Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Backpack Charger

I saw an ad in Popular Mechanics that featured a home made solar creation.  A solar panel backpack that could charge your iPod.  Now that is pretty cool!  All that stuff could be found at Radio Shack?


I'm looking into this now.  I love to be able to solar charge my iPod or iPhone.  Or depending on how powerful, what about a laptop?  


Has anyone built this themselves?


Changing the World

































I just received my SL2 solar light from SunNight Solar yesterday! I'm so psyched!  Now, I don't want to give a full review yet, I do want to say that I'm already very impressed.  For such little charging it puts out some amazing light.  Also, the little built in carabiner is a nice touch.  I can hang it on my backpack while I walk to work.  Don't worry, I'll post pics and maybe a vid about it soon.

Moving but staying clean

Our company just moved offices.  We were temporarily in Old Town Alexandria and we finally made the move into downtown DC.  Actually, just two of us remain at the old office.  Us two online content manager people.  


We need some fast internet to make sure the shows go smooth and that isn't ready yet at the new office.  But it should be soon.


I walk to work.  What will I do when I move?  We convinced them that instead of paying for a parking space in the garage we could get metro passes.  Gets our cars off the road?  Also saves money because the metro is cheaper than driving.


Still saving the world.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Test Drive The Sun

Not sure if solar panels will help you?  Try this out.  Roof ray is a great way to see if using solar power will work in your location.  This sounds very interesting, let me know what you think!
















Eco friendly and gorgeous!

I am a huge fan of the Lotus Elise and especially the new Tesla Roadster (because they are practically kissing cousins) but I found some middle ground.

The Lotus Eco Elise.  












To achieve the "Eco" status they use sustainable alternatives for different materials and add a water based paint.  Oh, and there are solar panels in the hard top that supplies power to the electrical system.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Forget fuel economy, my car drives up walls!

Really, I'd be willing to sacrifice mileage just do to this.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Is it worth it to trade in?

Gas prices around my area just started going down slightly, so that's a plus, but they are still higher than I want to pay (that's why I usually walk everywhere!).

I also keep seeing a lot of trucks and SUV's on peoples driveways with the big orange and white for sale sign on them.

They must be tired of getting that horrible gas mileage that comes with those behemoths and they now want the fuel sipping hybrids that are looking more and more attractive these days.

Well, is it really worth it?  Will you be saving money by really trading in your truck and getting a smaller car?

Edmunds has a great interactive calculator that lets you see if you'll be saving money.  I tried it out, and it turns out that I should just keep what I have.  I'll have to forgo that new Mini Cooper!

I thought I'd try trading in my Chevy Venture Minivan for a 2008 Mini Cooper.  I would be saving about $45 a month on gas and the number of months to breakeven and begin saving money on gas was a staggering 415 months.  415!  Wow.

Keep in mind that I don't drive hardly anywhere these days so that may skew my results, but give it a shot, it's fun to see the outcome is!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Microtrends

I do believe that the media is just telling us what they think is important, whether it's right or wrong, it's their agenda. We turn on our TV's to see their news.

What makes for interesting news? Sex, crime, scandal and anything else that raises anxiety.

I think Jerry Seinfeld had a bit about it, but I loved those teases the news always gives you, enticing you to watch their "special" report...

* What you need to know before eating beef! Tonight at 10 (they usually give you that one before dinner). So you're sitting there at your dinner table for 5 hours and then they go the whole program and wait right until the very end.... "Oh! Be sure to cook it thoroughly! Good night!"

Yeah, thanks a lot.

But man they have a lot of those...
- You could be saving hundreds at the pump...
- What you need to know about sleeping... tomorrow at 9

With that said, I think people get too caught up in what the news is saying. I'm not saying you should stop reading newspapers and watching your local news show but don't get all freaked out about it.

I'm a Christian, so I know that I don't have to worry about this stuff. Matthew 6:25-27 says:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

So I'm not worried about shootings in my church or paying for rent or rising gas prices. Why? Because I don't have to.

Well, what about the Earth? Isn't it in disrepair? I mean, gas is getting so darn expensive, dirty coal plants are polluting the air we breath...

I think that the Earth is fine. Driving halfway across the country you notice a lot of things. The main thing I noticed is that there is a lot of land left. I remember people getting all upset about their being not much land left.

Gosh, I saw a ton of land! Green grass and blue skies too! So I have a hard time believing that we are really getting that much more crowded.

