October 2014 - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Off the grid (Infographic)

Source: http://www.idealhomegarden.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

Adventures in remodeling and working with vendors

Earlier this year, Mr. Daily Green and I decided to remodel our master bathroom. There were a couple of reasons for this decision. It started with damaged shower grout, that we knew was causing floor damage (we soon learned how significant indeed). But as we were gathering quotes to fix the shower, we realized that if we were going fix one thing, we should fix all of them. "As long as we were tearing things apart" was our rationale. Thus began our journey into remodeling. One of the first places we started was the online retailer Westside Wholesale. Their company stocks a variety of remodeling items at fair prices. We loved the way we could search for Made in the USA items on their site. Additionally, they have an Energy Saver search function that really helped us make wise choices.
Moen faucets
As a green minded person, I also had to trust our contractor not to throw out anything simply because we could no longer use it. In fact, we've arranged for Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to pick up our old vanity, mirror, shower doors and toilet, knowing that it could be useful for another homeowner. We also have set the scrap copper pipes aside for recycling.

We opted to upgrade from a single sink vanity to a double necessitating the need for new bathroom faucets. We were happy to learn that Westside Wholesale carried MOEN products, as they are not only a quality company, but they are Ohio-based. We love to shop local businesses and we're in Ohio, so it was a match made in heaven. Or at least local shopping bliss.

We chose the streamlined Moen Eva style faucet. Isn't it pretty? But truthfully, pretty wasn't my goal. My goal was a faucet that didn't have a lot of nooks and crannies of details that would be easy to wipe down and keep clean, as well as had built in water conserving features. This faucet is a WaterSense/Eco-Performance product. It features flow optimizing aerators to use less water but still offer excellent product performance.

Our Daily Green is honored to be able to work with Westside Wholesale. As a disclosure, they gave us a credit to choose our faucets for our project. The remodeling work is underway, and we look forward to reporting back about our experience with them. 

Handling the bounty of Fall with #BallJars

As the gardening season winds down, Our Daily Green has grudgingly and slowly said goodbye to our fresh offerings from our garden. Over the past several years, however, we have rekindled a love of preserving our food for the winter, either via canning or freezing. For this reason, we contacted our friends at Ball canning jars to inquire about working together.

Much to our delight, they sent us a case of Ball Heritage Collection canning jars in our FAVORITE color, GREEN! These translucent limited edition green glass canning jars are inspired by vintage design and custom embossing.

As is a Fall tradition in the Daily Green home, we hold an annual clambake. This year, we were contemplating how what to do with all the extra broth but I knew that answer. The answer was to save the broth and can it for delicious soups, stews and broths over the winter.

It is important to understand the importance of preserving food in jars designed for canning. Commercially prepared food comes in a lower grade of glass that is more susceptible to shattering than Ball canning jars. The potential danger of shattered glass combined with boiling water and hot food is one to avoid. From their website:
Ball canning jars are expertly crafted with premium-quality seals that keep out air to preserve freshness, nutrition and flavor. Custom time-tested sealing compound ensures a full, tight seal. Coating under lid prevents natural food acids from reacting with lid. The trusted canning source for generations, these collectible green glass canning jars with lids are the perfect presentation for home-canned or home-baked gifts. Ball jars are crafted for quality -- sealed for freshness. Also ideal for dry storage or craft supplies. Side measurement markings include ounces and milliliters. Dishwasher-safe. Regular-mouth pint jars or wide-mouth quart jars. Made in the USA. 
In 1884, the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company in Buffalo, New York, started producing fruit and canning jars to help people preserve their garden-fresh produce. Today Ball canning products excel as the worldwide leader in home food preservation.

