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Six Energy-Efficient Tips for the Home this Earth Day

With Earth Day approaching on April 22 and in an effort to be more green, why not also consider how your home’s energy is used and how to prevent it from being wasted. Follow these energy-saving tips from Sally Morse, Director of Creative Services for Hunter Douglas, the leading name in custom window fashions, to conserve your home’s resources and your pocketbook as well.

1. Go Green, Literally

Saving energy in your home isn’t entirely based on adjustments made in the home but also changing what is outside of it. To cut down on utility bills, get a green thumb and strategically update your landscaping. A natural andbeautiful addition, plant deciduous trees on the south and east sides of the houseand evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west to provide shade and act as a windbreaker. Well-positioned landscaping can save up to 25 percent of your home’s energy a typical household uses for heating and cooling according to the world-renowned Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

2. Insulate Common Energy-Loss Areas

The fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce energy dollars is to seal air leaks. Find these energy vacuums by holding a lit incense stick on a breezy daynear doors, fixtures and windows. If the smoke travels toward the areas rather than vertically, you’ve found a leak. Once identified, simply seal holes by using caulk,spray foam or weather strips. Common leaks are attic entrances, droppedceilings, recessed lights, water and furnace flues, ducts, door frames, chimneys, outlets and switches and plumbing and utility fixtures. Also, be sure to remove air-conditioning units in the fall and winter or use an insulated jacket on the exterior as these appliances invite drafts.

3. Watch the Windows

Windows can account for up to 25 percent of utility bills by leaking heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. For a functional and fashionable addition to the home to help prevent this, opt for highly energy efficient Hunter Douglas Duette®Architella® honeycomb shades, which feature an insulating honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb design that traps air. Certain Duette Architella shades can reduce solar heat gain through windows by up to 80 percent in the summer and reduce heat loss through windows by up to 40 percent in winter. This spring, three new fabrics and one additional street-side color option have been introduced to the line. These include an opaque fabric option ideal for bedrooms and media rooms for Duette Architella Batiste Bamboo fabric, which is made with sustainable and recycled materials. In fact, 45 percent of the fabric is bamboo.

Another choice for conserving your home’s energy in style is Vignette® Tiered™ Architella® ModernRoman Shades. This innovative design has rear fabric air pockets that trap air and double the degree of insulation provided by traditional Vignette Tiered shades. The sound absorption rating is also among the highest of any Hunter Douglas product.

4. All-Star Accessories and Appliances

When purchasing items that consume energy – everything from light bulbs to appliances – look for the ENERGY STAR® label. This label ensures you are purchasing an item that will help save you money and help protect the environment.

5. Clean and Green

Being clean can go a long way when it comes to your home’s energy efficiency. By simply keeping certain appliances in the best working condition you can save on energy costs. Start by servicing and cleaning your gas or oil furnace at least once a year and change or clear out furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Wipe or replace filters on air conditioners monthly or as recommended and do the same with warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed. Also, clean the lint screen in the laundry dryer after every load to increase air circulation and help prevent fire hazards.

6. Adjust When Away and By Time of Day

Cut down on utility bills while you’re away by investing in a programmable thermostat that lets you set temperatures by time of day. To adjust the window coverings for optimal performance, Hunter Douglas makes a Solar Energy Sensor that mounts directly to the window pane to control motorized window fashions. It’s an easy way to conserve energy without your having to lift a finger. In “Summer” mode, the sensor will lower shades when the outside temperature is too hot to prevent heat from coming intothe room. In “Winter” mode, the sensor raises the shades at the appropriate timeto allow solar energy into the room for warmth and closes the shades automatically when the temperature outdoors drops, keeping the warm air inside.

Try these energy-efficiency tips to help save on utility bills while making your home more comfortable.

Hunter Douglas, Inc., headquartered in Pearl River, N.Y, is the leading manufacturer and marketer of custom window fashions in North America and a major manufacturer of architectural products. The company is a national sponsor of Habitat forHumanity, covering windows in every Habitat home built in the U.S. and Canada.

Celebrate the Earth with a little planet-friendly FUN with the entire family! The following educational books and green games make for a wonderful evening of home spun entertainment while learning about Mother Earth at the same time.

