Boray POWer helps saves energy by allowing you to slow down your computer’s processors during inactivity.
Verdiem has a new FREE home version of their Edison power management software for the PC available now. It runs on Windows XP and Vista and helps you configure your computer to save energy. The Vista version should run under Windows 7. Use Edison to set up work time and non work time power profiles. Display money, energy and CO2 used.
AKS-Labs has Free WatchOverEnergy, an energy tracking and management software for Windows 9x, 2000, XP, NT. WatchOverEnergy program can activate stand-by mode for your monitor when you are not using the PC and when no important programs are running. Track energy saving in both watt-hours and dollars.
JSutils has energy saving utilities for Windows 2000, Windows XP/2003, Windows Vista and Windows 7. One program monitors the mouse, keyboard and CPU load and initiates computer shutdown if there has been no keyboard or mouse activity and the average CPU load has been below the threshold set for the specified time.
Granola for Windows and Linux is software that improves the energy efficiency of your PC or laptop. Server version is not free.
WinOFF is a utility program for Windows that allows you to schedule when your computer is shut down.
Eco Button Green Computer Energy Saver
Microsoft’s director of environmental sustainability has stated that “Probably 70 percent of business users leave PCs on at night for various reasons. That’s a lot of wasted energy”. Consumers need follow the same wasteful route.
I saw an interesting product at a computer store, the $30Eco Button. Any time your computer is running and you are going to be away, you simply press the USB connected ecobutton™ and your computer is put into the most efficient energy saving mode available – they call this ‘ecomode’.
They claim it instantly sleeps and wakes computers. Eco Button also has software that displays how much energy you save. It will take a while to save the $30 it costs to buy it!
Here are some free tips for saving energy with your computer. Also consider installing a Digital Timer to control the smart power strip.
Greener Computer Printing
greenprint makes free computer software to eliminate unwanted pages saving paper, ink, money, and millions of trees. It works on Windows and Mac. The software analyzes each page and look for pages with nothing or wasted characters or just a little bit of print.
It costs a lot to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. A recent study released in early 2012 showed that the average household in San Francisco spends 39.5% of their income on housing and transportation. Those that lived in the suburbs spent even more, probably because they had to drive longer distances. People that lived in Marin County spent 56.3% on housing and transportation, while those lived in San Mateo County spent 53.3%. Finding ways to reduce our transportation costs is very important.
How to Save Money on Your Car
There is more to saving gas in your car than just driving a Hybrid Prius. How you drive is as important as what you drive. Give your current car a mileage boost with some of these techniques. Warning, other drivers many not smile when you are in front of them. EcoDriving covers many of these ideas.
Do not floor the accelerator from a stop sign
Empty the car of unnecessary items to reduce weight
Slow down before entering corners, don’t hit the brakes hard in the turn
Keep engine RPMs low when cruising.
Do not speed, keep speeds around 60mph, do not tailgate
Coast down inclines
Keep your car tuned and tires maintained and inflated properly
Close windows at high speeds and use the air conditioner or better yet fan ventilation
Use the recommended grade of gas and oil
Smoothly accelerate and brake
Remove racks from your roof when not using them
Hybrid Car Mileage Tips
It is hard matching EPA estimates for any car, especially hybrids. I found some helpful Prius Mileage tips, some of which are counter intuitive.
Quickly accelerating to your cruising speed, is more efficient than slowly accelerating
Using the windows instead Air conditioning is more efficient even though drag is caused by the windows.
For every 1 MPH you drive above 55 MPH, you will lose almost 1 MPG. Primarily due to aerodynamic drag.
Try to keep your speed below 42 MPH, this will prevent the engine from running.
Replacing a vehicle with a fuel efficient model has the biggest aggregate potential reduction in green house gas emissions at 31.4 millions of metric tons of carbon a year. Even more than Weatherizing a home (21.2), buying energy efficient appliances (11.7), or carpooling (6.5).
When does a Toyota Prius lose the MPG battle?
I got blown away by a Prius doing probably 90+ on the highway. Gotta wonder if the driver understood the reason people by Prius’.
