Rebates Offered For Energy Star Products

26 01 2010

Following the rebate programs for energy-efficient car purchases and for solar energy projects, states are now  offering rebates for energy- efficient appliance purchases.

According to an article in Sunday’s Hartford Courant, $3.4 million dollars will be distributed during the Connecticut program, which began yesterday and  continues through April 30. It is part of a national $296 million stimulus program administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Here’s a youtube video explaining a  similar program going into effect in Massachusetts next month:

Rebates, ranging from $50 to $500, are available for specific Energy Star appliances. The list of qualified appliances includes refrigerators, clothes washers, and freezers.

When discussing the program with my parents, who bought a new washer and dryer two or three years ago, they said they wished they waited to make those purchases.

I’m sure many other homeowners in Connecticut feel the same way.

There a few restrictions to this program. Appliances must replace existing models to qualify. Also, appliances purchased before yesterday are ineligible.

I just have one more question: Why is this program temporary? I feel that it would have a greater impact if it lasted for a  longer period of time.

The article says that it is unknown whether these funds will be replenished. Why isn’t this a certainty? I don’t understand why more money hasn’t been invested in this program, especially since environmental issues are at the top of Obama’s agenda, but it seems like this is a trial period for the program.

The program has an interesting concept, but there are a lot of questions I have left unanswered.

If you are interested in the program, go to www. ct.gov/opm/appliance rebate for more i nformation and rebate forms. If you need a form mailed, call 1-877-947-3873.

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Partyin’ It Up the Green Way

24 01 2010
Sports and the environment?

The two have never been connected. Until now, that is.

I found an interesting story in this week’s “USA Weekend”, a supplement of the Hartford Courant published every weekend, about how to have an eco-friendly Super Bowl Party.

Here are the tips that were given:

  1. E-vites- There are multiple advantages to emailing invitations as opposed to mailing them. In addition to the fact that the method saves on paper, it is also much faster to send and reply to e-vites.
  2. Downplay the Decor- Decorations aren’t necessary, but if you must decorate, chose ec0-friendly decorations. LED lights are a good option. Other good ideas from ehow.com  are using items around the house to make decorations and  borrowing decorations from family and friends.
  3. Organic Food/Beverages-  Organic food and beverages are not only eco-friendly, but are healthier than other options. Instead of chips and dips, try serving cut-up vegetables and hummus. Beers from local microbreweries  and organic juices are other great options.
  4. Non-paper products- Use real dishes and silverware to limit the amount of waste you and your guests generate.

So when you watch the game, you can cheer for more than one reason. Not only can you cheer on your team, but by greening up your party, you are showing your appreciation for the environment as well.

Image courtesy of Boston.com





Naked Bicycle Ride Among Unusual Environmental Protests

29 11 2009

Think a naked bicycle ride is an unusual  environmental protest?

Environmental activists can be quite crazy. This is one of many unusual protests  done in recent years.

The World Naked Bike Ride  is an annual protest  of  indecent exposure to  vehicle emissions.

Photo courtesy of Monsters and Critics

It seems that environmental activists will do just about anything to express their views.

Take Jennifer Thornburg, for example. According the environmental blog, “Webecoist,” Thornburg changed her name to cutoutdissection.com in an effort to protest dissection in schools. Her driver’s license is proof that she made this change.

photo courtesy of peta.com

Another unusual environmental protest  took place in Denmark. According to Webecoist, three journalism  students got their Facebook profiles deleted after they posted pictures of themselves eating feral cat.

Photo courtesy of The MorningStarr

 

Why would someone eat cat, you  might ask?

The three women were trying to draw attention to factory farming.

These protests  were definitely extreme. But were they effective? Well, if nothing else, the protests got a lot of attention.





Gassing up the “Green” Way

10 09 2009

Connecticut, the richest state in the country, is not widely recognized for its environmental efforts.

That will hopefully change soon.

The city of New Britain became the first school district in the state to make its bus fleet green by purchasing a hybrid school bus in April.

According to a recent story in the Hartford Courant supplement, “I-Towns” , the bus uses up to 65 percent less diesel fuel than a typical school bus. The bus gets its power from an outlet at the high school and its battery recharges through the solar panel array on the roof.