Woodsy Words

Remember pick-up sticks? Taking the original game and making it both eco-friendly and educational, Woodsy Words builds reading skills with simple game play. To play, simply hold all the sticks in one hand and let them fall onto a flat surface. Then, select one stick – if you can extract it without moving any of the others, read the word printed on it and select another stick. Continue play until you bump another stick or get stuck on a word. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins! This new game features 30 Earth-friendly vocabulary words. The sticks are printed with vegetable ink on recycled paper. For ages 5+. www.educationalinsights.com

Smens® Pens

Can pens that are made from recycled newspapers smell fruity and delicious? Yes! Check out Smens, the latest release from the best-selling manufacturers of Smencils. Perfect for drawing, writing, and keeping score, Smens are available in gourmet scents including, Red Licorice, Creamsicle, Aloha, Mystery Scent, Banana fo Fana, Mocha, Passion Fruit, Ninja Berry, Pink Lemonade, and Black Licorice. Each Smen is individually wrapped in a stay-fresh biodegradable plastic tube and is guaranteed to keep its scent for two years. For ages 6+. www.educationalinsights.com

World Repair Kit by Serena & Lily

“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing…in Perfect Harmony…” Inspire kids to make the world a better place this Earth Day with the unique World Repair Kit by Serena & Lily! The kit contains a 205 page guidebook that is chock full of earth-friendly ideas that you and your family can do together to make a difference. Big or small, every action counts, and kids can stamp their passport once each activity is completed. Ages 8+. www.serenaandlily.com

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals; illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Compost Stew is a delightful alphabetical recipe that teaches youngsters how to create and use their very own home compost bin. With bouncy verses featuring items that will nourish Mother Earth and gorgeous illustrations that use recycled and found materials, this picture book furthers a timely message—to nurture and give back to the Earth.

Apple cores

Bananas, bruised

Coffee grounds with filters, used

Just add to the pot

and let it all rot

into Compost Stew!

Through Earth Day you can enter to win your very own copy of Compost Stew! Visit www.siddals.com.

Karaoke Fun with B. Okideoke

Sing along with the whole family while recording your voice with the B. Okideoke from B. Toys! Little ones can record a message or song, or sing along to 8 pre-recorded tunes. As B. Toys says, “Anything Worth Saying is Worth Saying Louder!” B eco-friendly too – the cool packaging is made from recycled paper and soy-based inks, and it wraps itself for an instant present, which Moms’ love! justb-byou.com

*Companies generously provided images and samples for this article.*

Head on over to Five Accessories to pick up some colorful & bright reusable shopping bags in time for Earth Day! Now through April 3oth, they are offering 20% off your entire purchase. Use the promo code ECO to save today!

Visit FiveAccessories.com to take advantage of this eco-fabulous deal.

*This is not a paid advertorial. Please see disclosure.*

From flip flops to playground? Yes! In honor of Earth Day, TerraCycle and Old Navy have partnered together in the Flip Flop Replay, which runs from April 22 – May 21, 2011. Now you can Reflip, Reflop, and Recycle for a fantastic initiative this Earth Day!

TerraCycle and Old Navy aim is to collect used flip flops and recycle them into four public playgrounds around the country. The public can stop in any Old Navy store in the U.S. to deposit used flip-flops in designated collection bins. This is the first time a nationwide retailer has initiated a large-scale effort to collect and recycle flip-flops. Where are you headed this Earth Day? Get the whole family involved by making the trip together to Old Navy to recycle last summer’s flip flops!

About TerraCycle
TerraCycle, Inc. is an international upcycling company that takes difficult to recycle packaging and turns it into affordable, eco-friendly products. Founded in 2001, TerraCycle (www.terracycle.net) is the world’s leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste. TerraCycle works with over 30 major brands in the U.S. (and in a growing number of other countries) to collect used packaging and products (chip bags, candy wrappers, juice pouches, pens, toothbrushes, etc.) that would otherwise be destined for landfills. It repurposes that waste into new eco-friendly materials and products that are available online and through major retailers. The waste is collected through TerraCycle’s Brigade programs, which are free fundraisers that pay schools and non-profits for every piece of waste they collect and return. For information on how to join a TerraCycle Brigade and on purchasing TerraCycle products please visit us at www.terracycle.net.

Just in time for Earth Day’s 40th anniversary comes this eBook from Fave Crafts which contains 42 different activities for you and the kiddos to create and enjoy using items commonly found around the home or typically tossed out with the trash! Turn junk mail into beads, use cans to make beautiful luminaries in the backyard – the fun never stops! In this economy, finding innovative, inexpensive ways to play and create are always welcome! To download your free eBook, visit Fave Crafts.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day – the perfect time for consumers to give back and make a marked impact on preserving the environment. To help consumers in their Earth Day efforts, Spend For Good has enlisted a number of the top retailers featured on its charitable shopping site, including Cooking.com, Land of Nod, Shopbop, eBags, Moosejaw and PetSmart, to double donations to its featured “green” charity Reverb on Earth Day, April 22.

