Energy resources scarce? Not a problem.

There are a large number of energy and water saving devices on the market to make homes more efficient. There are also a huge number of sustainable gadgets that help with energy conservation. If you type "energy saving devices" into Google, you will come up with pages and pages of results, as it seems a number of companies are jumping onto the green bandwagon. One of the most optimal sites I came across is www.amconservationgroup.com. They provide a comprehensive list of fixtures - everything from low-flow shower heads to garden accessories to smoke detectors - designed to reduce the amount of energy and water used in the home.

1) A comprehensive energy conservation kit for $59.00 which contains
* (1) 2.0 GPM White, Four Function Showerhead

* (1) Toilet Tummy (a water-filled plastic bag hung inside the toilet tank to displace water, and thereby reduce the amount of water used with each flush.)

* (1) 1.5 GPM Aerator (used on kitchen sinks to reduce the flow of water, while maintaining the strength of the flow)

* (5) 14 Watt ENERGY STAR® CFLs (energy efficient lightbulbs)

* (1) White Plate Pal Wall Thermomter (to monitor house temperature and reduce heating/cooling bills)

* (1) Refrigerator Thermometer

* (1) Hot Water Gauge

* (1) Freezer Thermometer

* (1) Shrink Window Kit (5 pack) (to weatherize and seal windows to reduced heating/cooling needs)

* (1) Adhesive Weatherstrip (see above)

* (1) Luminescent Nightlight

* (10) Switch Gaskets (to seal the wall space behind switches and outlets and reduce drafts, thereby reducing heating/cooling needs)

* (10) Outlet Gaskets

* (1) Kill A Watt Monitor

* (1) Instructional Insert

Just this kit alone (which is fairly cheap) helps immensely to reduce the energy demands of a home - house or apartment. Most apartment management companies will permit residents to replace fixtures with energy saving ones, as long as the originals are kept and can be put back when the tenants move out. I have personally used the window seal in many apartments, which reduces the need for heating and cooling dramatically.

An interesting gadget that was forwarded to me by a friend of mine is a solar powered portable charger for electronic items such as cell phones and laptops. After further investigation of the website (www.thinkgeek.com), I discovered that they had a huge range of power and environmentally friendly gadgets, including several different portable chargers (solar powered and power inverters) to wind powered lights. One of the silliest products they offer is a "squishy bowl and cup set," which are reusable, portable, COLLAPSABLE eating utensils made of silicone. I also discovered a website that offers a $20 portable solar charger. (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/09/20_solar_panel.php) The same website providing the information on the portable solar panel also offers a guide to buying green (www.treehugger.com and click on the tab that says "3. Take Action, Green Buying Guides."), with information on buying everything from workstations and computers to clothing.

All kinds of resources and advice can be found, if people are willing to look for it. Hopefully the websites and information I have provided in my blogs will help people interested in learning more about being environmentally aware.

Posted by Claire Craig-Sheets

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