Monitor Energy Usage from your Computer via Google

bd_powermeterI got a B&D EM100B energy series power monitor for my birthday a few months back which helps monitor your electric usage. It works by attaching a device to your electric meter which then sends usage information to a wireless device in your home (similar to the wireless weather stations). I set it up in a matter of minutes and had fun watching it spike whenever I turned on certain appliances however my biggest pet peeve with it is that I can’t access it from my computer.

googlepowermeterI recently stumbled across an article in a magazine that mentioned Google is in the process of trying to work with many major utilities to offer a similar feature online.

Here is how it works:
Google PowerMeter receives information from utility smart meters and energy management devices and provides customers with access to their home electricity consumption right on their personal iGoogle homepage. We are currently testing Google PowerMeter with a number of utilities and plan to expand our rollout later this year.

Here is a video explaining how it works:

Here are the utilities they are currently working with:
Glasgow EPB – Glasgow, Kentucky
JEA – Northeast Florida
Reliance Energy – Mumbai, Delhi & Orrisa, India
San Diego Gas & Electric – San Diego County and Southern Orange County, California
Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TXU Energy – Texas
White River Valley Electric Cooperative – Portions of Christian, Douglas, Ozark, Stone and Taney counties in Missouri
Wisonconsin Public Service – Northeast and Central Wisconsin and an adjacent portion of Upper Michigan

Earth’s Unbreakable Lightbulb

solatube2Let me first start by saying this is much more expensive than a lightbulb. With that in mind, the Solatube is 1/2 light bulb and 1/2 skylight. It uses the suns rays to produce an indoor light in almost any place. We picked one of these up online at DwellSmart.com. They come in 10″ and 14″ diameter however the salesperson I spoke to at my local Green Depot said the 14″ solatubes are mostly for commercial use. I’ve seen this product installed in a few homes on HGTV. We decided to try it out in our spare bathroom that has no windows on the 2nd floor. I’ll post pictures in the next few days.

Why Purchase A Tubular Daylighting Device?

  • It provides as much light as you would expect from a skylight many times its size.
  • It is cost-effective. Tubular Daylighting Devices cost considerably less than other daylighting options, such as windows and skylights, including both product and installation costs.
  • Installing it is fast, clean and easy. They require no structural reframing, tunneling, drywalling or painting. A professional can install the product in less than two hours and most Do-It-Yourselfers can finish the project in one day.
  • It can go almost anywhere. The compact and flexible design of TDDs allow them to be installed in just about any room, including rooms without direct roof access and smaller spaces where daylighting would usually not be an option.
  • It is “Green.” TDDs allow you to switch off electric lights during the day, which provides savings on energy bills and also reduces environmental pollution.
  • It is actually good for you. It has been shown in several prominent studies that increasing daily exposure to natural light can enhance mental and physical well-being, boost concentration and energy levels and a variety of other unexpected perks.

30% off All CleanWell Eco Friendly Soap / Hand Sanitizer

cleanwellI just received an email from CleanWell with a coupon for 30% off sitewide. We started using CleanWell last year when they offered this same discount during the week of Earth Day.

30% off Entire Order
Cleanwell Coupon – EDO9
Valid Now Through 4/26

Cleanwell soaps can be found at Amazon, Whole Foods, Target and Bath & Body Works. One of the best items they have are these pocket packs which are great for travel. Ordering a 10pk at Cleanwell using the above coupon will cost you $15.39 + Shipping. In comparison, Amazon sells this same 10pk for $23.92 + shipping.

HomeDepot – Free CFL Bulb + Free Water Saving Faucet Aerator + B1G1 Organic Seeds on Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day, visit your local Home Depot on April 19th for a free CFL Bulb. Limit 1 per customer while supplies last. Home Depot will also be giving away Free Water-Saving Faucet Aerator Inserts and will have Buy 1, Get 1 Free on assorted seed packets including organic selections.

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More Earth Day Freebies:
Disney Store – while supplies last, guests can exchange three empty bottles for a free commemorative Earth Day reusable water bottle
Reynolds Wrap – Free Roll of 100% Recycled Aluminum
EarthBound Farms – Free Tote bag if you are one of the first 10,000 each week in the month of April. Read the site / fill out the pledge to be eligible for the tote
Starbucks Canada – Free Coffee if you bring in a travel mug

BYD Makes “Green” Battery Fluid / Hybrid Car

BYD F3DMBYD is an up and coming Chineese car company that has begun selling the F3DM, an electric car with backup gasoline engine, in China.  The new F3DM will go farther on a single charge, 62 miles, than other electric cars and sells for $22,000. In comparison the hyped up Chevy Volt will be starting at $35,000 and will be able to go 40 miles on a single charge . BYD plans to bring the F3DM to the US in 2010.

