Ten Ways To Go Green And Healthy At The Same Time

Living a healthy lifestyle and helping the environment go hand in hand. These are two goals that you can accomplish at the same time, without having to spend a lot of money on expensive exercise equipment or diet plans that you'll end up shirking within days. We've assembled a list of 10 ways to go green and improve your health simultaneously that are easy and cheap or free:

  • Air-dry your clothes: Washing machines use a lot of energy and fabric softeners often contain skin allergens that can result in irritation.
  • Buy local: The more products you buy that were manufactured far away from your city, the more gasoline was burned to bring it to you, which results in poor air quality.
  • Don't buy bottled water: Water from the tap is cheaper – and often healthier – than bottled water, according to Readers Digest. Bottlers are often less regulated than municipal water departments.
  • Don't eat meat: Meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and clearing land for livestock has been devastating for the environment.
  • Eat vegetables instead: Veggies are far less resource-intensive than meat, and they're a lot better for you.
  • Go outside: According to PsychCentral.com, researchers have actually proven that simply being outside in fresh air will improve your health.
  • Plant trees around your house: Not only do trees act as natural air purifiers, they also cool the area around them, meaning that your home will need less air conditioning in the summer to stay cool.
  • Recycle as much as possible: Things you throw away end up in landfills, which cause major public health problems for nearby communities, including your own.
  • Use baking soda… for everything: Baking soda is non-toxic and can replace many household products. See this list of 51 things you can do with baking soda.
  • Walk to your appointments and errands: Exercise gets you out of your gas-guzzling car and helps you slim down and improve cardiovascular health.

Keep checking back with LifeIsGreen.com for more information on going green.

What Are The Most Environmentally Friendly Airlines?

With the holidays just around the corner, millions of Americans are going to be traveling to visit relatives and friends in other parts of the country. For consumers of environmentally friendly products, this is the perfect opportunity to support those businesses that make an effort to perform their operations in such a way that they create minimal ecological impact and limit their environmental footprint.

The best way to support green business this time of year is to select a responsible and sustainably run airline. Which companies succeed in this area?

  • Virgin America is, hands down, one of the greenest airlines you can choose. To begin with, they're new, which means that their fleet is made up of planes that have been constructed in the last decade, a period during which airplanes have become increasingly fuel efficient. They also have a comprehensive recycling program and a goal of diverting 50 percent of their waste from landfills. They even offer passengers the option of offsetting their carbon emissions from flying.
  • When it comes to flying in Europe, it's hard to beat Air France. Environmental news site Greenopia picked Air France as its management has shown a strong commitment to biofuels and recycling.

It's important to keep in mind that many airlines pursue these goals not because they're altruistic, but because they see the potential for reducing expenses, and increasing profits, by using less fuel and fewer natural resources in their operations. But it's still a good idea to reward those companies that make an effort with your business, rather than encouraging the bad habits of companies that haven't gotten on board with environmental issues.

For more information on eco friendly products, keep visiting LifeIsGreen.com.

Can New York Reverse Its Recycling Habits?

New York is typically thought of as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the nation, particularly under the leadership of Michael Bloomberg. The outgoing mayor of the Big Apple has put in place several laws that are aimed at reducing the city's environmental footprint, including replacing all the city's streetlights with LED lamps and introducing all-electric buses into the transportation system. But his most recent effort, and probably his last as mayor, is to reform the city's recycling system to make it much more effective at diverting waste from landfills.

Time Magazine notes that New York currently recycles about 15 percent of its trash, less than half the nationwide average of 34 percent. The publication speculates on a number of reasons why this might be the case, including the fact that curbside pickup in the city is a bit of a mess, with neighbors' trash intermingling and people less willing to devote space to a recycling bin in addition to their trash can.

Mayor Bloomberg has introduced an aggressive plan to tackle food waste, which we detailed a few months back. Essentially, the city is creating a massive composting plant, which will process about 10 percent of New York's food waste, while another 10 percent will be burned to generate electricity. But it will take a sustained effort from Bloomberg's successor, mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, to see these programs through to completion. The good news is that de Blasio has been vocal about his commitment to such efforts, so it's a safe bet that Bloomberg's vision for a cleaner New York will carry forward.

