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The 60-watt replacement LED bulb arrives

by Preservation Properties

For years, we have been watching as LED technology has improved and the cost of LED replacement bulbs has gotten lower and lower. Compact fluorescent bulbs have become commonplace, which has been instrumental in saving energy and lowering electricity costs for millions of consumers. But still, we've been waiting for LEDs to reach the point where they start being widely used. And now, it looks like that point may be here.

By the middle of 2011, a new 12-watt LED bulb from Osram Sylvania is scheduled to be available from all Lowes stores.

The Osram Sylvania Ultra A-Line LED bulb produces 810 lumens. This compares quite well with a standard 60-watt bulb (the one I checked is listed at 830 lumens). The LED bulb uses 12 watts, versus the 60 watt incandescent, which is an 80% energy savings.

And the LED bulb should last 25 times as long as a conventional bulb.

The biggest remaining question will be consumer acceptance. Does the LED bulb provide an adequate distribution of light, without the "hot spots" and dim areas characteristic of some earlier LED bulbs? And is the color rendering of the LED good enough to make it an acceptable substitute for an incandescent bulb? The A-line bulb has a color temperature of 2700 Kelvin and a color-rendering index (CRI) of 91. (An incandescent bulb has a perfect value of 100.) Most fluorescent bulbs have a CRI ranging from the low 50s to the high 80s, so the quality of the light should be quite good.

LED lights may have some end-of-life issues with circuit-board materials, as do compact fluorescent bulbs, but, especially with RoHS regulations in place in many parts of the world, those are minor compared with the question of mercury in compact fluorescents. Of course, it's not a problem if the CF bulb is recycled (and more and more places are now taking those bulbs for recycling so that is becoming less of an issue, as well).

And the total amount of environmental mercury is lower when considering the amount of mercury put into the atmosphere by burning coal to produce all the additional electricity that a conventional incandescent bulb requires as compared to the amount that would be spilled if a bulb was broken rather than being recycled, so concerns over CFLs should already be pretty well settled.

The 8-watt A-Line bulb costs around $20 and is available right now. The 12-watt A-Line bulb should be in stores in the first half of 2011.

10 toughest things to get rid of

by Preservation Properties

At Preservation Properties, we follow A LOT of real estate and green blogs (if you haven't noticed yet).  Today, we bring you an article from Yahoo's Conscioius Consumer blog:

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It’s hard to know what to do with cans of leftover paint or electronics that have seen better days. You know you shouldn’t throw them in the trash, but they’re not typically recycled at the curb. So how exactly do you get rid of them?

Luckily, if you’re armed with the right info, it can be easier than you think to dispose of these things. It’s worth any extra effort because many of the items on this list contain toxic chemicals that can contaminate the environment or cause other damage if not carefully disposed of.

The laws for disposing of household waste vary depending on where you live, but here are some general guidelines and resources:

1. Batteries
Recycling rechargeable batteries is fairly easy. It’s a good thing because throwing out lead-acid batteries is illegal in 41 states, according to Trey Granger at Earth911. Home Depot, Staples, Radio Shack, Best Buy, and many other retailers take them back free of charge.

There are fewer options for single-use batteries, but look for bins at your local library. Otherwise, your best bet is a nearby household hazardous waste (HHW) drop-off site.

2. Electronics
Every retailer that takes back rechargeable batteries also accepts mobile phones, as do most wireless providers. For computers, cameras, televisions, and others it's worthwhile do a little homework because some stores charge fees depending on item and brand. Check out Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot to see what's the best fit.

Some places, like Radio Shack, have trade-in programs where you can receive store credit for your old gadgets. You can also turn your old electronics into cash thanks to a growing number of websites designed to help you easily sell them.

3. Paint
This is among the harder items to dispose of, but it's still totally doable. Some ideas to try first: Do your best to make sure it gets used. Give it to a friend. Use it for primer. Donate it to a charity, such as Habitat for Humanity or a school theater group. If you can't reuse it, then search to see if you can recycle it.

