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Dixie Somers posted a blog entry in The Green Machine BlogWhen you think of green energy your mind probably jumps to solar, wind or emerging hydrogen power, but you may not have considered that propane and its cousin natural gas, are also among of the greenest energy sources available to homeowners. Clean Burning While propane is essentially a fossil fuel, derived from natural gas or petroleum, it burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels. It emits roughly half the greenhouse gases compared to coal or oil and it doesn’t emit as many harmful compounds or toxins, such as sulfur dioxide and CO2. This reduces the prevalence of smog and the occurrence of environmental problems such as acid rain, which is caused by high concentrations of pollutants from gas and coal. May Be Cleaner and Cheaper Than Electricity There is some research to support the argument that natural gas is actually cheaper and more efficient alternative to electricity for some applications. This is one reason that many homes have mostly gas-powered appliances if possible. Having more homes with gas powered appliances reduces electric bills and helps to ease the strain on the power grid. While many people consider electricity to be clean, that really depends on how the electricity is generated. Electricity produced by a coal power plant, for example, is going to be exceptionally dirty and inefficient. Electricity produced from solar, wind or hydroelectric is going to be cleaner than any other source of power, including natural gas or propane. That said, power from truly clean sources accounts for a very small percentage of the electricity generated in the United States. Even in pioneering states like California, renewable energy sources account for only about 25 percent of total energy generation. In most areas of the country, that number is far lower. Taking United States energy production as a whole, 30 percent of electricity is generated by dirty coal, 20 percent generated by nuclear and only 15 percent generated by renewables. Interestingly enough, natural gas accounts for the largest share of electricity production in the US, at 34 percent. Using natural gas directly can help shift the focus away from dirty sources like coal and questionable sources like nuclear. It is worthwhile for you to consider where your power comes from to decide if using natural gas or propane in your home will be a greener choice. Off the Grid One tremendous advantage of propane is that it can be used off the grid. In areas where electricity is difficult, expensive or just plain impossible to supply, propane can serve as an excellent substitute. Propane tank installation in Mason is relatively simple and gives you a reliable supply of propane for your use without reliance on the municipal grid or supply. Even if you don’t use propane consistently, it is an excellent emergency power source for cooking, water heating or even to power a home-based generator. Propane is Efficient Efficiency is a key element of the environmental friendliness of any fuel. In this case, using propane directly is very efficient compared to most other types of power. For example, a coal power plant converts only about 38 percent of the energy found in coal to electricity. This means that not only is coal exceptionally dirty to begin with, it is also extremely inefficient. When propane is used directly, basically 100 percent of the energy goes toward the intended use because there is no conversion of energy. Natural Gas May Become Renewable While natural gas used currently in the United States is not renewable and is derived from fossil fuel, there is the possibility that natural gas and propane could be harvested from renewable sources in the near future. Likely candidates are landfills and water treatment plants. Decomposing organic matter releases tremendous amounts of natural gas, which is released into the atmosphere. If this natural gas could successfully contained and harvested, it would present an excellent source of renewable fuel. The natural gas could then be used directly or refined into other fuels like propane and hydrogen. Demand will primarily affect how much attention this technology receives. As more homeowners switch to propane or natural gas, the demand will increase and entice more companies to invest in the technology and infrastructure to harvest it from renewable sources. As a homeowner, you have an important part to play in the green energy future and the infrastructure that will support it.
One of the biggest issues facing the world over the next couple of years is the environment. There are a lot of studies that show just how much the environment is impacted by human policies around the world. Although developing nations were thought to be the source of a lot of issues, now many first world countries like the Unites States have a larger carbon footprint than “smaller” countries. Here are several keys for creating a greener global economy. Technology The only thing that prevents the world from being completely green is technology. Nations and companies do not use green energy more simply because it costs more, and of course, no one cares about anything but money. By investing more in technology, these costs will come down over time as it becomes more available to other people. Anyone who wants to look at implementing this in their company or country needs to lay-out a long term investment plan. The more success with technology, the easier it will be to convert to renewable energy. Government Incentives There are some countries around the world that give tax incentives to companies or people that make investments into renewable energy. This is a good idea for several reasons. First of all, it increases the number of people who use renewable sources of energy. Another big reason for this is that it creates a demand in the market for renewable sources of energy. As this demand increases, consumers will drive technology growth in the area. This is a very good long term strategy to increase the amount of renewable energy that is used in any specific area. Over the long term, this can go a long way in helping people who want to see more renewable energy used. Natural Gas Delivery Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel that many people support. Having a delivery service for natural gas will reduce the worldwide demand for oil and increase support for the cleaner natural gas. Some companies, like Nationwide Boiler, have equipment that’s designed and packaged so that it can easily be delivered to job sites. Companies and governments should be much more willing to support natural gas by using it more regularly, till it becomes commonplace in business and industry. More Education Educating people on the importance of renewable energy is important as well. There are a lot of people who think that education is preventing many people from understand how important renewable energy is to the future. There is a huge political struggle in many areas of the world for control over oil. Having more renewable energy options is the best way to grow the economy over the long term. As people figure this out, they will drive market demand for innovations in this area. Green energy is an important issue over the next few decades. As more energy is used around the world, it is essential to understand how to grow renewable energy sources for people to use over the long term.
RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomePets make a welcome furry addition to any home. Unfortunately, they often generate unpleasant smells that can be hard to remove. The following are five natural remedies for getting rid of pet odors. Vodka and Essential Oils Vodka is a powerful tool in removing pet odors from the home. What makes vodka work so well is that it can quickly absorb any odors. Since it is made from alcohol, it evaporates fast. One recipe for a vodka air freshener includes 3 cups of water, 1 cup of inexpensive vodka, and 10 to 15 drops of essential oils with flavors like eucalyptus, lavender, or citrus. White Vinegar Vinegar is a powerful odor fighting agent. One of the nice things about white vinegar is that it is all natural, so it does not harm the home’s occupants with chemicals. Pet odors can be removed from the room by taking white vinegar, putting it in a hand towel, and then ringing the hand towel out. Then wave the towel around the room, and the odors will eventually dissipate. Baking Soda Baking soda has long been used to remove hard to remove odors. Baking soda is more powerful when combined with other odor removing ingredients like vinegar. An odor removing spray can be made by taking 2 cups of water, throwing in a tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Then add 10 drops of essential oil, and the smells will disappear. It is easier to remove pet odors from carpets that have been treated to reduce odor, like the carpets sold at places like JLG Flooring for example. Hydrogen Peroxide Talk to any old-timer or anyone who is grown up on a farm and they will tell you that hydrogen peroxide is an excellent way to remove the smell of pet urine and skunk odor from carpets and upholstery. A tried and tested mixture includes 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and a touch of natural liquid soap. This mixture can be applied to an area and allowed to sit for 24 hours. Vanilla and a Light Bulb This is another old-timer trick to cover up unpleasant pet smells from the room. Take a dash of vanilla and put it on a light bulb. As the light bulb heats up, the smell of vanilla will permeate the room, effectively covering over any unwanted pet odors. Owning a pet is a lot of fun. However, it can also be a very smelly endeavor. By following some of the above-mentioned natural remedies, you can easily eliminate unwanted pet smells.