Check out this video. This entertaining video shows that a lead foot on a Toyota Prius loses the gas economy war to a high performance BMW M3 sedan even though the BMW is rated far lower in EPA gas mileage.
Fuel Economy.gov shows that gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you are over 60, costs you an additional quarter in gas.
Aggressive driving obviously wastes gas and can reduce your mileage by up to 33%.
I see many people going 70 mph or faster, when highways in the San Francisco Bay Area allow it. It is ironic to see a hybrid such as the Prius, speeding along at 80 mph. They could save $ by driving slower. Of course time is money too.. Speeding has also has a social cost of more speed related crashes. Save up to $200 a year on gas by obeying speed limits and by driving smoother!
Is it being more green, riding a motorcycle instead of a car? A recent Mythbusters episode found the motorcycles were more fuel efficient and produced less carbon dioxide than cars. However, the motorcycles emitted more carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitric oxide emissions, all of which pollute the air and contribute to help problems.
Green Motor Oil and Green Car Care Products
Green Earth Technologies has new car care products and biodegradable Green G-OIL Motor Oil from Green Earth Technologies. It is made from American-grown renewable animal fats.
Amazon also carries products from Green Earth Technologies.
Save Gas – Drive Slower
With gas prices falling, this tip will definitely get very little attention. It is guaranteed that someday gas prices will rise again, so keep this in the back of your mind when you are at the gas pump.
Tri Flow Soy Lube – Green Lube or Eco Friendly Lubricant
As good sign of the green wave is Tri Flow Soy Lube for lubricating bikes and other moving parts. This Green Lube is natural soy oil based so it is rapidly biodegradable. Less petroleum products = more eco friendly. 90% will biodegrade in less than 28 days according to them. It does contain PTFE Teflon though.
Car Roof Racks Reducing Car Mileage
The cost of gas is starting to go up again. Car Racks significantly reduce car mileage. It is amazing how many people drive around with ski or bike racks permanently attached to their car. 99% of the time, these car racks are empty. Why not just remove them and install when they are needed.
No doubt convenience is the main reason. Car racks interfere with aerodynamics. We can hear a distinct noise whenever a rack is on our vehicle. A site did a test and measured 12% less miles per gallon with an empty rack and 27% less mileage with a bike on the rack. Placing a rack on the back of the car reduces mileage far less, so consider a hitch mounted ski or bike rack.
Buying a New Rack
Newer racks are responding by becoming more aerodynamic. Yakima has the wind tunnel tested Whispbar that is more aero and more quiet.
Green Sports car – New Ford Mustang V6
Read an article the other day about a surprisingly fuel efficient 305 horsepower 2011 Ford Mustang V6 Pony car, that gets an amazing 31 miles per gallon on the highway. Review
Some of the innovations include:
The new Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system which eliminates the drag of an engine-operated hydraulic power steering pump
Six-speed transmissions that allow lower cruising revs without sacrificing off-the-line performance
Aerodynamic improvements such as a new front fascia, tire spats on the rear wheels, modified underbody shields, a taller air dam and an added rear decklid seal
Hopefully all this technology will trickle down to regular cars were mileage improvements will be even higher due to smaller engines.
Garmin nuvi GPS ecoRoute Fuel Saving Routing
New tools to extend car mileage. Garmin has a new EcoRoute HD cable that plugs into your cards onboard diagnostics port (OBD II) and communicated via Bluetooth to their GPS navigation units. Fuel flow, in take, oil pressure, throttle position, etc are send to the GPS for analysis and display. This data is used by their ecoRoute software. ecoRoute HD will be compatible with many current and future nüvi models, including 1260, 1370, 1390, 1490 and 1690.
Garmin has free ecoRoute software for some of their nuvi GPS navigation devices that adds a “less fuel” option as a routing preference. When selected, the Garmin nüvi GPS will determine if more fuel efficient routes exist based upon road speed data and vehicle acceleration data for a given route.
It is compatible with Garmin nuvi 205, 705, 1200, and 1300 series of GPS’s. Amazon has most of these models on sale.
