Friday, January 6, 2012

Going Green in 2012

Green New Year’s Resolutions and Outlooks

By Nathan Kaufman

The New Year is a time to make resolutions, start changing yourself for the better, and create ideas to become a better person.  By Going Green and adopting a Greener Lifestyle, you can greatly reduce the impact on the environment and help promote a cleaner way of living.  So here are some hand-picked Green New Year Resolutions and notable news for 2012

1.       Going Green, like any resolution, starts with baby steps.  In your home, Going Green can have a profound effect on your lifestyle.  Switching over to environmentally friendly products can save so much money in the long run, but sometimes the initial investment is a turnoff.  So start small!  Find one, easy part of your lifestyle to change.  At home, one of the simplest is using energy efficient lighting.  CFL and LED lighting can last many years beyond the life of an incandescent bulb and the energy saved from incandescent to CFL is around 75% (60W incandescent to 13W CFL).  From CFL to LED, it is another approximately 75% energy reduction (13W CFL to a 4W LED).  Some CFL bulbs have been reported to last 5 years, and many LEDs advertise they last 10 years, so you will not be changing bulbs as often.  In addition, existing incandescent bulbs are going to be phased out by newer, more efficient versions, however they still do not come close to the efficiency of CFL and LED bulbs.

If switching your light bulbs out for more efficient ones is still out of your budget, try simply turning the lights off and opening windows during the day.  Natural sunlight is the perfect light source for much of the work you do, and best of all, it’s free!  Opening windows to let in a cool breeze can also save from running your air conditioner, and bundling up while inside can save you from running your heater.  The heating, ventilation, and cooling system in the home is one of the largest energy users.

While roof mounted photovoltaic systems and efficient Energy Star rated appliances would be a big help, those are something you can put your energy savings towards from simply switching your light bulbs.

2.       The Electric Vehicle field expands, and other Green Transportation ideas.  What started in the United States with the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf has exploded as the next great thing in personal vehicles.  The issues with the Volt’s battery should be resolved shortly since Chevy has found a fix, and many well-known brands are rolling out electric vehicles of their own to compete with the Volt and Leaf.  Something to note, not all the cars are straight electrics, some are Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, including the already mentioned VoltFord has started production on a straight electric Focus as part of Ford’s plan to Green their product line.  Mitsubishi’s much-hyped MiEV is also going to be available for sale starting in 2012 and is especially noted for being the most affordable mass produced electric vehicle in the US.  Toyota has its popular RAV 4 SUV ready to launch as an electric vehicle, the only all-electric SUV available in the US as well, marking a big change from all the currently produced small cars.  Toyota is also coming out with a Plug-In Hybrid Electric version of its extremely popular Prius.  Not to be outdone, Honda is releasing its popular Fit as an Electric Vehicle with an outstanding range of 123 miles between charges.  For higher-end clientele, Tesla is coming out with its Model S sedan with many upgradable features that extend range and increase comfort, and the sporty Fisker Karma is also ramping up production.

Not in the market for an Electric Vehicle?  That’s still ok, all the major manufacturers are seeking ways to increase fuel efficiency across the board, even SUVs and pickup trucks are getting the Green treatment and becoming more efficient, and more and more Hybrid Vehicles are coming out every year.  With new fuel standards mandated by the US Government fast approaching, now is a great time to find a fuel efficient ride.

A much cheaper option would to find alternate transportation to your current car.  As a college student in a college town, I ride my bike to and from campus frequently, as well as between classes.  Living close to campus helps, because going to class all sweaty after a long bike ride is unappealing, but the couple miles I do ride are refreshing and a great way to wake up in the morning.  Taking public transportation is also an option in many locations.  My university has a very busy bus system that sometimes fills up with students going to and from campus, and many cities have their own transit agencies.  Leave your car parked and let someone else do the driving for you and many others.  Many times, transit agencies have passes that allow unlimited use for a monthly payment that will be far less than your average monthly gasoline bill.

3.       Try to find ways to get out and do things that do not consume.  I am even guilty of not doing this, I sit on my couch, writing blogs for you and watching the TV all day.  But Going Green is a Lifestyle, and part of that is being active.  Going outside is free, and you can do nearly anything.  Just going on a walk, whether down the street or on a park trail, gets you active and uses energy you have been consuming in the form of calories instead of using energy generated from a power plant.  Being active not only promotes a Green Lifestyle but also a Healthy Lifestyle.  Many resolutions revolve around improving appearances, and this Green Resolution definitely falls in line with that.  Instead of driving, using gas, bike.  Instead of playing Madden 12 on your Xbox 360, get some friends and play touch football at a local park.

Going Green and adopting a more environmentally lifestyle should be a part of everyone’s New Year Resolutions.  Simple lifestyle changes can generate impressive results when Going Green and every little bit pays off.  Also, as illustrated, your Green Resolutions do not have to be expensive to be successful.  So go out and help make the world a Greener place, one Resolution at a time.

One Stop Green is looking towards a Greener Future, sharing the latest and greatest ideas in green living and Green Technology with you through our staff written blogs. Going Green is no longer a choice, it's our responsibility, that's why it's so important to try and do the small things that can help change the outlook of the planet - and this is essentially the purpose of One Stop Green. We believe even the little things like recycling or using less water helps the environment out in a big way, and that's why our various solutions seek to nurture and edify your home or business in an eco-friendly manner.

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