My Photo

Or receive updates by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner


FIND DIANE ON...



AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Get Our Newsletter:
Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • March 20, 2014

    What Can We Learn from UK Businesses, which Waste £7 MILLION Each Day on Energy?

    With energy costs continuing to rise, wherever you are in the world, individuals and businesses alike are struggling to save money.  Our disposable income is having to stretch much further; most of us have to make the most of what we have.  Many of us at home have been hit particularly hard, the victims of pay freezes and job losses as businesses and organizations attempt to reduce their overheads and keep their companies afloat. 

    Greenpurse Nevertheless, businesses are still wasting enormous sums of capital on energy.  In the U.S., it is estimated that just 14% of the energy we pay for gets used efficiently.  According to researchers working for the UK Government, businesses there are collectively wasting up to £7 million/$12 million USD each day on energy! [1] If we’re going to make progress in reducing carbon emissions and engineer a shift to cleaner, greener ways of sourcing power, it is clear that we need to look to energy efficiency first, with businesses leading the way.  Here’s how, courtesy of Secured Energy Bonds plc, the sponsors of this post.

    Employees are Key to Saving Energy

      In the United Kingdom, the Carbon Trust - a leading global non-profit organisation dedicated to helping governments, businesses and the public sector speed up the transition towards a sustainable, low carbon economy - is calling for business managers to take control of bottom line waste.  How?  Tap their employees.  Research indicates that less than 25% of workers in the UK have been tasked with helping to save energy in the workplace and fewer than half are concerned about their employer’s energy spending.

     As a result, workplaces are missing out on annual savings of more than £300 million (almost $500 million USD) – savings which could be achieved simply by encouraging workers to adopt the type of behaviors that will lead to less energy consumption and greater efficiency.  Here are some typical savings:

    ·       Reduce business air travel by 5%: £128m/$213m & 1.5m tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce lighting by 10%: £55m/$92m & 164,000 tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce waste sent to landfill by 5%: £49m/$82m & 115,000 tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce small power use (e.g. kettles, photocopiers, monitors) by 10%: £39m/$65m & 190,000 tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce temperature by 1°C: £35m/$58m & 194,000 tonnes CO2

     A survey of employees by the Carbon Trust has revealed that 60% of workers would be more likely to save energy at work if they were financially rewarded, and 58% would be more likely to do so if their actions were recognised. [2]

    Skeptical woman Surprisingly, only 22% of employees know what measures they could take to save energy, and a mere 16% are confident that they have the authority to do so.  Clearly, businesses need to embark on an employee engagement programme that explains what employees need to do, encourages them to look for opportunities to save energy, and rewards them for doing so.

     Any company that undertakes such a program will be richly rewarded in cost savings and increased employee engagement.  Furthermore, employees will feel good knowing they’re doing their part to help meet important goals in reducing the emission of carbon dioxide, a primary cause of climate change and global warming.  Britain is trying to reach its target of a 26% - 32% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.  Greater efficiency through employee engagement is key to achieving this goal.

     Transition to Renewable Energy like Solar and Wind

     So, too, is transitioning to renewable energy sources.  The UK's Climate Change Act calls for 15% of the nation's energy to be derived from solar, wind power and other renewables by 2020.  Business and industry have a vital role to play in bringing about these reductions.  For example, Secured Energy Bonds plc recently announced a nationwide programme of rooftop solar projects in 22 English schools; the multi-site development will help reduce carbon emissions by around 560 metrics tonnes and will save the schools £1.4m/$1.7m in electricity bills.

     In most countries, meeting domestic needs accounts for less than half of all energy consumed.  That’s true in the UK too, where domestic energy consumption accounts for only 34% of energy used.  Business and industry consume the lion’s share at 43% while commercial and public premises account for another 18%.  Clearly, however much we adopt clean, green energy in our homes, targets to reduce carbon emissions and use energy more wisely are unlikely to be met unless the commercial and industrial sector joins in.

    [1] http://www.theguardian.com/business/2008/jul/22/greenbusiness.energy?gusrc=rss&feed=environment

    [2] http://www.carbontrust.com/about-us/press/2013/12/bosses-miss-out-on-300-million-energy-and-waste-reduction-opportunity

     NOTE: This post was sponsored by www.energybonds.co.uk/, a subsidiary of CBD Energy Limited.  Sponsorships enable us to provide expert content at no cost to you.  Our opinions remain our own.  Thank you.

