Category Archives: quick sustainable tip

Why CFLs are not the future

The next time you have a bright idea the light bulb above your head will no longer be an incandescent bulb, but instead a CFL (compact fluorescent light). But is changing from incandescents to CFLs a bright idea?

There are a lot of issues with both incandescent bulbs and CFLs, which should mean that CFLs reign as the light of choice will be much shorter than the time we’ve depended on incandescents. In this era of quality over quantity (at least I’m hopeful this era is in its infancy), the pendulum of what we require will fall on the side of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), which provides the same quality of light as incandescents with a much longer life span.

For an apple-to-apple comparison of the past, present, and future of lights (as described from this article):

 

Projected life span:

Incandescent — 1,200 hours

CFL — 10,000 hours (Eight times longer)

LED — 50,000 hours (42 times longer)

Electricity used to produce light equal to that of a 60-watt incandescent bulb:

Incandescent — 60 watts

CFL — 14 watts

LED — 6 watts

Cost per bulb:

Incandescent — $1.25

CFL — $3.95

LED — $20

Annual operating cost based on equivalent of 30 incandescent bulbs:

Incandescent — $328.59

CFL — $76.65

LED — $32.85

Instantly turns on:

Incandescent — Yes

CFL — No

LED — Yes

Contains toxic waste:

Incandescent — No

CFL — Yes

LED — No

Quick Sustainable Tip: Reuse Greeting Cards

Tis the season for purging all of our holiday garbage.  I just came across the St. Jude’s website that will hopefully be beneficial for anyone with holiday greeting cards still lying around.  They’ve created a recycled card program that reuses the front of any greeting card and creates a new card.  You benefit by keeping your cards from a landfill, and St. Jude’s benefits by teaching children lessons about sustainability and from selling the reused cards to better promote the program.

Definitely check it out.

Quick Sustainable Tip: Digital Magazines

I love looking through magazines, and I’m incredibly moody when it comes to which one I read.  There’s a few I check out relating to architecture (dwell when I’m in the mood for modern residential projects, and Architectural Record to see what’s going on with the same twelve most famous architects in the world [that’s a bit of a generalization, but not really]).  When I used to frequent the laundromat I always had to have a car magazine to pass the time away.  Now I have a subscription to Entrepreneur to motivate and hone my business sense, and every once in a while when I visit the bookstore I purchase a magazine that doesn’t mention the word “architecture” just to give some other brain cells the chance to have some fun.

The one thing that I hate about magazines is that they last for a few days before I pitch them.  There are those dwell magazines that I have piled up in one of our closets, but soon after they fall and give my wife a concussion I sort through them and throw away at least half of them.

Recently I’ve been receiving a digital copy of Building Design + Construction.  Definitely not a fun magazine unless you’re addicted to the world of architecture, but the digital format is great.  And there are many other magazines that offer this same digital format.

The Read Green Initiative offers a free one year subscription to a digital format of quite a few magazines.  And the website Zinio even has a few free samples of digital magazines.  Whether you’re into reading Car and Driver or looking forward to the centerfold in the summer edition of Elevator World there’s most likely something there for you.

I succumbed to my inner architectural geek and got a free subscription to Green Source.  To receive the free subscription through The Read Green Initiative (a part of Zinio) all I had to submit was an email address.  And with Zinio I was able to download a free reader program so that I could read my digital magazine without being online.  There are also free issues of magazines, which I’ve got my eyes on one for Motor Trend.  Looks like it’s time to download the free issue and do some laundry.

Quick Sustainable Tip: Stop Receiving Catalogs in the Mail

A popular marketing strategy that retailers have involves sending a catalog of their goods and services to anyone they have a mailing address for.  I’m sure most people receive catalogs in the mail that are immediately pitched in the recycle bin without ever being opened.

It takes a lot of natural resources to produce paper catalogs (53 million trees a year, 56 billion gallons of wastewater, and when they’re thrown out they create 4.1 million tons of waste).  If you want to save a few trees and alleviate the hassle of you tossing these out check out Catalog Choice.  From there you can stop the delivery of a good number of catalogs, and if you don’t see the one you receive in the mail you can submit your catalog and they’ll verify if its one they can stop.  And it’s free.

Quick Sustainable Tip: Reuse Greeting Cards

Tis the season for purging all of our holiday garbage.  I just came across the St. Jude’s website that will hopefully be beneficial for anyone with holiday greeting cards still lying around.  They’ve created a recycled card program that reuses the front of any greeting card and creates a new card.  You benefit by keeping your cards from a landfill, and St. Jude’s benefits by teaching children lessons about sustainability and from selling the reused cards to better promote the program.

Definitely check it out.

Quick Sustainable Tip: Internet Fax Service

I hate fax machines.  I mean I REALLY hate them.  If you have a fax machine there’s the cost and resources necessary for keeping it going, which includes the machine itself, paper, ink, usually a dedicated phone line, and lots of patience from dealing with busy signals.  If you don’t have a fax machine you are then relegated to going to the neighborhood FedEx|Kinkos, paying a few bucks per page faxed, and if you’re incredibly fortunate you don’t have to fight the machine as it pulls your page in sideways.

If you don’t want to deal with the headaches of the fax machine and you already have internet access then you’re ready for an internet fax service.  The faxes show up in your specified email inbox (usually up to a few different email inboxes if you desire) as a PDF or some other file format so you can file them or forward them onto someone else with ease.

The service usually costs in the range of ten dollars a month and it works exactly like email.  You save money and resources by not having to purchase all of the items required for a fax machine, and you will never get a busy signal.  And you usually have the choice of getting a fax number with a local area code or an 800 number.

There are many internet fax providers to choose from so you definitely have options for finding one that best fits your needs.

So go save a lot of paper, ink, money, and maybe more importantly your sanity.