July 10, 2015 Doing A Bit Better

UpCycling 101 – What Is It?

“A term that’s popping up more and more in the green world is “upcycling”. But what is it, and who does it benefit?  More importantly, who’s leading this movement and what are they doing?

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials into something that’s usable and “new”. It’s like recycling but not in the sense of turning glass bottles back into glass bottles.  It’s more like turning old soda cans into jewelry, or old barn wood into a coffee table.  While people have been upcycling for years, the movement has lately grown – it’s no longer just for the hardcore DIY’ers – in fact, anyone can do it.

Instead of ending up in a landfill or being processed through a recycling center (which does waste energy and water), our waste products gain new life through upcycling at home. These projects make great gifts, and are sold through various outlets such as Etsy.

Alchemy Goods is another leader in the space of upcycling, and produces messenger bags, wallets and totes using old tarps, banners, seatbelts and tire tubing.

Another company, Terracycle, has made its sole purpose to upcycle all of those things that can’t necessarily be recycled or are difficult to recycle (such as Capri Sun packages). Their products are made from crowd-sourced materials and donors are credited for future purchases.

These aren’t the only games in town, and you should certainly explore some home-friendly upcycling crafts on your own or with your family! It’s one more way that you can do a bit better!

 

 “

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Family

Monday Tip of the Week: Make Story Magnets from old children’s books

Our friends over at Sun Hat & Wellie Boots have some great tips for green living. One of our favorites... Read

Our friends over at Sun Hat & Wellie Boots have some great tips for green living. One of our favorites is upcycled children’s books turned into story book magnets.

The steps are simple. Take an old book (a great place to pick these up would be your local library’s book sales–you can usually get children’s books for $.25 a piece!), you cut the images you would like, use a thicker card stock or old manila folder for backing, laminate, and attach some magnetic tape.

This is a great way to teach your children the importance of re-using, and will help their imaginations grow!

 

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Environment

Green Ideas – Great Green Summer Camps

Environmentally-friendly may not be the first thing to come to mind when planning your kid’s summer camp schedule, but why... Read

Environmentally-friendly may not be the first thing to come to mind when planning your kid’s summer camp schedule, but why not consider some green ideas?  Believe it or not, there are some great summer camps that combine environmental education with fun outdoor activities.  So once you get over the thought of letting them live in the wild for a few weeks, here are a few recommendations:

IslandWood School in the Woods, Bainbridge Island, Washington – The camp prides itself on being a model of evolving sustainable practices in addition to serving as an outdoor classroom

Hog Island, Maine’s Audubon Center Summer Camp – Hog Island hosts educational programs focused on ornithology, ecology and conservation

Tanglewood 4-H Camp, Maine – A nonprofit partnered with the University of Maine. The goal is “to leave no child or adult inside,” and offers a range of opportunities include learning about sea life, forest ecosystems, sustainable living and much more

Youth Empowered Action Camp, locations in OR, CA and NJ – YEA Camp is for kids who want to make a difference in the world

Plantation Farm Camp, Cazadero, CA – Campers learn what it’s like to live on a sustainable farm

Now send your kids out to summer camp knowing they are learning how to live green and appreciate our planet

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Family

Tin Can Art Supply System

“Our kids all seem to be little Rembrandts. They love to color, draw, paste and paint – and sometimes stick... Read

“Our kids all seem to be little Rembrandts. They love to color, draw, paste and paint – and sometimes stick pencils into play dough.  But at times storing these items can be less than ideal. Thankfully, we found a practical (and, may we say, beautiful) way to store your art supplies.

What You’ll Need
8 Clean tin cans
Metal sandpaper
Green metal cleaner
Heavy-duty magnets
Hot glue gun
Steel cookie sheet
Label maker or a sheet of paper
Pan head screws (optional)
Drill (optional)

 Steps
1. Sand down the open edges of the cans with the metal sandpaper. Make sure the edges are nice and smooth to avoid any ouchies later.  Bandages also optional. You can find metal sandpaper at your local hardware store.

