Archive for December, 2008

A Perfect Time to Pledge
As the New Year begins, everyone is searching for a resolution. For most people, it’s a diet or tweaks to their personal budget – but how about pledging to turn off your lights and conserve energy? It’s a perfect way to begin the New Year. There are 4 different levels of the pledge, from the top level of turning off your lights from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to simply using CFLs and turning off lights when you’re not in the room. Check it out and take action!!! Sign up for the pledge to kick off the New Year. And tell others too as well.

Blogging Kicks Off
Terry Adams has led the charge in our site’s blogging to date. We’ll be adding more bloggers, with a couple more scheduled to debut this month. But Terry’s opinion posts on Friday afternoon and his links to environmental news stories on Friday are a must-read. I’ve been contributing weekly opinion posts as well. As the blogging stable grows, you can expect to be kept in the loop on all things environmental by visiting our blog. While you’re there, click on the comment button under the post to add feedback to each blog.

LOGI at R.I. conference

Lights Out, Green In will have an exhibit at the Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light conference on Thursday Jan. 8 at LaSalle Academy. The conference begins at 5 p.m. and will include exhibits, workshops and a keynote speech by the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham on climate change. RIIPL and Lights Out, Green In share similar goals of spreading the message of conservation. For more information, you can check out RIIPL’s Web site.

Guido’s gets on board

Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, a staple in the Berkshires with locations in Pittsfield and Great Barrington, has agreed to put out Lights Out, Green In’s brochures starting in January. The grocery store that specializes in fresh and organic food is now one place you can go to grab a brochure and find out more about Lights Out, Green In. During the spring and summer months, Guido’s also allows exhibits outside the store, and Lights Out, Green In looks forward to taking part in those to sign up more people for the pledge and raise awareness about energy conservation.

Lights Out, Green In on Facebook

We already have links on all of our Web pages on MySpace, but now you can keep up with us on Facebook too. We’re up to 191 members. But don’t just join the cause, contribute as well and get others to join our cause. The directions are simple and right on our page.

Message Board Mania

The members are few, but the posts are timely and informative on our message board. From updates on the UN’s Climate Change Conference to spirited discussions on how to have a Green Christmas, our message board was rolling in December, but active participants are always wanted. Drop a post and say hello. It’s the best way to share ideas. If you don’t want to join the buzz on the environment, then share your views in our General News section of the message board.

And as always, donations are welcome.
Happy New Year from all of us at Lights Out, Green In. Stay active with the cause and take the pledge!

There are two things that resonate with most people around New Year’s – one is that kiss around midnight tonight and the other is making a resolution for the new year. What is it this year: a diet, a promise to clean up more or a cutback in spending? How about something new? How about taking the pledge?

From 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. turn off the lights in your house, work or classroom and use ambient light from the sun or your computers. If that’s too drastic, there are four different levels of the pledge. Everyone can take at least a low level of the pledge. If we all work together to decrease electricity use, we can lower greenhouse gas emissions. This will slow global warming, which is rapidly advancing.

Please take action with the pledge this New Year.

Hope everyone’s holidays were good.  With 2009 right around the corner, it’s a great time to make some resolutions about green living, and our pledge is a good place to start.

A New York Times editorial calls for raising the gas tax.  The paper also has news of a passive approach to energy-efficient homes, and from last week, a solar energy program in Connecticut becomes a victim of its own success.

The Washington Post has an in-depth feature about the expensive struggle to clean up Chesapeake Bay.  Earlier this week, it had news of a U.S. Geological Survey report that said climate change may be occurring even faster than had been feared.

This week’s auction of carbon allowances was a success, says this Providence Journal article, while the LA Times reports on new regulations for oil and gas companies in Colorado.

The Salt Lake Tribune talks about conservation challenges in rural Utah, while this Houston Chronicle article wonders if gasoline consumption may have reached a turning point.

You can cut costs by 6-10 percent by lowering the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees.