“Earth Day is an important annual event that reminds each of us that we can do more to create a healthier, more sustainable environment,” said Cristal Mendlen, Spend For Good co-founder and managing director. “In these hard financial times, we are dedicated to making the process of giving back easier by allowing consumers to donate needed funds to important charities like Reverb, without having to reach back into their own pockets. We are excited that on Earth Day, shoppers on our site can give even more to the environment through the generous retailers who have increased donations.”

Reverb is a nonprofit organization that develops turn-key greening programs for musical artists’ tours while conducting grassroots outreach and education with music fans everywhere. Current artists partnering with Reverb include the Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Lilith Fair and the Honda Civic Tour among many others.

“We are committed to educating musicians and their fans to take action toward a more sustainable future,” said Lauren Sullivan, director and co-founder of Reverb. “The additional funds that Spend For Good and the dedicated retailers on its site are raising for us on Earth Day will make a difference in helping to further our mission.”

To participate in the Spend For Good Earth Day Shopping Event, all consumers need to do is shop through the Spend For Good site on April 22nd. While shoppers will be able to choose from hundreds of popular online stores on the site, they are encouraged to support those retail partners that have offered to double their contributions on Earth Day: Cooking.com (10% of purchase amount); Land of Nod (12%); Shopbop (14%); eBags (12%); Moosejaw (10%); and PetSmart (11%).

Event details:

What: Spend For Good Earth Day Online Shopping Event;

Top retailers will double charitable donations for purchases made through the Spend For Good site to support green music charity Reverb.

When: Thursday, April 22, 2010 – 12:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. CST

Where: Spend For Good Online Charitable Shopping Site – Spend For Good

*Company provided information for this event.*

Were you aware that the we are celebrating Earth Day’s 4oth Anniversary this year? In 1970, 20 million Americans sprung into action to bring environmental issues to the forefront, creating Earth Day, and in the same year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was also born! Thus began a stream of regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Hard to believe that only 40 years ago, a factory could dump toxic waste into a stream flowing nearby, and there were no legal ramifications for wreaking havoc on the ecosystem in the surrounding area. We’ve really come a long way in a short amount of time!

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day this year? Pledging to recycle more, and use less? Bringing your own cloth bags to the grocery store? Planting a vegetable garden this Spring?

For more illuminating facts on the history of Earth Day and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), visit Earth Day and EPA History.

The following is a guest post from bestselling author, Jamie Novak. Her newest book, Stop Throwing Money Away, is on shelves now!

In celebration of Earth Day, Jamie wanted to share with you the best tips that didn’t make it into her newest book, Stop Throwing Money Away, to turn clutter to cash, trash to treasure and save the planet while you’re at it!
Grab the five items below you probably already own and try these clever ways to reuse them to get more organized today:
Cardboard Paper Towel Insert
For kid’s artwork. Need a way to protect that noodle and glitter creation for years to come? Roll it and insert it into the tube. Put your child’s name and the year on the outside so you can remember who created what and when.
An Egg Carton
As a jewelry organizer. No more tangled necklaces or missing earrings. Use the egg carton to store commonly worn jewelry. Earrings, bracelets and necklaces will each have an individual section plus you can use the lid as the place to store watches.
Clothespins
For socks. Do you have a pile of unmatched socks? Most people do! Instead of trying to match socks after they’re laundered keep them together through the laundering process by clipping matches together as soon as you take them off using a clothespin.
CD Cases
For photos. If you adhere a magnet onto the back of a CD case you can then stick a photo inside and hang the ‘frame’ on the side of a filing cabinet or the front of the fridge.
Magnet
In the medicine cabinet. Adhere a magnet to the inside of the medicine cabinet door or under one of the shelves. Then you can stick tweezers or clippers to the magnet so they are within reach.

Hopefully Jamie has inspired you to tackle a project! She hopes you will join her at the Bite Size Living Cafe where all sorts of great discussions are taking place!

A BIG thanks to Jamie, “The World’s Most Relatable Organizer”

Stop by Fawn & Forest to enter their Earth Day giveaway and win these fabulous finds: books by Jennifer Ward or organic clothing by barley & birch! In addition, through April 23rd, Fawn & Forest is a 10% discount off your ENTIRE purchase in celebration of Earth Day.

In honor of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, Drugstore.com is giving away a FREE Seventh Generation Shopping Tote, filled with $40 worth of goodies when you spend $30 or more! This awesome freebie is loaded with favorites brands of “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom, such as Burt’s Bee’s, Avalon Organics, and Larabar!

Thanks Suddenly Frugal!