2. Using a green cleaner, go to town on the cookie sheet to get it clean and make it look nice.

3. Hot glue the magnets to the outside of the tin can.  The magnet should be vertical, going along the vertical length of the can.

4. Using the label maker, create some nice labels to keep things clearly organized. Or, be creative and help the kids make nice labels!

5. Using the magnets, attach the cans to the cookie sheet.

6. If you plan on hanging your masterpiece storage facility, drill a small hole into each corner of the cookie sheet. Lastly, mount it to the wall with 4 pan-head screws.

7. Let the kids pick which can they want each of their art supplies in – it’s more likely that they’ll put things away if they get to decide where they go.

If the cookie sheet you’re using is particularly old, here’s a great way to make it look brand new: Line your sink with aluminum foil and place the cookie sheet inside. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda over the cookie sheet (somewhat evenly), then pour boiling water over it. Putting some elbow-grease into it, scrub particularly aged spots, making sure to push the baking soda into it. Finally, pour 8 cups of white vinegar over the mixture and let sit for 10 minutes. Give it one last scrub with the bubbly mixture, and then rinse.

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Doing A Bit Better

5 Tips to make your Fall a little bit better

The heat is still upon us, but not for long! As fall is right around the corner, the days will... Read

The heat is still upon us, but not for long! As fall is right around the corner, the days will start to get shorter and the sidewalks will become littered with leaves. Here are some tips for your home and your family that will help you do a little bit better during the changing of the seasons:

  1. Check the furnace
    • One of the easiest ways to make sure your home is efficient is to test and make sure your furnace/fireplace is clean. Not only does this make winter stress free because you know that your furnace or chimney will work throughout winter, it’s also a money saver.
    • Cleaning around the furnace will allow it to run smoothly thus giving you more heat with less energy during the winter.
  2. Insulate the house
    • Check the windows around your house for proper caulking, make sure your windows are sealed tight and no breeze is coming through. Plastic film can sometimes work as an alternative.
    • Make sure doors are weather stripped and replace strips if necessary. If there’s a draft coming through replace the threshold of the door or use towels, blankets, or old sweaters (we will discuss these items further below) to place under the doors.
    • Hang a thick curtain or blanket in front of your doors to block cold air from entering the house.
  3. Create/purify air flow
    • If you have a ceiling fan, adjust the settings so that the fan is going in reverse. If you’re standing underneath the fan and can feel the breeze from it then make sure to turn it the opposite way. This maneuver allows for air to be pushed up against the ceiling and down the walls, allowing the air flow to re-circulate the warm air without causing a chilling effect.
    • Clean vents to ensure debris and dust aren’t getting into the air flow of your house. You’re going to essentially button up your house during the winter and you don’t want to have to open windows because your house is too stuffy.
    • Move objects away from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor, or radiators so that air moves freely around your house. Also, as said above, make sure to clean around these areas.
  4. For the kids (Going back to school)
    • Buy clothes and materials from second hand stores/thrift shops. There’s chic thrift stores for all ages now!
    • Bring your own reusable bags to go shopping.
    • Avoid single use packaging food when preparing lunches. Also, try and reuse Ziploc bags for however long you can.
    • Make sure to not buy school materials in bulk.
    • Have a “Swap” party: invite families to exchange clothing and usable school supplies.
    • If you drive your kids to the bus stop, bundle them up and walk them to the bus stop as an alternative.
  5. Everyday Stuff
    • Clean the gutters and make sure that your downspouts are pointed away from your house will provide piece of mind when the weather is unfavorable. And while you’re up there, why not check out the roof’s condition to make sure it’ll last through the upcoming seasons?
    • Open blinds in the morning/during the day to attract heat and then close them at night to retain the heat. Honeycomb blinds are especially efficient.
    • Go through the family’s wardrobe and re-purpose items. For example, use old t-shirts as new kitchen rags for cleaning, or old sweaters and towels as a way to ventilate your house.
    • Organize the kitchen, the refrigerator should be checked to ensure it is sealed tight as to not let cold air into the house. And food that is old or not needed should be composted or thrown out. Room in the refrigerator is needed for ample air flow.
    • Get rid of cleaning products that contain harmful chemicals, especially triclosan. DIY cleaning products using baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice are highly accepted. If not able to make cleaning products yourself, Method and Seven Generations cleaning products are great alternatives to conventional cleaning products.
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Family