     

     

     

    March 07, 2014

    LED Lights Brighten Rooms, Save Time & Money

    If you have a computer, cell phone, printer, even a television set, you are already using LEDs, even if you didn’t know it. Now you can take advantage of this great money-saving green technology for the light bulbs you use around your home.Here’s how, courtesy of the Sunlite lighting company.

    What is an LED?

    Sunlite LED LED stands for “light emitting diodes,” semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current is passed through them. This technology makes them far superior to incandescent bulbs, which waste a huge amount of energy generating light by using electricity to heat a metal filament untit il becomes “white” hot.  Until LEDs started moving into the market, compact fluorescents were the most energy-efficient option for consumers. CFLs are still a good choice, because they’re 75% more efficient than incandescents. But LEDs are better yet, because they’re even more efficient than CFLs, durable, versatile and so longlasting. Read on to learn more about these benefits.

    LED Benefits

    I have many LEDs in my home. Here’s what I like about them.

    Durability: LEDs last a really long time. One LED can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, with some bulbs lasting as long as 100,000 hours – 11 years of continuous operation, or 22 years of 50% operation.  That means I don’t have to spend a lot of time changing bulbs. This is especially useful for hard-to-reach locations, like ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and porch lights. Even if an incandescent lasts 1,000 hours, the LED lasts 100 times longer!

    Save money: LEDs help reduce my electricity bill. Though an LED is more expensive to purchase, in the long run, it is much cheaper to operate. A quick review of prices at my local hardware store showed LEDs on sale for as little as $5.97 a bulb. The cheapest incandescents cost around a dollar a bulb. Let’s do the math: For an extra $5, you get a bulb that lasts 100 times as long! That’s almost $100 saved in light bulb costs, let alone the money you’ll save on your electricity bill. Imagine if you replace 10 incandescents in your home with 10 LEDs. You’ll save $1,000 just in light bulb purchases. That’s pretty hard to beat.

     Bonus: Many utility companies now offer their customers discounts when they purchase LEDs. Sunlite, the sponsors of the post, is giving away $1,000 of free LED products to one consumer who enters their Facebook contest here.  Anyone can enter!

     LEDs are cool. Yes, they’re “cool,” if you mean hip. But more importantly, they’re cool to operate. Unlike incandescent or halogen light bulbs, LEDs don’t radiate heat. This is especially important in the summer, when air conditioning sends electricity costs through the roof.

     No mercury. Compact fluorescents contain a very small amount of mercury. While usually not dangerous at home, CFLs add this toxic chemical to our landfills when they’re thrown away. LEDs are safe to use, and safe to dispose of.

     ENERGY STAR certified. The best LEDs available are also those that meet the high standards for performance and quality set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program. You know from reading this blog that I’m a big fan of ENERGY STAR products because they are well-made, deliver reliable service, and help me save energy and money. ENERGY STAR LEDs meet more than 20 separate industry standards and procedures and have been tested by independent third-parties to meet their claims.

     Nice light. LEDs come in a variety of brightness and color options. Choose soft white/warm for kitchens, dining and living rooms, bright white for bathrooms, hallways and offices, and daylight for security, garages, and laundry and utility rooms.

     Versatility.  LED bulbs can be used in pretty much any lighting fixture you have. Living room table and floor lamps, kitchen and bathroom ceiling lights, recessed fixtures, porch lights, desk lights. Once you decide to go LED, you shouldn’t have a problem finding the right bulb to fit your need.

    In the average U.S. home, lighting accounts for about 20% of the electric bill. Why not cut that down significantly by installing LEDs? You’ll start saving money immediately. And won’t it be great not to have the hassle of changing bulbs so often?

    NOTE: Thanks to the Sunlite lighting company for sponsoring this post. Sponsors enable us to bring you expert content at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions remain our own.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    UK Green Deal Programs to Help Homeowners Pay for Insulation, Save Money

    Insulating your home is probably the most important step you can take to use less energy and save money on heating and cooling bills.  The United Kingdom has created a series of financing programs to help homeowners pay insulation costs that create a great model other communities and countries could follow. Even though there are still some kinks in the system, they’re worth examining. Here’s how two of them work, courtesy of Well Warm, a company that provides home insulation services.

    Insulation Why Insulate?

