreciation for nature&rsquo;s beauty. Yet, the negative effect that travel can have on the planet is undeniable. Huge carbon emissions, vast energy consumption, and excessive water usage are all unfortunate side products of many forms of travel. But a growing number of travelers are becoming far more conscious about how their actions and choices can impact the environment.</p> <p>It's been suggested that the only way to truly travel greener is to not travel at all, but that seems extreme? There are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, both large and small, that can have a positive impact on the environment. Even better, many of these strategies can actually save you money in the process.</p> <h2>1. Pack light</h2> <p>By packing light, you'll be carrying less weight, which means that if you're traveling in a vehicle, you'll use less fuel, releasing fewer emissions. The less gas you have to buy for your trip, the more money you&rsquo;ll save.</p> <p>When it comes to flights, by traveling with carry-on items only, you'll immediately save the costs that most airlines charge for an additional bag to be checked, and you&rsquo;ll be doing your part to lighten the load that the plane has to carry. That, in turn, can reduce the plane&rsquo;s fuel consumption. (See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-carry-on-luggage-can-save-you-time-and-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Carry-On Luggage Can Save You Time and Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Take a reusable water bottle</h2> <p>Our incredible overconsumption of plastic has been deemed an environmental crisis. That certainly makes sense since a million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and 91 percent of plastic produced is not recycled. A 2015 study found that by midcentury, we'll have more plastic in our ocean than fish, ton for ton.</p> <p>Help solve the problem by carrying a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aluminum-and-stainless-steel-water-bottles?ref=internal" target="_blank">reusable water bottle</a> with you when you travel so you can avoid buying bottled water. You can also get <a href="http://amzn.to/2AXfE6P" target="_blank">filtered water bottles</a>, which will allow you to drink water from virtually any source by filtering out up to 99.9 percent of harmful contaminants. As a bonus, you'll also save a small fortune on the pricey bottled water by carrying your own bottle.</p> <h2>3. Bike or walk</h2> <p>Particularly in countries where gas guzzling transport is cheap, it's easy to fall into the trap of getting taxis everywhere, or hiring a vehicle. However, by far the two greenest ways to get around are to ride a bike or walk.</p> <p>Cycling and walking have zero impact on the environment, and will help keep you healthy in the process. They also cost nothing other than perhaps the cost of renting a bike, which in most places is still relatively cheap. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a>)</p> <h2>4. Make sure your home is vacation-ready</h2> <p>This is a vital step to take when you're heading away on vacation, and can have a significant impact on both the environment and your wallet. The most important move is to ensure your heating or cooling systems are completely off (unless the temperature is going to drop below freezing, which could lead to frozen pipes).</p> <p>Something else to be aware of is that electronics like TVs, wireless routers, and kitchen appliances use a surprising amount of electricity when they're in standby mode. Because of this, it's essential to unplug as many as possible rather than just switch them off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-your-bills-and-5-other-things-you-must-do-before-you-leave-on-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay Your Bills and 5 Other Things You Must Do Before You Leave on Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>5. Carry a tote bag</h2> <p>Carrying your own tote bag with you when you're on vacation will mean you're further reducing your plastic consumption. Whether you're picking up some groceries or doing a bit of souvenir shopping, not using plastic bags will lead to both carbon savings and less pollution.</p> <p>You may be able to save money, too. In many countries and some U.S. cities and states, there is a charge for plastic bags. Though it's usually quite a small charge, over time, the price of using plastic bags can add up.</p> <h2>6. Harness the power of the sun</h2> <p>A large chunk of the earth's energy comes from the sun, so why not harness some of it to make your travels greener? Electrical gadgets like tablets, phones, and e-readers have become a regular part of most people's vacation packing list. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to plug them in each night.</p> <p>Solar power banks work by converting sunlight into usable power, storing it until it's required. This allows you to keep your battery full without relying on electricity. Though there's an initial cost of buying the solar power bank (typically $30 or less), you'll soon recoup this by essentially creating energy for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-power-banks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Solar Power Banks</a>)</p> <h2>7. Resist the air conditioner</h2> <p>This may sound like madness to AC lovers, but people have survived with minimal misery in hot weather conditions for thousands of years without using one. There are plenty of other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out?ref=internal" target="_blank">ways to keep yourself cool</a> when the temperatures rise that don't drain as much electricity.</p> <p>A fan is an effective way to keep you cool in your hotel room at night. If presented with the choice, go for a fan room over an air-conditioned one, which will ordinarily cost less as well. If you feel it's an absolute necessity to use the air conditioner in your room, then at the very least, be sure to turn it off every time you leave the room.</p> <h2>8. Make your flight as green as possible</h2> <p>Air travel is bad for the environment, there are no two ways about it. But there are a number of ways to reduce your personal impact and make your flight a little greener.</p> <p>Choosing the shortest route with the fewest connections will cut down on your time in the air, ultimately using less fuel. Many airlines now allow you to use digital boarding passes instead of printing them, so opt for it if you can to use less paper. Finally, some airlines have carbon offset programs that allow you to reduce your carbon footprint by donating to carbon reduction projects.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Simple%2520Ways%2520to%2520Travel%2520Greener%2520That%2520Could%2520Save%2520You%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=8%20Simple%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20Greener%20That%20Could%20Save%20You%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Simple%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20Greener%20That%20Could%20Save%20You%20Money.jpg" alt="8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-should-always-carry-on-an-economy-flight">9 Things You Should Always Carry on an Economy Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-essentials-every-business-traveler-needs-to-pack">11 Essentials Every Business Traveler Needs to Pack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-pack-in-your-carry-on">8 Things You Should Always Pack in Your Carry-On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff">Where to Take Your Batteries, CFL Bulbs, and Other Hard-to-Recycle Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Travel go green pack light packing tips recycle save the planet travel green travel tips Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Nick Wharton 2056468 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Industries That Could Benefit From Climate Change http://www.wisebread.com/8-industries-that-could-benefit-from-climate-change <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-industries-that-could-benefit-from-climate-change" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/engineer_projecting.jpg" alt="Engineer projecting" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The recent devastation brought on by hurricanes in the U.S. and Puerto Rico has led to renewed conversations about the impact of climate change. Dangerous storms, rising sea levels, droughts, and heat waves are now more commonplace around the globe, and for better or for worse, there are many companies poised to cash in.</p> <p>Few companies will explicitly <em>try</em> to profit off climate change, but there are a number of industries that could see revenues rise if our planet continues to warm. Whether by harnessing new energy sources, building new infrastructure, or creating products to protect people's health, companies will step up and respond as our climate changes. Meanwhile, other firms will profit in unexpected ways.</p> <p>Here are some major industries that may benefit &mdash; rightly or wrongly &mdash; from climate change.</p> <h2>1. Renewable energy companies</h2> <p>Most scientists agree that the pace of global warming can be slowed by a shift toward green energy. Companies that produce solar energy and electricity from wind and other nonpolluting sources should see revenues grow as the energy economy shifts. The number of startups operating in this area is expected to increase, too.</p> <p>Here's why. Renewable energy sources comprised about 15 percent of U.S. electricity production in 2016, and that's likely to increase. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar energy accounted for 30 percent of all new sources of electricity in the first quarter of 2017. Renewable energy is expected to pass coal as an energy source within the next 12 years. We won't be switching entirely to green energy overnight, but the megawatts produced by environmentally friendly sources will continue to increase.</p> <h2>2. Established energy companies</h2> <p>While concern over climate change has led to a push for more renewable energy sources, traditional energy companies aren't going away tomorrow. In fact, as energy needs increase due to rising temperatures, it (ironically) may be established fossil fuel companies that meet those needs until renewable sources become more abundant and reliable. Some companies have also noted that melting ice in the Arctic could open up more areas for offshore oil drilling.</p> <h2>3. Construction companies</h2> <p>While many people are focused on preventing and slowing climate change, others are examining how to make our world more resilient to deal with the impacts. This means potentially building sea walls and other infrastructure to address rising sea levels. It could also mean bolstering major infrastructure such as railways, airports, and roads. Much of this work will be done by private companies, and could come sooner rather than later if lawmakers agree on a large increase in infrastructure spending.</p> <p>Companies such as Caterpillar, Bechtel, and Whiting-Turner are among those often involved in major construction projects. It's worth pointing out that many of these same companies are active in disaster relief efforts, as well.</p> <h2>4. Air conditioning suppliers</h2> <p>An increasing number of places in the world, including some densely populated regions, are dealing with temperatures that are virtually deadly unless citizens have access to air conditioning. This presents a huge opportunity for air conditioning suppliers such as Daikin Global and Fujitsu, provided that their potential customers have access to the electricity to run AC units.</p> <p>Of course, air conditioning is also a contributor to climate change due to the use of hydrofluorocarbons, which trap thousands of time more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. As countries move to phase out the use of HFCs, companies that produce affordable and scalable air conditioning solutions that are better for the environment are the best poised to cash in.</p> <h2>5. Specialized clothing manufacturers</h2> <p>If an increasing number of people are facing extreme weather, that's an opportunity for clothing manufacturers who use technology to produce clothing that helps keep us safe and comfortable. Think of specialized apparel and gear that's designed to keep you cooler, block out the sun, protect against extreme rainfall, or respond to changes in temperature. Even sunglasses may become more technologically advanced.</p> <p>Climate change also presents an opportunity for companies committed to reducing their carbon footprints when sourcing and manufacturing their products.</p> <h2>6. Shipping companies</h2> <p>In August, a Russian tanker ship made headlines by becoming the first ship to cross the Northeast Passage from Europe to Asia without the use of an icebreaker. This is significant, because it suggests that companies can now ship goods much faster. For example, a trip through the Northeast Passage, which runs along the Arctic coast of Russia between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, takes 30 percent less time than the traditional route through the Suez Canal.</p> <p>The trip by the Russian tanker was made possible due to declining ice levels in the Arctic, presumably as a result of climate change. The reduction in ice could also mean more potential routes for vacation cruise ships, including more trips to the Arctic and Antarctic regions.