Efficiency at the Pump – How to Save Money at the Gas Station

Save Money At The Gas Station

With gas prices on the rise, learning to save money at the gas station is one thing savvy drivers can do to help take some of the sting out of their wallets. Use these tips to maximize your savings and get more out of every mile.

6 Tips to Save Money on Gas

From the time you fill up your tank, to what you do after you fill it, there are several ways you can save a few bucks at the pump.

Fill Up Early

Gas expands and contracts about 1% for every 15 degree change in air temperature. What this means for you is that when you fill up your tank when the gas is warm, you’re actually getting less than you think, because the gas is expanding to fill more space. Once…

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Resolving to Spend Less and Use Less in 2014

New Years

If you survived the insanity of the malls and big box stores this year, first of all, congratulations.  We’ve all made it through the holiday season, whether you battled your way through the crowds and emerged victorious, or, like me, simply tried to avoid too much awkward family interaction.  As we come down from the Christmas high though, we start to look around and realize that the kids probably didn’t need THAT many presents, and the credit card bills are going to come due soon, as is the electricity bill for all those Christmas lights, and oh my goodness, how am I ever going to clean up this house?!  It’s a hard and fast fall back to reality for many of us.  But we’re also thinking ahead to the New Year and thinking about how we’re going…

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Programmable Thermostat: Three Ways to Save Energy With Your Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostat

Today more and more Americans are opting to replace their regular thermostats with smart thermostats: new technology that learns your home heating routines and factors in environmental changes in order to manage your home’s energy usage automatically. Unfortunately, this fancy new technology also comes with a price tag. So what about the rest of us who don’t want to spend the money to upgrade our thermostats, at least not yet? Today we’ll be looking at strategies homeowners can use with their programmable thermostat to make sure that they’re getting the maximum effect out of their heating systems for the minimum cost. With home heating and cooling comprising up to 42% of a homeowner’s energy costs, this is an area where there is a lot of money to…

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Maryland Energy Tax Credits

In an effort to reduce our energy consumption and increase the amount of energy we receive from alternative, sustainable sources, all levels of government in the United States have launched a variety of energy tax credits. These energy tax credits and other programs make it more affordable and practical to renovate your home to be more energy efficient and self-reliant. The state of Maryland has created a significant number of incentives that many residents have used to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and this post will examine a few of the most important programs that you can use when renovating your home.

To start with, there are federal energy tax credits and other programs that you can benefit from. So even if you aren’t a resident of Maryland, these programs and incentives…

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Landscaping Ideas for Energy Efficiency

Landscaping can save you money on your energy bills and make your home more comfortable

When homeowners think about ways to save money on their energy bills, they should consider windows, insulation, light bulbs, and… trees? What you place outside your home can affect your energy usage just as much as what you place inside it, and planting trees and shrubs in strategic locations can yield impressive reductions on your energy usage. Let’s look at a few simple landscaping ideas that will cut your energy costs year-round.

Shade Trees:

One of the simplest landscaping ideas you can implement is to plant deciduous trees (the kind that lose their leaves in the fall) near to your windows. Sunlight coming in through windows can account for a huge…

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Nontoxic Paint Colors Your Home Safely

Image courtesy of geww / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Paint comes in all shades and tones, but the most important color, for the health and safety of your family, is green. Not green as in lime twist or garden sprout, but the eco-friendly type of green.  Nontoxic paint varieties do away with harmful chemicals, while offering up the color your home seeks.

What makes nontoxic paint different boils down to the ingredients. Nontoxic paint can also be labeled low or no-VOC paint. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. If you have ever use paint, think of the intoxicating smells that fill the room as soon as you open a fresh can of paint. Those are the VOCs. They flow from certain solids and liquids, in this case paint. As paint dries, the hazardous chemicals leech into your…

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Install Home Solar Panels and Begin Living Green Today

A home near Boston, MA

Are you looking to save money on your utility bills, along with helping to maintain a safe and healthy environment? Then join in the rapidly growing renewable energy movement by powering your home with solar energy. Before you install home solar panels, there are many important factors to consider.  I’m going to provide you with a buying guide that gives you both the advantages and disadvantages of home solar panels, along with the elements you will need to efficiently and effectively harness solar energy.  The main advantages of solar energy are it is economical, clean and low-maintenance.

