Why Being Green Can Save You Money

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We all know that driving an economical car can save money both in tax and petrol, but what can you do in your home to keep carbon dioxide from the air and money in your wallet?

Thankfully, there are many incentives in Britain to keep your home green and your wallet healthy.

One such government scheme is the Green Deal, which helps homeowners and business managers afford energy-saving improvements for their house or business.

Homeowners can buy various energy-saving improvements for their homes, including:

Insulation, such as loft and cavity insulation
Heating measures
Draught-proofing
Double glazing
Renewable energy technologies …

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BrightNest iPhone App Makes It Easy to Green Your Home

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Good news for green homeowners everywhere: BrightNest, a free online service that makes it easy to keep your home in great shape, has announced the release of a free iPhone app! Last fall, I reviewed the ways that BrightNest can help you live a greener life, so I was excited to share that the same […]

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How to Control Pests with Natural Products

February 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Eco-Friendly, Front Page, Pesticides, Slideshow, Tips

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  Do you spray toxic chemicals around baseboards, leave poisoned bait in dark corners, bug-bomb your home and office, or douse yourself (and your kids) with DEET to keep pests at bay? Using pesticides might rid your surroundings of pests, but what are you doing to your health in the process? ~ Julia Wasson, Publisher […]

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How to Create a Truly Green Office

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As humans, it’s our nature to overuse and abuse our resources. But this doesn’t have to be the case. It takes a conscious decision to change our wasteful ways and implement sustainable practices. Making your office more energy efficient, eco-friendly, and pleasant for you and your employees will increase productivity and enjoyment in the office while lessening your company’s carbon footprint.

Being energy and resource efficient and conscious of the health and well-being of those in the office will reduce the costs of running your business. Some simple changes of habit will save you a great deal of energy, resources, and most importantly, money. These tips will help you get your office on the right track toward becoming green….

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5 Tips for a Greener Move: Save Money and Lower Your Environmental Footprint

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From Styrofoam packing peanuts to gasoline-guzzling moving trucks, maintaining your well-honed green lifestyle on moving day can seem impossible. Yet, keeping your move sustainable and inexpensive doesn’t have to be such a challenge. With a little strategic planning ahead of time, these five tips can make moving affordable and eco-friendly. 1. Pare Down The less […]

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5 Things Every Consumer Should Know about Walmart’s Sustainability Index

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When Walmart initially announced its effort to infuse sustainable principles into every aspect of its business, some observers didn’t buy it. After all, its stated goals were a bit ambitious.

With their soon-to-be-implemented Sustainability Index, Walmart hopes to improve product quality, reduce energy consumption and waste, and educate consumers about sustainability. It plans to do all of this with the full cooperation of its network of thousands upon thousands of suppliers located around the world.

The information below highlights some of the components of the Sustainability Index and their likely impact. Suffice it to say, Walmart’s newest initiative has fewer skeptics today than it did when the program was first announced. Time will determine its effectiveness, as the market pressure created by a “green” rating system trickles down to both manufacturers and retail suppliers at every level….

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A Laptop Sleeve to Love from GreenSmart

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Like you (I’m making an assumption here, but it’s a fair one since you’re reading this website), I hate the idea of billions of single-use plastic water and soda bottles going to waste, littering our waterways and landscape. It’s about time someone figured out a way to put those discarded bottles to good use. GreenSmart has done just that with a rugged and cool-looking laptop sleeve.

I was intrigued, though frankly a bit skeptical, when I received an offer of a laptop sleeve made from recycled water bottles. But I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived — and I remain delighted. I’ve been using my GreenSmart laptop sleeve daily since July, and it’s been amazingly durable.

When I say durable, I mean it’s withstood several plane trips and lengthy road trips, and traveled back and forth to the office each day in an overloaded computer bag for more than six months. Frankly, I’m hard on both my laptop and my computer bag. It’s not that I’m careless, just that I tend to carry way too much on every trip — including my daily commute….

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Top 5 Green Flooring Options for Your Home

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If you’re an environment-conscious homeowner, consider using one of the following green flooring options for your next remodeling project. Eco-friendly floors are aesthetically appealing as well as environmentally responsible. Green flooring adds character to your home and, in many cases, can even help save you money over the alternatives.

The top 5 options for green flooring include:
• Cork
• Laminate
• Reclaimed Wood
• Bamboo
• Wool Carpet …

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Earth Friendly on a Budget — Weddings with both ecology and economy in mind

November 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Eco-Friendly, Front Page, Slideshow, Tips, Weddings

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Your wedding is not only one of the most important days of your life, it can also be the most expensive. And with all of the disposable items you end up buying for the event — decorations, party favors, invitations, flowers, catering items — it can also be the most wasteful.