Hope everyone enjoys (survives?) this last weekend before Christmas.  It’s been quite a week of winter weather.  It even snowed in Vegas.  And LA has endured a bone-chilling plunge into the mid-40s.  So those in the Northeast are not alone in their suffering.

The New York Times says that yet another last minute EPA ruling could ease the process for building coal-fired power plants, and has news of the latest additions to Obama’s science team.  And from Tuesday, the latest news of the proposed purchase of 300 square miles of Everglades land from U.S. Sugar.

The Washington Post reports that the US Court of Appeals in DC has struck down an emissions exemption for chemical plants and refineries.  It also has this handy scorecard of midnight regulations.

The LA Times reports that environmentalists may have tried to subvert an auction for oil leases in Utah.  And from last week, there’s this story about California’s comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

USA Today has news of a NASA study that links global warming to severe storms.

TIME Magazine says 2008 was cooler than recent years, but still the 10th warmest on record.

It’s Christmas and that time of the year is usually accompanied with hope – and lights. But this year, part of the hope can be found in those lights.

LED Christmas lights have become more common through the years. Most towns are moving to them and soon most household displays will use them. Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick’s spokesperson said the electric bill for Christmas displays at the Statehouse dropped from $775 to $12.75 with the use of LEDs. So, why are they so valuable?

Well, LEDs use 1/8 the energy of incandescent light bulbs and last 25 times longer (by comparison, compact-fluorescent lights use 1/4 the energy of incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer). A few other reasons why they’re more valuable than CFLs are because they don’t flicker when you start them up, they don’t break when you drop them and they don’t contain any toxic material that makes disposing of them tough. So why aren’t they used during more than just Christmas? There’s a few reasons.

The main cause for a lack of mass-distribution comes from the fact that LEDs are still a developing technology. LEDs at the basic root come in different colors and those colors need to be mixed to get the white color (Remember ROY G. BIV from science class? White is not a spectrum color.) This means there are more materials involved. Also, LEDs are quite powerful and need to be toned down in order to work in an electrical outlet. This means more technology needs to be put into the root of the bulb. LEDs also need improvements in how they distribute the light – right now it’s very focused, which is good for spotlights, but bad for household lights, which you ideally want to spread light out over a large area.

LEDs are supercostly and while you would currently make your money back over the long term, the outlay of $120 for 8 bulbs that would replace 60-watt incandescent bulbs is impractical for most. Some offices have moved to LEDs already, but not without help from an electronic company.

So, the question becomes: Is there any hope for these problems to be fixed, so that households can buy them at a cheap cost? If the U.S. switched all its lights to LEDs, there would be a huge decrease in energy and the country would save more than $14 billion per year. In May 2008, the Department of Energy issued a $20 million challenge that authorizes cash payments to the scientist who finds solutions to the problems of what are being called the “21st Century Lamp.” If this goal is reached, LEDs should be able to be produced at a cheaper cost, thus making them far more available worldwide.

For now, however, the challenges make them only practical for outdoor floodlights, mini-Christmas lights or colored lights. Hmmm, maybe we can get Rudolph to switch his nose to an LED.

A permanent electronic furnace filter cuts down on waste and creates cleaner air.

Here are some links to finish up the week.  Remember, tomorrow is a Global Day of Action.

The New York Times talks about the challenges states are having in meeting renewable energy goals, a proposed green jobs program, and an often overlooked source of greenhouse gases.

The Washington Post describes a new EPA rule that mandates emissions system warnings for diesel trucks.  Staying with the EPA, the Justice Department has told DOD that it must comply with cleanup orders from the EPA.  And last week, it discussed the profitability challenges of hybrid vehicles.

The Seattle Times reports on a task force’s recommendations for curbing climate change in Washington state.  And the Providence Journal has news of a wave energy proposal off the coast of Rhode Island.

A cost-effective way of reducing winter heating costs is to insulate your attic.