If you just can't reuse it, you might need to throw dried paint in the trash if it's not against the law in your community. Remove the lid from a latex paint can and let it dry out until it's completely hard. Take any oil-based paints directly to your household hazardous waste center.

4. CFLs
Fluorescent bulbs contain tiny amounts of mercury that can leach out if broken, so it’s important to properly recycle them. Luckily, these energy-sipping light bulbs are relatively easy to get rid of. Just drop old bulbs off at any Home Depot or Ikea for free recycling, or search for other nearby solutions.

If you have absolutely no other options and must throw them in the trash, then the Environmental Protection Agency suggests sealing CFLs in two plastic bags before disposing.

5. Medications
Don't flush them down the toilet or pour them down the drain because tiny amounts of pharmaceuticals are making their way into our streams, rivers, and lakes. Your best bet is to find a program that will take back unused medications. Check with your local government to see if it's hosting a collection event. Ask if your pharmacy or HHW collection program will accept old prescription drugs.

Otherwise you’ll have to throw them in the trash. Remove all personal info before chucking bottles to avoid identity theft. Crush pills and try these other tricks to make medicines unusable in case they accidentally get into the wrong hands.

6. Cooking oil
Bacon grease or cooking oil can clog up your pipes and ultimately back up sewer systems. Rinsing with hot water as you pour it down the drain won't help. Once that grease cools down, it solidifies and sticks to pipes. Your best bet is to absorb small amounts of grease with shredded paper or kitty litter before throwing in the trash.

Or you can pour oil or bacon grease in a coffee can or other metal container and throw it out once it solidifies. Here are some other suggestions on disposing and recycling.

7. Aerosol cans
Empty cans can be recycled fairly easily through your curbside program or at your local recycling facility. Partially full cans are harder to get rid of. Don't try to empty them yourself. Instead, see if your recycling or HHW drop-off center will take them.

It's also not a good idea to send pressurized cans (empty or not) to a landfill because they can explode if a fire breaks out.

8. Appliances
Most retailers will take away your old refrigerator, dishwasher, or other large appliance when you purchase a new one. Also check with your municipality because many cities and towns offer free curbside pick-up. For small appliances, try Best Buy or Goodwill.

9. Packing materials
Bring packing peanuts and bubble wrap to a local mailing center (such as the UPS Store or Mail Boxes Etc) if you don’t have room to store them for future use. You can also give them away by listing on Freecycle or in the free stuff section on Craigslist.

Here are tips for what to do with annoying clamshell packaging, non-paper FedEx envelopes, and more.

10. Car stuff
Wal-Mart, Autozone, JiffyLube, and others recycle used motor oil. Ask if they'll take your old filters back for recycling too.

Return dead car batteries to the store where you are purchasing a new one and ask if they'll recycle it. If not, check with your local HHW center.

"E" Inc. Opens Storefront Museum - The Learning Room

by Preservation Properties

“e” inc., a Boston-based non profit that promotes environmental science literacy, just opened a storefront Museum this month.

The Learning Room will be a warehouse space to teach students – and the general public – about the science of sustainability with the goal of sparking community action in urban communities.

The group already works with more than 800 students in after school and summer programs.

The storefront museum is designed to teach environmental science to children, youth and families, inspire civic leadership, and train teachers and adults to create and carry out projects to help the environment.

The free opening is on Friday, October 1, from 4 to 6 p.m. at “e” inc.’s headquarters at 337 Summer Street. Afterward, a visit will cost $5 per child for the public and schools will pay a fee for field trips.

“Our aim is to reach every child, teen and family in the Greater Boston area and help them learn about how the Earth works and what they can do to protect it,’’ said “e” inc. director Ricky Stern. “The room is really such a wonderful opportunity for kids to really try things and ideas on and see how they are made or related -- we have them go outside and unroll a 100 foot rope just to see how huge a blue whale is.’’

This article is brought to you by Boston.com's Green Blog: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/green/greenblog/2010/09/storefront_environmental_museu.html

Niagara's New Eco-Friendly Toilet!

by Preservation Properties

2010_9_16_Niagara.jpg

Niagara has recently come out with the Stealth Toilet which uses only 0.8 gallons per flush. How does it work?