New Britain’s purchase of the hybrid bus is directly in line with President Obama’s environmental agenda, which urges the use of alternative energy sources.  According to the website, childrentoday. com, school buses are potentially dangerous and harmful to school children because  the diesiel exhaust comprises various cancer-causing agents.

Saving the environment comes at a cost. Although hybrid school buses are more environmentally friendly, they are also more costly than regular school buses. The grant used to purchase the bus  was acquired through the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Clean Fuel program and cost $105,600. That’s a lot of money for one school bus, but   surely the richest state in the union can handle the cost, right?

Since the economy is very unstable right now, some feel that this wasn’t a sound investment. Personally, I have seen the benefits of green technology and I think New Britain made a wise purchase, but only time will tell. I think other school districts in the state should follow New Britain’s lead.





Climate Bill Halted in Congress

28 04 2009

Although  global warming  has been high on Obama’s presidential agenda, his administration hasn’t endorsed the climate and energy change proposal sponsored by the Democrats yet.

According to  a recent New York Times story, the 348 page proposal was unveiled last month and is in  the process of being reviewed. If accepted, the measure could potentially create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The House measure would require large changes in the way the United States generates electricity, manufactures products, heats and lights its offices and homes and moves people and goods.

One central provision of the proposal is a cap-and-trade program that will  limit greenhouse gases, a measure that Obama has been pushing since the beginning of his presidency. Under cap-and-trade, the government sets an overall limit on emissions while allowing companies to trade allowances to pollute.

Many House Democrats have rejected the proposal, finding that it will cause job losses rather than creating new jobs. They also feel that the bill will result in higher energy costs.

Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, defended the measure, saying it would impose “modest costs compared to the benefits”.E

According to the New York Times, the draft is slightly flawed because it doesn’t address two key issues. For one thing, it doesn’t say how many of the allowances the government will give away, if any, and how many it will auction.  The legislation also fails to mention what will be done with the profits from the auctions, which Obama estimates to be worth at least $65 billion a year.





Ben Stein Among Global Warming Deniers

27 04 2009

Despite a  plethora of evidence about global warming, there are still people  denying its existence.

Television personality Ben Stein, known for his political and economic commentary, is one of those people.

In March,  Stein expressed his views on Fox News, saying that controls  designed to prevent climate change, such as cap and trade, are dangerous, rather than beneficial, to the world.

“The real danger, it seems to me comes from controls on our behavior because of so-called climate change that causes so-called global warming,” Stein said. “The evidence for that is extremely elusive and tricky, and yet they are planning extremely far-reaching controls for almost everyone in the western world while letting people in the developed countries burn as much of this carbon as they want.”

Stein referred to the “cap and trade” technique, in which the government sets an overall limit on the amount of carbon that can be burned  and gives various industries credit for the amount of carbon they’re going to burn.

In the following youtube video, Kari Manlove of the Center for American Progess explains the logic behind this.:

For a full transcript of  Stein’s appearance on Fox News, click here.





Walmart Steps Up its Environmental Efforts

26 04 2009

Walmart, the largest department store chain in the world,  recently announced plans to double the amount of solar energy it uses. According to a recent USA Today story, the store will setup solar panels  on 10 to 20 stores and distribution centers throughout California.

The project will take a year and a half to be finished and  is part of an environmental campaign the store unveiled four years ago. All of the chain’s solar energy project will generate enough clean energy to power 2,600 homes and avoid 22,500 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions each year.

Those who want to produce solar energy can! Here is proof that its fairly simple to setup a home solar system.

Walmart has chosen to hire BP Solar, an international company, to make, own, maintain and install the solar system. According to Jigar Shah, a consultant and founder of SunEdison, America’s leading solar energy service provider, Wal-mart would probably have to spend more than $2 million per store if it purchased the setup.

Walmart is among many retailers, including Target, Macys and Whole Foods, to announce solar projects in the past two years. According to the USA Today story, 20 to 30 percent of the store’s power now comes from solar energy.

The store’s environmental campaign will be key in helping the state of  California achieve its goal to  get 33 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.