Eat, Grill and be Green

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, no, the OTHER most wonderful time of the year.  That’s right... Read

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, no, the OTHER most wonderful time of the year.  That’s right – it’s almost Summer, which means barbecue season! Unfortunately, barbecues can mean a lot of waste.  Here are some ways to green up your barbecue for those festive occasions:

-Go Local! Buying local ingredients supports your local farmers, but it also has benefits to you. It usually means fresher veggies and fruits – which means it hasn’t been on the truck as long.  If you shop at your local farmers market, you can usually talk to the farmers or their family directly about how their food is grown and which of their produce is organic.

-Consider Solar Lights. They’ve come down in price quite drastically in the last few years, and come in many forms.  Consider some solar light stakes, or these lovely Pagoda Solar Lanterns from Bambeco.  Just think how nice they would look strung all across your back yard!

-Get a Keg. Okay, if you’re going to serve beer, it makes way more sense to get a keg!  Your beer cost goes way down, while the sustainability factor goes way up. Drinking out of mason jars is also a great idea, as they’re reusable, washable, and it’s not as big of a deal if someone writes their name on one or breaks one.  If you absolutely insist upon the red cup, just wash them afterwards.  They’re not dishwasher safe but will hold up in the sink for 5-10 more uses.

-Use Those Disposables Up. We’re not a fan of using disposable anything.  Even if it’s recycled, it’s still so wasteful!  But you’ve undoubtedly gotten plenty of disposable napkins and cutlery from your favorite takeout place. Now’s a good time to use those up.  You can even wash those afterwards and use them a few more times.

-Consider Cloth. Cloth napkins will really class up your party, and won’t end up in the landfill.  They’re not expensive, and you can even make your own out of fabric scraps, old jeans, etc.
Now get out there and show your green gang just how well you grill!”

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Housewares

Quick Fix to Stop the Drip

“An average American consumer uses about 100 gallons of water per day- or 1,600 glasses.  Household water consumption has increased... Read

“An average American consumer uses about 100 gallons of water per day- or 1,600 glasses.  Household water consumption has increased by 200% since 1950, despite our population having only grown by 90%.  As a result, more than 36 states are expected to face water shortages in the next six years.  Stemming the flow is as easy as fixing a leaky faucet or toilet.  A dripping faucet can waste up to 74 gallons of water a day and a leaking toilet up to 200 gallons per day.

In repairing a leaky toilet you can save $30 a year, which may not sound like much, however, it’s also saving 73,00 gallons of water.”

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Family

Earth Day Ideas for Everyone

“Before you start planning your Mother’s day festivities, it’s time to say “Thanks!” to your OTHER mom.  You know, Mother... Read

“Before you start planning your Mother’s day festivities, it’s time to say “Thanks!” to your OTHER mom.  You know, Mother Earth!  She’s been great and she’s done a lot for you.  Sure, she has temper tantrums once in a while, but if we don’t take care of her now, she won’t be around for too long (relatively speaking).

Okay, innuendo aside, it’s time to consider how you’ll celebrate Earth Day this Sunday!  Here are a few ideas (and just to prove we walk the walk, we’ll be doing these as well).

Walk, don’t drive
Plan ahead so that you don’t have to drive anywhere on Sunday. Spare the air your carbon emissions, just for one day!  If you have stores or coffee shops within walking distance, consider those instead.