</p> <h2>7. Defense and security firms</h2> <p>There is increasing concern that food shortages and other challenges caused by climate change could lead to civil unrest. In fact, the United Nations Food Programme last year said high food prices led to unrest in Morocco, Bangladesh, Tunisia, and Indonesia. Large defense companies, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and United Technologies, would indirectly profit if tensions escalated into armed conflicts, and many of those same companies are involved in carrying out the delivery of humanitarian aid.</p> <p>Moreover, climate change is often cited as a contributing factor to the refugee crisis in Syria and other parts of the Middle East. Continued mass migration could mean a greater need for border surveillance and security forces, which would also benefit security and defense firms.</p> <h2>8. Crop science companies</h2> <p>A number of forces are combining to drive prospects for crop science companies. The world's growing population is causing food demand to rise. Meanwhile, consumers are showing more interest in organic food products. This is all happening at a time when climate change is causing more droughts, floods, and unpredictable growing conditions.</p> <p>Companies that may benefit from these trends include new biotech firms, as well as established giants such as Monsanto and Bayer, which have invested billions of dollars in crops designed to be more resilient and produce higher yields with less water and soil.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-industries-that-could-benefit-from-climate-change&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Industries%2520That%2520Could%2520Benefit%2520From%2520Climate%2520Change.jpg&amp;description=8%20Industries%20That%20Could%20Benefit%20From%20Climate%20Change"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Industries%20That%20Could%20Benefit%20From%20Climate%20Change.jpg" alt="8 Industries That Could Benefit From Climate Change" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-industries-that-could-benefit-from-climate-change">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money">6 Ways Climate Change Could Affect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-lucrative-climate-change-investments-that-can-help-save-the-world">5 Lucrative Climate Change Investments That Can Help Save the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Green Living air conditioning climate change construction defense energy global warming hurricane harvey renewables trade Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:30:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 2035541 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Solar-Powered Outdoor Security Lights http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-powered-outdoor-security-lights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-solar-powered-outdoor-security-lights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/solar_security_lights_629434366.jpg" alt="Using the best solar powered outdoor security lights" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Solar-powered outdoor security lights harness the power of the sun to provide lighting and security around the home and yard. This means lower energy costs and a better option for the environment.</p> <h2>What is a solar-powered outdoor security light?</h2> <p>Solar powered outdoor security lights convert solar power into electric energy to provide lighting without using electricity. They are charged by the sun, so you won&rsquo;t need to worry about power cords getting in the way. They are ideal for use around steps, driveways, porches, patios, walkways, carports, and sheds.</p> <h2>Top 5 solar-powered outdoor security lights</h2> <h3>Sunforce LED Solar Motion Light</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j0gnPV" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/sunforce.jpg" width="245" height="199" align="right" alt="" /></a>The durable <a href="http://amzn.to/2j0gnPV" target="_blank">Sunforce LED Solar Motion Light</a> automatically turns on when it detects motion. The amorphous solar panel generates electricity in all daylight conditions, even on cloudy days, so you can get reliable lighting anytime. The weatherproof light comes equipped with 60 super-bright white LED lights and three adjustable settings: light level, time, and sensitivity.</p> <p>This has easy installation and is maintenance free. It includes a lithium-ion rechargeable battery and mounting hardware. It has outstanding online reviews, including more than 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2w51kFN" target="_blank">Sunforce 80-LED Solar Motion Light</a> is another highly reviewed option from the brand.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j0gnPV" target="_blank"><em>Currently $25.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Mpow Solar Lights</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2x9tvs6" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/mpow_0.jpg" width="245" height="225" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in commercial emergency light fixtures, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2x9tvs6" target="_blank">Mpow Solar Lights</a>, turn on automatically in the dusk and turn off at dawn. They offer fast charging, seven hours of illumination, eight ultrabright LED lights, and long sensor length. They also feature three intelligent adjustable modes: strong long light mode, dim light sensor mode, and strong light sensor mode.</p> <p>A polysilicon solar panel shortens the charging time, even in less sunny environments. This set has outstanding online reviews, including more than 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2x9tvs6" target="_blank"><em>Currently $21.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>URPOWER LED Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Lights</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2xNKHAE" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/urpower.jpg" width="245" height="239" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in patio ceiling light fixtures, the durable wireless <a href="http://amzn.to/2xNKHAE" target="_blank">URPOWER LED Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Lights</a> have large solar panels, a large capacity battery, 20 LEDs, and a diamond lampshade. The waterproof, rustproof, high temperature-resistant stainless steel construction can withstand years of rain, snow, ice, and wind. Thanks to intelligent detection, brighter light activates when sensing motion, and the light stays on for 20 seconds after motion stops.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to install this four-pack with the included mounting hardware and lights can be positioned seven feet away from each other to cover a larger area. This includes a 1000mAh 3.7V Li-ion rechargeable battery for up to 10 hours of use on a full charge. It has outstanding online reviews, including more than 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2xNKHAE" target="_blank"><em>Currently $24.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Litom Super Bright Solar Lights</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2w4HjPQ" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/litom.jpg" width="245" height="148" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in island lights, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2w4HjPQ" target="_blank">Litom Super Bright Solar Lights</a> offers a broad range of bright light. The unique design has a wider 120-degree sensor angle and longer sensing distance. The durable weatherproof light has 54 super bright LEDs and a built-in PIR motion sensor. The larger solar panel has faster battery charging (even in cloudy environments) and more power energy storage.</p> <p>This automatically turns on when it senses motion and has three adjustable lighting modes: medium light mode, dim light sensor mode, and sensor mode. Installation is easy with the included mounting hardware. The light is frequently recommended online for those who want a bright outdoor light.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2w4HjPQ" target="_blank"><em>Currently $26.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>MAXSA Innovations Motion-Activated Dual Head LED Security Spotlight</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2gK3Z5L" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/maxsa.jpg" width="245" height="173" align="right" alt="" /></a>The durable <a href="http://amzn.to/2gK3Z5L" target="_blank">MAXSA Innovations Motion-Activated Dual Head LED Security Spotlight</a> is one of the brightest solar-powered, motion-activated outdoor security lights on the market, thanks to four super-bright LEDs. It can withstand any weather and turns on automatically when motion is detected. It is fully adjustable thanks to three dials for time, motion sensor range, and amount of darkness needed for activation. The amorphous solar panel can efficiently charge, even on cloudy days, ensuring you get light when you need it.</p> <p>The solar security light has two heads that can be pointed in different directions for wide illumination. Installation is easy with the included mounting hardware. This also includes three 1.2V NIMH AA rechargeable batteries that last up to three years.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2gK3Z5L" target="_blank"><em>Currently $51.00 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best solar powered outdoor security lights. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar" target="_blank">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fnow-or-later-how-to-decide-the-right-time-to-buy-almost-anything&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%25205%2520Best%2520Solar-Powered%2520Outdoor%2520Security%2520Lights.jpg&amp;description=The%205%20Best%20Solar-Powered%20Outdoor%20Security%20Lights"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%205%20Best%20Solar-Powered%20Outdoor%20Security%20Lights.jpg" alt="The 5 Best Solar-Powered Outdoor Security Lights" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-powered-outdoor-security-lights">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-robotic-mops">The 5 Best Robotic Mops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-thermoses">The 5 Best Thermoses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aluminum-and-stainless-steel-water-bottles">The 5 Best Aluminum and Stainless Steel Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home Shopping 5 best product reviews security lights outdoor lights shopping solar energy solar lights Wed, 06 Sep 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Andrea Cannon 2016235 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too) http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/portrait_of_woman_carrying_vegetables_in_crate_at_farm.jpg" alt="Portrait of woman carrying vegetables in crate at farm" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Believe it or not, going green and saving money often directly align, since consuming fewer resources results in less pollution and costs less, as well. Here are a few ways to help the earth by spending less &mdash; or even by spending nothing! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month</a>)</p> <h2>1. Eat less meat</h2> <p>Eat less red meat and move down the food chain for cheaper food and less environmental impact. You could also incorporate a meat-free day of the week to scale back on meat consumption, while also helping the environment and spending less on groceries. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso" target="_blank">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>2. Fight food waste</h2> <p>The best way to spend less on food is to throw less food away. Shop carefully to avoid overbuying, and preserve excess food items to reduce food waste going to the landfill.</p> <h2>3. Drink tap water</h2> <p>Infrastructure is already in place to provide drinking water to your home, so why pay extra to have drinking water bottled and shipped hundreds of miles or more? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a>)</p> <h2>4. Resist fast food</h2> <p>Cut down on fast food with its wrappers, bags, boxes, disposable cups, and plastic straws. You'll keep waste out of the landfill and save money, too.</p> <h2>5. Catch water with a rain barrel</h2> <p>Use a <a href="http://amzn.to/2frw4yo" target="_blank">rain barrel</a> to provide water for your plants with no chlorine or other added chemicals. This saves the energy of pumping water out of the ground, and you'll save on your water bill.</p> <h2>6. Create a no-mow zone</h2> <p>Consider creating a natural space in your yard that does not require mowing. This will save time and energy mowing, and provides a habitat for wildlife in your yard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Turn Your Backyard Into a Wildlife Refuge for Under $40</a>)</p> <h2>7. Drive a gas-sipper, not a gas-guzzler</h2> <p>Get the most fuel-efficient car that meets your daily needs. If you occasionally need more capacity, you can borrow or even rent a vehicle and still come out ahead. You'll spend less on gas every day and add less pollution to the air.</p> <h2>8. Air up your car tires</h2> <p>Keeping your tires fully inflated is the easiest thing you can do to improve your fuel economy. Air up your tires for a couple quarters at the gas station to save money &mdash; and gas &mdash; every time you drive.