All homes in the United States have the ability to utilize solar energy to efficiently generate power. Despite popular belief (and what the mainstream media keeps repeating), there is not a single…

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Five Ways to Teach Your Children to Go Green in Your Home

girl recycling

To protect our planet every individual must do his or her part to care for the environment. Children and teens greatly contribute to rising utility costs and wasted energy with their consumption habits such as, taking long showers or leaving lights on in the rooms when they are not in use. That’s why it’s vital to teach your children to go green from a young age the importance of being environmentally friendly. Being environmentally-friendly starts at your doorstep. There are many easy and fun ways your children can do their part to help keep our planet clean. Just simply educating your children on the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling in order to conserve resources can not only greatly benefit the planet and save you money but also help to make you and your family healthier and happier.

In 2011, Americans alone generated 250 million tons of trash and only…

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Best Shade Trees in Virginia

Shade Trees

The best shade trees in Virginia offer you energy savings and environmental benefits. But, before you dig a hole for your new tree, consider which trees fit your landscape.

By looking at factors such as size, soil type needed, water availability and foliage, you can pick the best tree for your home. Remember to think about how much sun the area will receive and how much water will reach the tree. The best shade trees for your sun and water conditions will be native plants. These species already have a natural tolerance to the local climate and won’t require additional water or pesticides. Because of this, you save water and reduce pollution.

As these trees grow, you will start to reap the financial and environmental benefits of shade trees. Because shade trees decrease the temperature under them…

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Tankless Water Heater Is The Way To Go

tankless water heater

Regardless of weather, people desire hot water. A nice hot shower relieves an individual of all stress and worries accumulated throughout the day. It is relaxing and provides an opportunity to ponder about life. Tankless water heaters are a great technological innovation. They produce hot water, as it is demanded; this method saves consumers money and energy.

The principles behind tankless water heaters are simple: When hot water is demanded, cold water is released from the house’s water supply, rushes through the pipes, and enters a metal unit. Here, either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water extremely quickly. After this point, the water leaves the heater and is delivered to the desired location.

There are several advantages to switching to a tankless water heater. …

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Be Wary of Space Heaters!

Ceramic Heater

A space heater sounds like a product sent from heaven. It is portable, usually small, occupies a small amount of space, and it heats any area you desire.  You can place it anywhere, from under your desk to the bathroom on a cold morning. There are a great variety of space heaters: heater fans, ceramic heaters, radiant heaters, and convection heaters. Heater fans are fast and blow heat throughout the room.

Similar to heater fans, ceramic fans are very efficient, but they use heat created by the resistance to electrical flow in the ceramic, also known as the ceramic heating element, to warm the room.

Radiant heaters are small, produce heat, and warm…

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U.S. Electricity Sources (Infographic)

U.S. Electricity Sources - Free Infographic

Where does our electricity come from? How much of it comes from renewable sources and how doesn’t:

 

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Ways To Save Energy As a Renter

house for rent

Most people want to protect and preserve what is left of the environment, but renters are placed in a predicament. The fact that they are renting their current residence indicates one of two things: they are economically stressed or they are not ready to make a long-term commitment to it. Both situations make it difficult for renters to do their part in the fight to protect the environment. If you are a renter, there is no reason to fret. There are several inexpensive and/or effective methods to reduce your carbon footprint.

Ways To Save Energy As a Renter:

Each renter’s first step should be to discuss the possibility of an energy audit with his or her landlord. An energy audit determines the method…

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Gas VS Electric Stoves: Pros and Cons

gas or electric stove

Gas VS Electric Stoves:

If you’re in the market for a new stove for your kitchen, take a look at the differences between gas VS electric stoves. Both have their advantages and disadvantages; taking a look at both will help determine which type of stove is the best for you.

Comparing Gas VS Electric Stoves

There isn’t a clear winner in the gas VS electric stove debate; both have pros and cons that may vary depending on what you’re used to, what hook ups are currently in your kitchen, and what type of cooking you like to do. Be sure to weigh these pros and cons carefully to make the most informed decision.

