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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.
  • The Pros and Cons of an Electric Car

    Are you thinking of buying an electric car? You’re not alone. Thousands of consumers are motivated to save money on fuel and do their part to stop climate change and clean up the air by burning less gasoline. But what do you need to consider before you actually take the plunge? Here are the pros and cons, courtesy of Citroen Retail Group, our sponsors for this post.

    PROS – NO GASOLINE

    Cz1citroen In my book, the biggest advantage an electric car offers is about what it doesn’t use – gasoline.  Burning gasoline creates carbon dioxide, one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Gas exhaust is also full of the tiny particulates that cause smog and air pollution, which means it’s directly related to asthma and even heart attacks. Drilling for the oil that’s refined into gasoline wreaks havoc on the environment: we all remember the Gulf of Mexico disaster when a BP oil rig exploded, but it turns out there are hundreds of “minor” oil spills every day that foul rivers and streams and endanger people’s health. Even though electric cars are powered by electricity that usually comes from coal-fired power plants, the cars can be charged in off-peak hours essentially using surplus energy, rather than new power produced just for them. And as more and more utilities tap into wind farms, the environmental impact of the electricity used will decrease substantially.

    PROS – NO GAS STATIONS

    Electric vehicles (EVs) can be charged in your garage, at home, or at the growing numbers of charging stations that are popping up at shopping malls, grocery stores, apartment buildings, and more. Pull up, plug in, and charge while you have dinner with your family or get your business or shopping done.

    PROS – QUIET

    One of the lovely benefits of driving an electric car is just how quiet it is. There’s no engine revving or sputtering. Step on the accelerator and off you go.

    CONS – BETTER FOR DAILY COMMUTES THAN LONG DISTANCE TRIPS

    Most electric vehicles can travel anywhere from 60 to 100 miles or so on a single range. People who commute to work or need to run around shopping or picking up kids from school usually find that even 60 miles in a day is a large enough range. Longer distances require the ability to recharge the battery, and that takes time.

    CONS – LONG RECHARGING TIME/RANGE ANXIETY

    It can take 8 hours for a battery to fully recharge, so it’s important to remember to plug in the vehicle every day or night. Drivers with access to a “quick charger” may be able to add 50 miles of range in around 20 or 25 minutes, but if a charging station isn’t available, the driver could be stuck waiting for the EV to charge adequately. Meanwhile, drivers who find themselves unexpectedly depleting their car’s battery may feel ‘range anxiety’ about whether or not they can actually arrive at their destination before being able to recharge.  Better planning will help make this less of an issue. In addition, drivers can download an app for their mobile device to help them locate the nearest charging station.

    CONS – EXPENSE

    The sticker price on most electric vehicles is usually higher than a comparably sized gasoline-powered vehicle. However, EVs qualify for various tax breaks that help reduce the price. Plus, the cost of electricity to charge the car will be much less than the price of gasoline. Over time, this will amount to thousands in savings that will help offset the purchase price along with the tax breaks.

    My personal opinion is that the “pros” outweigh the “cons,” especially for drivers with a predictable daily commute, access to charging stations as well as one’s home electricity plugs, and the ability to take advantage of government rebates and tax credits to help reduce the purchase price.  What do you think?

    NOTE: Many thanks to Citroen C Zero Hatchback, our sponsors for this post. Sponsored posts allow us to offer you expert content at no cost to you. Our editorial opinion remains our own. Thanks.

     

     

    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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    EcoCentric Mom Box: Soap, Serum and Chocolate

    EcoCentric Mom pulled together a fun and helpful collection of new green products to try this time around. They included:

    Ecocentric Mom Jan 2014 Soap - Not just any soap, but a full-sized bar of Wildly Natural Seaweed Detoxi Cellulite Soap featuring coffee and cinnamon to help cleanse and nourish the skin. Like most Ecocentric Mom products, it's also paraben, sulfate, gluten and dye-free.

    Lip Balm - This may be the last lip balm you ever try, because it's so soothing, nothing else will ever feel as good. LIPS by Healthy Houseful uses coconut oil, shea better and quality essential oils to moisturize and protect against chapped lips. Plus, as they say, "Nasty chemicals not included!"

    Facial and Hydrating Serum - Two sample bottles of Pure + Remedy serum included Vitamin C Facial serum, formulated with pure vegan hyaluronic acide to moisturize and plump skin cells; and Precious Drops, a super hydrating serum to firm and tone the skin.

    Continue reading "EcoCentric Mom Box: Soap, Serum and Chocolate" »

    10 Ways to Be a Green Valentine

    Roses in burlap bagValentine’s Day is for lovers – and for people who love Nature, too! Here are a few natural ways to celebrate your special someone, with thanks to Fresh Flowers for sponsoring this post.

     Candles – Choose candles made from beeswax or soy as opposed to petroleum-based paraffin. They’ll burn cleaner and smoke less. I prefer those that are fragrance-free or scented with plant-based oils, such as essence of lavender, rose or orange blossom, rather than synthetic fragrances and perfumes that can trigger allergic reactions.

     Chocolate – Enjoy the abundance of organic, Fair Trade chocolates available, including truffles, bars, drops, powdered cocoa and even ice cream.  Look for them online, in neighborhood markets, or at specialty shoppes.

