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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • December 08, 2013

    "Green" Holiday Rentals Powered by Solar Energy

    Green living doesn’t need to stop when you take a vacation. An increasing number of properties are available that offer close-to-nature lodgings that tread lightly on the earth. 

     

    Fern Our sponsors at Perfect Stays, a UK-based rental or “letting” agency specializing in unique homes for holidays, special occasions, and short breaks, has drawn our attention to the properties at The Emerald, a five-acre estate in England’s Cornwall district that has achieved the UK’s highest level of sustainability (code level 6).

     

    The properties include five different rental homes (including "Fern," pictured left) and several additional facilities (like an indoor swimming pool and a gym) powered by solar energy, to the point that the entire property is carbon neutral. Rainwater is captured from the roof, while grey water from the kitchen sink, bath, and shower is recycled to maximize water conservation and ensure water is abundantly available for Solar farmthe landscape as well as the house. Waste paper is recycled on the property. Lights are illuminated with energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs, though the properties are also designed to maximize use of sunlight indoors to minimize the need for electricity. Appliances are energy efficient and save water. Each house is cleaned with products free of toxic chemicals and compounds.  

     

    Kitchens in the houses can be stocked with locally-sourced food, including milk, eggs, bread, and cheese. If you want to venture into the beautiful Cornwall region rather than hit amusement parks or shopping malls, you can go kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding at one of the nearby beaches. Or if you prefer, bicycle along the coast. Fine dining is available at local pubs rather than chain restaurants. Enjoy the region’s history at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, or at Pendennis Castle.

    Continue reading ""Green" Holiday Rentals Powered by Solar Energy" »

    December 04, 2013

    Swap Houses for Holidays to Help You Stay Green

    If you love to travel but hate the impact that many hotels may have on the environment, consider house swapping. Never heard of it? House swapping, says LoveHomeSwap.com, our sponsors for this article, is the practice of literally exchanging a stay in your house with people living in a house in a place you want to visit.

     

    Home swap For example, I could swap a stay in my home, which is just outside Washington, D.C., with someone who lives in London (or with this gorgeous house in Bali). I would stay in their house, and they would stay in mine.  Usually, the stays last about the same amount of time, but they don’t have to occur simultaneously. I have friends who regularly swap houses with people all over the world. If their guests want to visit at a time when they’re not traveling, they decamp to their kids’ house or to a neighbor’s or friend’s. It has worked so well for them, they have managed it in Maryland, San Francisco, Seattle, Paris, the Dordogne region in France, Italy, Belgium…you get the picture.

    Continue reading "Swap Houses for Holidays to Help You Stay Green" »

    June 03, 2013

    Insulate Now to Reduce High Air Conditioning Costs

    Most people don't think about insulating their homes until the fall. With winter looming, consumers know that higher heating costs will hit them right where it hurts - in their pocket books.

    Electricity bill 2012But guess what? As climate change increases, it is becoming more expensive to cool your home in the summer than heat it in the winter. Here's a copy of my 2012 electricity bill, which shows how much electricity I use month to month and compares 2012 overall to 2011. (I have an electric heat pump for both heating and cooling). I use almost twice as much energy to cool my home in July and August than to heat it in November and December!

    All of which is to say that, as we face another blistering summer, now is a smart time to think about insulating your home to keep hot air out and cooled air in.

    Mark Group LogoThe Mark Group, a company based in the United Kingdom but with offices in Philadelphia, Delaware, and New Jersey, is sponsoring this post to let you know what energy-saving options you can take advantage of right now. They include:

    Continue reading "Insulate Now to Reduce High Air Conditioning Costs" »

    January 29, 2013

    Looking for New, Non-toxic Lotions, Cremes & Cleansers? Try the January EcoCentric Mom Box.

    IMG_2365 This month's EcoCentric Mom box is chock full of exactly what I need in dry winter months: soothing organic skin lotions and cremes to moisturize my hands and face, gentle soaps, and cleansers and laundry "berry drops" that put the "clean" back in cleaning.

    But first, the food.