But what about protecting the Earth. Using solar and wind power because it's cleaner... switching to hybrids and natural gas and hydrogen cars...

I've said it before, I'm not a tree hugger but I do think that if we can do something cleaner and better, why not? I would love to drive a hybrid (so I could save money on gas). I would love to drive a natural gas car (so I could fill up at home and for cheaper). I would love to have solar panels on the roof of my place (the electric company can pay me). What's wrong with having some extra money our pockets?

While I don't think we should be worried about the condition of the Earth, I do think that we should still do our best to take care of it.

Genesis 2:15 says:

"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."

Now, that may mean just work the garden so he would have something to eat, but I think it means to take care of it and not abuse it.

We should preserve forests so people can hike and mountain bike and camp and enjoy getting away from all the city noises and stuff. See, no crazy motive, I just like to mountain bike.

Also, as a country, I think we should be self sufficient. We should use all of our available resources so we don't have to rely on any foreign materials.

I'm all for putting up wind turbines in the midwest and on the shores of Delaware. The wind and the sun are free! God gave us these elements and I think we are just learning how to really use them.

Let's not be wasteful, that's not a good example to live by. We should be helping out other countries and giving them our extras. If we are relying on other countries for certain goods how can we be a blessing? Now, material things isn't the only way we can be a blessing... we can send missionaries for example.

And I don't care about importing bananas or coffee... if there is something that we can't make here or some other country makes it better... yeah, lets import it!

Oh! Maybe us importing everything is our way of blessing these other countries. We can afford it, so why not put some of them to work so they can have jobs? Maybe thats it.

I don't know... I'm rambling I know... sorry if its really scattered, I just can't get my thoughts down... my mind goes too fast for my fingers!

My official stance?

If money is tight: Walk/bike to work // Conserve water while brushing my teeth // etc...
If money is fine: Drive // Keep that HDTV on and playing while you are in the next room folding laundry // etc...

Be a good steward of your___________ (pick any three)
- money
- life
- Earth

You understand? You understand?

You don't understand.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Save Trees. Trees Save.

I thought this was pretty funny.













Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

White Top Mini Coopers











It seems that on every street in Old Town Alexandria, someone has a Mini Cooper.  The more I see them the more I like them.  I mean, I've always thought they were cool, but now I really want one!

But something caught my eye.  I knew that you were able to pick different colors or logos for your roof when you buy one, but I was wondering if you just got a plain white roof, does that save you money?

Now, I'm assuming the only way it would save you money would be from running the a/c less.  Does the white reflect enough to keep it cooler than a black roof?  What if the whole car was white and had tinted windows?

Now you're thinking!

What do you think about the Mini Coopers white roof?  Cleverly disguised money/fuel saving technique or just fashion statement?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Simple Eco Sneaks

I really like these shoes!  I have a pair of the Simple Green Toe and I really love them but these have recycled car tires and bike tires on them!  I especially love the car tire bottom.  It's got to be pretty cool!

Jump for the specs.

Boone Pickens Interviewed on CleanSkies.tv

Boone Pickens was interviewed on CleanSkies.tv this morning. You can watch the entire Morning Report on CleanSkies.tv under "Interactive Program Guide."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CFL Controversy



Thanks Mike for showing me this, I think it's pretty funny, though informative. But, I was doing some quick surfing online and found that the amount of mercury inside of a CFL is nothing compared to even an old thermometer (which I once broke and played with as a kid, woops!). I think it was like 5 mg in a CFL to 500 mg in the thermometer.

Regarding the guys speech... what about the whole digital tv change? If you have an analog set, and want over the air channels, sorry, they are leaving! But, the government is giving us vouchers for free converters. Maybe they should give away vouchers for CFL's or trade them for your other light bulbs. Home Depot gave them away for Earth Day I think...

My stance on CFL's? I'm trying to save money. 

Who is conserving energy?

There was an interesting article on CleanSkies.org that I read today.  Denise Bode, the CEO of The American CleanSkies Foundation wrote about a friend of hers that when he picked her up, had his car running with a/c blasting.

Obviously wasting energy.  When she mentioned it, he said that his work paid for it.  

See, that's what I'm talking about!

Who are the people that are conserving energy and really going out of their way to make a difference?  In my mind, and this is real loose, it's two kind of people.

