Conserve's blog

Myths on turning off fluorescent lights

We all understand that turning off lights saves energy and our environment (See Kill the unused lights), but what about the myths around fluorescent lights that keep a great many from turning fluorescent lights off to save energy? Well there is only a very small amount of truth in these and in most cases they do not apply at all.

Gas or Diesel; idling kills the engine

We'll most think that the "don't idle it will kill your engine" argument is a treehugger approach to stopping this insanity. The true is:

  • Engine idling destroys your engine (Gasoline and Diesel too!)
  • Engine idling accounts for over 30% of the fuel used daily in the US - this waste is driving the cost of fuel higher.
  • Engine idling produces worse air quality hazards because and idling engine runs colder and colder engines run dirtier.

If you don't believe me here's a very telling piece from the Bus Conversions forum on Diesel engine idling, from an authority: Detroit Diesel, motivated by a casual reader asking, “How long should a diesel engine be warmed up before driving off?”

Read the full at

and read The real cost of idling your car!

The real cost of idling your car!

Here's a myth that needs busting; "Idling is necessary to warm up your engine!" False, false, false and more false (and this applies to the almighty diesel as well!):

  1. Idling engines run at cooler non-optimal temperatures. This means more moisture and corrosive acids building up inside of your engine oil creating a much higher than normal level of wear. This continues to worsen until you start to drive your vehicle - increasing engine speed, which increases operating temperature, which burns off the moisture.
  2. Idling your vehicle for more than just 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine. Think about waiting at a railroad crossing, or a drawbridge, or to exit a parking lot after a large event, or picking your kids up at the school or bus stop.
  3. Idling your vehicle for 10 minutes uses as much fuel as it takes to travel 5 miles.
  4. Idling your vehicle for 10 minutes a day uses more than 27 gallons of fuel a year.
  5. Idling is terribly unhealthy for children because cooler engine temperatures also mean more toxic emissions. Think about this as you idle your vehicle in front of your child's school or bus stop.

Now, for those of you beating your chest and chanting - Idle engine wear is a bunch of whooeey, especially for the "Big Rigs!" You may want to click here and read "Idling kills..." where a seasoned veteran at Detroit Diesel describes this engine injustice.

Now, if we have your attention and you really want to learn more click here:

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The Many Costs of Dirty Power!

Mountaintop Removal is one of the many costs of dirty power - What many of don't see is the destruction left in the wake of our consumption. BUT, if you live in the Appalachian mountain range you may very well experience something like what you see in this picture, along with issues such as non-drinkable contaminated well water caused by toxic chemical run off. All this is a direct result of the coal mining process and in no way can be argued that it may have occurred without the influence mans thirst for energy.

Check out your footprint. Visit by clicking here, enter your zip code then look at the picture on the right of their website.

I guess the sight of windmills on mountaintops doesn't look so bad after all?

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Cut your CFP and save $$$

Regardless of how new your home is or how well it's insulated it still loses heat to the outdoors in cold weather. If you're not setting your home temperatures back when you are not at home, or at night when you sleep, consider this a very easy method of saving considerable money while also cutting your Carbon Foot Print.

How? Turn your thermostat down before bed then back up in the morning. Or, purchase a programmable thermostat to do it automatically. Every 1 deg you shave could save as much as 2%. (10 degrees could save you 20% of your fuel cost.) You can be the judge as to how low and for how long, but committing to this little trick can save us all.

Check out your potential savings here, and do not fall victim to this myth:

Myth: By turning the heat down at night in the winter, I will lose the load and it will cost me more to reheat the home in the morning when I turn the furnace thermostat back up.

Fact: Lowering the thermostat setting by 1°C (2°F) for eight hours each day or evening can yield a savings of up to 2% on the cost of heating. This applies to either manually setting back your thermostat or using a programmable set back thermostat. An average house can expect to save about 3% to 5% on its heating cost by lowering the temperature setting by 1°C (2°F) over the heating season.

For the price of a warm sweater, some warm sweatpants and an extra blanket, you could be savings hundreds on your fuel bill!

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Why hug a tree - some carbon locking basics

Just why is vegetation (both land and sea) so important? Because they absorb carbon from the air and lock it into the earth - at least that's what they should be doing! Let's look at how we disturb this process.

  • How much carbon is digested by one tree? Average = 14lbs/yr
  • How much carbon is produced by one person? Average = 730lbs/yr (or 52 trees)

Why not burn wood or wood scraps? Or even leaves!!! - When you burn one tree it takes 25 years for another tree to absorb the carbon created by the burning of the first. If you simply fall the tree and replace it by a new tree, that is best. Why? Because the burning of a tree completely negates the benefit of it absorbing (or locking) carbon produced by other means.

What do we mean?

The "carbon" produced by one person, noted above, is that from your body only! It does not include the additional carbon "you" are responsible for such as - home heating, home cooling, transportation, office heating, office cooling, food preparation, food preservation, plastic disposables/consumables, packaging, package delivery, lighting, electronics, cloths washing, cloths drying, cloths finishing, hair care, water consumption, water heating, home cleaning, auto cleaning, trash (non recyclable) transportation, recyclables transportation, recyclable processing, organic waste transportation (which could be composted saving millions of tons of carbon each year!), etc. etc. etc.

This is your carbon footprint! It is the reason the base source of the energy required for these tasks must come from a zero carbon source!

Make sense!

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Carbon from your sink and shower?

We all enjoy the warmth of a nice steamy shower. Energy for heating aside, have you ever given thought to what's required to move your water? No! We'll help you.
On average the pumping of 1 gallon of water each day will use 17.5lbs of coal/gal/yr. Therefore, a daily shower for 5 minutes will use 350lbs of coal/yr while a daily shower of 10 minutes will use in the area of 700lbs/yr. Using 10 minutes, which is the average a person showers, multiplied by 3 people per household, for the approximate 100 million homes in the US, this leave us with:

  • Sulfur Dioxide = 735,000 Tons - Main cause of acid rain
  • Nitrogen Oxides  750,000 Tons - Causes smog and acid rain
  • Carbon Dioxide 272,000,000 Tons - Greenhouse gas responsible for global warming

These numbers reflect only the energy required for motion. The energy required to heat water is far greater.

And no, we're not advocating you stop showering! But it is why leaky faucets, a running unused garden hose, leaky toilets, running a faucet while your tooth brush is in your mouth, rinsing of dishes before you put them in the dish washer, and the general overuse or wasting of water is so environmentally destructive.

Remember; the force of nature - is YOU!

Kill the unused ligts!

Ever wonder just what a light bulb cost the earth? Well, to energize four 100Watt bulbs for 6 hours/day for 1 year it cost 714 pounds of coal. So, 4 bulbs, 6 hours for 100 million homes cost us: 71.4B lbs of coal, leaving behind:

  • Sulfur Dioxide =  250,000 Tons - Main cause of acid rain
  • Nitrogen Oxides 255,000 Tons - Causes smog and acid rain
  • Carbon Dioxide 92,600,000 Tons - Greenhouse gas responsible for global warming

Not to mention the wake of destruction that the coal mining and distribution process leaves in its path.

Perspective References - US Population by State & by City

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