For more news and information about green ideas and practices, check back frequently with LifeIsGreen.com.

Energy Efficiency Creating Jobs In Rhode Island

An energy efficiency program in Rhode Island has resulted in the creation of 529 jobs while helping businesses and homes across the state lower their overall energy expenditures. The program, which has a budget of $83 million, was the subject of a report published by National Grid, Rhode Island's main utility company. The company stated that the program has a $27 million payroll, and that each of the jobs it created resulted in an annual income of $51,410.

A recent story in the Providence Journal highlights the efficiency improvement project undertaken by Citizens Bank, which has been replacing the lighting in all of its branches with more efficient bulbs. Each bank is enjoying about $5,000 in annual savings from lower electricity costs. That's not much for each facility, but if you add up the bank's hundreds of branches, it amounts to several million dollars a year.

"For more than 25 years Rhode Island has led the way in creating innovative energy-efficiency programs that have cut our customers' energy costs and benefited our environment," Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island, said in a statement. "Now we have data to prove energy efficiency is helping to drive the state's economy."

In the grand scheme of things, the Rhode Island program only amounts to a small part of what is needed to make the country more efficient. But as communities hear more about these types of projects and programs and mimic them, it could lead to improvements on a macro scale that would have a major impact on the environment.

LifeIsGreen.com is your number one source for alternative energy articles and news, so keep on visiting!

Another Study Shows That Energy Efficiency Saves Money

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), a consumer advocacy group, has published a study that provides further evidence in favor of energy efficiency as a way for homes and businesses to save substantial amounts of money. The CFA found by studying the results of several other reports that American energy consumers could save up to $1,000 per year simply by becoming more efficient in their power and transportation usage and habits.

U.S. households spend an average of $4,600 a year on energy, much more than they spend on food, entertainment or clothing. But the CFA reports that this is much higher than what it calls the "optimum level," at which Americans are using only as much energy as they actually need. The report attributes this disparity between actual consumption and ideal consumption to market inefficiencies.

"Some analysts doubt the money-saving potential of energy efficiency standards because they assume that energy markets work perfectly and automatically push consumers toward money-saving, energy-efficient options," Mark Cooper, Director of Research for CFA, said in a press release. "But that's not how the real world works."

Something that should be noted is that policy proposals such as cap-and-trade and a carbon tax have been proposed, which would go a long way toward correcting market inefficiencies. At present, the price of fossil fuels does not reflect the externalized cost of consuming such goods, namely climate change. Quantifying those costs and passing them on to the consumer would make efficiency measures even more enticing for both homeowners and businesses while spurring growth in the renewable energy industry.

Keep checking back with LifeIsGreen.com for more news and information on ways to save energy.

Number of Energy Patents Increase

The prominence of "green living" has risen in recent years and we have evidence to prove it. According to a peer-reviewed publication in plosone.org which takes a look at the factors that contribute to energy advancement; innovation in energy technology is on the rise. Today, inventors are filing more energy-related patents than in previous years.

"Patents reveal early stages of technology development, as they tell of the nature of innovative activity, and who's doing what where," Jessika Trancik, SFI external professor at MIT and co-author of the report, said in a statement. She worked with graduate student Jasleen Kaur of the University of Indiana Bloomington to write and research the paper.

The study attributes the boom in innovation to investment in research and development, as well as market growth for green products. Researchers studied data from delphion,com, which included more than 73,000 energy-related patents filed from 1970 to 2009. The patents were issued in over 100 countries across the time period. 

Key findings include:

• Energy patents have increased significantly in the past 30 years.
• Emphasis has been placed on solar and wind technology.
• China has recently surpassed Europe in annual energy patents. It files the most coal patents in the world.
• Research and market growth work together to help promote innovation.

This analysis provides important insight onto the world of energy-efficient products. Most importantly, it shows us that our commitment to a green world is a crucial investment that can effect succeeding generations. Check out LifeIsGreen.com for more pertinent information about energy efficiency and green technology.