EPA reveals top 10 U.S. cities with most green buildings

Photo courtesy of Energy Star

Photo courtesy of Energy Star

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in most cities, commercial buildings are the largest source of carbon emissions.

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New efficiency Standards – good for consumers and the environment

The Dept. of Energy announced new federal energy efficiency standards for washers and dishwashers

The drive for greater energy efficiency has become part of our culture. So to is the growing awareness that water is a precious commodity we can no longer take for granted.

Manufacturers recognize that consumers are demanding better performing and less wasteful products. This resulted in 2010 in a gathering of oddfellows that under other circumstances wouldn’t have occurred.

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Could proposed new standards stop energy “vampires”?

Take a good look around any home and you’ll find them – those almost unnoticeable red, blue or yellow lights indicating that some appliance or electronic device is plugged in. That “vampire energy” drain happens even when you’re not around.

According to a 2008 study, unoccupied new homes in California used 117 watts before anyone had even moved in!

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Living green for 2011 – a retrospective

One of 2 pesticide-free products that help control and eliminate bed bugs

We’ve made it to an exciting new year. While 2011 was an incredible year. during that time I profiled a lot of fascinating products, books and stories. Here’s a look back at my top picks.

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Brighten your holidays with colorful energy efficient lights

LED holiday lights are a festive addition to any room

Now that it’s officially the holiday season, it’s time to pull out that holiday stuff that’s been tucked away all year. Before diving too deeply into decorations, you might want to update and replace those strings of incandescent lights you’ve been using.

This year, there are new and exciting options to consider – LED’s and solar lights.

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The Nest Learning Thermostat learns how to save energy from you

The Nest Learning Thermostat takes the guesswork out of programming

Programmable thermostats, while useful, can be incredibly complicated. So much so that around 90 percent of folks that have them don’t program them!

Created to be real energy savers, all the programmable thermostats on the market lost their Energy Star ratings in 2008 because, the EPA said, the devices tended to create consumer confusion and could lead to increased energy use, not savings.

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TAP insulation — green insulation plus long-lasting pest control

TAP Insulation – energy efficient, green and a safe pesticide too

It’s always a good time to think about home energy efficiency. These days, there are some innovative green options to consider with the more traditional choices.

Perhaps one of the most exciting of these is TAP Insulation. Made from recycled paper and a process that uses liquid natural borates, TAP insulation not only reduces energy loss and both indoor and outdoor noise, it’s a highly effective insect repellent.

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IKEA will no longer carry incandescent light bulbs

As the phase out of incandescent bulbs begins, home furnishing giant  IKEA announced they will no longer carry the soon-to-be-outdated incandescent light bulbs in any of their U.S. stores, becoming the first US retailer to do so.

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Ford Cuts Energy Costs by $1.2M by turning off PC's!

Ford Motor Co.Electronics are notorious for energy “leaks”. Ford Motor Company is discoveing just how much energy they’ve been wasting when they implemented their new PC Power Management program. The company anticipates it will save $1.2 million when the system is fully implemented. It also expects to reduce its carbon footprint by 16,000-25,000 metric tons annually.

ComputerUnder this new program, power settings on Windows laptops and desktop computers are controlled centrally. This reduces energy waste and allows for optimizing software updates. Shutting down computers that aren’t in use – nighttimes and weekends – also helps reduce weated energy.

Computers will, however, be “awake”, connected to Ford’s intranet so as to be able to receive system updates and software upgrades during off hours.

PC Power Management is being rolled out to Ford”s U.S.-based computer users this month and expanded to Ford operations around the world later in the year.

Ford Lincolm Mercury logoFord’s U.S. facilities have increased their energy efficiency by almost 35 percent since the year 2000. The company is urging their Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions at their facilities, encouraging employees and customers to do the same, as part of their commitment to sustainability and to the Energy Star program.

All this from just turning off those computers! Now what about turning off all those lights?

Kohl's recognied as 2010 Energy Star® Partner of the Year

Kohl's logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have named Kohl’s Department Stores the 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for Energy Management for the company’s commitment to energy management and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Selected from more than 17,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program, Kohl’s will receive the award March 18th at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Kohl’s has implemented a wide range of sustainable business practices. This commitment led Kohl’s in December 2009 announce their plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by the end of 2010. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency recognzied this family-focused Wisconsin-based company as a 2009 Green Power Partner of the Year.

Expect to hear more about Kohl’s sustainability initiatives.