Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home Depot Announces Free In-Store CFL Recycling Program

Home Depot has announced (PDF) a free in-store, consumer CFL bulb recycling program at all of its 1,973 stores in the U.S. It also announced that it expects to save $16 million in annual energy costs by switching all of its U.S. Light Fixture Showrooms to CFLs by the fall of 2008. Expired, unbroken CFL bulbs will be handled by an environmental management company that will "coordinate CFL packaging, transportation and recycling to maximize safety and ensure environmental compliance," Home Depot says. Home Depot says it sold more than 75 million CFL's in 2007, which saved Americans approximately $4.8 billion in energy costs and 51.8 billon pounds in GHG from entering the atmosphere over the life of the bulbs. Wal-Mart, which has twice as many stores in the U.S. as Home Depot, has accepted expired bulbs at times and is exploring how to do it consistently on a national level, the New York Times reports."With more than 75 percent of households located within 10 miles of a Home Depot store, this program is the first national solution to providing Americans with a convenient way to recycle CFLs," said Ron Jarvis, senior vice president, Environmental Innovation.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Ultimate Guide to Hypermiling: 100 Driving and Car Tips and Resources

Hypermiling, or driving your car “in a manner that maximizes mileage,” has become more popular among drivers worldwide, as concerns over increasing gas prices and environmental issues heighten. Whether you’re trying to make a difference by helping the environment, or you’re just aiming to save a few more dollars at the pump each month, check out this ultimate guide to hypermiling, which provides tips and resources for smart driving.
Driving Tips
Below is a list of hypermiling tips that drivers can implement while behind the wheel. We recommend practicing one or two tips at a time and gradually working your way up to the whole list so that you aren’t overwhelmed.
*Drive a stick shift: If you’re used to driving automatic, switching over to a stick shift might take a little practice, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you have more control over the vehicle, you’ll be able to master more hypermiling tricks.
*Stop speeding: The harder you press the gas pedal, the more gas you’re using. If you’re driving over the speed limit, you might save time, but you’re definitely wasting gas and money. Slow down a little if you can so that you’re driving at or just below the actual speed limit.
*Coast instead of braking: When you see a stop sign up ahead or a traffic light turning yellow, immediately take your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down by itself. If you wait until the last possible minute to brake, then you’re wasting all the gas you used when you could have been slowing down.
*Cruise Control: One automatic setting that actually helps hypermiling is cruise control, which prevents “you from “creeping” up in speed without realizing it,” according to
Put your car in neutral: Coasting with your car in neutral takes the burden off your gas pedal preventing you from wasting fuel. If you’re not driving in heavy traffic, experiment with this effective money saver.
*Lighten the load: The heavier your car is, the harder it has to work to propel itself forward. Empty out your trunk and backseat of ice chests, beach chairs, and other items that you’re not using to lighten the load.
*“Shift slow and low”: The site urges drivers to “shift slow and low,” whenever possible to give your vehicle more mileage.
*Drafting: This technique comes with a warning sign: according to many hypermiling experts, it is incredibly dangerous. A “deliberate form of tailgating,” the forced auto stop involves turning off your car’s engine and then following closely behind the vehicle in front of you “in order to take advantage of the reduced wind resistance in [the other car's] immediate wake.”
*Find a route that’s easy on your vehicle: A story in the Washington Post discusses the benefits of “optimiz[ing] your route” when implementing hypermiling tricks. Instead of taking the scenic route to work, which could include more hills, twists, and dips, try finding a route that features level roads and less traffic lights or stop signs. Generally, “a longer route with better driving conditions” can use “less gas.”
*Park in the Sun: The blogger Joe Future believes that parking your vehicle in the sun is a hypermiling tip for two reasons: “On a cold day, parking in the sun keeps your car warmer.” Also, a warmer car “will get to “auto-stop” mode faster than a cold car, so you’ll sit idling at fewer red lights while you’re waiting for auto-stop to kick in.”
*Roll down the windows if you’re not on the highway: After the scorching hot temperatures of the summer have retreated, stop blasting the air conditioner and roll down your windows. According to, “It is generally accepted that air-conditioning increases fuel consumption by about 10 percent but winding down the windows increases drag, which is also an enemy of good fuel consumption.” If you’re going to be on the highway, keeping your A/C on low is still a good idea, but if you’re taking a joy ride, think about getting a little fresh air.
*Turn off the car before putting it in park: Joe Future suggests turning off your vehicle before putting it in park to save gas. If you don’t, “the gas engine will come on before you shut off the car.”
*Don’t leave the car running: It may seem like a good idea to let your car idle while you dash into the store to grab the milk or drop off a rented movie, but doing so wastes gas. Take the extra few seconds to pull into a real parking spot and turn the car off first.
Maintenance Tips
Taking your car for regular check ups is another easy way to maximize mileage. Check out these helpful maintenance hacks that will keep your car running smoothly and efficiently.
*Get an oil change: Keeping up with scheduled oil changes will help your engine run more easily. Adequate oil levels and lower-weight oil can also make a difference in how quickly your vehicle burns fuel
*Check your tire pressure: Tires that are beginning to lose air and go flat put more stress on your engine, making it work harder and burn more fuel. Keep a tire gauge in your car and frequently check the tire pressure.
*Engine Control Module: Your vehicle’s engine control module “controls various aspects of an internal combustion engine’s operation,” including the amount of fuel being used by the engine, the ignition timing, and the variable valve timing. Making sure your engine control module is working properly will help you gauge how much fuel your car is using on a regular basis.
*Tire Balance: If your tires aren’t balanced correctly, you could end up wearing out certain tires faster than others, causing them to lose air and forcing your engine to work harder. Get a check-up for your tires if you think yours are out of whack.
*Conduct a seasonal check up: During the winter, your car could become bogged down with extra weight from snow chains, heavier tires, or other items. During the summer, you’ll probably be using your air conditioner nearly every day. Before each season, give your car a check up to unburden it of needless weight and to make sure the engine, A/C and other systems are in proper order.

