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Green Living Tribe - Part II

post #1 of 752
Thread Starter 
Update: MDC now has a Living Green forum!

3 months and almost 1600 posts after Eli's_mommy started the first Green Living Tribe thread, we're overdue for a new thread!

I'll keep this first post updated with links (like the list started by noorhajan) and other helpful info.

Welcome!
If you try to live green, you've found the right tribe! Feel free to post questions, rants, success stories--anything!

If you'd like to make a pledge to work on certain areas, check out the Green Living Challenge.

A special thanks to Eli's_mommy for starting the first ever Green Living Tribe thread!

Tribe History:
Part I
post #2 of 752
Subscribing!!!
post #3 of 752
ooooo, very nice, thanks for the fresh start!

I have a question, when you have compact flourescent bulbs, does it use more energy to turn them on and off? I have heard the argument that leaving them on uses less and this doesn't make any sense to me.
post #4 of 752
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adventuregirl View Post
I have a question, when you have compact flourescent bulbs, does it use more energy to turn them on and off? I have heard the argument that leaving them on uses less and this doesn't make any sense to me.
The Washington Post had an article with a good explanation:
Quote:
If you turn the lamp off for only a few seconds you'll still save more energy than it takes to start the lamp again. An energy study by the University of Oregon says that many people developed the habit of leaving lights on when fluorescents first came into use in the 1950s. But modern fluorescents are more durable and efficient than they were then, and save energy long term...
post #5 of 752
The Mythbusters recently demonstrated that you're better off turning the lights off, of any kind. Of all of the bulbs they tested (incandescent, compact fluoros, LEDs, etc.), the one that had the biggest power surge is still best turned off unless you're going to be back in the room within I think it was 26 seconds.

They even tested turning them off and on thousands of times to see if doing so shortened the lifespan of the bulb. It didn't.

So turn the lights off unless you're literally stepping in and out of the room within a few seconds.


My turn for a question...I'm going to be buying a new computer soon. I've read and been informed at the store (by a trusted salesperson who happens to also be a good friend) that the new Core 2 Duos use less power. My husband said he read that while chip manufacturers used to ignore power usage, all of a sudden they're coming on board (mostly from a cost perspective...it's expensive to run lots of computers in a big company) and basing the new chipsets on laptop models which of course are better with power because of the need to not suck batteries dry too fast.

Anyway, I'm considering the Core 2 Duo over the mostly equivalent Athlon for this lower power usage reason. But another friend online is now telling me that the chipset doesn't matter, only what the power supply sucks in regardless of whether or not the chip uses it. However, I've also read that Core 2 Duo machines can come with a smaller power supply so they pull in less since less is needed (unless you have a mega-video card and I won't).

Do any of you have any expertise in this area? What would you say is the "greenest" computer choice right now?

I'm also considering replacing my horrible old 15" monitor with a 17" LCD one because I've read that the LCD ones are also better on power. Comments?
post #6 of 752
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberlychapman View Post
I'm also considering replacing my horrible old 15" monitor with a 17" LCD one because I've read that the LCD ones are also better on power. Comments?
I don't know about the processor issue, but LCD screens definitely use less power than typical monitors. Also, they emit less radiation.
Quote:
Flat-panel monitors use less energy (22 watts when left on, 3.3 watts in "sleep" mode) than regular monitors (75 watts when left on, 5 watts in "sleep" mode), McCall says.
I was wondering with the new lead requirements for European markets if we'd see less lead used in computers and their peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc). If I find out that's the case, I would buy a new computer in a heartbeat and sell/donate my current one! Have any of you heard about the lead issue in regards to computers?

p.s. That was my 500th post!
post #7 of 752
subbing!

re: the computers, this doesn't answer the question that was asked about the chipsets, but an interesting project with some usage comparisons:
http://computing.fs.cornell.edu/fsit...ainability.cfm

We're trying to initiate something like this at work, but it is so hard, people love to leave their computers on at night!

The same is true w/ computers as with light bulbs - if you aren't using them, turn them off!
post #8 of 752
Look into getting a Mac, they're usually ahead of the game on these things. They're not perfect, but they seem to be on top of it. And now that they have the intel chips, you can probably run your pc programs if you have something you need for work.

Lisa
post #9 of 752
Thanks for the new thread. I joined WAAAAAYYYY back when this thread first started.:

Anyway, my DD is turning 2 next month. I have been trying to find a company that is eco friendly for party supplies. Does anyone know of anything? I would like to have a green party for her without taking away from her birthday. Also, what could I do about all that wrapping paper?!??! It's SO wastful. Do you all think it would be rude to request recyclible wrapping paper. Maybe suggest news paper or paper bags?
post #10 of 752
You may want to do some research on the Macs. I remember reading that there are issues but I cannot remember what! I do know I love our laptop.
post #11 of 752
I don't know if this has been covered, but it was news to me that you need to find the right recycling facilities for the flourescent bulbs because they contain mercury. Jeez.. now I have to check where I saw that because I can't remember now, but I was really glad to find out before I've had to change out any.
post #12 of 752
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonderMa View Post
I don't know if this has been covered, but it was news to me that you need to find the right recycling facilities for the flourescent bulbs because they contain mercury. Jeez.. now I have to check where I saw that because I can't remember now, but I was really glad to find out before I've had to change out any.
This is for the most part true. By federal law, you (as a household) are not usually required to find special disposal or recycle them, because the amount of mercury generated is so small. But some state and local regulations do outlaw throwing them away. (I'm not saying this to advocate landfilling them, just to say that shouldn't discourage you from using them if you absolutely can't recycle them)

even though the CFs do contain mercury, the amount they contain is less than what would otherwise be produced by burning coal to power an equivalent incandescent bulb (from a life cycle perspective)
so it is a beneficial tradeoff...