So how do eco-conscious brides and grooms throw an earth-friendly wedding without breaking the bank? It’s actually not that difficult. As long as you’re willing to get a little crafty and flex those creative mental muscles, you can have a green wedding on even the tightest shoestring budget….

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4 Ways to Green Your Life with BrightNest

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If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for new ways to be eco-friendly and healthy without breaking your bank, especially around the home. It’s not always easy being green, but it is worth the extra effort.

I’ve recently become even more attuned to just how much of a positive impact going green around the house can have on your budget and your life. Why? I started working at BrightNest. If you haven’t heard of BrightNest, it’s a free web service that provides people with the tools, tips, and motivation they need to keep their home in great shape and save money.

The best part? There is a mountain of information on green living – everything from greening your bathroom to making pet-friendly floor cleaner….

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Groovy Globe: Chic and Conscious Clothing

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As a consumer who tries to purchase organic and ethical products, I’ve discovered how difficult it is to find clothing that matches my values.

When I look through my pantry, I see fair-trade coffee, hormone-free poultry, organic fruits and vegetables, and Rainforest Alliance Certified tea bags. All of these products were purchased from within minutes of home at my local supermarket. In the last few years, I’ve noticed how much easier it’s become to purchase environmentally conscious foods without having to go to a specialized store.

But when I look through my closet, I see an expanse of polyester, rayon, nylon, viscose, and, of course, cotton — which, according to groovyglobe.net, is the most toxic crop on the planet as it accounts for a quarter of the world’s insecticides and more than 10 percent of worldwide pesticide sales.

An Easy Choice

Recently, I was introduced to Groovy Globe, which sells 100-percent organic apparel. T-shirts are made from 100 percent organic cotton and totes are made from 100 percent recycled cotton, as well as silicone wristbands. Never has it been so easy to make an eco-friendly fashion statement for less than $30–$40….

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Diversely Sustainable Cities II: Philadelphia and Medellin

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In the second story of the Sustainable Cities sequence, we’ll look at two other diversely sustainable cities that may surprise you: Medellin, Colombia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Medellin, Colombia

Medellin has been long known as a city of turmoil — both immersed in filth and historically recognized as the most violent city in the world. Medellin’s most recent mayor, Alonso Salazar, however, has opted to shift Medellin in an entirely new direction.

Following the implementation of several new public transportation initiatives, the city has seen immense changes. Under Salazar, Medellin now boasts of a public bicycle system, ride-sharing programs, and a savvy 1,300-ft. escalator that links Medellin’s formerly poorest neighborhood, Comuna 13, to the city center….

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Eco-Friendly Landscaping: 3 Storm-Water Solutions

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Rain happens. Apart from blessing it for watering our plants — or cursing it for keeping us indoors — many homeowners don’t think much about where all of that water goes once it hits our property. However, as our neighborhoods become increasingly covered with impervious surfaces (roofs, patios, roads and driveways), that needs to change.

Roofs and other impervious surfaces change the way rainwater behaves, increasing the volume of runoff and accelerating the rate at which it flows through our local watersheds. This ultimately leads to erosion of stream banks, degraded wildlife habitats and the introduction of pollutants picked up along the way.

If you want to make your home more Earth-friendly, one of the most significant things you can do is incorporate storm-water management techniques into your landscape. By combining some of these methods, you can help diffuse the runoff from your home in order to minimize its impact on the environment. Or, as eco-conscious cities such as Santa Cruz, Calif., put it: “Slow it. Spread it. Sink it.” …

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6 Eco-friendly Decorating Ideas to Modernize Your Work Space

May 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Business, Eco-Friendly, Front Page, Slideshow, Tips

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A clean, organized office can not only change the way people see you, it can also help the environment. These tips will cut your stress, reduce your ecological footprint, and make your office a better place to work.
1. Use a laptop, not a desktop

Size and battery constraints have forced designers to make laptops much leaner and more efficient than traditional desktop computers. A desktop uses eight times the power of an equivalent laptop, and consumes more power when it’s idle than a laptop does when working at full capacity. A laptop saves space and makes your office easier to clean—we’ve all seen dinosaur desktops caked with dust because they never move—which means they’re probably guzzling power all night as well as during the workday. Laptops are easier to disconnect when they’re not in use….