</p> <h2>9. Walk whenever possible</h2> <p>Everyone knows you can save money and burn less gas by walking or riding a bike instead of driving. If this is not feasible, try to combine trips to reduce how much driving you need to do.</p> <h2>10. Use public transit or carpool</h2> <p>You may be able to have someone else drive you to work, freeing up some time to read and relax on the ride while saving gas, too. If you do not have convenient mass transit in your area, see if your employer has organized a carpool, or start your own.</p> <h2>11. Send email, not snail mail</h2> <p>Use email rather than snail mail for letters, paying bills, and sending greeting cards to reduce the carbon footprint from trucking mail around. Plus, you can also save money on postage.</p> <h2>12. Avoid gratuitous tech upgrades</h2> <p>It takes a lot of resources and energy to produce a technology device. Before you get rid of your current device and pay extra get the new model, consider whether the upgrade is really worthwhile.</p> <h2>13. Use rechargeable batteries</h2> <p>If you find yourself throwing away a lot of batteries, pick up some <a href="http://amzn.to/2wsaON1" target="_blank">rechargeable batteries</a> you'll save money and reduce waste from spent batteries going to the landfill.</p> <h2>14. Resist Ctrl+P</h2> <p>Work to reduce the amount of printouts and paper copies of documents you make. Save paper, ink, toner, space, and money but cutting back on printing.</p> <h2>15. Reduce A/C and heating</h2> <p>In summer, turn off the A/C and open the windows (and maybe turn on a fan). In the winter, turn down the heat and put on a sweater. You'll end up saving fossil fuel and money.</p> <h2>16. Replace furnace filters</h2> <p>Regularly replace your furnace filter with a clean one so your heating and cooling system runs at higher efficiency, saving money and energy.</p> <h2>17. Reduce wasted electricity</h2> <p>Turn off unused lights and unplug appliances when you're done using them to reduce your electric bill and your demand for electric energy production.</p> <h2>18. Dry clothes on a clothesline</h2> <p>Use free solar power in your yard to dry clothes on a clothesline. Save money, electricity, and wear-and-tear on your clothes dryer.</p> <h2>19. Use LED bulbs</h2> <p>An easy green upgrade is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with <a href="http://amzn.to/2vNBA5l" target="_blank">LED light bulbs</a>. This will save you money on your electric bill and reduce your energy consumption to light your home.</p> <h2>20. Reduce disposable products</h2> <p>After realizing how many plastic spoons and forks I was throwing away at lunch, I took a set of silverware from home to work and use it every day. Try to identify disposable products you are using and replace them with reusable products instead.</p> <h2>21. Buy stuff that lasts longer</h2> <p>The initial cost of higher quality products may be higher, but the overall cost of ownership is lower over the life of the product. Longer-lasting products are greener than products that need to be replaced after a short life, as it requires less resources to meet a lower product demand.</p> <h2>22. Just say 'no' to excessive packaging</h2> <p>Choose products that minimize packaging, and therefore waste. For example, use refillable dispensers for items such as hand soap and laundry soap that you can replenish from an efficient bulk container. The bulk supply is often cheaper than buying a new dispenser each time, too.</p> <h2>23. Use reusable shopping bags</h2> <p>Paper or plastic? How about neither! Some stores offer a discount if you bring your own shopping bag. For example, a local store near me offers 10 cents per bag discount, or you can donate it to charity. Plus, I find that my <a href="http://amzn.to/2vCY2xq" target="_blank">reusable bags</a> are sturdier and better protect my items than disposable plastic bags.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F23%2520Effortless%2520Ways%2520to%2520Go%2520Green%2520%2528and%2520Save%2520Money%252C%2520Too%2529.jpg&amp;description=23%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Go%20Green%20(and%20Save%20Money%2C%20Too)"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/23%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Go%20Green%20%28and%20Save%20Money%2C%20Too%29.jpg" alt="23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-128-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-trash">Flashback Friday: 128 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money">8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">10 Ways to Reuse Common Household Items</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Green Living buy used go green green lifestyle pollution recycle reduce reduce waste reuse saving money Spending Money Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2000692 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Climate Change Could Affect Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-586087414.jpg" alt="Learning how climate change could affect your money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As our planet steadily warms and the climate changes, one thing is for certain &mdash; it is incredibly hard to predict what the long-term future holds.</p> <p>There is a ton of data that shows Earth's climate is warming, but the change is occurring so rapidly that the existing data doesn't necessarily provide scientists with a way to make 100 percent accurate predictions. Plus, we can hardly get weather predictions right for the next week, so imagine trying to make accurate predictions for decades into the future.</p> <p>All of that said, there are six predictions that we can generally make regarding the future of our planet and our money.</p> <h2>1. Water will cost more</h2> <p>Water is, hands down, our most precious resource on this planet. Scientists predict that potable water may become increasingly rare in the next 50 years &mdash; at least, based on our current climate models and methods for collecting and storing water. At least half the world's population relies on groundwater for personal consumption (with urban demand expected to grow by 55 percent by 2050, according to National Geographic), and groundwater is supplied by precipitation.</p> <p>Global warming is expected to increase downpours, so one might expect that our groundwater supply should be in good shape. However, that's not the case. Groundwater builds up slowly over time, through melting snowpack and steady precipitation. If climate forecast models are accurate, then it's possible that the next 100 years will see northern hemisphere snowfall amounts decline dramatically (between 10 percent and 30 percent, according to National Geographic). Increased precipitation, when it comes in the form of monsoon-like deluges that are too voluminous to be absorbed, simply causes flooding.</p> <p>In addition, warmer global temperatures will contribute to problems with water quality, according to both the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Rising seawater in low-lying coastal areas can contaminate freshwater reserves. In areas of drought, on the other hand, concentrations of freshwater contaminants are expected to increase, which can lead to potential health concerns for humans.</p> <p>Precipitation deluges can also cost municipalities millions if excess stormwater floods damage sewage treatment plants (as happened in Seattle in February 2017). This can lead to a costly backup &mdash; or in the case of the Seattle treatment plant, millions of gallons of raw sewage pouring into Puget Sound. All of this makes it extremely likely that the cost of potable water will get much higher in the next 50 years or so.</p> <h2>2. Energy will cost more</h2> <p>North America has enjoyed a boom in cheap oil and natural gas in recent years, thanks to fracking, a means of extracting oil and gas from rock shale using pressurized water. But as climate change causes freshwater supplies to dwindle and water costs to rise, expect to see either a falloff in fracking-related production of fossil fuels or a drop in demand.</p> <p>Other means of power generation may come under threat, too. Many of the country's rivers may actually see less water flow due to shifting precipitation patterns and accelerated evaporation rates. Less water flowing in our rivers will mean less water to power hydroelectric dams. Did you know that water is used to cool coal and nuclear power plants, too? Without access to that water, power brownouts are a possibility in many areas, especially during times of peak power usage.</p> <p>Fortunately, advancements in green technologies like solar and wind energy production (coupled with new efforts to manufacture batteries for home storage of electricity) promise possible relief. These technologies, along with microgrids &mdash; local energy grids that can disconnect from main power grids and run autonomously &mdash; can also help alleviate problems that arise from the aging of the already hopelessly outdated U.S. utilities infrastructure.</p> <h2>3. Food may cost a lot more</h2> <p>A warming climate is a mixed blessing when it comes to food production. Warmer weather and higher levels of carbon dioxide can mean happier crops and larger yields, but that's assuming that new diseases and pests don't also thrive on the warming conditions. Because the cost of food depends on so much more than crop yields, it's very difficult to say how food prices may rise in the future.</p> <p>According to National Geographic, some crops' yields will increase<a href="http://www.nationalgeographic.com/climate-change/how-to-live-with-it/crops.html">,</a> while others may see a significant drop. Among the predictions scientists are making:</p> <ul> <li>Corn yield may decline by as much as 20 percent in the Midwestern United States, and 16 percent in Brazil. And if the cost of corn and other basic cereals rises along with the cost of water, the cost of meat production will also rise.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Potato farmers in northern Europe may expect an increase in production, whereas farms farther south will become increasingly drought-prone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>West and East Africa may support more industrial agriculture, but China and India are expected to experience massive losses of arable land.</li> </ul> <p>As the climate continues warming, Americans may see a serious shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables, causing price hikes. California produces the vast majority of the fresh produce eaten in the United States, including citrus fruit, artichokes, broccoli, nuts, plums, and tomatoes. The state's vast farmlands are expected to suffer from more frequent droughts and heat waves as the climate continues warming.</p> <p>Seafood is also likely to become rarer and pricier as rising carbon dioxide levels cause oceans to acidify and harm or kill off species like salmon.</p> <h2>4. Flood prone real estate may lose value</h2> <p>Temperamental weather is one thing, but the warming atmosphere and oceans are also giving rise to more intense and numerous hurricanes and other ocean-centered storms.</p> <p>The tempests, combined with rising sea levels, are expected to devalue coastal property significantly over the next 50 to 100 years. According to the National Ocean Service, in 2010, 39 percent of the U.S. population lived in counties directly on the shoreline, with another 8 percent expected to join them by 2020. Consumers who own properties right up against the coast face not only physical dangers from rising sea levels, but also increasing costs, particularly for homeowners and flood insurance. You can expect to see premiums and deductibles rise in areas affected by climate change-related flooding.</p> <p>It has taken some time for the U.S. real estate world to react to the predictions about climate change, perhaps because North America hasn't experienced as much climate change-related damage as initially predicted (or perhaps because 60 percent of Americans don't believe that climate change will affect them personally, according to research from Yale University's Program on Climate Change Communication). However, changes are taking place. New York Times data shows home sales have dropped about 7.6 percent in high-risk flood areas of Miami-Dade County, even though home sales have increased 2.6 percent nationally.</p> <h2>5. Homeownership will cost more</h2> <p>Real estate agents like to say that there are three factors to consider when buying a home: location, location, location. Well, it's more true now than ever. While homeowners previously considered issues like neighborhood safety, the quality of the local school district, or local amenities, now homebuyers will also have to factor in issues like: Will my home be swept away in a freak flood? Are forest fires becoming a possibility in this area? The answers could point to significant dangers or at the very least, higher costs.</p> <p>Buying a home in an area that is negatively affected by climate change will affect more than your mortgage options and your insurance: You may also pay a fee just to live dangerously. Homes built in unincorporated fire-prone areas, for instance, may be charged an annual fee to help pay for firefighting efforts. This has already been proposed in Washington State.</p> <h2>6. Health care costs will continue to grow</h2> <p>Anyone who has been to Beijing or Bangkok knows how terrible air pollution can affect your health. From asthma to emphysema, a more polluted atmosphere (which is currently a huge contributor to our warming climate) can mean a host of new health issues.