While it looks pretty much like any typical toilet, the new Stealth saves 37% more water than a typical toliet. How does it work? According to the manufacturer:

During Filling:
Water fills the tank and inner chamber, forcing air to the top of the chamber and down the transfer tube. Positive pressure is exerted on the water in the bowl by the air being forced through the transfer tube into the trapway. A larger water surface area is created in the bowl due to the pressurized trapway.
During Flushing:
Inside the inner chamber, the exiting water creates a vacuum effect that depressurizes the trapway. As the trapway depressurizes, a suction force is created that pulls the wastewater into the trapway. The trapway is completely filled producing an extremely efficient flush. Water exiting the tank cleans the bowl and flushes waste down the trapway.

Priced between $310 and $325 the Stealth Toilet is a great way to conserve water behind the scenes.

Find out more at Niagara Conservation.

(This post comes from ApartmentTherapy.com)

Devices That Help Plug Electrical Leaks

by Preservation Properties

I just saw this article from the New York Times

You dutifully sort your plastic and paper. You are hip to the latest low- and no-VOC paints. You have even thought about buying a hybrid car. But what about the electricity you use at home? Not only does it come at a cost to the environment, but it also costs you — to the tune of $2,200 a year, on average, for a single-family home.

A “smart” power strip from Belkin can learn what to turn off and what to keep on.

Hand-held gadgets with batteries are great about communicating their energy needs (“recharge me if you ever want to hear Scritti Politti again!”), but what about the bigger machines in your home — the ones that lazily slurp up power all day long even, in some cases, when you think they are turned off? What can you do about them?

Spend any time reading about the country’s electrical infrastructure, and you might think a solution is around the corner. Politicians and policy wonks use phrases like “smart grid.” In the future, they say, we will all live in intelligent homes that will not only take from but also give back to the energy matrix.

In the meantime, there are a number of products to help you track and manage your energy consumption.

VAMPIRES AMONG US

Vampire power may sound like a radical movement of “Twilight” fans, but it is far more mundane. The open secret is this: The things you turn off, like televisions, DVD players, cable boxes? They’re not really “off.” Many devices have to maintain a trickle of electricity (indicated by those little red LEDs that glow) to receive a signal from a remote control or display a digital clock.

This has been more an offense to people’s principles than to their finances. Under the best (or worst) of circumstances, vampire power accounts for tens of dollars a year — not enough to make a real dent in your savings, but still, money that could be saved. Until recently, the only way to ensure that these things were truly power-free was to take direct, manual action, like unplugging the TV from the wall or turning off a power strip’s switch.

But who wants to do that several times a day? The less motivated but still guilt-ridden can get the same result by buying a “smart” power strip. There are many models, but the goal is the same: to cut all power to devices that do not require it when they are turned off, while continuing to supply electricity to things that do, like DVRs. Belkin, the tech-accessory maker, has a smart strip called the Conserve AV that retails for about $30. When you turn off your TV, the strip knows to shut off power to other devices (like your DVD player and your home-theater system) that are plugged into it as well.

Another handy device from Belkin, the Conserve Insight (also about $30, available in September), measures the energy draw of plug-in appliances. It allows you to identify the worst offenders and estimate their cost, in dollars, kilowatts or pounds of carbon dioxide.

THRIFTY PRODUCTS

In the future, efficiencies will not be add-ons — they will be built into the products themselves. Some progress is already being made.

Apple’s new AA-battery charger (about $30), for instance, shifts into low-energy mode once it has finished recharging a pair of batteries.

Lutron’s Eco-Home dimmers have a variety of enlightened energy functions. The Maestro Eco-Minder dimmer (about $46 at lutronstore.com) encourages conservation with LEDs that change from red to green when your lights are dimmed 15 percent or more. It’s a subtle reminder to dial back when you do not need operating-room levels of illumination.

The company’s Maestro Eco-Timer (about $48) automatically shuts off power after a certain length of time, making it useful for bathroom fans and vestibule lights. And its Maestro Dimmer with Vacancy Sensor ($54) can determine when a room is unoccupied, shutting off the lights when no one is home.