We really loved the vintage color of these spring green jars and thought they would also be beautiful for holiday gifts. Ball jars are not just for canning, but for attractive preservation for a multitude of gifts. From dry cookie or soup mixes in a jar to luminaries to sippy cups, a quick search of their Pinterest page will show you the hundreds of ways to purpose or repurpose your jars.

disclosure: We are so grateful for the Ball Heritage Collection. They offer limited edition colors each year, and we are thrilled this year's color was GREEN!  Our Daily Green received samples of Ball Jars in both quart and pint sizes. We have so many plans for our bounty and look forward to future collaborations with Ball. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Giveaway] Citrus Lane Gift Box Subscription

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cut back on energy costs in three simple steps

electrician in Adelaide
Light Bulb Leaves by:
Vector Open Stock
There's no question that many families and businesses feel squeezed right now, and one major source of additional expense is increasing energy costs. You can start to control your budget by making a few easy changes to help you use less energy. Below are three simple steps to get started on the path to savings.

  • Unplug it

Most household appliances start using electricity the minute they are plugged into the wall even if they are turned off? That means that all those televisions, video game consoles, phone chargers, coffee makers, and electronics are jacking up your electric bill, even if you don't use them very often. This is called vampire energy loss. Get in the habit of unplugging things or get a specially designed power strip that you can turn off the power when you're not using the item and you will cut your energy usage without much effort. 

  • Replace old light bulbs

If you are still using incandescent bulbs to light up your rooms, they use quite a bit of additional electricity every time you turn on a lamp. Incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy on heat as they produce their light. Modern CFLs and LEDs look better than ever, last longer, and burn cooler, which translates into major energy savings for each bulb you replace. 

  • Turn off the lights 

Once you've replaced your old light bulbs with more efficient ones, you can take your savings a step further by carefully considering when you turn the lights on. On bright days, try leaving the lights off and utilize the natural light from the sun instead. In the summertime, the savings can be significant.
Want to do even more? An electrician in Adelaide can supply the most efficient electrical system for your needs. Bright Earth Electrical is committed to getting you the help you need to get started. Visit today’s post sponsor and find out more at http://brightearthelectrical.com.au/

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The top 3 reasons everyone must clean their gutters

When it comes to miserable chores for a homeowner, there aren't many people who enjoy cleaning gutters. But if you want a safe and hassle-free home, cleaning the gutters on a regular basis is of utmost importance. Clean gutters prevent several much more expensive disasters. 

FEMA - 45061 - Wall demolition at Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in Montana
This image is from the FEMA photo library 
1. Flooded Basements: When water does not divert far enough away from the house due to clogged gutters, it can overflow and seep around your foundation. The water freezes in your home’s foundation and expands to create cracks. It then thaws into your basement and causes major damage. They not only ruin your valuables and create an environment for mold growth, but they can permanently damage your home’s foundation. The repairs can cost thousands of dollars in cleanup and replacement.
2. Pests: Wet areas like clogged gutters are a haven for annoying pests. Debris gets backed up in gutters and water pools there. These wet areas attract disease carrying flies, mosquitoes and rodents; pests no homeowner wants to invite into their home. 
3. Rot: When backups occur in your gutters and water seeps into your roof and eaves, your roof is susceptible to rotted wood. Fixing serious rot can involve ripping off the side of your home or part of the roof itself. Clean gutters prevent water from backing up onto your roof, keeping it flowing away from the home. 

Companies like today's blog sponsor, Gutterboy Gutter Cleaning in Sydney have experts available to install, repair and clean gutters of any type. Find more information on their website at http://gutterboyguttercleaningsydney.com.au/

Monday, October 6, 2014

We broke down and turned on the furnace: now what?

In an informal Facebook survey last week, I asked my peers when they decided to turn on the furnace in the fall. Here are their thoughts.
A NY State Resident: Got a programmable, I like it when I'm home. Rest of the time I turn it off, or set it at 55 when I'm gone. September 29 at 3:50pm · Unlike · 1
Resident of Hawaii answers:  I assume this question is not for me. September 29 at 4:30pm · Unlike · 2
An Ohio Resident: We've already had ours on a few mornings. Our house is large and has been chilly enough. Ours is programmables well.September 29 at 4:59pm · Edited · Unlike · 1
Another Ohio Resident:  When you can see your breath outside!
September 29 at 6:36pm · Unlike · 1
The NY Resident: Ohio resident,  when you can see your breath INSIDE!
September 29 at 6:51pm · Unlike · 2
A Pennsylvania resident: When my hands are too cold to type
September 29 at 7:24pm · Unlike · 2
A third Ohio Resident:  Tell me it's a Nest!!! [yes, it is/was and you can win one!]
September 29 at 9:00pm · Unlike · 1
And yet another Ohio Resident weighs in:  No AC or heat since Labor Day. Bills are way low in April and September, usually, but even more this year. Yea! September 29 at 10:33pm · Unlike