    I've said before that, as much as I enjoy the new non-toxic products from EcoCentric Mom that I get to try every month, I particularly like sampling the different taste treats that come in each box. This month, those treats included:

    Simply 7 Snacks Lentil Chips - These flavorful snacks are made with gluten-free, non-GMO ingredients, have no preservatives, and contain nothing artificial.

    Pure Matters Pea Protein Powder, in Chocolate and Vanilla - The vegan, non-GMO, plant based protein powder can be mixed with water or milk for a shake, or added to yogurt or fruit to make a smoothie.

    PROBAR Meal Bar - A lot of energy bars disappoint - they seem too sweet, too airy, and way too full of processed ingredients. The PROBAR Meal Bar was surprisingly the opposite: very dense and chewy, tasty without being cloying, and so "natural" you could see some of the raw ingredients with every bite. I've got to say, I really liked it.

    For my dry skin...

    Continue reading "Looking for New, Non-toxic Lotions, Cremes & Cleansers? Try the January EcoCentric Mom Box." »

    May 15, 2012

    Now's the Time to Consider Sun-blocking Blinds to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

    SunriseGiven how crazy the climate's gotten, we may be in for a very long, hot summer. In the heat of the moment, your first thought might be to crank up your air conditioner to stay cool. But that's an expensive proposition that will use a lot of energy and wreak havoc on your electricity bill. Before you get to that point, why not take a look at your windows, especially those that let in the most sunshine, and consider ways to shade them and keep the sun and heat out?

    First things first. Weatherize. If you didn't do this in the winter to keep cold air out, definitely do it now to keep hot air out and your nicely cooled air in. You can find a variety of weatherization kits in our online Amazon store or at your local hardware store.

    Second, plant trees. Trees planted strategically on the sunniest sides of your home can significantly reduce the amount of solar light getting through your windows. Plus, they add value to your landscape.

    Double celled shadeNext, cover up. Chances are, your windows are only single panes of glass, maybe doubles (triple-paned glass is the most efficient, but it's not commonly found in most houses and apartments). That means that there's not much of a barrier between the inside and the outside of your house. Curtains or shades  add an extra layer of insulation and increase the energy efficiency of each window covered. The thicker the curtains, the more energy you'll save, especially if you mount the curtains as close to the window as possible. Otherwise, hot air will end up escaping around the curtains and into your room - and vice versa with cold air.

    For energy-efficient shades, skip single louvered panels, whether made of aluminum or vinyl. Instead, aim for shades constructed in a cellular or honeycomb pattern. Here's a picture of the double-honeycomb shades I have on most of my windows. Triple combed shades are the most efficient available, but they weren't on the market 25 years ago when I bought my shades.)

    Honeycomb shades work by creating an insulating pocket of air in each cell that separates the window air space from the room air space.  When not in use, the blinds fold up into a thin band at the top of my window. When down, they provide an effective barrier to the outside air, but still let enough light in that the room can be bright if I use them during the day. You can see more honeycomb options at Levolor and many other online retailers.

    Roller shades, made from heavy-duty fabric, can also reduce window energy loss. To get the most out of the shade, mount them on a track that runs inside the window frame. When the shade is down, very little energy will seep into or out that window.

    Window quilt 1You can also cover your windows with insulated window quilts, like the ones I have on my french doors (right). The quilts affix to the window frame with velcro; they're extremely effective at blocking outside air. The downside is that they let absolutely no light through so you won't want to leave them up during the day. I actually made my own for my previous home, and they worked quite well. If you want to make your own, you can find instructions here.

    Shade windows from outside. The most sunlight comes through south and west facing windows, so these should be your priorities for exterior awnings or overhangs. A wide variety are available, including those that can retract in winter to let the sun in.

    Install storm windows. Storm windows add another layer of glass to your permanent windows. Ideally, your storm windows would attach so that you can still open the window and let air in when you want. I have storm windows on the glass of my front door. In the spring and fall, when the air is pleasant and cool, I lower the storm window so this fresh air can come through the screen and into my home.

    Replace old inefficient windows. According to the Environmental  Protection Agency, Energy-STAR certified windows lower household energy bills from 7 - 15 percent. Federal tax credits to defray the cost of new windows have expired; check with your state and county to determine if you can take advantage of local tax credits to help cover your purchase.

     

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