Growing A Greener Outer Banks NC

October 17, 2010

Green Home Tips for the Fall

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , — 4x4RE @ 4:08 pm

20 “Green” tips for Fall

September 22nd, was the first day of autumn … the Autumnal Equinox. In many areas the temperatures are beginning to drop and soon leaves will begin to fall. It turns out that this time of year is perfect for Eco-friendly activities. A little effort in the fall will ensure that the chilly months ahead are warm and “green”.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Check the air pressure in your tires. Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure and that, in turn, lowers fuel efficiency. So check your tires and make sure that they are properly inflated.
  2. Clean and service heat pumps/furnaces. Did you know that your heat pump/furnace needs cleaning? Dust and debris not only affects performance but could cause a fire. Before you really need the heat, get out your owner’s manual for instructions on how to clean it.
  3. Move furniture or any obstructions from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators so that air moves freely. This is also a good time to vacuum these areas to remove any dust or debris. And here’s a tip if you have a radiator: place a reflecting panel behind it , you can purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
  4. Remove window air conditioners for the winter. If they can’t be removed, seal them with caulking or tape and cover them with an airtight, insulated jacket.
  5. Vacuum the refrigerator coils to keep the compressor running efficiently. It’s also a good time to check that the refrigerator is level … the door should automatically swing shut instead of staying open. Check the seal on the door … try closing it on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, it’s time to replace the gaskets. Here’s another tip for running the refrigerator efficiently … don’t over fill it. Allowing room for cool air to circulate will keep everything at the right temperature.
  6. Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer. And don’t forget, clean the filter after every use and every once in awhile, give it a good wash.
  7. Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.
  8. Check doors for weather stripping and replace as necessary. If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold or block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
  9. Check your roof for any missing or damaged tiles or shingles.
  10. Clean the roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house. Now would also be a good time to install a rain barrel … rather than allow water to drain into one spot, a rain barrel would allow you to direct the water to where it’s most needed.
  11. Check electrical outlets, especially on outside walls, and light fixtures are prime places for cold air to leak into your home. Add foam gaskets behind covers and switch plates, and use safety plugs in unused outlets. Shut off the power at the fuse box or circuit panel before doing this.
  12. Install foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.
  13. Check for water leaks both inside and outside.
  14. Wrap the water heater in an insulating blanket.
  15. If you have a ceiling fan, reverse the direction … the fan should be run in a clockwise direction (stand under the fan and if you feel a breeze, reverse the direction so that air is being drawn upwards). This pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls, to gently re-circulate the warm air without creating a cooling “wind chill effect.”
  16. Clean/service fireplaces. Have the chimney cleaned and check vent systems.
  17. If your home has no sidewall insulation, place heavy furniture like bookshelves, armoires and sofas along exterior walls, and use decorative quilts as wall hangings. This will help block cold air.
  18. Bring in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors. They’ll help clean the air.
  19. As the autumn leaves begin to fall, consider raking them up rather than using a “blower”. Once raked up, use them as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter or add them to a compost pile.
  20. Before packing away those summer clothes, go through them and determine which items to keep, which items to repurpose into something else (cleaning rags, craft projects, etc.) and which to donate.

June 10, 2010

Is there a sensible solution to the BP oil spill catastrophe?

Is there a sensible solution to the BP oil spill catastrophe?  Perhaps there is.  The video link below will take you to an amazingly simple way to absorb the oil while cleaning up the mess with all natural materials.   It seems all the tools are readily available, inexpensive and easy to use.   

OK, I know this sounds crazy.  The government doesn’t do simple, easy or cheap; usually the chosen solutions are complicated, difficult to administer and expensive.  I mean, Kevin Costner’s invention from Water World?  Really?  It wasn’t even a good movie!

If, after you view this video, you feel a glimmer of hope, please pass it on to everyone you know plus your government representatives.  Perhaps the EPA guys will see it on twitter!!

