Saturday, April 30, 2011

Paint it black, no, green!

In a bout of spring cleaning this year, I decided it was time to paint a few more rooms in my house.  Did you know that Sherwin Williams has two lines of Environmentally-Preferred low-VOC paint?  They come in just about any color you could want, and I can attest that they stink much less than regular paints.

Read about these paints (Duration and Harmony) here:

If you hire a painting contractor, tell him/her to look for Pro Green low-VOC interior latex paint.

And if you're going for LEED credit, here are the standards you'll want to look for in paint, adhesives, and sealants under the Indoor Environmental Quality credit area:
Green Seal Standards 3, 11, 36
SCAQMD #1113, 1168

Here's a post I wrote last year about another low-VOC paint from Home Depot...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day deals

Go green this week and reap the benefits!

To celebrate Earth Day, many businesses are offering consumers free stuff, good deals, and chances to win valuable prizes. Here is just a sampling of what's available. Check the websites and Facebook pages of your favorite companies to find additional promotions.

At participating Starbucks, you can bring in a reusable mug on April 22 to get free brewed coffee or tea.

Origins is offering a trade-in program on Earth Day. Receive a free full-size face cleanser when you bring one of your empty skin-care bottles (from any brand) to an Origins retail store or department-store counter for recycling. Choose from A Perfect World Antioxidant Cleanser With White Tea or Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash.

At the Disney Store, you can trade in five disposable plastic bags for recycling and receive a free reusable shopping bag on April 22.

Lowe's is giving away one million trees on April 23.

Kmart is offering discounts on everything from air conditioners to TVs on April 22. is giving up to 60% off on green and natural products through April 22.

All 394 U.S. national parks have free admission now through Sunday, April 24.

Travelocity has green hotels on sale for up to 40% off. You can also enter to win two round-trip Virgin America tickets and a couple of nights at an eco-friendly hotel.

The Yoga Journal offers a free digital download of the May issue.

The Sierra Club's Earth Day contest gives a chance to win a trip for two to Vieques Island in the Caribbean -- you just add a green pledge to the map.

On Target's website, you can enter the Refresh Your Nest sweepstakes through the end of the month. The grand prize is a home makeover that's valued at up to $50,000. You can also win a trip to Napa Valley, a Nikon camera, products from Burt's Bees or Tom's of Maine, and more.

Search for more Earth Day discounts, freebies, and deals at your favorite stores...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What makes a computer Energy Star material?

Ever wonder why some computer equipment qualifies for Energy Star rating and others don't?  Me too.  Here are some facts from the Energy Star website.

Product criteria must show that the equipment can:
  • Use energy efficient power supply.
  • Operate efficiently in multiple modes of operation (Off, Sleep, and Idle).
  • Include and enable power management features of the system and provide user education about these features.
You Should Know...

General: By leaving the machine on around the clock, you run up your electric bill, you suck in dust and you make yourself more vulnerable to power surges.

An ENERGY STAR label is not a guarantee that your machine is saving energy. Always check to ensure that the ENERGY STAR features are enabled.

Computers: A well-designed ENERGY STAR qualified computer will not lose its network connection, which could lead to a loss of data, while in the low-power or sleep mode. Additionally, ENERGY STAR qualified computers with networking capabilities have the ability to enable and disable Wake On LAN for Sleep mode, allowing greater use of low power modes without a loss of IT system maintenance capabilities.


 Monitors: Switching on and off the monitor five times or more a day increases the frequency of faults in power transistors in the control and deflection parts only after the machine has been used 20 to 30 years.

Screen Savers: Despite common belief, a screen saver does not save energy. In fact, more often than not, a screen saver will not only draw power for the monitor but will also keep the CPU from shutting down.

Games: Many popular computer games, when running in the background while multitasking, will not allow the computer to go to sleep-even if the game is paused.