     To do its part to stop climate change, the UK has set specific goals to reduce its carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are burned. The government is focusing on buildings because so many homes, apartment buildings, offices, and other structures are poorly insulated and have inefficient heating systems.  In fact, in an average home, morethan 40% of the heating energy escapes through the roof and walls. The idea is that helping to finance insulation will make homes and workplaces more comfortable and cheaper to heat, while reducing carbon emissions nationwide.

    What are the programs?

     There are two government initiatives: ECO, and Green Deal. Both are focused on providing financing, ECO as grants and Green Deal as loans, to help homeowners and building managers pay for energy-saving measures like insulation, improvements to heating systems, draft-proofing, double glazing windows, solar panels or heat pumps, or some combination thereof.

     How does Green Deal work?

     A homeowner or building manager uses either an online tool or a certified Green Deal assessor (like Well Warm) to determine what energy-saving improvements would be most beneficial.  (Some assessors charge a fee; others do it for free.)

    After the assessment, the homeowner receives a Green Deal advice report that contains an Energy Performance certificate that rates the home for energy efficiency. It recommends specific improvements and also details the amount of money that could be saved on annual energy bills if the recommended steps are taken. Based on the report, the homeowner can get a quote for the cost of the insulation and other actions.  The Green Deal program then provides financing so the homeowner can borrow the money needed to pay for the insulation.

    The loan plus whatever interest rate is set at the time is repaid through a charge added to the electricity bill. The payment for the insulation is meant to match the savings that will be made from former energy bills, so is intended to upgrade homes at no added cost to the customer. If the homeowner sells the home, the loan transfers with the property so it continues to be repaid through the utility bill.  This  interactive graphic produced by TheGuardian.com lets you click on different energy efficiency measures to get a sense of what the average savings by month/year could be by installing such measures. 

     How does ECO work

     ECO stands for Energy Company Obligation. This program is specifically designed to help homeowners on public assistance still be able to afford retrofits that will save them money by using less energy. It is not a loan program like Green Deal and does not need to be paid back. Funding is available for a range of energy saving measures, including heating and hot water systems and different types of insulation and glazing.

     Do programs like Green Deal and ECO make a difference?

     Anytime a building is insulated, that’s good! However, the Green Deal program in particular has a few kinks to work out before it reaches its potential. Many householders are reluctant to pay for the initial assessment if they can’t find a free assessor. The interest rate on the loan can be so high that it loses its appeal.  Plus, many people still don’t understand the importance of reducing home energy demand or how they can take advantage of the program.  Hopefully, Green Deal program mangers will figure out a more reasonable financing package and explain the program’s costs and benefits, as energy prices will only increase and the pollution impact of burning fossil fuels is never going to change.

     Note:  Thanks again to Well Warm  for sponsoring this post. Sponsorships allow us to provide valuable information at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions remain our own.

     

     

    March 05, 2014

    Cool Roofs Save Energy & Money, Help Fight Climate Change

    Having a “cool” roof is pretty hip – but that’s not only what “cool” means in this case! Cool roofing refers to the use of thermal roof coatings that reflect sunlight away from the house, rather than absorb it, as a way to moderate building temperatures and reduce the amount of energy needed for home heating. In this era of increasing energy costs and growing concerns about the environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels, cool roofs – known as thermally coated roofs in the UK -  make sense because they save energy and money and help slow climate change. Here is more information on cool roofs, thanks to Improve a Roof, our sponsors for this post.

    Thermal-coating-heat-loss-before-and-after-222x300 What difference does a roof make?

    Any surface exposed to solar energy will get hot. Traditional roofing materials absorb 85 to 95 percent of the solar energy that reaches them, increasing the temperature of the rooms below. Thermally coated roofs reflect more of that energy back out into the atmosphere.

    Benefits

    A cool roof offers several important benefits. Because it transfers less heat to the building below, the building requires less energy for cooling, a big advantage in the summer when many homeowners max out their air conditioning – and their electricity bills. By some estimates, a thermally coated roof can reduce a homeowner’s electricity demand by 14 to 38 percent (depending also on how well the roof and home are insulated, among other factors).

    Most electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. Burning coal creates air pollution and carbon dioxide that causes climate change. Because cool roofs reduce electricity demand, they also help keep the air clean and help minimize climate change.