Lose the Appliances
We rarely think about the chain of events that goes into something as simple as turning on the television – but chances are that at least some of your electricity comes from fossil fuels.  You’ll be surprised at everything you can get done without running appliances.

-Eat raw so that you don’t have to cook
-Use candles for lights (it’s romantic, and kind of like camping!)
-Skip the TV and read a book.  Storytelling is a great way to entertain even the little ones

Plant something
We understand that planting a tree doesn’t work for everyone (especially us urbanites).  That said, planting SOMETHING is still feasible.  Plants add much needed Oxygen to the atmosphere, and attract your friendly neighborhood bee for local pollination.

Now get out there and show “mom” (the older one) how much you love her!”

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UpCycle

GreenYour Pet (Part 2)

Green Your Pet We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?... Read

Green Your Pet

We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?  A green pet isn’t just for hippies anymore, but a way to help the earth and keep your pet healthy too!  Here are a few things you can do:

Buy Eco-Friendly toys.  There are plenty out there made from recycled and sustainable fibers.  Check out DAbB’s Things We Love: Pets section for our favorite picks!

Protect the Birds!  Keep your cat indoors.  They are natural hunters and a big threat to outdoor life.  Most vets recommend keeping them indoors due to fatal risks such as cars and disease.

Feed Them Natural and Organic Pet Foods.  Animals can also be affected by the chemicals in food.  Feeding them food that is sustainable and organic  leaves you with a happier, healthier animal.

Put Poop in its Place.  Use biodegradable bags for dogs that decompose and steer clear of clumping clay litters for cats.  The clay is strip-mined and is harmful to the environment.

Recycle a Pet and Adopt!  Save an animal and hundreds of dollars by shopping at a local animal shelter.  There are over 70,000 puppies and kittens a year that are abandoned and need a home.

Now go out and reduce that pawprint!

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Family

Throw an Eco-friendly Party

“With warm, sunny summer weather quickly approaching, we here at DAbB are really looking forward to some great summer parties.... Read

“With warm, sunny summer weather quickly approaching, we here at DAbB are really looking forward to some great summer parties. Friends, music, drinks, & BBQ – what could be better?  But all the fun and festivities of a classic summer party can produce a lot of waste (and who wants that?).  So here are 5 tips to reduce the waste without reducing the fun:

–              Plastic drink cups can result in a huge amount of garbage, especially in larger groups where guests are apt to set a cup down and forget about it.  To solve this dilemma, rent glassware from a local party supply rental company.  This will eliminate all waste created by plastic cups and give your party a truly classy touch!  If you don’t have a party rental store in the area, use compostable, corn-based plastic cups.

–              When it comes to the food, stay local!  Some of the best produce, meat, and dairy products can be found at your local farmers market.  They’re fresher, tastier, and often cheaper!

–              When it comes to the brew, pop for a keg or pony-keg if the group is large enough.  It’s less likely that you’ll run out mid-party and you won’t have to worry about all those bottles & cans to be recycled.

–              If you are serving wine, aim for organic.  Some of our favorite organic vinos are Grgich Hills, Frog’s Leap, Frey Vineyards, and Benziger.

–              Be creative when it comes to decorations!  Smooth river rocks or large leaves from your yard are a great alternative to traditional place cards.  Large jars or hurricane vases can be filled with household items to make for fun custom centerpieces.

–              When it comes to invites, Evites are definitely the greenest method, but may lack the personal touch you seek for your party.  One solution is to scan in and email out a handmade invitation.  This allows you to add a personal touch that your guests are sure to remember.  Alternatively, you can also send out traditional invitations made of recycled paper & materials.  The result is both memorable and eco-friendly!

Party on!”