</p> <p>Warmer weather, combined with higher levels of carbon dioxide, can also cause plants to vigorously produce more pollen &mdash; meaning worsening symptoms for people with allergies.</p> <p>And a wetter, warmer climate encourages the spread of insects like mosquitoes, which carry deadly diseases. Speaking of insects, the bark beetle that is killing off vast swathes of forest in the Western United States and Canada is creating so much dead wood that it's contributing to larger, deadlier forest fires in the dry summer months. Those, in turn, further hurt asthmatics and people with other pulmonary issues.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520Climate%2520Change%2520Could%2520Affect%2520Your%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20Climate%20Change%20Could%20Affect%20Your%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20Climate%20Change%20Could%20Affect%20Your%20Money.jpg" alt="6 Ways Climate Change Could Affect Your Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-industries-that-could-benefit-from-climate-change">8 Industries That Could Benefit From Climate Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/there-are-cheaper-ways-to-return-to-a-greener-earth">There are Cheaper Ways to Return to a Greener Earth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-lucrative-climate-change-investments-that-can-help-save-the-world">5 Lucrative Climate Change Investments That Can Help Save the World</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Green Living agriculture climate change environment food costs global warming health care homeownership sea levels water Thu, 03 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Andrea Karim 1992116 at http://www.wisebread.com How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels? http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/aerial_view_of_house_with_solar_panels.jpg" alt="Aerial view of house with solar panels" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Solar power has advanced leaps and bounds over the past couple decades, and those grid panels that harness the power of the sun and turn it into energy are everywhere. It's not uncommon to find at least one house in your neighborhood that has panels covering every square inch of its roof.</p> <p>You may have also been approached by a solar company rep about outfitting your home with panels. (These guys and gals are almost as ubiquitous as the product they're selling.) And maybe you don't understand the mechanics of solar home power &mdash; or its benefit to your wallet &mdash; which may make you hesitant to explore the option.</p> <p>Well, you're not alone. Those of us who haven't adopted solar energy yet still have a lot of questions &mdash; namely, what's this going to cost? And when will I break even?</p> <h2>The cost of solar panels</h2> <p>First, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of just how much solar panels will set you back. It's not cheap to save the planet, even though the sun has been free of charge for billions of years.</p> <p>The easiest way to calculate the average cost of solar panels, according to New England-based solar marketing company EnergySage, is to look at its price in dollars per watt, and those numbers are fairly consistent across the country.</p> <p>This year, &quot;most homeowners are <a href="http://news.energysage.com/how-much-does-the-average-solar-panel-installation-cost-in-the-u-s/" target="_blank">paying between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt</a> to install solar, and the average gross cost of solar panels before tax credits is $16,800,&quot; says EnergySage's data. Figure in tax credits and the price comes down to $10,000 to $13,500, based on the average 5kW (5,000 watts) system that's typically installed in the United States. EnergySage also says these numbers are about 9 percent lower than last year, but recommends comparing prices quoted to other homeowners in your area.</p> <p>Now that we know how much the system will set us back, the next reasonable question is how long will it take to break even. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a>)</p> <h2>When you'll break even</h2> <p>Sarah Hancock is a digital marketing strategist who manages the solar coverage at BestCompany.com, an online review site that ranks companies in different industries. She says the amount of time it takes to break even depends on three main factors.</p> <h3>1. Current utility price</h3> <p>The higher the current electricity price is in your area, the more money you will save by going solar, which results in a faster break even time, Hancock says.</p> <p>&quot;For example, an individual who lives in California, where the price of electricity currently sits at about 17 cents per kilowatt-hour, will break even quicker than an individual who lives in Washington, where the electricity price is only 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, because the Californian will be saving more on his electricity bill each month,&quot; Hancock says.</p> <h3>2. Available incentives</h3> <p>These vary from state to state. There are a number of different incentives to take into consideration, including tax credits, rebates, performance payments, and tax exemptions. The more incentives available to you, the quicker your break-even time will be.</p> <p>&quot;One of those incentives is the 30 percent federal tax credit,&quot; says Andy Schell, marketing manager at Paradise Energy Solutions. &quot;This credit allows solar owners to recoup 30 percent of the project's cost. If you aren't able to recoup all 30 percent in year one, the remaining amount can be carried forward for 20 years until the full credit is expended. In addition, USDA grants and accelerated depreciation schedules are available for qualifying businesses and farms.&quot;</p> <p>This is a good resource to find <a href="https://bestcompany.com/solar/state/" target="_blank">solar-energy incentives available</a> in your state.</p> <h3>3. Method of payment</h3> <p>According to Hancock, you can purchase the panels outright, or get them on loan, lease, or PPA (power purchase agreement &mdash; which is a financial agreement that allows a developer to arrange the design, permits, financing, and installation of a solar energy system, and lasts anywhere from 10 to 25 years).</p> <p>However, there are fewer studies supporting the increased home value when you upgrade your home through a PPA or a lease. The reason is simple: With an upfront purchase or loan, the new buyer will not have to pay for any of the electricity produced by the panels because you would have already paid for it. With a PPA, the new buyer will still pay for electricity, simply at a lower rate than what other neighbors will pay to the utility company. Those agreements are easily transferable and can also be bought out by either seller or buyer if necessary.</p> <p>The payment method that will result in the quickest break-even time varies from state to state depending on the two other factors mentioned above &mdash; utility price and available incentives. If you live in a state with high electricity prices and several incentives, you will probably break even quicker with a loan because your energy savings will be higher than your loan payment. However, if you live in a state with low electricity prices and few incentives, you'll most likely break even faster with an outright purchase.</p> <p>&quot;To provide a general range,&quot; Hancock says, &quot;most individuals who go solar will break even in 15 to 25 years.&quot;</p> <h2>Leasing versus buying a solar system outright</h2> <p>&quot;We guide homeowners with what we've seen is the question that is most likely to help them decide what route to take: How much is your tax liability?&quot; says Julio Daniel Hernandez, a representative of renewable energy company EnLight.Energy.</p> <p>If your tax liability is big enough right now to able to take full advantage of the Federal and possible state tax incentives, he says, then you should take advantage of the available loans and tax credits. If you don't have the tax liability, then a PPA/Lease makes more sense. You'll get access to all of the energy your solar system can provide at a cheaper rate than your utility company (usually around 20% savings) and will not ever have to pay a dime out of pocket.</p> <p>As far as break-even calculations cost go, Hernandez's estimate is much more liberal than Hancock's.</p> <p>&quot;Break-even with a PPA/lease is zero because you don't pay anything; you just start saving right away similar to a third party electric company in a deregulated market,&quot; he says. &quot;If you buy a system, depending on the incentives available to you, break-even point should be around eight years or less.&quot;</p> <h2>How incentives and pricing have evolved</h2> <p>As an early adopter of solar power a decade ago, you would have made out like a bandit with incentives, but that's not the case now that so many people are switching over to the energy solution. But as with all technology, the longer it's been around, the cheaper it becomes on the front end.</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately, there are fewer incentives available now than there were 10 years ago due to the increased popularity of solar power,&quot; explains Hancock. &quot;However, the good news is that the price of solar panels has dropped by more than 60 percent over the past 10 years. So, while fewer federal and state solar incentives are up for grabs, solar power is still more affordable than ever for consumers.&quot;</p> <h2>Is it a good investment?</h2> <p>In most states, solar power is a solid investment that will result in a significant return over the next 20 to 30 years.</p> <p>&quot;For example, an individual in California who purchases a solar system outright can probably expect to see a return between $30,000 and $40,000 over the next 25 years, while an individual in Washington could expect a return of about $10,000 for the same scenario,&quot; Hancock says.</p> <p>Although the dollar-for-dollar return isn't as high for the Washingtonian as it is for the Californian, both individuals are still saving money with solar power.</p> <p>Says Hernandez, &quot;Your home value is estimated to go up $15,000-plus by upgrading to solar energy. Some of this depends on the size of the system, but studies are showing that the bulk of the increase comes from simply putting panels on and then there's only a slight additional shift upward based on how big the system is.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-powered-outdoor-security-lights">The 5 Best Solar-Powered Outdoor Security Lights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff">Where to Take Your Batteries, CFL Bulbs, and Other Hard-to-Recycle Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home energy bills energy costs green lifestyle living green saving money solar energy solar panels Spending Money Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1965204 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn Your Backyard Into a Wildlife Refuge for Under $40 http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-167920766.jpg" alt="Learning how to turn a backyard into a wildlife refuge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite things about where I live is that there is all kinds of wildlife I can see right outside my window. I don't need to go anywhere to experience nature. If you want to boost the wildlife population in your yard, here are some inexpensive ideas that provide a safe habitat for local creatures.</p> <h2>Bee house</h2> <p>Build a <a href="http://diydelray.com/2012/03/12/build-a-mason-bee-house-and-they-will-come/" target="_blank">mason bee house</a> to attract these pollinating bees to live and work in your yard. You can also buy a stylish <a href="http://amzn.to/2pflMEm" target="_blank">pre-made mason bee house</a> for about $20.</p> <h2>Bird house</h2> <p>Install a birdhouse to give birds a place to live in your yard even if you don&rsquo;t have a lot of natural nesting sites. You can design and build your own birdhouse from a variety of scavenged materials including coffee cans and cowboy boots or order a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pfcRTd" target="_blank">wooden birdhouse kit</a> for around $12.</p> <h2>Bird feeder</h2> <p>Birds will come from all around if you put out a bird feeder and keep it stocked with fresh birdseed. You can choose a simple <a href="http://amzn.to/2opFtKc" target="_blank">tube-style feeder</a> for as cheap as $5&ndash;$10, or get a rectangular feeder for a few dollars more. Sprinkle a bit of feed on the ground to help birds find it.</p> <h2>Hummingbird feeder</h2> <p>You can attract hummingbirds to your yard by putting out a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYtBMj" target="_blank">nectar feeder</a>, which will cost around $10. Hummingbirds are attracted to red, so choose a feeder that is red or one that has a clear glass that can be filled with <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYwqwZ" target="_blank">red nectar</a>. Change the nectar every few days to keep it fresh. You can buy this nectar in bulk (about 64 oz) for about $10. I mix my own nectar in small batches using a powdered formula. You can also keep unused portions of nectar fresh in your refrigerator until you need to add it to your feeder.