1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

December 3, 2008

:338 More Rebate Listings

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:338 EcoTip: The North Carolina Solar Center and Interstate Renewable Council provide a databaseof State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. It is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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Suggested Review: :223

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September 28, 2008

:272 Shower Heat Exchanger

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:272 EcoTip: A shower heat exchanger can conserve 25 to 40% of the energy that normally goes down the drain when taking a hot shower.

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Suggested Review: :144

The EcoDrain can be installed below the shower during either new construction or bathroom renovation to help increase energy efficiency by reducing hot water energy use. According to the manufacturer.

The EcoDrain is designed to make the reuse of shower waste heat practical. Its key feature is a patent-pending turbulator which optimally stirs the waste water in order to maximize heat exchanger performance in a small device.

The EcoDrain is installed directly under the shower. This minimizes heat loss and makes installation easy in new home construction and in most bathroom renovation projects. 

 

I observed this product at this years West Coast Green conference and was impressed – Contact EcoDrain at: info@ecodrain.ca or 514-448-4798

 

 

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August 10, 2008

:223 Green Made Simple

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:223 EcoTip: Green Made Simple is a great way to find out about the environmental incentives available in your area. You enter your zip-code to search their comprehensive residential energy efficiency rebates and incentives listings.

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http://www.greenmadesimple.com/

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 21, 2008
–/WORLD-WIRE/– Answering the need to save money and reduce carbon emissions when it comes to residential energy efficiency, the new website www.greenmadesimple.com presents the first comprehensive database for local, state and national incentives, rebates, and special offers on the Internet. Visitors to the site enter their zip code to quickly find local residential incentives and rebates covering appliances, lighting, cars, home improvement and construction, energy audits, solar and other renewables, recycling and financing options. Additionally, users are able to create an account to keep track of their projects, incentives and other offers.

“Homeowners need a quick way to find rebates and offers available when they buy new appliances, cars or other energy saving installations, and we give them all the terms, instructions and applications in one easy search,” says Bob Ellis, CEO of GreenMadeSimple.com.

The site offers three main resources:

Incentives: Each month, this section is updated from hundreds of sources to bring users the latest and most relevant incentives and rebates for making energy efficiency updates to their home. In addition, Green Made Simple also streamlines the process by providing application forms, terms and time limits in an easy-to-use format.

Marketplace: The site offers listings of green businesses, products and services that are available both locally and nationally. Similar to the Incentives section, visitors access these resources by entering their zip code and then filtering the information based on a search area, business name, or category.

Projects: This section features stories posted by real people who have engaged in a residential energy-saving project. Examples range from changing light bulbs in Virginia to installing a green roof in Indiana. Visitors can use this area to share their stories, get ideas and rate other projects. “People respond to what their neighbors and others are doing to make their homes more energy-efficient. So we want to make it easy for them to find each other and see how they solve the challenges of changing their practices,” says Publisher Chris Ewald.

According to the US Department of Energy, residential energy accounts for 21 percent of the national total energy consumption and costs American households more than $160 billion a year. It is estimated that energy efficiency improvements could save people 20 – 30 percent annually on their energy bills.

The site is a one-stop way to find energy-and money-saving opportunities through local and national rebates, incentives, businesses and services. It’s easy-to-use, comprehensive, and up-to-date. Visitors can also keep track of their own rebates and incentives, see others’ projects, and find the latest news on home energy efficiency.

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July 12, 2008

:194 RO Waste Water

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:194 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis units use several gallons of water to process each gallon of drinking water. The process water is frequently routed down the drain – but it could easily be used to drip water plants, or for other non-drinking uses.

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Suggested Review: :172, :190, :191, :192, :193

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

The most valid criticism of RO is that anywhere from 3.5 to 5 gallons of water are rejected for every gallon of purified water produced. Many inexpensive, non certified RO systems have much higher rejection rates, are extremely wasteful, and still do not deliver verifiable contaminant reduction, the primary reason for using reverse osmosis.  

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July 11, 2008

:193 Reverse Osmosis

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:193 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis is a method for reducing the amount of dissolved solids in drinking water. It works best in combination with other water purification methods since it will not remove volatile organic compounds.

RO involves forcing water through a semipermeable membrane with extremely fine pores.

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Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

RO systems will remove a variety of ions and metals as well as some bacterial contaminants (cysts), but not coliform bacteria. RO systems will remove some arsenic (arsenic V but not the more toxic arsenic III). Reverse osmosis is well documented in the literature and in post-treatment testing proves to be effective in removing uranium, but NSF [National Sanitation Foundation] does not certify for uranium reduction, RO membranes eject the bulk of almost any dissolved and suspended contaminant including ionic, organic and silica compounds.

One criticism of reverse osmosis-filtered water is that it is stripped of essential minerals. Although this is true, it is a tradeoff for overall water quality. Most consumers do not depend on water for their nutritional needs but elect to take vitamin supplements or remineralize their RO water. Savvy water treatment companies use a crushed limestone (calcite) post-RO filter to impart a pleasant taste to the water. Parents sometimes express concern that RO removes fluoride added to municipal water for dental health purposes. This is true, but water fluoridation in general is a controversial issue and today most children under professional dental care receive whole-mouth fluoride treatments.

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July 10, 2008

:192 Carbon Water Filtration

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:192 EcoTip: Activated carbon in drinking water filters can help to remove chlorine and other volatile organic compounds. The length of time it takes the water to pass through the filter determines the amount of chemical that gets removed. The slower the water flow the greater the removal.

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Suggested Review: :190, :191

Be careful when interpreting the quality of a water purifier based on manufacturer’s claims. I was once asked to evaluate a purifier based on test results showing a 99% removal of chlorine. The problem was the manufacturer’s instructions said to install the filter so that it would deliver 1 gallon per minute, but the test was performed with the water being passed through the filter at a rate of 0.1 gallon per minute (ten times slower). The advertised test results were of course much better than what was being delivered to the client’s glass. To get the better results the client needed to slow the rate of filtration down to the test rate.

Chlorine removal performance is easy to test – you can visit any aquarium shop that sells tropical fish and purchase a sensitive chlorine test kit. 

If you want to compare chemical removal efficiency between purifiers before you purchase one, make sure the testing has been performed in compliance with National Sanitation Foundation standards. This will help make sure you are comparing units that have been tested in a consistent way.

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July 3, 2008

:185 Filter Efficiency

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:185 EcoTip: As filters load with particles they become more efficient at removing smaller and smaller particles. The amount of air passing through them is also reduced. Deciding when to replace filters is a balancing act between airflow and efficiency. Usually you should plan on replacing filters when the air flow is reduced about 50%. Quality pre-filters cleaned regularly will help protect the more expensive HEPA filter so that it may only need to be replaced every year or so.

You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for telling when air flow is reduced by 50%. If the manufacture doesn’t tell you – then I will in tomorrows 1:5:10:365 EcoTip.

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