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Food

If Your Carrot has Traveled More Than You…That is a Problem

Did you know the average piece of produce we Americans eat each night has traveled nearly 1,500 miles before ending... Read

Did you know the average piece of produce we Americans eat each night has traveled nearly 1,500 miles before ending up on a plate?  This means the amount of fossil fuels consumed and the amount of carbon emissions is doing more harm to the environment than the broccoli is doing good for your liver.   Buying locally farmed produce does not mean you have to go to a Farmers Market (although it clearly is a great way!).  Simply log on to localharvest.org, sustainabletable.org or even the U.S. Department of Agriculture at ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/map to find out where local produce is sold in your area.  Not only will you be doing better for you and your family, but supporting your local farms and community as well.

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Food

Quick Tips for a Better Pregnancy

“Pregnancy can be one of the most special and amazing times in a woman’s life.  But there’s no question that... Read

“Pregnancy can be one of the most special and amazing times in a woman’s life.  But there’s no question that it can also be incredibly difficult, too.  On top of major bodily changes, there is the constant need to make sure you are keeping yourself and your future baby healthy!  So here are a few tips to help you make your pregnancy a bit healthier.

The No-Brainers – While these tips may be obvious, they are still very important.  Cut out alcohol, caffeine, and stop smoking.  And when taking your prenatal vitamins, be sure to opt for the types that contain natural ingredients with fewer dyes and ingredients.

Water – It is important to increase your water intake while pregnant.  In addition to keeping you vitally hydrated and your skin glowing, water carries nutrients through your blood to your baby.  Water also helps prevent common bladder and digestion pregnancy problems.  And contrary to popular belief, the more fluids you drink during pregnancy, the less your body retains.  So if your feet and ankles are swollen, drinking more water actually helps!  Just remember to use a water filter (like Britta or PUR) and drink out of a glass, not plastic, when possible.

Cleaning Products – During your pregnancy, opt for all natural brands that are free of harmful chemicals such as bleach and ammonia.  And when possible, enlist a friend to help with the cleaning – you’ll avoid inhaling any chemicals and give you a chance to kick your feet up and rest!

Looking Glamorous – The natural pregnancy ‘glow’ is a real thing of beauty.  But if you still want to continue using makeup, be sure do a quick inventory of your beauty products.  Much of your current makeup may be loaded with chemicals that can unsafe for your baby.  Additionally, old makeup can be loaded with bacteria which can clog pores and cause breakouts.  Since no makeup is FDA certified as organic, look for credible sources to buy from such as our friends at Organic Beauty Now, Skincare By Alana and Yves Rocher.

Eating Right – Organic foods are the way to go while pregnant.  You’ll be avoiding harmful pesticides and preservatives used to treat the foods.  If money is tight or you can’t find organic foods, opt for fruits and veggies that traditionally contain the lowest levels of pesticides:  asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapple, sweet peas.  And for the carnivores, look for fish low in mercury, and avoid unpasteurized foods or cheeses.”

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Doing A Bit Better

5 Tips for Doing Better for Your Pet

“Don’t reach for the bleach – Next time your furry, little friend leaves a special present on the living room... Read

Don’t reach for the bleach – Next time your furry, little friend leaves a special present on the living room carpet, use vinegar to clean up the stain instead of bleach.  Vinegar is an eco-friendly odor-remover and effective at killing mold and bacteria.

Bio-bag-it! – Instead of using plastic bags to pick up after your pet’s poop, grab a biodegradable bag.  In addition to NOT immortalizing your pet’s #2 underground, biodegradable bags come in easy to use refillable dispensers that can be easily attached to any leash.

Dump the Junk –Many pet food brands you find at the supermarket consist of reconstituted animal by-products, otherwise known as low-grade wastes from the beef and poultry industries–you know, inedibles you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot fork. So treat your pet to some natural or organic pet foods!  The potential benefits are numerous, including the reduction of skin ailments and allergies, more energy, healthier weight, fewer digestive disorders, better overall health, and a stronger immune system.  Don’t know where to start?  Just look for foods marked with USDA certification symbol proving that they have met the requirements.  (And don’t forget to recycle the bags and cans!)

