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The Energy Star program was created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an attempt to limit energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Savvy consumers know to look for the Energy Star logo when shopping for appliances, heating and cooling equipment, home electronics, office equipment, or lightning.

By purchasing one of the certified products you can be sure that energy expenses will be lower due to reduced consumption. You can often save up to 30% on your energy bill. The EPA has also extended the Energy Star label to cover new homes, buildings, and manufacturing plants.

At Home
Home electronics such as TVs, DVD players, cordless phones, and audio equipment use electricity even when on standby mode.

TV sets are probably the most popular and the most energy consuming in this category. An average household has at least two of them. In order to qualify for the Energy Star label, a TV has to be at least 30% more energy efficient than a standard unit not only when it is on, but also when on standby. There is a wide variety of Energy Star compliant TVs to choose from, whether you prefer LCD or plasma. They are manufactured by Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and many others.

Another group of energy absorbers at home are appliances such us washers, fridges, freezers, and electric heating and cooling units. When it comes to dish and clothes washers, the Energy Star versions not only use less energy, but are more water-efficient when compared to standard models.

Heating and cooling equipment usually generates the highest costs, so pay extra attention to energy consumption data when changing one of these units.

In The Office
Offices use many electronic devices, so it is obvious that they use lots of energy. What is more, most office equipment is left on 24/7. It is really important to make sure that energy consumption is kept to a minimum.

Energy Star labeled devices use less energy to perform regular tasks and automatically enter a low-power mode when not in use. As far as computers, certified models use as much as 70% less energy than those without active power management features.

Again, there are many companies that produce energy-efficient office equipment. Hewlett-Packard offers as many as 1,000 models of office products that have earned the Energy Star logo. These include notebooks, printers, scanners, and all-in-ones. Samsung proudly features that their entire line of notebooks and netbooks have qualified for the certificate.

Summary
In summary, the US government ratings system called Energy Star helps consumers choose energy-efficient equipment that on average uses 20–30% less energy than standard units. Buying items labeled as Energy Star compliant ensures not only reduced energy expenses, but also gives you the ability to have your own input in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

This post was contributed by PennySaverUSA.com. Please visit us online if you are interested in refrigerators, freezers, washers, or other energy-saving appliances for sale.

When you receive your electricity bill, do you often wonder, “Why do I pay so much?” There is no doubt that energy prices will not get any lower. On the contrary, they seem to increase all the time. However, there are things you can do to significantly cut back your energy intake. If you want to save your money to spend it on something more fun than bills, read the tips below.

Replace your light bulbs with energy saving ones if you haven’t already. They use up to 80% less energy and last 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs.
Always turn off the lights when leaving a room. This tip is commonly known, yet it applies strictly to traditional light bulbs that are not energy efficient. Remember that if you have got energy saving light bulbs, you should turn them off only in the case that you are leaving the room for more than 6 minutes. Constant turning these bulbs on and off will use more energy.
While cooking, always put a lid on the pot. This saves up to 15% on energy and your meal will be cooked faster.
When buying new appliances, choose Energy Star qualified models. They use 10 to 50% less energy and water than standard appliances.
When planning and building your house, make decisions that will make it energy efficient. Proper high quality house insulation and tight windows will ensure minimal energy loss. Installing windows shutters or outdoor roller-blinds will prevent warmth gathered inside the house throughout the day from escaping at night.
When ventilating a room, always turn off the heating.
Invest in a high-efficiency condensing boiler. This investment will surely pay off. Such a boiler is a real energy and money saver. A condensing boiler captures much more usable heat from its fuel than non-condensing boilers, meaning it does not require as much energy. This kind of boiler is equipped with a set of heating controls that gives you full control over the temperature in your home. You can adjust the temperature whenever you want.
Use heating wisely. If you have a programmer or timer combined with a boiler, set it so the boiler is working only when needed. If you spend part of the day out of the house, turn the boiler off. Modern houses warm quickly even if the heating was turned off for a long period of time. Most people do not need the heating on when asleep.
Do not leave electronic devices on standby. Maybe it sounds unimportant, but appliances left on standby still use energy. In an average household there are many electronics with standby modes, including TV sets, PCs, radios, and DVD and CD players. Every day, leaving them on sleep mode amounts to additional expenses which can easily be avoided. Each time you turn off an electronic device remember to unplug it as well.
Charge your cell phone properly. It is unfortunately a common mistake to leave the battery charger plugged in after the telephone has already charged. The charger left in the socket, even without the device, is still consuming energy. Always remember to unplug the charger.
Obeying these simple rules will help limit both energy usage and expenses. Simultaneously, you will contribute to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. World leaders are trying to do this on a global scale, but without the help of the citizens, they will never succeed.