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Aromatic Infusions – Luxurious Gifts for Mom (or Yourself)

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If you’re heading to the Des Moines Farmers Market tomorrow, be sure to stop by Candi Karsjens’ booth: #N208 2nd Ave. and Court. You’ll find her selling items that we’re quite smitten with here at Blue Planet Green Living. Your mom, grandma, or aunt will likely be, too. (It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, if you didn’t get my hint.)

In my last post, I wrote about UpCycled Style, glasses, vases, and more that Karsjens makes from repurposed wine and liquor bottles. But that’s only one of her product lines. She also sells pleasantly fragrant, hand-crafted soap and candle items that even this scent-free-workplace advocate can love….

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Repurposing Goes Classy in UpCycled Style

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Candi Karsjens is an ecopreneur in every sense of the word. She is an environmentalist, who repurposes and upcycles other people’s cast-off bottles into gorgeous glasses, bowls, vases, and more, giving each one an entirely new for years to come. She also creates candles and creams free of toxic chemicals and even pours candles into her upcycled glass holders. Karsjens has two built-from-the-ground-up small businesses she’s now combining into one: Aromatic Infusions/Upcycled Style.

Next weekend, Candi’s products will make their first appearance at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market. If you’re in the area, I encourage you to meet the designer and see her full range of cool products….

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Build or Remodel with Energy Savings in Mind

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Spring is just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, and the home-building season is fast approaching. If you’re considering a major remodel or are building your dream home, there are some significant sustainable-building techniques that you can integrate into the structure to conserve energy and save long-term costs. The upfront cost of these improvements may be quite a sticker shock, as many are quite expensive to initiate; yet, the long-term savings can be substantial.

Each of these construction techniques requires substantial planning before incorporating into your overall plans. Be sure to check your library or work with a builder you trust to determine which works best for your existing home or building site, as well as your local climate.

Cool roofs use materials that reflect sunlight and absorb less heat as compared to standard roofing materials. While standard roofs can reach temperatures upwards of 150 degrees, a cool roof generally runs about 50 degrees less. This not only extends the life of the roof, but lessens the need for air conditioning, ultimately lowering energy costs. It is important to note, however, that cool roofs are not appropriate for all climates….

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Expiring Eco-Friendly Tax Credits Can Help with 2011 Taxes

January 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Eco-Friendly, Energy, Front Page, Slideshow, Tax Credits, Tips

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The clock is ticking. If you haven’t filed your 2011 taxes yet, you still have time to take advantages of some home energy tax credits that you may have made during the year. But, come April 15th, Many of the incentives set forth by federal and state government will no longer assist you with your taxes as many expired with the change of the calendar.

According to ENERGY STAR, if you’ve made any of the following improvements to your primary residence during 2011, you’re eligible take advantage of the Federal Tax breaks offered on your 2011 returns:

Biomass Stoves: These stoves, which use biomass fuels to heat your home and hot water, are eligible for a $300 tax credit, as long as they carry a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75 percent….

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7 Energy-Saving Tips for Your Kitchen Appliances

January 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Eco-Friendly, Front Page, Green Living, Homes, Slideshow, Tips

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Did you know that your kitchen is one the biggest energy hogs in your home? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, major appliances, including the refrigerator, can account for up to 20% of your utility bills. With dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators and all kinds of gadgets and gizmos sucking energy on a daily basis, learning how to make your kitchen green is necessary to protect both your wallet and your planet. The following steps will guide you through your journey into a greener kitchen.
1: Use Energy Star-Qualified Appliances

If you’re in the market for new appliances, always purchase energy-saving models, easily recognized by the Energy Star marking. Such appliances comply with the US Department of Energy efficiency standards and can reduce your energy and water usage by as much as 50%.
2: Reduce Your Refrigerator’s Energy Consumption

Start by breaking the bad habit of standing in front of your refrigerator and leaving the door open while you decide what to grab. When you do so, the temperature inside increases; your refrigerator has to work harder and consume more energy in order to maintain the right temperature. So make sure you decide what you want to remove before you open the refrigerator or freezer door….

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Build or Remodel Your Home with Eco-Friendly Products

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If you’re lucky enough to have the time and money to build your own home (or more likely, have it built by others), then there’s absolutely no reason you can’t get the greenest house in existence, thanks to building companies that specialize in just this sort of construction.

But just because the rest of us are relegated to purchasing previously lived-in structures (or even new but already fully constructed homes) that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part for the environment when we do upgrades.

So whether you’re interested in building a green home from scratch, or you’re looking to renovate the home you already own in a way that is in keeping with your environmental sensibilities, there are a ton of ecofriendly products to help you meet your goals on the home front….

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