A Sustainable Pet – Like babies and trophy wives, pets require an unusually large amount of gear.  So let them Do A bit Better by buying products and supplies made from sustainable materials.  Just about everything that your pet uses can be produced from sustainable materials: collars, leashes, beds, toys, and grooming products can be made out of hemp, recycled or organic cottons, and even recycled PET bottles!  Even better, enlist a little upcycling to turn old tube socks into puppy tug toys and yarn scraps into great cat toys!

Adopt! – Rather than buying your pet from local pet stores or breeders, adopt your next pet from a local shelter!  In addition to providing animals with loving homes, shelters tend to use donated or recycled materials for animal bedding. If you don’t know where to start, check out www.Petfinder.com to find a shelter near you.”

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Family

DAbB-ing at the end of the School Year

As school begins to wrap up for the summer, teachers and students are left unloading everything from their lockers to... Read

As school begins to wrap up for the summer, teachers and students are left unloading everything from their lockers to their classrooms.  What should they do with all the half used notebooks, gently used binders, old pencils, crayons, non-functioning erasers? Don’t just throw them out!  Think about doing the following and share these ideas with your local school.

-Tear out the unused pages of those notebooks for scrap paper, and use the other parts for art projects

-Empty out the binders (recycle the paper) and reuse them in the next school year

-Collect all the half used crayons and melt them into a new reusable shape (see our previous article on UpCycling Crayons)

-Reuse non-functioning erasers by turning them into stamps instead.  Draw a design on them then cut it out with an art knife.

Save a tree, some money, and give your children a note to year end greening!

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Family

Very easy ways to DAbB for your home. Seriously, these are very easy.

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This... Read

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This is what came back:

For your kids, buy crayons made of soybean oil, not paraffin

Switch to a manual can opener.  Yes, a manual…you can do it.

Invest in a roasting pan instead of using disposable ones.  You will save money in the long run, and honestly, it is so much easier to pull out food in something sturdy.  (We don’t need to tell you the amount of time we have dropped food on the floor from a flimsy aluminum one).

Buy a bigger jug of milk. If you only use half a gallon at a time, you can pour half the milk into a carafe and freeze the rest. Then about a day or two before you need it simply put in the fridge.  And yes, it tastes the same.

Stop throwing away your dryer lint! Put it in the backyard for the birds — they use it to feather their nests.  Crazy-but true.

Clean your refrigerator coils — vacuum out the dust and wipe with a damp cloth. You’ll be surprised at how much nasty stuff accumulates down there!

Put a cover on your pool when you’re not using it. Not only will it keep the water cleaner, but it will keep it from evaporating, resulting in saving water.

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Twitter
Housewares

Baja Recycled Wine Glass- Set of 2

$20.00

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring... Read

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring a simple, elegant style that’s perfect for every day or party time. These are made from thick, durable hand-blown glass that won’t break or tip over as easily as traditional glassware

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Solar

Luminalt’s Response to “10 Questions to Ask Your Solar Installer”

“ Last month, we posted our top 10 questions you should ask your Solar Installer when you start the hunt... Read


Last month, we posted our top 10 questions you should ask your Solar Installer when you start the hunt for quality solar installation in your area.  Luminalt Solar Energy Solutions, a San Francisco based Solar Installer, took the liberty of answering all of our questions with the utmost detail!  Here are their responses:

Q:  How long has your company been installing solar electric systems?
A:  Luminalt was founded in 2004, but co-founder Noel Cotter did his first installation in 1980.

Q:  How many of your employees have solar panels on their homes?
A:  How many of your employees have solar panels on their homes? As a local company, most of us live in San Francisco and rent, meaning that solar won’t work for us (or rather, our landlords). Most of us who do own have a solar system – installed by Luminalt, of course!

Q:  How many NABCEP certified employees work for your company?
A:  A whole bunch of them! More than one-third of our company holds some kind of NABCEP Certification. Our CTO Noel Cotter, widely respected as one of the most knowledgeable solar installers around, serves on NABCEP’s licensing board, helping to devise some of the difficult tests administered each year. The pass rate is typically less than 50%, so only the best of the best receive certification.