Pros of Gas Stoves

The biggest pro in using a gas…

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EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act Targets 2015

Credit: Brenna Malmberg

If you are living in Maryland right now, there has never been a better time to improve the efficiency of your home. Why? Because in 2008, Maryland General Assembly passed the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act.  This act aims to reduce per capita energy consumption at peak demand by 15 percent from 2007 to 2015. Currently, we live in the middle of this push for Maryland to reduce its energy consumption.

As of September 2012, Maryland had seen a reduction in per capita consumption by 10.8 percent. So Marylanders have dropped their individual peak use from 2.56 kilowatts to 2.28 kilowatts in about six years. This adds up to $250 million annually.

To reach the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act goal, government officials, utility companies and Marylanders are joining together to find more ways…

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10 Home Office Energy Efficiency Tips

Photo courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

All day, buzzing electronics surround me. My computer bounces with emails while my phone charges for its next call. As the weather changes, I adjust light fixtures and the thermostat to regulate the temperature. Whether you work from home all day like I do or just sit at the computer at night to pay bills, you are probably surrounded by opportunities to help the environment and reduce your overall home electricity bill. Home office energy efficiency tips provide simple, effective ways to change your consumption. These 10 home office energy efficiency tips can be implemented in your home office, cubical space or company-wide.

  1. Invest in a green computer. Look for the Energy Star label or certification at your local electronics store or online…

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Smart Thermostat: Set It and Forget It

The Nest, a popular Smart Thermostat from

While you are waiting in the terminal with your flip-flops on, you suddenly remember you didn’t change the thermostat. Now while you are on vacation, your home will be heating and cooling itself as if the whole family is there to enjoy it. Sadly, only the houseplants will feel the cool air conditioning.

This scenario plays out differently if you invest in a smart thermostat. With a smart thermostat, your paradise daydreams are only interrupted for a few minutes. Once you realize your thermostat mistake, you can simply pull up your thermostat on your smartphone and switch the device to vacation mode. After it’s switched, you can go back to vacation without any worries. All because of a smart thermostat, you have…

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Computer Accessories with Green Technology

Credit: Brenna Malmberg

Take a minute and look at all the electronic devices around you as you read this blog on your computer or tablet. You probably have a keyboard, mouse, speakers, a printer and probably a charger or two lying around. If you count up to 24, you have just as many electronics as the average household. (To reach that number, you might need to look around the whole house, not just by your computer.) Now think if you amped up the energy savings by owning computer accessories with green technology.

To find computer accessories with green technology, you won’t have to look far. Plenty of options exist online or at the local electronics store. They will typically cost a little more than the regular version of the product, but during its lifetime, the device will pay for…

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Celebrate World Environment Day June 5

food

Join with people around the globe June 5 to celebrate World Environment Day, a day dedicated to positive environmental action. Since its inception in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme has spurred awareness about global environmental issues. No matter your spot on the globe, you can take part and ensure a greener, brighter tomorrow for people now and for generations to come.

World Environment Day

Each year, the United Nations picks a theme. The theme for World Environment Day 2013 is Think.Eat.Save. This campaign focuses on reducing food waste and everyone’s overall foodprint. When you consider 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization , it should gobble up our attention during this day of environmental awareness. Think.Eat.Save. urges people to be more aware of their environmental impact when it comes…

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Energy Saving Tips For Summer: Sealing Air Leaks

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With summer quickly approaching, and plenty of warm weather and sunshine in the near forecast,

Energy Saving Tips For Summer:

Summer is the perfect time to try your luck at some Do-It-Yourself home renovations and remodeling.  However, before you begin your home improvements I suggest that you take the time to perform a Do-It-Yourself home energy audit. Performing a home check up first will help to make your home more energy efficient and cost effective. By conducting a Do-It-Yourself home energy audit you will save money on your utility bill, as well as having identified what needs to be repaired in order to be easily fixed.

The impending summer months can bring with them a great deal of energy loss; all…

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