Thursday, March 26, 2009

Earth Hour this weekend

This Saturday, millions of people around the world will be turning off their lights at 8:30pm local time in a call to action against global warming. This event was started by the World Wildlife Federation in Australia, and has been growing since 2007. WWF estimates that more than 27,000 companies and organizations in 84 countries will take part this year.

the main Earth Hour website.

To get a better sense of the magnitude of this event, watch some of these short videos...

Earth Hour 2009

Vote Earth


Saturday, March 21, 2009

This old fridge

I recently had a home energy audit done on my house, which I will be blogging about in installments because it taught me so much! In this first part, let me tell you what an energy hog my old refrigerator is...

It took a bit of detective work to track down the model and serial numbers, but Whirlpool customer service was able to tell me that my fridge was born in 1982 - almost thirty years old. A quick check on the Energy Star "recycle my old fridge" website showed that this appliance uses more than 1800 kWh per year. That's about 42% of the total kWh my entire house uses in a year! If I replaced it with a newer Energy Star model that uses 470 kWh per year, I'd save about $160 a year on electric bills, which means it would pay for itself in about six years.

Other things I learned about refrigerators and energy efficiency from the Energy Star website:
  • Position your refrigerator away from a heat source such as an oven, a dishwasher, or direct sunlight from a window.
  • To allow air to circulate around the condenser coils, leave a space between the wall or cabinets and the refrigerator or freezer and keep the coils clean.
  • Make sure the door seals are airtight.
  • Keep your refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Minimize the amount of time the refrigerator door is open.
  • In most households, the refrigerator consumes more energy than any other kitchen appliance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Local green events in March

Spring is coming... and with it, a bunch of green events in the Baltimore area. Mark your calendars!

Environmental Film Festival
in Washington DC, March 11-22.

National Facilities Management & Technology conference, which includes Greentech conference & expo, March 10-12.

The Chesapeake Sustainable Building Alliance usually holds a happy hour on the first Monday of each month: this month it was postponed to 3/9 due to snow. Will be held at Earth Alley, a groovy little green gift shop in Hampden.

Our local USGBC chapter (formerly known as the Baltimore chapter, now the Maryland chapter) is hosting the first annual Chesapeake Green Building Expo on March 25-26.

Baltimore AIA's 2009 spring lecture series promises to be another good one. Catch the first lecture on March 18: architect Stefan Behnisch of Germany will discuss sustainable building design.

Also, the Baltimore Ethical Society is hosting speakers on the topic of sustainability this year. I've been invited to speak on March 29 about how you can take action here in Baltimore to shrink your environmental footprint.

Stay tuned for more green events coming in April, like Baltimore Green Week.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Software training for infrastructure professionals

Are you a recently laid-off infrastructure professional? Want to get some free software training to give you an advantage in today's tough job market?

Check out a new program called BE Employable by Bentley Systems.

Press release here.