CLIMATE CONTROL

 The best tool for getting energy use under control may be one that many people already have — a programmable thermostat.

The energy spent on heating and cooling generally far outweighs the energy used by consumer electronics, appliances or lighting. What’s more, there’s a real opportunity for savings because people often do not take full advantage of their digital thermostats.

“It’s just a pain to program them,” said Seth Frader-Thompson, the chief executive of EnergyHub, a start-up company that is designing an easy-to-use thermostat and energy control system. “The interfaces are really obtuse.”

Mr. Frader-Thompson estimates that about 80 percent of Americans do not use the settings. “It’s just like the 12 o’clock blinking on the VCR,” he said.

In fact, because a thermostat’s effectiveness is entirely dependent on how it is installed and set up, Energy Star stopped rating them in 2009. The government program estimates that a properly programmed thermostat can save an average of $180 annually.

Lutron’s Maestro Eco-Timer shuts off power after a length of time; it can be useful for fans and vestibule lights.

Apple’s AA-battery charger draws less power once it has finished recharging a pair of batteries.

The first step is to find the manual and set aside 15 minutes for programming. (If you no longer have the manual, search for an electronic copy online, using the model number.)

The next step is setting comfortable morning and evening temperatures, and day and sleep temperatures, to keep the heating and air-conditioning systems from working too hard. Energy Star’s recommended settings, listed on its Web site (energystar.gov), are a good starting point.

For those who do not have a programmable thermostat, upgrading to one (which costs about $50) can be an easy do-it-yourself project or a quick job for an electrician, who may also help you with the setup. When choosing a model, keep in mind that simplicity is crucial, but make sure it has modes for weekends and weekdays.

ONLINE INSIGHTS

 Another way to get control of your energy use is to squeeze more information out of your utility bill. Several free Web sites may show your usage history more clearly than your bill. Earth Aid (earthaid.net) synchronizes with your utilities’ accounts and shows your electricity, gas and water use in colorful graphs; it also compares your usage with that of any neighbors who are members.

Google’s PowerMeter (google.com/powermeter) site and Microsoft’s Hohm (microsoft-hohm.com) offer a similar free service, with number-crunching graphs and efficiency recommendations. Earth Aid’s service, however, connects with more than 200 power, gas and water companies — far more than its competitors. It also rewards good behavior: If you curtail 75 kilowatt hours, for example, you earn points redeemable for a dog wash. Or a cupcake.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

 The biggest gains for energy management will come once most traditional electrical meters have been replaced with smart meters. This will facilitate two-way communication between a home and the power grid and will also allow homeowners to take advantage of off-peak pricing, when power rates are lowest. The eventual result will be appliances that can make efficient decisions, like a dishwasher that waits until rates are lowest to run its cycle.

But widespread installation of smart meters isn’t expected until 2020; less than 10 percent of American meters now in use have the technology. And smart appliances are still hard to find.

If “Jetsons” wizardry is something you can’t wait for, utilities around the country are running pilot programs that bring smart meters and forward-looking technology into a few homes. In Queens, for example, Con Edison is outfitting 300 homes with smart meters and energy-monitoring equipment; a small control panel displays real-time energy use for appliances that can be turned on or off remotely. Your utility company can tell you if similar programs are available for you to test drive.

FYI: Green Rentals

by Preservation Properties

 

Going green? All of our available green rentals can be found on our website
www.preservationproperties.com or www.boston.com. Go to either of these
websites to find out more information and to see what makes a rental “green”.

 

Going green? All of our available green rentals can be found on our website www.PreservationProperties.com or www.Boston.com. Go to either of these websites to find out more information and to see what makes a rental “green”.

We have also added a nice feature to our Rental Database that lets you see immediately if a property is has any green features.

Happy Home Hunting!

-Your Team at Preservation Properties

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

Contact Information

Preservation Properties
439 Newtonville Avenue
Newtonville MA 02460
Office: 617.527.3700
Fax: 617.527.2050