    Continue reading "10 Ways to Be a Green Valentine" »

    Resources to Help Environmental Lawyers Succeed

    Earth in our hands Citizens, non-profit organizations, civic and community groups, and governments rely on environmental law to ensure their rights to health and safety and protect our natural resources. To succeed in the courtroom, it’s critical to stay abreast of what environmental laws are being passed and how they’re being implemented. LexisNexis, our sponsors for this post and a publisher of several resources that keep environmental lawyers up-to-date, recommends the following:

    ·         Research is key. This notion is so obvious it can easily be overlooked. To argue cases with authority, it may be critical, for example, to know that a certain chemical in the groundwater, although thought to be harmless, actually has a chronic long-term negative health effect on local animal populations or on the water coming out of someone’s tap. Such knowledge will help the environmental lawyer argue the case for stricter dumping regulations. Much case law already exists, of course, but it may not include recent scientific reports and analyses. That’s where research plays a crucial role.

    Continue reading "Resources to Help Environmental Lawyers Succeed" »

    Plug-In Hybrids: Pros & Cons

    Ford_C-Max_Energi Hybrid cars have been around for years now, but if you take a look at the latest electric models available many of them are advertised as "plug-in hybrid" cars. What’s the difference between regular hybrids and plug-ins?

     Hybrids

     Generally, hybrids are any vehicles that use more than one source of power. This usually entails using a traditional gasoline engine as well as an electric battery or engine. The car can often switch between gas and electric mode as needed to save energy depending on the conditions, providing a much more efficient driving experience. (Full Disclosure: I drive a 2002 Toyota Prius Hybrid, one of the first hybrids to be sold in the U.S. The car’s mileage varies depending on who is driving it; I usually get more miles to the gallon than do my (hotrodding) kids. Overall, I average around 40-42 mpg driving in the city. My car easily gets over 50 mpg on the highway.)

      How do Plug-Ins Work?

    Continue reading "Plug-In Hybrids: Pros & Cons" »

    How to Plan an Eco Vacation That is Fun, Affordable, and Makes a Difference

    Like the idea of being an eco-tourist, but not exactly sure what that means? Most of my trips meet three criteria: they're fun; affordable; and make a difference in some concrete way.

    Gc_camp The fun part is simple to define. I'm the "active adventurer with a cultural twist" type, so for me, a trip is really fun if it gives me a chance to hike, snorkel, scuba, mountain bike or otherwise get my adrenaline pumping, preferably in a place with gorgeous scenery that connects me to Mother Nature. But I also love exploring new cultures, enjoying the local art and restaurant scene, and meeting people who actually live where I'm just visiting.

    What makes a trip fun for you?

    Expense is always a factor, especially in this economy. Fortunately, there are more affordable options available than ever before. From couch surfing to camping to hostels and the budget hotels you can find through companies like Accor, our sponsors for this post, it should be possible to locate accommodations within your price range almost anywhere you want to go.

    Continue reading "How to Plan an Eco Vacation That is Fun, Affordable, and Makes a Difference" »

    Solar Charging Tables Power Up Campuses, Malls, Disaster Areas & More

    When your power supply goes on the fritz, or even if you simply need to supplement the power available on the regular grid, what can you do to keep electricity flowing and your electronics working?

    Cafetbl2  Increasingly, communities are turning to compact solar energy charging stations to help meet energy demand. One of the most flexible and easy-to-install that I've seen is the ConnecTable Solar Charging Station, produced by CarrierClass Green Infrastructure.

    The ConnecTable resembles a nicely designed picnic or cafe table with one notable addition. It has an "umbrella" made from photovoltaic cells that convert solar energy into electricity. Sockets on the PV pole let consumers plug in to charge cell phones, iPads, lap tops and other mobile devices. They can also be used by crews in times of emergency to power any number of communications devices.

    A big benefit of the ConnecTable is its portability. While some models can permanently be installed at college campuses, office complexes, resorts, parks, or shopping malls, they can also be brought in if an area's utility grid goes down as a result of a big storm or other natural disaster. While several people can sit around one table, multiple tables can be combined to form a micro grid and backup power source during extended power outages.

    As for affordability, qualifying organizations may be eligible for low-interest financing of the tables through the Sustainable Energy Fund. Tables qualify for the 30% investment tax credit offered to businesses that install solar. Colleges can also use designated green funds to purchase tables.

    Keep an eye on other products CarrierClass Green Infrastructure (CCGI) has in the works. The company designs, sells and installs solar electric, solar thermal and custom off-grid solar power products for both commercial and residential customers.  As the reliability of traditional power supplies come into question, innovative solar technologies like those being developed by CCGI can be expected to play an increasingly important role in helping all of us stay plugged in.

    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" »

    Fight the Polar Vortex With Warm Wool Sweaters and Socks

    Wondering how you can stay warm when the polar vortex and other cold winter weather strikes? I turn to wool, for everything from socks to sweaters to underwear.

    CHOOSE SAFE AND HUMANELY PRODUCED WOOL

    Wool coatThe trick is to find wool that is not just eco friendly but humanely produced. Many people feel like wool is the ultimate natural fiber. But remember - it comes from sheep, which may be brutally injured during the shearing process. In fact, popular merino wool has been particularly singled out because it can be so cruel to the animals. Why? Merino sheep have wrinkly skin. That allows them to produce more wool, but it also means that the sheep may suffer from greater infestations of flies. Many farmers employ a painful technique called mulesing: without using painkillers, they cut chunks of skin from the sheep to discourage flies from laying their eggs in the skin or wool. Ouch!

    Plus, many farmers spray toxic chemicals directly on to sheep to kill other pests. Those chemicals may do more harm to the sheep than kill pests; they may also get into the surrounding environment and threaten the farm workers who are managing the sheep.

    If the sheep are farmed in Australia or New Zealand, they may be exported to the U.S. or other countries before they're shorn. According to Hearts.com, about 1% of those sheep die during the journey due to crowded, disease-infested ships and inhumane conditions. (In comparison, here's how one Maine farmer raises his sheep organically and humanely.)

    Continue reading "Fight the Polar Vortex With Warm Wool Sweaters and Socks" »

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