</p> <h2>Oriole feeder</h2> <p>Orioles are distinctive orange and black birds that like to eat sweet things. Attract them with a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYITB4" target="_blank">nectar or jelly feeder</a> for about $10 featuring the color orange.</p> <h2>Birdbath</h2> <p>Put out a <a href="http://amzn.to/2oZmLId" target="_blank">birdbath</a>, and birds will come to your yard to take a bath and get a drink. A birdbath can run anywhere from $10&ndash;$40, depending on the size you get. Keep <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/birdbaths-mosquitoes-46164.html" target="_blank">mosquitoes from using your birdbath</a> as a habitat by changing the water at least once a week, or use a bacterial insecticide that is not harmful to birds, fish, or other wildlife.</p> <h2>Suet feeder</h2> <p>Woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds will visit a <a href="http://amzn.to/2oZnVmT" target="_blank">suet feeder</a> (for only $10!) to get some quick energy. You can use a small metal cage or a netted bag to hold suet so that birds can access it. Place a suet cake or suet ball in your feeder and watch the fun.</p> <h2>Bat house</h2> <p>I enjoy watching bats fly around at dusk eating mosquitoes and other insects. Attract bats to your yard by putting up <a href="http://amzn.to/2pZBsfL" target="_blank">bat houses</a>. You can build your own bat house from plans or buy a preassembled bat house for about $30.</p> <h2>Squirrel feeder</h2> <p>Some people consider squirrels to be pests that raid their bird feeders, while others think squirrels are entertaining and enjoy having them around. If squirrels amuse you, put out a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pZGp83" target="_blank">squirrel feeder</a> (for about $25) to serve up ears of corn and bring squirrels in close for easy viewing.</p> <h2>Butterfly plants</h2> <p>There are a number of plants that can attract butterflies to your yard. A <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYn5oW" target="_blank">butterfly bush</a> includes low-cost seeds (a pack of 500 seeds runs around $5) and has abundant fragrant blooms that draw butterflies in from all around to feed on nectar. Milkweed attracts Monarch butterflies, since they are a favorite plant for Monarch caterpillars to eat.</p> <h2>Native prairie plants</h2> <p>Native prairie plants require less water than other landscape plants and attract birds and insects. These plants are a great natural feature that you can enjoy right in your own yard. You can grow prairie plants from seeds, or you can buy <a href="http://www.prairienursery.com/store/native-plants" target="_blank">small prairie plants</a> for $5&ndash;$10 that are ready to transplant to your yard. There are several varieties of prairie plants to choose from including ferns, grasses, and flowers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a>)</p> <h2>Unmowed area for shelter</h2> <p>You can leave an area of your yard unmown to provide shelter for wildlife. For a small area, you can use a hoe to take out any undesired weeds, resulting in an area of tall grasses that provides shelter and a natural source of nesting materials for the ecosystem in your yard, and that won't cost a thing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">12 Ways to Cut Down on Garbage and Save Money Too!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle animals backyard projects bird feeder birds diy projects wildlife wildlife refuge Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1934995 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-470145114.jpg" alt="buy these stocks if you love the earth and money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Socially responsible investing (SRI) isn't a new concept, but it's an increasingly popular one in a world focused more on sustainability. The &quot;green&quot; subsection of SRI is environmentally-conscious investing, geared towards investment in companies that promote environmental stewardship. Think clean energy, sustainable resources, infrastructure, waste management, even consulting services.</p> <p>Rolling in green doesn't have to mean a choice between fields or bills. You now can do both, all at once if you prefer. We picked five funds that successfully blend environmentally-conscious investments with performance.</p> <p>(A note on tracking the performance of your &quot;green&quot; investments: Different sectors often use specialized indices to benchmark performance within their niche. Keep that in mind when choosing how to allocate your portfolio.)</p> <h2>1. Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund [MUTF: PGRNX]</h2> <p>Beloved by the environmental community and investors alike, the Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund focuses on long-term growth in sustainable investing. The fund evaluates financials along with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis on its holdings, carefully balancing a stringent set of criteria to evaluate investments. And it's paid off. The fund has outperformed global market benchmarks, has an average five-year return of <a href="http://paxworld.com/funds/pax-world-mutual-funds/global-environmental-markets-fund" target="_blank">10.77 percent</a>, and Morningstar gives it a <a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/PGRNX/quote.html" target="_blank">three-star rating</a>. Plus, it's fossil-fuel free.</p> <h2>2. Guggenheim Solar ETF [NYSEARCA: TAN]</h2> <p>Guggenheim Investments' Guggenheim Solar ETF (with a very easy to remember ticker symbol) is an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exchange-traded-funds-the-low-fee-investment-option-you-dont-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">exchange-traded fund</a> perfect for the investor who loves solar energy. The fund invests in solar energy-related segments across the industry, from supplies and lighting to raw materials and installers.</p> <h2>3. Pattern Energy Group Inc Class A [NASDAQ: PEGI]</h2> <p>Pattern Energy Group focuses on independent energy producers, with a specialization in wind and solar renewable energy. Pattern's newest wind farm is an impressive 150 acres, and it's not just the size that's impressive. The wind farm will generate 100 percent of the electricity for Amazon Web Services. PEGI outperformed its peers over a three year period. A lackluster 2014 for the independent energy sector overall hurt performance stats against the S&amp;P 500, but the gains since then are impressive, and PEGI's potential for future earnings looks bright.</p> <h2>4. Etho Climate Leadership U.S. ETF [NYSEARCA: ETHO]</h2> <p>Here's an ETF that focuses on industry leaders with small carbon footprints. ETHO is &quot;the first diversified index ETF that <a href="http://www.ethoetf.com/fund/" target="_blank">avoids fossil fuel companies</a> and the first public investment product to select equities based primarily on an assessment of an equity's carbon footprint.&quot; Etho Capital, the fund manager, also provides the Etho Climate Leadership Index [ECLI], a performance benchmark for companies with the smallest carbon footprints in their industries.</p> <h2>5. Ameresco [NYSE: AMRC]</h2> <p>Ameresco focuses on asset sustainability and renewable energy resources, providing performance contracting and consulting. Helping government entities reduce energy bills helps in part to pay for the work, and they're growing rapidly. Ameresco surged past earnings predictions for 2016, and the company plans to build on that in 2017. A growing demand for services should help them on their path.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/erin-c-oneil">Erin C. O&#039;Neil</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/socially-responsible-investing-goes-green">Socially Responsible Investing Goes Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">A Simple Guide to Socially Responsible Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-start-green-investing">5 Easy Ways to Start Green Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-planet-work-at-home">Save the Planet: Work at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Investment clean energy Earth day eco-friendly stocks environment renewable energy socially responsible investing solar SRI Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Erin C. O'Neil 1928276 at http://www.wisebread.com Where to Take Your Batteries, CFL Bulbs, and Other Hard-to-Recycle Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-157506789.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not only is it harmful to the earth to throw recyclable items into landfills, but it's now illegal to dump certain items in many places. When an item isn't accepted by your city's regular recycling pickup, it can be tempting to just chuck it in the trash. Here's how to properly dispose of those tricky items.</p> <h2>1. Non-rechargeable batteries</h2> <p>The AAs from your kids' toys, those weird little coin-shaped ones, the 9-volt batteries from your smoke detector, even dead cellphone batteries &mdash; none of those should be going to the landfill. Check with your local trash service, because some of them will pick up batteries and dispose of them properly if they're left in a specified place or container. Increasingly, public facilities such as libraries and city halls have battery collection boxes, as well. If you don't know of a location, look up the nearest one on <a href="http://www.call2recycle.org/locator/" target="_blank">Call2Recycle</a>. The nonprofit says that most of us live within 10 miles of a battery drop-off point.</p> <h2>2. Rechargeable batteries</h2> <p>These batteries can't be re-juiced forever, and when they're done, it can be challenging to find someone to take them. But it's even more important to keep these guys out of the landfill than regular batteries, because they contain dangerous heavy metals. You can drop them off at some retailers. Again, check Call2Recycle for locations near you.</p> <h2>3. Cellphones</h2> <p>If you're getting rid of your phone, leave the battery in it and drop it off at a recycling kiosk, public drop-off box, or nonprofit organization. Fortunately, many used smartphones are still worth money, so there are a lot of <a href="http://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-places-to-recycle-your-cell-phone/">organizations that will take them</a>.</p> <h2>4. CFL bulbs</h2> <p>These twisty light bulbs are another dangerous one to chuck in the landfill, because of the mercury they contain. Check out <a href="http://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-cfls/" target="_blank">earth911</a> for locations near you that will take them. Sometimes you can even just drop them at stores like The Home Depot, Lowe's, or Ace Hardware.</p> <h2>5. Eye glasses</h2> <p>Jinkies, don't ever throw away an outdated pair of specs! <a href="http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/how-we-serve/health/sight/index.php" target="_blank">The Lions Club</a> can deliver your castoff glasses to a low-income person in need &mdash; and yes, they sort them for prescription first so they can match the eyewear to the need. Many optometrist offices have Lions Club collection boxes, but if you can't find one, you can contact your local club or mail them in.</p> <h2>6. Electronics</h2> <p>Goodwill <a href="http://donate-electronics.sfgoodwill.org/" target="_blank">accepts donations of working electronics</a> at their stores, or they can pick them up. They will even wipe your personal data off your hard drive for free. Specifically, Goodwill accepts desktop and laptop computers, tablets, business network switches and routers, and servers, all five years old or less. Any older electronics will have to go to an e-waste collector.</p> <h2>7. CRT monitors</h2> <p>Picture tubes contain lead, so this is another product that it's extra-important to keep out of landfills. One thing Goodwill will not accept is a bulky, old-style monitor. Drop them off at <a href="http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/sustainability-center/recycling-services/?icid=SustProducts:topnav:3:RECYCLE:" target="_blank">Staples for free</a>. Or drop off up to two computer monitors of any kind, per day, at <a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/clp/recycling/pcmcat149900050025.c?id=pcmcat149900050025" target="_blank">Best Buy</a>, but you will have to pay them $25 to take them off your hands. You can also contact the company that made the monitor to find out if they have a take-back or trade-in program.</p> <h2>8. TVs</h2> <p>Smaller TVs can be dropped off at electronics stores. If you have a large TV to get rid of, you'll have to contact an e-waste company such as <a href="https://www.allgreenrecycling.com/certified-tv-recycling/" target="_blank">All Green</a>, and they can either come pick it up for a fee, or allow you to drop it off. You could also try contacting your local government, since many have e-waste drop-off centers or schedule e-waste collection days that include TVs.</p> <h2>9. Printer ink and toner cartridges</h2> <p>Good news here: You can actually get money or store credit for ink cartridges from office supply stores or online buyback programs. Call your local office supply store.