Hey, it is worth a try before the oil gets to the Outer Banks and ruins our pristine coastline, not to mention our economy.  Talk about beach closings, this could be the daddy of them all.

See the cool solution here.  And thanks for helping.  Maybe we can save some wildlife before they need that bath with Dawn!

June 8, 2010

June’s Green Action Tips

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 5:30 pm

Tips for Going Green on a Budget

Going green doesn’t have to cost a lot of green! Use these simple tips to make a positive impact on the environment while keeping your wallet intact. It’s easy, even for the laziest of environmentalists.

  • Shut down and unplug electronics. Make small changes to use – and pay for – less energy, like shutting down your computer when you’re not using it and plugging your cell phone and other electronics into power strips so you can turn several devices off with one switch.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. By using cold water instead of warm, the average household can avoid emitting 1,281 pounds of carbon dioxide annually and save on energy bills.1
  • Fill your bottle with filtered tap water. Choose the greener solution by using a reusable bottle, like the FilterForGood bottle, and filling it with filtered tap water. If you use a Brita filtration system you can make another responsible choice by recycling your pitcher filter when you replace it, which should be about every two months (or every 40 gallons). Find out more about recycling Brita filters here.
  • Update your wardrobe for less. Instead of consuming new products, trade fashionable clothes, accessories, cosmetics and shoes for free (you only pay for shipping). By swapping merchandise you can lower the amount of harmful emissions caused by the manufacturing process. Check out swapstyle.com to learn more.
  • Exchange CDs, DVDs and books instead of buying. Now you can avoid purchasing new products without forfeiting your entertainment needs. Visit swapacd.com, swapadvd.com and paperbackswap.com for access to thousands of CDs, books and DVDs.
  • Use refurbished electronics. You can get refurbished electronics for a steal (they often sell for less than 50 percent of the retail price!), and before they’re resold to the public, they go through an intense defect-testing process and the warranties usually remain intact. So you can save money and help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Shop at www.dyscern.com and www.refurbdepot.com.
  • Use kitchenware products made of recycled materials. Preserve uses items such as recycled Brita pitcher filters and empty yogurt containers to make their line of colorful kitchen gear. Since they’re about the same price as regular kitchenware, it’s a no-brainer to choose Preserve products. Visit preserveproducts.com to find a retailer near you

May 13, 2010

Surfside Scute 5K and Tiny Turtle Kids Fun Run

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 10:23 am
Posh Pouches will be at the Surfside Scute as a FUNDRAISER for Corolla Ocean Rescue…please help us support COR and the Earth by using our handmade reusable snack and sandwich bags! GO GREEN in COROLLA!!!!! Please spread the word so we can make this an amazing fundraiser for them! Thanks visit www.poshpouches.com before you go!

May 4, 2010

May’s Green Action Tips

Filed under: Tips, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 4x4RE @ 2:39 pm

Living Green – Spring Clean

As spring settles in, the days get sunnier. Doesn’t it feel like it’s time to open the windows and spruce up your living space with a little spring cleaning? In these rough financial times, we’re all looking to save a little green. However, for those of us who are trying to live green and are already paying a little extra for organic foods, shelling out a little extra for greener household products might not be an option.

Here’s some good news: You can make your own cleaners for a fraction of the cost. And not only can they lift dirt and grime to leave your house sparking clean, these cleaners, with ingredients like bay leaves, lime, and peppermint, can also lift your spirits with their fragrance!

All-Purpose Cleaner
To make a simple cleaner for wiping down counter tops, sinks, and cupboards, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

For cleaning linoleum and tile floors, place this same mixture in a bucket and dip your mop in.

Air Freshener
To get rid of unpleasant odors, leave out a halved lime (make sure that the cut side is facing upward) in a bowl of baking soda. Instead of throwing the lime and baking soda into the trash when you’re finished using them, grind them up in your garbage disposal instead to freshen the surrounding area.