Q:  Will everyone working on my system be an employee of your company?
A:  Yes! Beware of companies that will sub-contract to the lowest bidder. At Luminalt, we take care of our customers in-house to ensure that they have the best possible experience.

Q:  Can I see a list of ten clients that you have installed solar electric systems for?
A:  Check out the projects section of our website for a few case studies, or look at the San Francisco Department of the Environment’s Solar Map.

Q:  How do you determine your system output data?
A:  We’re in this with you for the long haul. Call us at anytime with questions about your new PG&E bills, your ideal rate schedule, or just to say hi.

Q:  How long is your warranty on all of my components and your work?
A:  All of our work is warranted for ten years. By using the highest quality materials available, we build systems to last for at least 30 years. The warranty on equipment varies by manufacturer, but is typically 25 years.

Q:  Does your panel manufacturer perform quality control audits on your installations?
A:  Only if you want them to! If you don’t want to be bothered, we’ll let them know.

Q:  What is the efficiency of the panels that you are proposing to install?
A:  Depends on how much space you have on your roof. Luminalt typically uses SunPower panels, the highest efficiency panels on the market. Luminalt is a SunPower Elite Dealer, making us one of only a few companies nationally that meet this designation’s customer satisfaction and quality standards.

Q:  How does your company implement its values?
A:  Luminalt believes in the transformative power of solar and the green economy on communities. As such, we have a Community Solar Grant Program and participate in Workforce Development training for those with barriers to entry into the job market.

 

Your search for Solar should lead you to an Installer like Luminalt! For more information on finding the right Solar Installer in your area, check out our Solar page.”

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Environment

From Wood Scraps to DIY Door Mat

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of... Read

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of wood, and painted a plethora  of rainbow colors.  This got us to thinking about how we could make this project a little more eco-friendly, and we were pleasantly surprised with what we came up with!

 – Use reclaimed wood or wood scraps from your work bench, rather than buying wood.  Reclaimed wood will already have a nice vintage look that will still feel warm and welcoming.

– Instead of paint, use beeswax or mineral oil. Both of these will give your new doormat a nice almost butcher-block-esque look, and also protect the wood without the use of harmful lacquers.

– Don’t buy the threaded rod.  Instead, use natural hemp or jute string. This will help the mat stay flexible enough to roll up, and will give it that nice naturalistic look.

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Solar

Vermont’s PUP program is helping people Do A Bit Better!

Recently, the local clean energy advocacy group, Energize Vermont,  announced the “Power Up Program” which is an unique partnership with... Read

Recently, the local clean energy advocacy group, Energize Vermont,  announced the “Power Up Program” which is an unique partnership with American Clean Energy Supply, LLC. Together, they are bringing affordable, high quality solar installations to Vermonters all over the state!

Way to go Energize Vermont! Thanks to your PUP program, you truly are Doing A Bit Better.

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Pets

Squeaky AND Sustainable?

“We love our dogs, and even though we shouldn’t, it’s too hard to resist buying him new toys. That said,... Read

“We love our dogs, and even though we shouldn’t, it’s too hard to resist buying him new toys. That said, we can buy eco-and-dog-friendly toys.

What defines an eco-friendly toy?  For the most part, eco- friendly products are manufactured from raw materials that have been grown or developed without the use of chemicals or pesticides. You have to depend on the manufacturer’s label for the most part, but here are some additional guidelines to help you make your selections.

Avoid
-Toys containing polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
-Toys that use chemical dyes that may contain heavy metals

Do look for
– Toys made from unbleached fabrics
-Toys made from organically-grown cotton or hemp
-Toys colored using natural botanical dyes

Note that no toy should be assumed organic unless it is certified so (check the label)

Finally, there are many sellers of eco/dog-friendly toys which are made here in the USA.  Some of our favorites are Dog Toys and PurfectPlay.”

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