Interested in learning more about creating a green home? Then get ready for the latest Business & The Environment lecture.

Are you ready to consider energy efficient, sustainable technologies but don’t know what you want or where to begin? Solar panels or geothermal? Greened roofs or rainwater recovery? Which insulation? What building materials? With the industry changing so rapidly, making the right decision can be very confusing, not just for the homeowner, but for architects and contractors.

To help in that decision, Stephen Grasso and Rainer Schrom of Partners for Architecture will identify the wide spectrum of available technologies and improvements that can make a building more energy efficient and sustainable, and compare them according to effectiveness, cost of installation, cost savings potential and environmental impact. It promises to be a lively and informative program. Bring your questions.

Speakers: Stephen Grasso & Rainer Schrom, Architects
Partners for Architecture

Date: February 11, 2009

Time: 12 noon – 1:30 pm
Lunch: 12 – 12:20pm
Presentation: 12:20 – 1:30 pm

Place: Purdue Pharma
201 Tresser Blvd., Stamford

Co-Sponsor: Purdue Pharma

Reservations: soundbusiness@soundwaters.org or 203-406-3335

green-cupThe Green Cup Challenge is …

a first-ever competition between Westport, Weston and Wilton to see which town is the “greenest.”

The contest ends on January 31, 2009.

To help Westport win, visit the site today and take the simple survey. That’s it!

Three simple things to do today:

  1. Sign up for Clean Energy
  2. Take the We Green Westport Pledge
  3. Complete the Green Cup Challenge survey

GreenTips from Union of Concerned Scientists

Most people shopping for a high-definition television (HDTV) consider screen size, resolution, and auxiliary connections—but what about energy use? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the more than 275 million TVs in this country consume over 50 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the output of more than 10 coal-fired power plants, according to researchers at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

While display technology has become more efficient over the years—liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology uses less energy per square inch than older cathode-ray tube (CRT) technology—energy use increases with screen size regardless of the technology. Some of today’s HDTVs, as a matter of fact, can consume more electricity in a year than a refrigerator.

Energy consumption varies widely between HDTVs, even between models of similar size. There are ways to ensure your new TV is as efficient as possible:

* Choose the most efficient technology. There are three HDTV technologies on the market today: plasma, LCD, and rear-projection microdisplay (commonly known as DLP, or digital light processing). A study by technology reviewer CNET found that, on average, plasma TVs are the least efficient, consuming 0.33 watt of electricity per square inch of screen, while LCD TVs are slightly better at 0.28 watt per inch. Your best choice to save energy is DLP, which consumes only 0.13 watt per inch.

* Choose Energy Star-rated models. On November 1, 2008, the EPA released new Energy Star specifications that now set maximum energy consumption limits for TVs in both standby and active modes (previous specifications applied only to standby mode). TVs that meet these new requirements (see the Related Resources) will be up to 30 percent more efficient than non-qualified models.

Even if you’re not in the market for a new TV, there are ways to reduce the energy being consumed by your current TV:

* Unplug the TV when it is not in use. TVs that have a standby mode continue to draw power even when turned “off.”

* Turn off the “quick start” option (if applicable). Just by waiting a few more seconds for the TV to warm up, you can significantly reduce standby power consumption.

* Turn down the brightness settings. Many LCD TVs also have a backlight setting that is often set in stores to be brighter than necessary for most home environments.

* Buy an Energy Star-rated digital-to-analog (DTA) converter box if you own an analog TV and do not plan to upgrade to digital by February 2009. According to the EPA, if all analog TV owners used Energy Star converter boxes, global warming pollution would be lowered by an amount equivalent to taking a million cars off the road.

Plastic Bags in NYC Will Carry a Fee

In its struggle to make New York more green, the Bloomberg administration has tried discouraging people from using plastic bags. It has taken out ads beseeching residents to use cloth bags and set up recycling bins for plastic bags at supermarkets.

But now the carrots have been put away, and the stick is out: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has called for charging shoppers 6 cents for every plastic bag needed at the register.

If the proposal passes, New York City would follow the lead of many European countries and become one of the first places in the United States to assess a so-called plastic bag tax

Not without critics though…

Another concern is whether the tax would hurt poor residents, as well as small businesses, disproportionately — a concern mentioned by council members, environmentalists and manufacturers alike.

Recently announced, Connecticut has a new solar lease program for qualifying residents.  One of the eligible installation firms is CSolar who passed along this release:

“Connecticut Leads the Way with the Nation’s First Rate Pay Supported Residential Leasing Program for Solar Energy”

The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) and CT Solar Leasing, LLC have combined the power of CCEF’s innovative Solar Rebate program and the financial power of leasing to create an unbeatable way for qualifying homeowner customers of CL&P and UI to add solar energy to their homes for the lowest possible cost.

About the Program:

• $0 Down Payment!
• Low fixed monthly payments – less than $120 per month for the typical system!
• Interest rate is 5.5% fixed.
• Leasing is for 15 years and at the end of your CT Solar Lease™ you have the option to buy the system at its current value, extend your lease for another 5 years at a reduced rate, or have the system removed.

Who is eligible?
The CT Solar Lease Program is for Connecticut homeowner customers of CL&P and UI who are:
Installing qualifying Solar PV systems:
• In their 1 to 4 family owner-occupied homes
• Whose household income is 200% or less of their area’s median income
• Who meet the credit qualifications of the program
Homeowners earning over the minimum income are still eligible for CCEF’s Solar Rebate Program.
ACT NOW! To find out more specific information on how solar can help save you money on your increasing electric bills, call your local C Solar LLC representative for a free site evaluation today at (203) 504-2250.

To find out more information about the CT Solar Lease program and determine your eligibility visit their website at http://www.ctsolarlease.com.

All eligible solar installers are pre-approved by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and CT Solar Leasing. This is an excellent opportunity for solar panel installation on your home with no down payment and a fixed monthly rate. Reduce your electricity bills with the power of the sun.

Six Products, Six Carbon Footprints

A new concept is entering the consumer lexicon: the carbon footprint.

First came organic. Then came fair trade. Now makers of everything from milk to jackets to cars are starting to tally up the carbon footprints of their products. That’s the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that get coughed into the air when the goods are made, shipped and stored, and then used by consumers.
So far, these efforts raise as many questions as they answer. Different companies are counting their products’ carbon footprints differently, making it all but impossible for shoppers to compare goods. And even if consumers come to understand the numbers, they might not like what they find out.

For instance, many products’ global-warming impact depends less on how they’re made than on how they’re used. That means the easiest way to cut carbon emissions may be to buy less of a product or use it in a way that’s less convenient.

So, what are the carbon footprints of some of the common products we use? How are they calculated? And what surprises do they hold? What follows is a look at six everyday items — cars, shoes, laundry detergent, clothing, milk and beer — and the numbers that go with them.