If you recognize yourself in these comments, you also are trying to delay that inevitable spike in your heating bills. In other words, this is a concern we all have. We want comfort, but we don't want to spend unnecessarily.

What else can we do to keep that spike at a minimum? Last week, we discussed programmable thermostats which were brought up a few times in the discussion (and if you don't have one? you can win one... See end of post for details).

Some other strategies seem simple, but make a world of difference.
*change your furnace filter so that nothing is blocking the flow of heat
* make sure all leaks on doors and windows are sealed
* move furniture that is near outdoor walls towards warmer indoor one
Nest ThermostatUltimately, your best way to conserve heating costs is via the use of a programmable thermostat, so again, we encourage our readers to enter to win the NEST. Direct Energy has teamed up with Nest to save you money and time. They are sponsoring a giveaway of FIVE Nest Learning Thermostats. To enter the sweepstakes, visit the campaign landing page and simply fill out the entry form. The giveaway will take place from Wednesday, October 1st to Wednesday, October 22nd. Winners will be selected in Mid-November.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is also available free of charge to new customers who sign up for Direct Energy's competitive Comfort & Control Plan. (available to residents of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois).

Thanks to Direct Energy for sponsoring today's discussion

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to save on heating costs this winter

Oh, the weather outside is NOT frightful, yet. But fall has begun and now is the best time to prepare for the impending winter. We want to stay warm, but also prevent our bank accounts from draining empty with heating costs.

One of the easiest things to do is turn down the thermostat when nobody is in the house or when you're sleeping. According to the US Department of Energy,
... turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill -- a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
Nest Learning ThermometerExcept if you're like me? You forget to turn it down or turn it back up. You either find yourself keeping your kitchen table warm when you're not home, or sweltering under a pile of blankets in the middle of the night. Or returning home to a freezing house because you DID remember to turn the heat down, but not back up.

Let's face it, we're busy folks and the last thing we want to do is continually adjust a thermostat. Programmable thermostats are a great start, but only if you remember to program them and don't take into account any diversion from the pre-set schedule. If your life is like mine, and you're of a green mind, you've packed your own lunch, you've got a reusable bottle of water and a thermos of coffee, not to mention a briefcase and electronic device. The last thing your typical dash out the door every morning needs is one more thing to do. You have kids to drop at school, a conference call waiting, and oh yes, you started a load of laundry. Like you have time to fiddle with the thermostat. Honestly, this green living stuff seems to be just one more thing to do after another and we easily dismiss what isn't convenient to do, wasting energy and subsequently money in the process.

If only... there was an APP that would control our thermostat.

The great news is... there is. There is a fantastic new innovative thermostat called the Nest Learning Thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat is like a personal butler, adjusting the temperature in your home with a simple tap. You can set the thermostat lower when you leave the house, and even if you forget, you can adjust it remotely with a smartphone. The Nest learns your patterns and will even adjust your temperature within a week.

Direct Energy has teamed up with Nest to save you money and perhaps even a little bit of sanity, taking that "one more thing to do" right off your plate. Even better, they are sponsoring a giveaway of FIVE Nest Learning Thermostats. To enter the sweepstakes, visit the campaign landing page and simply fill out the entry form. The giveaway will take place from Wednesday, October 1st to Wednesday, October 22nd. Winners will be selected in Mid-November.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is also available free of charge to new customers who sign up for Direct Energy's competitive Comfort & Control Plan. (available to residents of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois).

Stay tuned next week and Our Daily Green will be sharing more tips for keeping warm and keeping your sanity as we approach winter.
Thanks to Direct Energy for sponsoring today's discussion