Lower Your Energy Consumption in Easy Ways

With more technology around the home more energy is required to power the devices, and this adds up when millions of people plug things in. There are enough energy consumers out there that needlessly leave things running leads to a ton of wasted energy being produced. Fortunately there are many easy things you can do to help save energy and money.

U.S. households spend about $100 per year to power devices in low-power mode, around 8 percent of home electricity expenses, according to the government’s Energy Star program. Your water heater, lighting, air conditioner, and heater are the biggest energy hogs. The good news is that you can cut your energy bills without spending a fortune to do it.

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Air Miles Starts Rewarding Eco-Conscious Purchases

Starting today, consumer tracking program Air Miles will begin rewarding people with points when they make environmentally friendly purchases.

But whereas previous initiatives were intended to inspire a single socially conscious decision, “these [programs] have a permanent effect,” Souvaliotis said.

“If you find a way to create a trickle of reward for the consumer, then you’re actually supporting a change in behaviour,” he said. “Not only will these [programs] start to bring a lot more people to this type of behaviour, but they will stick to this behaviour.”

Souvaliotis, an occasional blogger for The Huffington Post, is not shy about the success of — or his vision for — Air Miles for Social Change, which he says is the “world’s first ever — and to this point only — social venture that’s built entirely inside a loyalty points program.”

Read more at the Huffington Post.

What We Truly Need

Every person has a different take on what one truly needs as opposed to what they want. Over time as a culture we collectively define our needs and those needs change over time. The never-ending question is ultimately what do we need to live and what do we need to be happy.

Obviously, we support looking through the archives of Things Are Good for our tips on bringing more happiness to your life.

Over at the Bucks Blog at the New York Times this issue was recently brought.

From personal experience, I know that the shiny new toy I just had to have often ends up in a pile of things that I eventually need to sell on eBay. I’m not the only one that’s fighting this battle. It’s yet another example of why personal finance can be so complex. Because there’s no definitive list of the 100 things that every family must have, these end up being very personal decisions.

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Active Praise for Passive House

We spend lots of money heating and cooling buildings when we can be designing buildings to naturally regulate their temperatures. This form of heating is known as passive heating (or cooling) because it requires no outside input to work.

Old buildings generally do this and were designed with environmental regulation in mind, today we are seeing a resurgence of smart building.

The Passive House concept, which is well established in Europe, is now getting a foothold in the U.S. with a method that promises overall energy savings of about 70 percent overall and a 90 percent lower heating load without on-site solar power.
While the U.S. Green Building’s Council’s LEED certification touches on energy, water, materials, and location, Passive House, which started in Germany as Passivhaus, brings rigorous requirements focused entirely on building energy efficiency. Because of that focus on lowering building energy demand, some say it yields better performance than LEED on efficiency.

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