Gas-Guzzler Trade-In Calculator
Edmunds.com has a new Gas-Guzzler Trade-In Calculator that helps you figure out the pay back period and fuel saving associated with trading in a vehicle for a new more fuel efficient one.
A major problem with ditching a gas guzzling SUV is one of calculating how much you will save in gas and then figuring out how long it take to pay for the new more fuel efficient car. It may take years to just break even.
Considering a Prius would probably cost more than $21,647, the pay back time is even longer especially if gas prices fall. Consider regular high mileage compacts such as the Honda Fit.
Also consider a recent (2 or 3 year old) vintage fuel efficient pre-owned car. The biggest cost in owning a car is depreciation at almost 50%, followed by fuel costs at near 20%.
Natural gas Honda Civic
Honda is offering a $3000 debit card for compressed natural gas to buyers of its Honda Civic. The card can be used at any Clean Energy Fuels station. This promo ends at the end of 2012. This vehicle costs $26,305 and gets 31 mpg of equivalent fuel. A gallon of compressed natural gas costs roughly $2. Natural gas is produced within the United States, keeping money within our country and not sending it to the Middle East.
I thought eco friendly toilet paper was simple, just buy recycled toilet paper. An article in the NY Times indicates that the US is causing deforestation because of sales of fluffy toilet paper like Charmin Ultra.
Nowadays, when I see paper products that are slightly brown in color, I think that they are more environmentally friendly or green. This trend has recently started to accelerate.
“Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.”
“In the United States, which is the largest market worldwide for toilet paper, tissue from 100 percent recycled fibers makes up less than 2 percent of sales for at-home use among conventional and premium brands.”
Greenpeace even has a list of brand recommendations. Try to stick to high recycled content and no bleaching.
So please try to stick to standard recycled toilet paper. You can even switch to a bidet.
Costco 100% Recycled Premium Bath Tissue – Toilet Paper
Costco now sells Nature’s Choice 100% Recycled Premium Bath Tissue. No need to make a special trip to Whole Paycheck aka Whole Foods to get recycled products. Price is as low as you would expect from Costco and performance of the product is fairly good too.
The NRDC states: If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees.
Cascades makes toilet paper with 20% recycled corrugated box content that is even more green, but posses a slightly brown color tint. This may shock consumers, but it is a step in the right direction. They are not using bleached paper, which saves on chlorine chemical usage. The next time you buy paper products, try to buy something slightly brown.
Eco Friendly – Green Toothbrushes
While we are thinking about the bathroom, here is another idea to make it more Green and Eco-Friendly. We saw an eco friendly toothbrush the other day. Eco-DenT makes TerrAdenT Replaceable Head Toothbrushes that save money over regular brushes. Some toothbrush companies offer mail in recycling, but few people participate.
Their analysis shows that tossing out replacement heads is more green than mailing in a toothbrush for recycling. Amazon sells their products.
Cleaning shower head holes is a pain. No need to use harsh poisonous chemicals. An easy way to do it is by unplug the shower head and soak in a mix of equal parts of white vinegar and warm water for about 2 hours. Rinse it off.
A mix of 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with 1 quart of warm water works well on bathroom tile. Be sure to use a soft towel and rinse it off afterward.
Cleaning Windows the Green Way
Eco friendly green cleaning windows is easy. No need for harsh and expensive chemicals. Half cup of cornstarch with a gallon of warm water will make you a very good cleaning solution. Rinse with a touch of white vinegar mixed in with water and then wipe again.
Crumple and reuse old newspapers to wipe instead of using new paper towels.
Questions about ComEd Energy Efficiency Rebates, call 1-877-928-8776.
Always check your local utility’s web site for rebates before you buy a new item. We recently bought a new dishwasher that had a $50 utility company rebate that was not advertised by the store. They fulfilled the rebate in only 2 weeks. Green your home and get cash back. Most rebates run through December 31 or while funding is available
Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credit
Be sure to also take advantage of the Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credit. This Federal tax credit can save you money in addition to your utility companies’ promotions. It applies to many items including: Wind Turbines - GeoThermal Heat Pump – Solar panels.