    Plus, cool roofs can increase comfort for the people living in them, especially in homes that do not have air conditioning. In the picture above, the bottom photo shows how much energy (heat) is being absorbed on an untreated roof, compared to the top photo of the same roof that's been thermally coated.

    Brand new, or retrofit?

    Cool roofs can be installed on new construction, but homeowners can also retrofit their existing roofs by working with a contractor to apply coatings or membranes.

    What is a cool roof made of?

    There are generally two types of roofs –low-sloped, and steep slopped.  A low-sloped roof is mostly flat, with only enough incline to provide drainage; it’s normally used on commercial, industrial, warehouse, office, retail and multi-family buildings. Most homes have a more steeply sloped roof. The kind of roof usually determines what materials can be used to make it cool.  Contractors can use surface treatments like thermal coatings that reflect the sun’s rays, restrict the growth of algae, and are waterproof.  They can also apply membranes, pre-fabricated sheets applied in a single layer (these are better for a flat or low-sloped roof).

    What will it cost?

    If you’re interested in making your roof cool, get bids from contractors like Improve a Roof who can also tell you what thermal roof coatings are appropriate for your home. Don’t forget to factor into the cost the amount of money you will save on cooling your home in the summer. Some communities may provide tax credits for installing energy-saving technology, which will add to the savings.

     

    NOTE: Sponsors like Improve a Roof  enable us to bring you expert content at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions remain our own. Thanks.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    January 17, 2014

    Consumer Choice in Electricity: An Easy Way to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

    I live in Maryland, where it is possible to source my electricity from clean, renewable energy instead of from coal-fired power plants. That's because in my state (and several others), the utility industry has been deregulated so that competitors can also provide power to meet consumer needs. One of my neighbors, Maurice Belanger, has been buying renewable energy for quite a while. He graciously offered to share his expertise with Big Green Purse readers to help people around the country opt for cleaner energy, too.

    Here's his advice. I hope it helps you choose cleaner, greener energy where you live.

    Windmill  The start of the New Year is time for resolutions. If you live in a state with consumer choice in electricity, you can resolve to reduce your carbon footprint and keep that pledge with just a little bit of time spent researching your options and filling out a form or two on the Web—no need to invest in solar panels or doing anything more complicated than a few clicks of the mouse. 

     

    For several years now, I have purchased electricity from a supplier that offers me 100 percent wind-generated electricity. It was surprisingly easy to switch. Yet, talking to my environmentally-conscious friends, I find that many of them are not even aware that they have a choice.

    I encourage you to look in to it. Here are a few tips on getting started.

    Continue reading "Consumer Choice in Electricity: An Easy Way to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint" »

    December 13, 2013

    5 Ways to Drive More Efficiently and Save Money, Use Less Gas

    Speedometer As you shop around to find a fuel-efficient vehicle, you'll notice different average mileage figures given for driving in the city and on a motorway.

    Yet there are many other reasons why a car's mileage could vary. Fuel economy can fluctuate not only according to the car you drive, but also to how you drive it.

    You might be driving a car that is supposed to achieve 50 mpg, but if you gun the accelerator and leave the engine idling, you won't get anywhere near such mileage in real life.

    Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you maximize your car's fuel economy, courtesy of the fuel-efficiency minded folks at Carsales. Don't forget that fuel efficiency leads up to big money savings at the gas pump. 

    1. Stick to the speed limit.

    It's a surprisingly common misconception that if you can reduce the length of your trip by driving faster, you'll burn less fuel. In reality, you burn fuel at a more rapid pace when you exceed speeds of 65mph. Wind resistance increases at higher speeds, meaning your car has to work harder to keep up the pace. The most efficient speed you can travel is between 55 – 65mph, after which efficiency will rapidly decrease. Driving at a speed of 85mph would use 40% more fuel than if you drove at 70mph. When on the motorway, try using cruise control to maintain a safe and consistent speed. 

    2. Reduce your car's weight.

    Another way to boost efficiency is by reducing your car's weight and drag. Remove extra roof racks if you're not using them, because these increase wind resistance. Try to eliminate extra weight from inside the car, as well. If you've been carrying around spare luggage or packages in the backseat or trunk, it's time to clear them out. You can save 1% on fuel for every 45kg/99lbs that you remove from the vehicle. 

    Continue reading "5 Ways to Drive More Efficiently and Save Money, Use Less Gas" »

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by Answers.com
    GSHNetworkMember125

    Categories