Alternative Energy

What you can do

One might think there is little the individual can do to save our planet's
resources, reduce energy consumption and save money. Here are a
few things one can do. Some require little effort and expense.

When replacement time comes, dispose of gas powered garden tools and
replace them with electrically powered alternatives. Gas powered garden
tools are some of the worst polluters since no controls are required on their

Since switching to electric power tools some years ago I will never go back
to noisy, nasty, stinky gas powered tools. For lawn mowing, edging, leaf
blowing etc. electric powered tools are far superior. They are quieter,
require less maintenance and there is no struggle to get them started. Also
it is not necessary to store dangerous liquids like gas and oil to keep them

The only exception is when electric power is not readily available or
when an enormous amount of power is required. There are some cases
when a gas powered appliance is necessary, but it is not often.

Another alternative to gas is old fashioned muscle power. If one has a small
and/or level area of grass to mow a standard reel mower is hard to beat. As
for picking up leaves, a rake and broom do a fine job, do not create noise
and it is good excercise.

Here in the Tampa area, leaf blowers are usually used to blow the debris into
the street where traffic drives it right back into the yard. It is more sensible to
rake and sweep up the leaves. And why dump them into the trash? Start a
compost pile or get bins and turn those leaves into black gold for your garden.

Alternative Lighting

Did you know that incandescent lights are essentially electric heaters that just
happen to give up a bit of energy in the form of light. Incandescent bulbs are
incredibly inefficient and waste most of the power they consume as heat. Of
course if you happen to be cold perhaps that is not a bad thing!

Because lighting is one of the largest consumers in the typical home it is also
one of the first places you can make an impact on your power consumption.

The first thing one must learn about lighting and power consumption is that
the amount of power consumed versus light output do not have a direct relationship.
Power is
measured in watts and light in lumens. Even knowing the amount of lumens
a particular bulb produces does not tell everything either. The type of fixture
in which the bulb is installed, type of reflector and so on all have an impact
on how much usable light a device produces.

For an approximate comparison check the chart below.
                           Lighting Device                           Lumens per Watt
32 watt T8 flourescent 85 to 95 
Standard F40T12 cool white flourescent 60 to 65
Compact flourescents 30s to 60s, usually 48 to 60
T3 tubular halogen 20
White LED 15 to 19
Standard 100 watt incandescent bulb 17
Incandescent night light bulb (7watt) 6
Incandescent flashlight bulbs Less than 6

As for high-tech forms of alternative energy, check out the following
links. There is a wealth of information on the web.

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