</p> <h2>10. Tires</h2> <p>Once considered useless, 90 percent of old tires now live on as playground surfaces, building materials, and even fuels. Turns out, a single tire contains five gallons of oil! Contact a local tire store to find out if they will take them, or check with your state to see if there is an official tire disposal plan. Otherwise check <a href="http://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-tires/" target="_blank">earth911</a> for additional locations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a>)</p> <h2>11. Appliances</h2> <p>Because they contain metal that can be sold as scrap, unwanted appliances are usually easy to get rid of &mdash; you might even get paid for them. My electric utility paid me $35 for the privilege of picking up my old freezer.</p> <p>Retailers will often take away an old appliance for free when delivering a new one. But when my dryer broke, Sears Outlet wanted to charge me to remove it. I asked around and get the number for a local independent scrap dealer, who was at my house with a dolly to haul it away within an hour.</p> <h2>12. Paint and chemicals</h2> <p>Contact your town, city, or county to find out the procedure for disposing of Household Hazardous Waste. Los Angeles county, for instance, hosts regular HHW collection events. The county reuses discarded paint for covering graffiti, and converts used motor oil into marine diesel fuel.</p> <h2>13. Medication</h2> <p>According to the Food and Drug Administration, you should contact your waste collection service or your local government to find out if there is a medication take-back program in your area. If you can't get them to such a program, the FDA suggests you mix old pills with an undesirable substance such as kitty litter, seal it in a plastic bag, and throw it in the trash.</p> <h2>If all else fails</h2> <p>If you don't have time to call around to find out about the next e-waste collection day or drug take-back program, find a battery drop-box, or contact a scrap dealer, there are two other convenient ways to get rid of practically anything:</p> <h3>Pay someone else</h3> <p>1-800-GOT-JUNK? and similar companies will pick up an appliance, an old hot tub, tires, construction waste, TVs &mdash; anything not considered hazardous. They promise to dispose of it responsibly. Of course, this kind of ease comes at a price, about $500 a truckload, on average.</p> <h3>List the item on Freecycle</h3> <p>You never know what trash of yours could be another person's treasure. I've had success getting members of my community to take away empty glass bottles, old magazines, unwanted furniture, and broken electronics, all by listing them on my <a href="https://www.freecycle.org/" target="_blank">local Freecycle group</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money">8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-reasons-to-compost">10 Frugal Reasons to Compost</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home batteries environmental go green how to recycle light bulbs living green recycle Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:30:22 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1921101 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-501121750.jpg" alt="Woman learning what to plant in her garden this spring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the days getting longer and warmer, I find myself looking out the window thinking about what to plant in my garden. I usually decide what to plant by choosing things that I like to eat, or things that grow well in my location. This year I decided to look at garden planting strategy from an economic angle. Considering the value of the produce, the likely amount of production, the garden space required, and the general desirability of the produce, here are the 10 most valuable things to plant in your garden this year.</p> <h2>1. Garlic</h2> <p>Since garlic is one of the <a href="https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/wa_lo100.txt" target="_blank">most expensive produce items to buy in-store</a>, growing it yourself is a much better plan. Whether you're buying the full cloves, the striped cloves that are pre-washed, or the pre-minced garlic, you're paying way more for this plantable item than necessary. To save even more money on your garlic harvest, you can <a href="http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/Article_Garlic_Plant_Once.html" target="_blank">grow it as a perennial</a>, and not have to replant it every year.</p> <h2>2. Cilantro</h2> <p>Cilantro can be a relatively inexpensive item to buy, but how often do you use up everything you buy? It is also a plant that <a href="http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/most-profitable-plants-in-your/" target="_blank">produces the highest dollar value per square foot</a> based on typical production in good growing conditions. <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/cilantro-perennial-herb-67386.html" target="_blank">Cilantro is an annual</a>, but it seeds itself so well that you might think it is a perennial.</p> <h2>3. Lettuce/Mixed Greens/Spinach</h2> <p>Whatever green, leafy base your favorite salad requires, you would be wise to grow it yourself this spring. Spinach, mixed greens, and lettuce are all quite pricey in the produce aisle. You're usually paying for convenience with these items, so they're often found bagged or boxed, pre-washed, and free of stems. But if you plant them yourself, along with arugula and Swiss chard, you'll get the most value per square foot. Plus, you'll know exactly what you're getting and just how clean it is.</p> <h2>4. Chive</h2> <p>Like garlic, chives are a perennial plant, so you only have to plant once and can count on it growing back every year. It's also another produce item found on the list of <a href="http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/most-profitable-plants-in-your/" target="_blank">crops that produce the highest dollar value per square foot</a> based on typical production in good growing conditions.</p> <h2>5. Cherry Tomato</h2> <p>There's something particularly satisfying about biting into a juicy tomato you grew in your very own garden. And since cherry tomatoes are small, you tend to go through them quickly. You'll no longer be paying top dollar for each box when you can pick what you need from your garden.</p> <h2>6. Peas</h2> <p>Instead of shucking store-bought peas, why not experience the pride of shucking peas that emerged from the ground outside your house? Freeze the surplus from your harvest and you'll have peas to use year-round.</p> <h2>7. Bell Pepper</h2> <p>Have you ever watched a bell pepper grow in a garden? It's kind of amazing. They start small, then they gain some length and width, and then the finale is when the robust color shines through the pale green. Depending on how long you let them ripen, you'll get red, orange, yellow, or green. But when you buy these in-store, you're paying a premium. So why not save some cash and grow them at home?</p> <h2>8. Jalapeño Pepper</h2> <p>A spicey member of the pepper family, jalapeño peppers are also cheaper to grow than they are to buy. Just make sure you give them direct access to sunlight as these guys love to sunbathe.</p> <h2>9. Artichoke</h2> <p>Artichokes are another perennial gem. They are cheaper to grow, but they do need moist soil in order to thrive. Also, make sure you keep them free of surrounding weeds that could get in their way.</p> <h2>10. Onion</h2> <p>Onions might not be a produce item that you feel like you're spending a lot on at the store. But just because you're used to a certain, fairly low price doesn't mean you need to pay it. Grow your own onions and you'll be saving money over time. Plus, if you plant scallions, they could be ready for eating in 20-30 days!</p> <h2>Growing your own most valuable plants</h2> <p>You can grow these plants even if you don't have space for a garden. Start these plants in containers on a patio or balcony.</p> <p>Another factor to consider in selecting the most valuable things to grow is how much space is required per plant. Plants that take up less room work better in small gardens, and smaller plants allow more variety in whatever size garden you have to work with.</p> <h3>Check for hardiness, too</h3> <p>The hardiness of plants and the climate that they need to grow must also be considered when deciding what to plant in your garden. It would not work out well to try to harvest a high value crop from a plant that will not grow in your climate. You can check your <a href="http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/" target="_blank">hardiness zone using a map available from the USDA</a> and then check seed packets or listings in seed catalogs to make sure that the things you want to plant will grow in your area before you buy them. If you have more room available, you will be able to grow some of the larger plants such as squash, pumpkins, and large tomatoes.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cooking-oils-for-your-heart-and-wallet">The Best Cooking Oils: For Your Heart and Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living gardening gardening tips growing plants healthy eating herbs plants vegetable garden veggies Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:13 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1913522 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-129944919.jpg" alt="Woman saving on energy and going solar" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The more electricity you use, the more you pay for it. And in a world that is becoming increasingly dependent upon tech devices, something's gotta give. Luckily, there's a way to save money on those bills and help the environment, all at the same time. You just need to capture those intense rays of sunshine and use them for free energy. There are many ways you can harvest energy from the sun. Some methods are free and have been in use for thousands of years. Others require an investment in technology, but in some cases you can even make money by capturing free energy from the sun and selling it!</p> <h2>1. Solar panels</h2> <p>A few years ago, it would have been unusual to spot a house with solar panels on the roof, but now solar panels seem to be popping up in neighborhoods all over. If you have a south-facing roof (or west-facing) and get lots of sunny days in your area, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=internal" target="_blank">installing solar panels</a> to generate electricity can be a smart investment. The cost of solar panels has dropped in recent years, and with major players such as Tesla starting to produce solar panels, further price drops and improvements in capability may lie ahead. If your solar panels generate more electricity than you use, in many states you can sell this extra energy to the utility company and make money through net metering programs.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Thousands of dollars up front, depending on square footage installed.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> About a thousand dollars per year, depending on your location.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> No, solar panels typically require professional installation.</p> <h2>2. Passive solar heating</h2> <p>This method of harvesting energy from the sun is not new and does not require any special technology. My house has a solarium with south-facing windows to allow sunlight to flood in during winter months. The solarium walls capture the warmth and radiate it back into the house, providing free heating. Any south-facing windows you have in your house will work to provide heating benefits in winter. Open curtains on your south-facing windows on winter days to let light and heat in. Close curtains at night during winter and when the sun is shining in during the summer.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free if you have south-facing windows.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> No, look for south-facing windows when choosing or building a house.</p> <h2>3. Solar water heater</h2> <p>Heating water requires a lot of energy, so why not capture some of that free energy from the sun instead of running up your electric or gas bill? A solar water heater circulates water through an insulated collector using a water tank that is painted black to maximize heat collection. This hot water can be used directly or can be fed into a traditional water heater to save energy.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> A few hundred dollars, depending on whether or not you can install yourself.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> A solar water heater can be built from plans and scavenged materials, but you may need a plumber to install.</p> <h2>4. Clothesline</h2> <p>With a clothesline in your yard, you can use free energy from the sun to dry clothes and avoid running your clothes' dryer on hot summer days. You can save the energy it takes to run your dryer, plus you'll save on cooling costs as well. Without having to use a fan or air conditioner just to cool down a part of your apartment or home that's hot from a running dryer, those summer energy bills will go way down. And if you don't have the available yard space outside to hang a clothesline, you can also install one indoors near a window.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Under $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> About a hundred dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, installing a clothesline is a simple do-it-yourself project.</p> <h2>5. Solar food dehydrator</h2> <p>Instead of buying and powering yet another kitchen appliance, you can use free energy from the sun to dehydrate fruits, vegetables, and even meat for storage. Solar food dehydrators use a heat collection box to collect solar energy and a dehydrator box where food is placed to be dried.