Green Living

Published on November 21st, 2014 | by gatsbyadmin

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Advice for Dealing with the Snow & Cold from #4pieces

When it’s not even the middle of November and the temperature is plummeting into the negatives, the last thing you’re thinking about is the most “eco-friendly” way to deal with the horrifying cold – there are plenty of ways to refresh and “greenify” your cold-winter habits that are so often overlooked. Check out these easy tips that you’ve probably never even thought of to ease your conscience and the impact on Mother Nature this winter!

 

Choose Safer Anti-Freeze

Just 2 ounces of the standard ethylene glycol antifreeze can kill a dog. Propylene glycol offers a much less toxic alternative (although with fossil fuel origins, it’s hardly eco-friendly). Since both kinds pick up hazardous heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and chromium during use, recycle spent antifreeze to minimize impact. Ask your repair shop about on-site recycling or find a local collection facility at earth911.org.

 

Fight Frost Naturally

To prevent ice from covering home and car windows, rub the inside of the glass with a saltwater-soaked sponge; dry with a clean cloth. You won’t see it, but a residue from the salt will remain to ward off frost. For extra oomph, spray a solution of three parts white vinegar and one part water on the outside of the glass, then wipe dry.

 

Use Better De-Icers

Steer clear of rock salt (sodium chloride) and urea-based de-icers. Not only can they pollute habitats with plant-killing runoff, but they can also corrode concrete, destroy your lawn (even a snow-covered one), and contaminate water supplies. Better bets? Sand, which provides traction without damaging salt-sensitive landscapes, and calcium chloride, which may still hurt vegetation, but is free of the cyanide present in rock salt.

 

Burn Smarter

Steer clear of rock salt (sodium chloride) and urea-based de-icers. Not only can they pollute habitats with plant-killing runoff, but they can also corrode concrete, destroy your lawn (even a snow-covered one), and contaminate water supplies. Better bets? Sand, which provides traction without damaging salt-sensitive landscapes, and calcium chloride, which may still hurt vegetation, but is free of the cyanide present in rock salt.

 

Minimize Idling

Don’t let your car idle for more than 30 seconds. Beyond wasting fuel, excessive idling strains cylinders, spark plugs, exhaust systems, and engines, which work best in motion — not in neutral. The best way to warm up the car? Drive it. If your area regularly drops below 20 degrees, consider installing a block heater, which warms essential components without wasting fuel. It can cost a few hundred dollars, but you’ll save gas and reduce emissions by up to 60 percent.

 

Upgrade Your Hearth

EPA-certified wood-burning stoves produce an average of 70 percent less particulate emissions than their old, uncertified counterparts. If your stove is more than 20 years old, it’s probably time for an update. Find a certified professional who can install your new stove properly (so you get maximum efficiency and minimal pollution) through the National Fireplace Institute (nficertified.org).

 

Let the Sunshine In

Even in winter, the sun’s rays provide a fair amount of warmth. Take advantage of this free heating by opening blinds and curtains on the windows that receive the most light (usually on the east side). At night, draw heavy insulating drapes to help preserve warmth, or invest in “low-e” Energy Star-certified windows (especially on the north side of the house). Learn more at energystar.gov.

 

 

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