If you’re a coffee drinker, don’t toss out your coffee grounds after use. Instead, put them in a bowl to absorb odors.

To keep kitchen cupboards and drawers smelling fresh, add a few dried bay leaves.

Fabric Freshener
To freshen couch cushions, use a spray bottle filled with water and two drops of an essential oil such as lemon, orange, or peppermint. Essential oils are very potent, so one or two drops is all you need. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients and mist whenever freshening is needed.

Carpet Freshener
Crush a couple of bay leaves and mix them with a bowl of baking soda. Add one to two drops of an essential oil and mix with a spoon. Sprinkle this mixture on rugs and carpets, and allow it to stand for a few minutes before you vacuum it up.

Cooktops and Ovens
For cleaning cooktops, dust with a bit of baking soda and squeeze some lime juice over it. You can use the cut lime half as a scouring tool to scrub the cooktop. Use a toothbrush to scour any hard-to-reach spots. For tough spots, make a paste out of some lime juice and baking soda, and let it sit on the problem areas for several minutes before scouring.

For ovens, make a paste out of lime juice, baking soda, and salt. Wipe out the inside of the oven with a damp sponge, then apply the paste. Allow the paste to stand for about a half-hour, then scrub it off using a scouring pad.

Hard-to-Reach Grime
Have an oddly shaped vase that you can’t seem to clean the inside of? Squeeze a drop of dish soap or some vinegar into the vase and add water along with a small amount of dried rice. Cover the top with your hand, shake and swirl the rice around, then rinse.

Homemade Elbow Grease
You can make nontoxic, cruelty-free cleansers from just a few ingredients that you probably already have lying around the house.

All-Purpose Cleaner: 1 part distilled white vinegar, 1 part water, and a few drops dishwashing liquid
Bleach: Hydrogen peroxide or borax and water
Carpet Shampoo: 1/4 cup mild detergent or soap, 1 pint warm water, and 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
Deodorizer: Baking soda and/or borax
Disinfectant: 1/2 cup borax and 1 gallon hot water
Drain Cleaner: 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (let sit for a few minutes, then follow with a pot of boiling water)
Floor Cleaner: 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar and 1/2 gallon water
Furniture Polish: 1 part white distilled vinegar and 3 parts olive oil, with a dash of natural lemon oil
Glass Cleaner: Club soda
Oven Cleaner: Ammonia (set a shallow pan in the oven and let stand overnight)
Rust Remover: Salt and lime juice (let stand for several hours)
Tub and Tile Cleaner: 1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap, 1/2 cup water, and 2 Tbsp. vinegar

Happy spring cleaning!

(Thanks to Rebecca Siegel, from our Duck, NC sales office for these great tips from the PETA website!)

April 4, 2010

A New Outer Banks for the Old Vacationers

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 11:14 am

People who have been coming to The Outer Banks of North Carolina should be aware of some “Green” changes that have happened since last Summer.  The obvious change they will notice is that when they go shopping they will be getting paper not plastic. The legislature passed a ban on plastic bags on the Outer Banks about 9 months ago.

The changes that are not as obvious, but are important for out of state vacationers to know, is that North Carolina has made it illegal to throw away plastic bottles or aluminum cans into their land fills. The ban on aluminum cans has been in effect since 1994, and the ban on plastic bottles went into effect this past November.

So While you’re enjoying the beauty of the Outer Banks this summer, please rember to recycle your cans & bottles.

April 3, 2010

April’s GREEN Action Tips

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , , — 4x4RE @ 5:31 pm

LESS IS MORE – Outdoor Watering

Reduce Wasted Water

Did You Know?

· Outdoor water use can account for up to 50% of total water use for a home during the summer months.

· Homes with automated irrigation systems are more likely to overuse outdoor water (i.e. wasted water running down sidewalk).

· Over irrigation can damage plants or make them unhealthy.