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Under $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings: </strong>A few dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, this can easily be built from plans.</p> <h2>6. Solar oven</h2> <p>You can build your own solar oven and enjoy some off-the-grid cooking. Can a solar oven really get hot enough to cook food, though? A solar oven typically reaches temperatures of 250-350 F. You can safely prepare food, including meat, by cooking at a lower temperature for a longer time. A big advantage of a solar oven is that you can cook in places without any utility hookups and without burning any fuel.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Under $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings: </strong>A few dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, this can easily be built from plans.</p> <h2>7. Grow plants</h2> <p>What does growing plants have to do with solar energy? Plants capture energy from the sun directly and use this energy to produce edible leaves, fruits, and vegetables. Harvesting food from plants is an effective and inexpensive way to take advantage of free solar energy.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Less than $100.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year, depends of size of garden.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> You bet!</p> <h2>8. Wind turbine</h2> <p>Heating of the earth's atmosphere from the sun provides the energy that causes wind to blow. If you have a site that gets a lot of wind, you can capture some of this indirect solar energy by using a wind turbine to generate electricity. As with solar panels, in many places you can take advantage of net metering and get paid for excess electricity that you generate and put on the power grid for others to use.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Thousands of dollars up front, depending on size.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Smaller units could be assembled and installed by a homeowner; larger units require professional installation.</p> <h2>9. Solar furnace</h2> <p>With a solar furnace, you can warm up air for free using energy from the sun and direct the warm air to a space you want to heat. A solar furnace can be operated independently from your main furnace to provide supplemental heating during daytime hours.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Hundreds of dollars up front.</p> <p><strong>Potential savings:</strong> Hundreds of dollars per year.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, this can be built from plans.</p> <h2>10. Solar charger</h2> <p>Solar chargers, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-power-banks?ref=internal" target="_blank">solar power banks</a> directly use energy from the sun to power electronic devices. Many are small and easy to travel with, so you won't need to stress if you're somewhere outdoors and you can't plug in your phone charger. Use those intense rays to give your phone or other device the juice it needs before the sun goes down. You can also make this a regular charging option if you leave your charger out during the day, and use it at night to charge your devices while you sleep.</p> <p><strong>Cost: </strong>Less than $100</p> <p><strong>Potential savings: </strong>It varies, depending on how much you currently use your devices at home.</p> <p><strong>DIY?</strong> Yes, but the DIY won&rsquo;t save much compared to buying one.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">8 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home electricity energy costs environmental costs gardening go green saving money solar heating solar panels Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:31:12 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1911513 at http://www.wisebread.com The High Cost of Keeping Warm http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-175238511.jpg" alt="Spend less to heat your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling chilly? You're not alone. As temperatures plummet across the United States and beyond, people are reaching for their scarves and sweaters, inching up their thermostats, and finding all sorts of other ways to keep warm. How much does it all cost? Here are a few numbers to mull over while you microwave your hot cocoa.</p> <h2>Cost of Keeping Warm</h2> <p>Let's start our look at the costs associated with keeping warm close to home &mdash; in fact this starts right at home.</p> <h3>The Price of Home Heating</h3> <p>Likely one of the biggest ticket items of all is heating your home. The state of Massachusetts, for example, released projections for <a href="http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/misc/household-heating-costs.html" target="_blank">annual home heating costs</a> last year by fuel type. These numbers are staggering, but &mdash; surprisingly &mdash; are down an average of 22% from the previous year.</p> <ul> <li>$879 for natural gas;</li> <li>$2,248 for oil;</li> <li>$2,569 for propane;</li> <li>$697 for electric heating.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Note</strong>: How much you'll spend on heat depends on a number of factors, including how energy efficient your home is, as well as the condition of your furnace or other heating appliances.</p> <p>My husband and I learned the hard way that a new gas furnace and installation can set you back $4,000 or more. And it's not exactly one of those things you can put off until next season or even next week, especially if it dies when the temperatures are below zero and you have a newborn in the house.</p> <h3>The Price of Home Energy Efficiency</h3> <p>Many people choose to undertake big home projects to make their houses more energy efficient. Adding insulation to attics and walls is a popular choice to help keep heat inside. The average cost of installing blown-in insulation ranges from $875 to $1,897, according to HomeAdvisor.</p> <p>Other insulation price averages include:</p> <ul> <li>$1,000 for spray foam insulation;</li> <li>$300 to $500 for fiberglass batt;</li> <li>$675 to $1,075 for reflective or radiant barrier.</li> </ul> <p>Thankfully, this cost is most often a one-time thing. And increasing your home's insulation can help save up to $500 (spray foam) a year in heating/cooling costs. Plus, some states even offer weatherization rebates and tax credits. To see if you apply, visit <a href="http://energy.gov/savings" target="_blank">Energy.gov</a>.</p> <h3>Environmental Costs</h3> <p>Perhaps more important than money, heating homes taxes the Earth's resources. It burns fossil fuels that are in relatively short supply. Not only that, but there's also energy and expense involved in extracting the fuels, transporting them, and &mdash; in the end &mdash; waste that is left behind when the process is done.</p> <p>Currently, fossil fuels are used in the United States to power up to <a href="http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/topics/encyclopedia/fossil-fuels/" target="_blank">81% of our energy needs</a>. And when you're talking about global warming &mdash; a good chunk of that has to do with home heating as well. In 2014, the fossil fuels burned for heating made up <a href="https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions" target="_blank">12% of overall greenhouse gas emissions</a>.</p> <h2>Sustainable and Cost-Effective Ways to Cozy Up</h2> <p>There's good news here: You can tweak your routine slightly and still keep warm, all while not breaking the bank or harming the environment.</p> <h3>Layer Up</h3> <p>Before you crank up the heat, look at what you're wearing. Slip on a base layer of a moisture-wicking fabric, like polyester, and don't skimp on the hats and scarves. Yes, even indoors! The folks at The Old Farmer's Almanac remind us to <a href="http://www.almanac.com/blog/editors-musings/blog-keeping-warm-winter" target="_blank">cover our feet as well</a>. Consider buying an inexpensive pair of <a href="http://amzn.to/2hFI0ML" target="_blank">rubber-soled slippers</a> or warming feet with a bulky pair of <a href="http://amzn.to/2hO0TZQ" target="_blank">wool socks</a>.</p> <h3>Program Your Thermostat</h3> <p>You can save up to <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats" target="_blank">10% off your energy bill</a> by setting your thermostat seven to 10 degrees cooler in the eight hours when you're at work. Better yet, take your own forgetfulness out of the equation and install a <a href="http://amzn.to/2illZ23" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> that will automatically do the work for you.</p> <h3>Try the Fan Trick</h3> <p>Switch the direction of your ceiling fan so it will circulate warm air during the winter (usually clockwise). How it works: The air is sucked up by the fan in the center of the room and then pushed down around the edges. The result is a more even temperature throughout the room (and your whole house, if you're performing this trick in multiple rooms).</p> <h3>Fill in Cracks</h3> <p>You may want to take a walk around your home to do a mini energy audit. Basically, you're looking for drafts around windows, doors, and any other openings or cracks in your home. You can inexpensively add weather stripping to doors and windows.</p> <p>You may even want to use some plastic or bubble wrap for particularly drafty windows. To do this yourself, frame the window with double-sided tape, peel off backing, and apply bubble wrap. You may want to add another layer of tape and cover the bubble wrap with <a href="http://amzn.to/2gLzMRy" target="_blank">plastic film insulation</a>.</p> <h3>Use the Sun</h3> <p>Try opening your curtains and letting the sunlight indoors during the day. Alternatively, close the curtains at night to keep the warm air inside. You could also consider investing in some <a href="http://amzn.to/2gLD6ff" target="_blank">thermal curtains</a>. Some claim they can help you save up to 25% on your heating and cooling bills.</p> <h3>Rearrange Your Spaces</h3> <p>Give your rooms a new look and feel by moving furniture around so it won't block vents, radiators, and other heating elements. You don't want your couch hogging all the heat and making your system less efficient. If your floors are bare, add a rug that helps insulate your space and keeps your toes warmer.</p> <p>Oh, and if you have rooms you don't often use, close them up. This way, you're heating a smaller area. Just make sure you close the vents in these spaces.</p> <h3>Use Alternatives</h3> <p>There are other ways to heat your home that don't involve using a furnace or boiler. Wood heat is sustainable &mdash; if carbon intensive &mdash; because it utilizes a renewable resource. Modern woodstoves are much more efficient and produce less pollution than older models. Still, many environmentalists shy from wood because it does cause the most pollution of alternative heating sources. Pellet stoves, on the other hand, run on a similar idea, but they are friendlier to the planet.</p> <p>One of the cleanest alternatives? Harnessing the power of the sun. You may want to look into a solar hot air system to supplement your primary heating source. It involves collectors placed on southern-facing walls and fans to push the air indoors. If you're building a new home, look into passive solar design, which can supply <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/energy-efficiency/home-heating-options-zm0z12djzsor?pageid=6#PageContent6" target="_blank">50% to 80% of your home's heat</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-keeping-warm">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opt-out-of-the-wasteful-26-billion-phone-directory-industry">Opt-out of the wasteful $26 billion phone directory industry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cost-effective heating costs efficiency energy environment heating costs natural gas oil tricks Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1859597 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Easy Steps for a Greener Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-easy-steps-for-a-greener-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-easy-steps-for-a-greener-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recycle_green_christmas_182187349.jpg" alt="Taking easy steps for a greener holiday season" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on ways to have a green holiday season, opportunities to save money in 2017, and simple but smart ways to improve your home security.