One of the most interesting parts of the article I read was that Wang, CEO of BYD, poured battery fluid into a glass and drank it to demonstrate that his company developed a nontoxic electrolyte fluid for their vehicles.

More New Stories / Links for BYD:

Preview on Edmunds.com:

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Stock up on gDiaper refills – cheapest price ever

gdiapers refillsIf you are currently using gDiapers for your baby now is the best time to order the refills as they are at their cheapest price I have even seen. Each bag retails of refills retails for around $14.25 at local grocery stores however I have been able to get them for around $11.25 per bag online using various discounts at gDiapers.com and Amazon.com. Right now, Amazon has a 10% off coupon which is stackable with their *subscribe & save which already gives you 15% off. With all of these discounts you can get gDiapers small refills pack for $9.75 per bag and their med/large refills are $10.10 per bag.

*Subscribe & save is a way for you to set up automatic shipments of products from Amazon however often you want. Amazon will notify you prior to sending out the item so you can pause / cancel your subscription easily. You can also log in to your account whenever you want and canel / pause a subscription.

How do I get this deal?

  • Click through to Amazon.com
  • On the right hand side of the page, click the number you want in the subscribe & save box and how often you want them sent
  • click “subscribe & save” and begin the checkout process
  • Enter online coupon GRNBB4O9 prior to checkout to get an extra 10% off

Why Switch to Reusable Shopping Bags?

Reusable Shopping BagsWith earth day just around the corner, I thought I’d blog about reusable shopping bags. We first noticed reusable shopping bags showing up in our local grocery stores a few years ago.  We picked up our first 3 bags or I should say my wife picked them up and I begrudgingly agreed we would use them.  It wasn’t until I saw their benefits for me, that I began to enjoy using them. One of the best benefits I’ve seen is that you can pack much more in them which means less trips from the car to the kitchen counter.  In years past I would have 5 plastic bags in one hand, 5 in another and some soda boxes under my arm. With reusable bags you can fit at least 2 plastic bags worth of products (if not more) into 1 reusable bag. Here are some other benefits:

What are the benefits of using reusable bags?

  • some grocery stores here in Delaware offer a bag discount
  • Trader Joes offers a weekly gift certificate raffle
  • you can fit more items in each bag making less trips from car to kitchen
  • the cut down on clutter in your house
  • they help bring awareness to environmental issues

One complaint I have heard about reusable shopping bags is that people forget to bring them to the store. I’ll be the first to admit that we have forgotten to bring them every once in a while. I also have yet to put one or two of them in my car which means if I’m picking something up on the way home I end up getting a plastic bag. Once you get in the habit of using them though, it will become part of the routine. Try putting the bags either in your car or somewhere on the way to your car (in your garage) so you will see them before you leave for the store.

picture-14Also, if you’ve alreay made the switch to reusable grocery bags, you might want to consider reusable produce bags as well. They aren’t readily available in local stores however I have seen a few places online that sell them. We picked up a few of them last year on Amazon.com.

Amazon – Tons of discounts on Eco Friendly Products

If you don’t mind buying in bulk, Amazon is a great place to order eco friendly cleaning supplies and paper products.  I recommend normally signing up for subscribe & save as it saves you an extra 15% off Amazon’s price.

I just came across this $20 off $79 coupon and thought I’d pass it along to everyone.  I’d normally post this on DealCatcher but we are having “issues” with Amazon right now and are not posting deals for them this month.  I can’t pass up passing this along to friends & family though 😉

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Earth Hour This Saturday March 28th

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Earth hour was created by WWF Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald in 2007 and achieved worldwide participation in 2008. It will occur this Saturday between 8:30 – 9:30 local time.  What happens during Earth hour you ask?  People all over the country are asked to turn off their lights to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions.  The list of landmarks and popular attractions in the U.S. that will go dark for one hour on March 28th include various prominent buildings in New York, Las Vegas, California and various other states.

As of today I don’t see any cities in my state (Delaware) participating however I’m hoping that will change either this year or definitely by next year.