1. Those who can't afford the rising costs of gas, electricity...

These people can't afford to even buy CFL's.  They just end up turning off their lights, line drying their clothes, getting used to keeping the thermostat set higher in the summer and piling on blankets in the winter.  They may not recycle in the same sense others do, but they certainly re-use so they don't have to buy again.

They don't care about solar panels and wind turbines to power their house but they are certainly doing their part in conservation.  But they are doing it out of necessity.  Money is short and they are just doing what they have to do to be able to keep their kids fed and clothed.


2. Those who are very well off.

These types of people are the triple figure salary people.  They can afford to buy the latest hybrid or even natural gas or hydrogen cars right now.  They are putting solar panels on their roof and install turbines in their yard.

They are renovating their house to become more "green."  And they recycle their paper, plastic, they bring their shopping bags back to the supermarket, they wear "eco friendly" clothes exclusively... you get the idea.

They have the money to save the Earth and they use their money to do it because hybrids are cool, and shoes* made out of natural materials and recycled car tires are cool. 

* Simple makes some shoes with the bottom of a shoe being a tire.  I love it!  I think the tread is awesome!

_____

Some of you may argue that there is a third and maybe 4th type, but these are the ones that I see the most.  You know what, you let me know who you think the other types are and if you see someone different.  Or, maybe you see or are even one of the types that I mentioned above!

Monday, June 23, 2008

12 Year Old Girl's Moving Speech to the United Nations*



Jump for more info.

* I know I'm on a big conservation rant, and I didn't want to post it so you think I'm a nut, but I thought it was especially interesting because this girl was only 12 and had a pretty good speech.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Conservation

I'm not really the tree hugger type, though I do like to do my part when I can.  Is that bad?  No, I don't think so... if you do what you can when you can, I think that's good enough.  Not many people are able to go out and buy the new Honda Civic NGV (natural gas) or use solar panels or wind turbines, especially if they rent... but buying weather stripping for your windows and switching to CFL's is a nice start.


So, with that said, let me tell you about my latest project.  Conserving energy and reducing my carbon footprint. 


About the carbon footprint thing, that doesn't mean that I'm going to crazy and make sure I do every little thing no matter how expensive; like I saw this website where you can buy carbon credits or something that will offset your lifestyle and how much carbon you use.


Like, you type in your cars miles per gallon and miles per year... your house or apartment size... stuff like that and it calculates how much you should buy.  Well, I did that and I have to pay a little over $600 to offset everything.  Yeah, that's what I said.  Also, who does that go to?  I don't know!  Someone could have just made a nice website with a PayPal donate button!


I also may have said this before, but I do the normal stuff... like buy a pair of "green" eco friendly Simple shoes*, recycle my glass and plastic bottles (I don't use a lot of paper), and turn off lights when I leave the room.


*See, I'll only buy a pair of shoes, not like a whole wardrobe change!


But now that we moved and we are at a place that is super close to my work, (about half a mile) I can walk or ride my bike.  I also bought some CFL's and put them around the house.  There are also some lights in the hallway and living room that have dimmers, so I have just been keeping them off or on low.


I'm also trying a new thing of turning off my electronics when I leave or I'm not using them.  I'd like to know how much power they use when I'm not using them.  Like my XBOX, my speakers (small) my TV (only 32 inch LCD).... stuff like that.  You know that your stuff is still using power if its plugged in right?  Yeah, you have to turn either unplug them or turn the power strip off.


How much does all of this help?  Am I really helping the environment or am I just helping my wallet?  I think a little of both.


What I would love to do is setup some solar panels on the roof or my windows that could power my TV and other entertainment items as well as keep a battery charge for when the sun isn't shining.


I don't think that will really work, not for now at least.  We don't have direct light except for the light in the morning.  Plus I bet it's expensive.


Though I did see an ad for Radio Shack on the back of my Popular Mechanics that showed some guy made a solar charger for his iPod on the back of his backpack.  How much did that cost?  I'd love to make one for mine!  


You know?  Hmm... yeah, it may work... what if I built something with solar panels that would be able to charge/power my laptop as well as my cell phone and iPod?  I wonder how much it would cost... I'd also have to get a soldering iron I bet...  


So how much do you do to "save" the environment?  Do you carpool?  Do you just turn off lights around the house when you aren't using them?  Do you have a natural gas or hybrid vehicle?  I'd like to hear about it.