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://blog.shoplet.com/environment/how-to-green-your-holiday-in-9-easy-steps/">How to Green Your Holiday in 9 Easy Steps</a> &mdash; Instead of wrapping gifts for your nuclear family, put all gifts for each person in a large holiday sack. It's like a stocking, but bigger! [Shoplet]</p> <p><a href="http://www.northerncheapskate.com/7-opportunities-to-save-money-in-2017/">7 Opportunities to Save Money in 2017</a> &mdash; Why spend more when you don&rsquo;t need to? Plan the year's purchases so that you only shop during big sales. [Northern Cheapskate]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/506374/7-smart-and-simple-ways-improve-your-home-security">7 Smart and Simple Ways to Improve Your Home Security</a> &mdash; Use a bracket, sliding window lock, or corner braces to secure window air conditioning units in place. [Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://untemplater.com/self-improvement/dont-forget-these-year-end-must-dos/">Don&rsquo;t Forget These Year-end Must Dos</a> &mdash; If you get paid time off, make sure you use it by the end of the year. You've earned it! [Untemplater]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/personal-finance/10-money-saving-skills-to-teach-your-kids-in-2017/71784">10 Money Saving Skills to Teach Your Kids in 2017</a> &mdash; Teach your kids how to track their spending on a notebook or a computer. By the time they're all grown up, this skill will be second nature to them. [SheBudgets[</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-More-Positive-42854814">27 Ways to Be More Positive in 2017</a> &mdash; Set yourself up for more positivity in 2017. Swear off media sites that make you feel dread or negativity, listen to motivational podcasts, and plan a trip that will expand your cultural horizons. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.theorderexpert.com/ways-keep-resolution/">10 Ways to Keep Your New Year&rsquo;s Resolution</a> &mdash; Check in with yourself each day to review your goal and give yourself a pep talk. [The Order Expert]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/4-ways-to-boost-productivity-and-enter-flow-states-consistently/">4 Ways to Boost Productivity and Enter Flow States Consistently</a> &mdash; When you're in a flow state, you are focused, energized, and immersed in the task at hand. It can be easier to get to a flow state when you play to your natural strengths when you work. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.asianefficiency.com/productivity/10-myths-about-personal-productivity-and-procrastination/">10 Myths about Personal Productivity and Procrastination</a> &mdash; Productivity isn't about getting things exactly the way you want them. Do things right, but accept that they don't need to be perfect. [Asian Efficiency]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-reduce-your-childs-stress-when-getting-a-flu-shot">How to Reduce Your Child's Stress When Getting a Flu Shot</a> &mdash; Help your kids get through the flu shot appointment with less stress and fewer tears by following these tips. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-easy-steps-for-a-greener-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-leftover-easter-goodies">10 Smart Things to Do With Leftover Easter Goodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-some-economists-say-you-should-give-cash-instead-of-gifts">Why Some Economists Say You Should Give Cash Instead of Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips Holidays Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:30:34 +0000 Amy Lu 1855465 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_67797601_XLARGE2.jpg" alt="these products are killing the family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us try to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling, flipping off the lights when we leave a room, and weatherproofing our homes. And while those are all important efforts, we sometimes forget that the biggest environmental impact we can make happens at the cash register.</p> <p>As we strive to leave a better planet for our kids and grandkids, it's time to take a new look at how our everyday consumer habits affect the health of our natural environment. Here are eight things we keep buying that are killing the planet &mdash; along with some greener (and less expensive) alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>According to statistics from Ban the Bottle, an environmental organization that advocates for an organized phase-out of the single-use plastic water bottle, Americans toss out 50 billion plastic water bottles every year. Besides the bottles themselves, the plastic netting or wrapping that holds cases of bottles together takes a huge toll on the environment.</p> <p>Instead of single-use water bottles, invest in an easy-to-use filtration pitcher and a refillable metal or glass water bottle that you can use for years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle?ref=seealso">Stuff We Love: A Lifefactory Reusable Water Bottle</a>)</p> <h2>2. Coffee On-the-Go</h2> <p>That quick cup of coffee we buy on the way to work is composed of three parts: A paper (or worse &mdash; polystyrene) body, a cardboard sleeve, and a plastic lid. One cup every workday means that each of us is contributing 240 cups (or 720 individual pieces of waste) to the landfill every year.</p> <p>The solution? Learn to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">brew a better cup of coffee</a> at home or buy a cheap reusable travel mug and tote it to the coffee shop with you every morning. Besides helping the planet, many coffee vendors offer modest discounts if you BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug).</p> <h2>3. Disposable Flatware</h2> <p>From carry-out restaurant orders, to family barbeques, disposable flatware is everywhere. And every single plastic knife, fork, spoon, and spork we use takes about 1,000 years to disintegrate. That's a big environmental impact for a couple bites of potato salad.</p> <p>Instead of plastic, collect mismatched pieces of stainless steel flatware at garage sales or thrift stores. If you lose a piece, it won't be the end of the world. And most importantly, keep them handy in your purse, computer bag, or a special container in the car.</p> <h2>4. Paper Plates</h2> <p>It's hard to argue that disposable plates have their place &mdash; say a company cookout or similar event where plumbing isn't readily accessible. But I've noticed a curious shift with some of my acquaintances and coworkers &mdash; they're using disposable plates on a daily basis at home simply to make cleanup easier.</p> <p>The old debate about the environmental effects of using paper plates versus the soap, water, and electricity used to clean traditional ceramic dinnerware has been settled. In environmental terms, paper loses. The resources used to manufacture, wrap, ship, and recycle a neverending stream of single-use paper plates make them an ecological burden. Whenever possible, use what's reusable.</p> <h2>5. Disposable Cleaning Cloths</h2> <p>I know they're dirt-grabbing wonders, but those single-use cloths for dusting and floor cleaning are usually made from synthetic material that takes generations to biodegrade. Skip the expense and invest in a microfiber cloth that can be washed and reused.</p> <h2>6. Single-Use Razors</h2> <p>Because of their design (inexpensive metal mixed with plastic) recycling disposable razors is a challenge. As a result, a whopping two billion end up in U.S. landfills each year. If you shave every day, consider buying an electric shaver or a razor that only requires refillable cartridges. Feeling brave? Go old-school and invest in a straight razor.</p> <h2>7. Plastic Bags</h2> <p>According to facts compiled by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Americans go through an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year, and only 6% are recycled after use. The rest take 1,000 years to fully biodegrade in landfills. While consumers don't technically buy these bags, we can help make them obsolete by choosing (and diligently using!) cotton, canvas, or mesh shopping totes.</p> <p>Have a stockpile of plastic grocery bags in your closet or pantry? Explore some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">clever ways to reuse them</a>.</p> <h2>8. Meat</h2> <p>According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an estimated 60% of the earth's greenhouse gas emissions can be tied to animal agriculture. All politics aside, reducing the need to grow crops solely for animal feed means we can devote more land to food crops destined for direct human consumption (maximizing fuel and water resources and minimizing the threat of continued deforestation). Another bonus? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-by-going-mostly-meatless">Going (mostly) meatless saves money</a>. Start by experimenting with alternative sources of healthy protein such as beans, nuts, and quinoa. Integrate meatless main dishes into your meals a few times each week.</p> <p><em>What products have you phased out of your life in an effort to help the environment? Share your ideas with us!</em><strong><br /> </strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping convenience eat green environment environmental issues green living recycle waste Mon, 12 Sep 2016 15:44:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1789690 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_energy_audit_47402620.jpg" alt="Learning how a home energy audit will save you money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feel like your home's utility bills are too high? You're not alone. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the average monthly electrical bill for U.S. homes stood at just over $114 a month in 2014. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggests that U.S. homes relying on natural gas would spend an average of $578 during the winter for heat.</p> <p>If your monthly electric and gas bills are too high, it might be time to <a href="http://www.resnet.us/directory/search">call in an energy auditor</a> to perform a home energy audit. During an audit, an inspector will tour your home and run tests to determine where your home is losing energy, and money &mdash; potentially helping you shave 15% or more off your utility bills.</p> <p>Here are four ways in which a home energy audit can save you money.</p> <h2>Inspire You to Install More Efficient Windows</h2> <p>An energy auditor will take a close look at your home's windows. It's more costly to cool and heat your home when leaky windows are letting that hot and cold air escape. Your furnace and air conditioning units have to work harder, consuming more energy, and therefore money.</p> <p>According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program, homeowners can save $126 to $465 a year in energy costs when replacing drafty single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified replacements. That figure is less impressive when homeowners replace inefficient double-pane windows, but you can still save from $27 to $111 a year with more efficient versions, according to ENERGY STAR.</p> <h2>Identify Other Leaks in Your Home's Envelope</h2> <p>Hot and cool air can escape through plenty of cracks in your home's seal. That's why energy auditors will test your home with a blower door. According to RESNET, this is a powerful fan that an auditor will mount in the frame of an exterior door. The fan will then pull air out of your home, lowering the air pressure inside your residence.</p> <p>The higher outside air pressure will then flow into your home through all of its unsealed cracks and openings. Your auditor will then use diagnostic tools to determine how much air is leaking from your home and from where it is escaping. Sealing these leaky areas will reduce your monthly energy bills.</p> <h2>Help You Determine if You Need More Insulation</h2> <p>A home energy audit will also help you decide if your home's walls lack proper insulation.</p> <p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. homeowners can save an average of 15% on their home's heating and cooling costs, or an average of 11% on their home's total energy costs, by air-sealing their homes and adding insulation to their attics and walls.</p> <p>During an inspection, an energy auditor will use thermal cameras to determine hot and cold spots in a home's walls and flooring. This will help the auditor determine where your home is lacking proper insulation. Installing new energy-efficient insulation can then have a significant impact on your home's monthly utility bills.</p> <h2>Inspire You to Replace That Washing Machine From 1995</h2> <p>You might be thrilled that your home's washing machine is 20 years old and still chugging along, or that you haven't had to replace your refrigerator in 15 years. But those reliable, old appliances might be costing you too much money each month.</p> <p>The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that home appliances account for about 13% of your home's total energy costs. Replacing older, inefficient models can save you money each month.</p> <p>The Department of Energy says that ENERGY STAR-qualified washing machines and refrigerators are about 20% more energy efficient than are standard models. ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers only use about 5.8 gallons of water each cycle or less, according to the Department of Energy, while dishwashers purchased before 1994 use an average of more than 10 gallons for each cycle.</p> <p>Newer, more energy-efficient models of these appliances will cost more. But those savings will add up each month. Do some quick math to determine how long it will take before your average energy savings outweigh the extra cost of buying an energy-efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer and dryer.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had an energy audit done on your home? What did it tell you about your home's energy use?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-make-your-refrigerator-more-efficient">8 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Real Estate and Housing appliances energy audit energy efficiency energy star inspection insulation leaks wasting money Windows Tue, 30 Aug 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Dan Rafter 1780053 at http://www.wisebread.com