· Over-watered plants are more susceptible to disease and pest infestation.
(Personally, I have killed more plants from over-watering than under-watering.)

What You Can Do:

·  Mulch – Mulch holds moisture in the soil and prevents evaporation from soil surface. Fine-textured mulches (pine straw, mini nuggets, shredded hardwood) are more effective in conserving moisture than coarse-textured mulch. Apply to as large an area under the plant as possible. Consider putting 2-3 sheets of newspaper under mulch for added water retention.

·  Deep Watering – Shallow frequent watering encourages a weak root system and reduces plant tolerance of drought.

·  Water Roots, not Leaves – Wetting the foliage encourages diseases and results in water loss through evaporation.

·  Hand-water newly planted trees, shrubs, and thirstier plants. Again, deep watering is the best way to encourage strong root system and drought tolerance.

·  Use Drip, Trickle or Soaker Hose – Drip irrigation uses 50% less water than conventional sprinkler irrigation and applies water slowly and directly to root system.

·  Use the Timer and Install a Rain Sensor on Irrigation System – Rain Sensors are inexpensive extras that usually pay for themselves (in water savings) within 2 years.

·  Adjust Irrigation Controller – according to change in seasons and rainfall.

·  Depend on rainfall as main outdoor water source when possible.

March 30, 2010

North Carolina offers 15% discounts to celebrate Earth Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 4x4RE @ 10:29 am

North Carolinians will be able to save on replacing old home appliances with new Energy Star appliances. This program will be during Earth Day Weekend, which is Thursday April 22 through Sunday April 25. Rebates will be 15% on Energy Star related appliances, and will be in addition to any store, manufacturer or other discounts.
Home appliances that are eligible are Energy Star clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers. North Carolina residents who are purchasing replacement appliances for their home are eligible. Residents purchasing multiple appliances or contractors are not eligible.
For more information on the rebate you can read FAQ Page, visit www.energync.net, or call the NC Dept of Commerce at 919-733-2953.

March 29, 2010

Fresh Produce…What Is And What Is Not Safe

Filed under: News, organic, Tips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Morgan Mason @ 4:27 pm

Recently I found two lists of fruits and vegetables; The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.  What was interesting to me was finding 15 different produce items that do not necessarily need to be grown organically in order to be safe for consumption.  They are the lowest in pesticide residue, not free of pesticides.  I thought that was a positive approach to safe food choices, especially in today’s economy.  Organic is typically more expensive (and worth it) but why not also choose to save a little money from time to time without the worry about your or your family’s health being compromised?

Here are the two lists along with a link to more information. www.foodnews.org

Clean 15 (Lowest In Pesticides)       The Dirty Dozen (Buy Organic)

1.  Onion                                                                                       1.  Peach

2.  Avocado                                                                                   2.  Apple

3.  Sweet Corn                                                                             3.  Bell Pepper

4.  Pineapple                                                                                4.  Celery

5.  Mango                                                                                     5.  Nectarine

6.  Asparagus                                                                               6.  Strawberries

7. Sweet Peas                                                                              7.  Cherries

8.  Kiwi                                                                                         8.  Kale

9.  Cabbage                                                                                 9.  Lettuce

10. Eggplant                                                                                10. Grapes (Imported)

11. Papaya                                                                                  11. Carrot

12. Watermelon                                                                           12. Pear

13. Broccoli

14. Tomato

15. Sweet Potato

March 25, 2010

It’s Almost Earth Hour

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — 4x4RE @ 9:40 am

t’s about Earth Hour, which is this Saturday at 8:30 local time.  On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations. Learn more about how Earth Hour began, what we’ve accomplished, and what is in store for 2010.

In support of this event, please be sure to turn off your computers, monitors and printers when you are done for the day. Shutting down all unnecessary equipment can be a show of your support. It’s a small step, but let’s do what we can. Click here to visit MyEarthHour.org.

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