For more information about hypermiling and techniques to save fuel, visit

Financial adviser tells Shawnee community how to invest sustainably

Shawnee News-Star
Posted May 28, 2008
SHAWNEE, Okla. — Jason Claborn will speak at Sustainable Shawnee’s general meeting tonight on how to wisely invest money in sustainable businesses and mutual funds.Claborn is a 13-year veteran of the financial services industry and is president of Modern Wealth Management, an independent financial services firm in Norman. He specializes in tailoring his clients’ investments and financial planning around their moral, environmental or social values. Claborn will share how to support sustainable companies engaged in cutting-edge, renewable energy technologies and other “green” activities while enjoying an above-average return on money. Claborn is also a board member with the Oklahoma Sustainability Network. The Sustainable Shawnee meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the University Baptist Church on North Kickapoo, and the public is welcome. Visit for more information on Sustainable Shawnee activities.

Shawnee home builders go green under adoption of new guidelines

Shawnee News-Star
Posted May 24, 2008 @ 09:36 PM

SHAWNEE, Okla. — The Oklahoma State Home Builders Association (OSHBA) is adopting stringent national guidelines by the National Association of Home Builders Green Building program.
“We really did not want to reinvent the wheel,” said Todd Booze, OSHBA’s Green Building Council chairman. “Our national association has spent a lot of time and effort in establishing the guidelines for an across-the-board approach to green building. We felt that the adoption of this program for our members was the most prudent choice.”
Link Cowen, president of the Shawnee Home Builders Association, said the national association will soon announce it is the only green building program certified by the American National Standards Institute. The Shawnee Home Builders Association is under the umbrella of the state association.
Cowen said this makes for a true third-party certification, setting the gold standard for all programs for consistency of product.
The move is designed to bring confidence to the consumer.
David Ritchie, OSHBA president, said the state association wanted to make sure the OSHBA program was not just a “green washing,” which means someone is claiming to build green without it truly being a comprehensive program.
OSHBA is demonstrating an early commitment to the program with the current renovation of the organization’s headquarters in Oklahoma City. Everything from the heat pump to installation of fluorescent lighting follows the green guidelines.
The carpeting is even produced from a recycled product.
Ritchie said, “I can say green building is the future, but the proof is ‘what are you doing?’ Our renovated headquarters will demonstrate that first step.”