However, it is best to recycle them if possible, here is a good site to look up places in your zip code that take a wide variety of wastes: http://www.earth911.org/master.asp

This is true for a lot of things not just CFLs - paint, cleaners, antifreeze, etc... (supposed to be recycled or disposed properly rather than throwing away with MSW)
post #13 of 752
Good to see a new thread....finally!

greenkids - i suggest using cloth napkins and if you're planning on using paper plates or something, seventh generation carries some of those products i think. for wrapping paper you could recycle a paper bag and maybe decorate it? or if you have any gift bags saved (i have tons from over the years) you could reuse one. have fun!
post #14 of 752
Thanks for the computer articles! I'm going to read them and send them to my husband as well.

If I could find a system that had a shorter bootup time, I'd turn mine off whenever I leave the room since I'm not likely to get back to it for at least a few hours. But right now when I get computer time I can't wait for the several minutes it takes to boot...especially with this old hunk'o'junk having to be rebooted several times per session because it's so old that the browser chokes regularly and brings on the BSOD.

So I do the power-down thing, but not fully off. I'm hoping the newer models will let me turn it off more regularly and require fewer bootups...my husband read today that with efficient power supplies, bootup takes up the vast majority of energy uses so in some of those cases you're better off leaving it on but in a power-saver mode, rather than booting up every time. It's so hard to know what to do in each case, isn't it?

As for Macs...my husband is a Mac zealot and I know there are some things about them that I'd like, but I've evaluated this option and it's not right for me.


Party stuff: I'd totally ask for recyclable/reusable gift wrap. Heck, get the gift-givers to get some cheap newsprint and paint it themselves...creative, cheap, and recyclable! The newsprint itself could even possibly be recycled stock to begin with, if you can find it.

My husband and I only use gift bags but this past Christmas we let our toddler rip up some paper...but it was remnants from before I saw the light and stopped buying the stuff, and half of it had been re-used several times already. And I put it in the recycling because I think some of it should be recyclable, at least...none of it was the foil kind and I made sure all ribbons/bows/tape was removed.
post #15 of 752


subbing
post #16 of 752
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonderMa View Post
I don't know if this has been covered, but it was news to me that you need to find the right recycling facilities for the flourescent bulbs because they contain mercury. Jeez.. now I have to check where I saw that because I can't remember now, but I was really glad to find out before I've had to change out any.
I posted a link about this on the other thread. Living on Earth had a piece on NPR about it a couple weeks ago. Here
post #17 of 752
Thread Starter 
For the party, could you send the invitations out using comics from the newspaper or some other repurposed paper and ask guests to use it (the invitation itself) to wrap their gifts? Maybe that wouldn't be enough paper though. So maybe on the invitation, you could give silly ideas for wrapping gifts, kind of how Target puts silly ideas for reusing its plastic bags on the side of the plastic bags?

Or you could say there will be a prize for most creatively wrapped-in-reused-paper gift. That way it could be a fun aspect of the party!
post #18 of 752
Thanks for the info on turning off the lights, settles the dispute here, and perhaps will get my in-laws to turn off the dang lights!

For the recycling of flourescents, save your receipts and boxes (or POP) and return for the warranty (typically 10 years). This may not always be an option, but for future purchases, don't forget this step, you'll get a free replacement, and the company will recycle your bulb. I sent one in and got two bulbs back. I wonder if you could even send a bulb back to the company for recycling if there are no recycling options in your area...?

I like the birthday party ideas, especially a contest for the most creative *recycled* wrapping. I may steal that idea. You could say on the invite that the theme, or part of the theme is *green* or *zero waste* or something and ask people to reuse or recycle to help out in their wrapping choices.
post #19 of 752
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adventuregirl View Post
I like the birthday party ideas, especially a contest for the most creative *recycled* wrapping. I may steal that idea. You could say on the invite that the theme, or part of the theme is *green* or *zero waste* or something and ask people to reuse or recycle to help out in their wrapping choices.
That sounds like a fun party to me!
post #20 of 752

another computer power link

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/.../mytopic=10070

this gives a good rule of thumb - if not using your computer for more than 20 minutes, then turn the monitor off; if not using for more than 2 hours, then turn the CPU off

But I agree about the time it takes, especially w/ older models so sometimes I leave mine on too...

another frustrating thing is that for work, I work part time and do some working from home, but in order for me to remote desktop into my work computer and our network, I have to leave my computer at work turned on : although I do turn the monitor off. I keep asking our tech support folks to come up w/ a better way!
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