It was great to read that a United States amusement park has encouraged kids to collect almost 40,000 plastic bags.

Playland Amusement Park in Westchester, NY, provided free rides to kids who turned in 100 plastic bags or more on June 28.

Dubbed “Plastic Bag Day”, the event resulted in 39,995 plastic bags being retrieved. This means there are now 39,995 less plastic bags that can harm the environment.

The plastic bags will eventually be recycled into products such as outdoor decks and fencing.

World Land Trust (WLT) has reported a possible new species of cat in Fundación Jocotoco (FJ), Ecuador.

The cat is thought to be of the same (yet to be described) species as one seen two years ago in Peru.

The cat was seen and photographed by Aldo Sornoza of FJ, who was helping with the construction of a new visitors’ lodge on the Jorupe Reserve.

If this is the same cat as seen in Peru, it would be the first known sighting in Ecuador.

It’s quite possible however, that it is not a new species.

Andean Cat?
One possibility is that it’s an Andean Cat (Oreailurus jacobita), which is one of the most endangered wild cats on Earth. Also known as the “Andean Mountain Cat” and “Mountain Cat”, this species has been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) since 2002.

Lou Jost of Fundación EcoMinga, an Ecuadorian partner of the WLT has seen the Andean Cat twice. When presented with Sornoza’s photo of the new cat, Jost commented:

“The ground color is very similar. However I didn’t see any strong patterns on the legs, like this one has, though I would not have seen that from the angles I had (just the back and sides of the animal running through dense vegetation, both times). The elevations of my sightings were very high, around 2800-3000 m, and very wet, completely different from Jorupe. I could easily imagine that there is a new species of cat endemic to the Tumbesian zone of SW Ecuador and NW Peru.”

Pampas Cat?
But according to Mongabay.com, ecologist Jim Sanderson, who has spent years studying the Andean Cat, doesn’t think this is one. Instead, Sanderson believes that it is a Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocolo), another cat species he has studied for years.

“The cat shown in the photograph…is the lovely Pampas cat found in this region. Pampas cats show a variety of morphs depending upon where they occur. In Brazil they are all brown for instance and in the Andes they are spotted, have a pink nose, and striking black lines across the forelegs” he said.

The Pampas Cat, also known as the Chilean Pampa Cat, has been listed by IUCN as “Near Threatened” by IUCN since 2002.

Regardless, it’s Still a Significant Find
Whether it’s the Andean Cat, the Pampas Cat, or a new species, this is still a significant find. So, as WLT said… “we are awaiting with anticipation further news on this sighting.”

The European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris has just released computer generated images of space junk floating around Earth. The images are intended to provide a realistic picture of the space junk that is actually floating around in space.

More than 12,000 pieces of space junk is orbiting around Earth. At least 11,500 of those are in low Earth orbit, which means they’re at an altitude of between 800 and 1,500 km. This is where most commercial, military, scientific and navigational satellites operate.

Space junk that orbits at this altitude will eventually burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, but this could take decades. It’s rare that space junk crashes to Earth but it can (and does) happen. Most of the time space junk lands in the ocean or in isolated stretches of land.

The following image depicts the 11,500 pieces of space junk in low Earth orbit:

As well as the space junk orbiting in low Earth orbit, there’s at least 1,147 pieces in geostationary orbit. This is where it orbits in the direction of the Earth’s rotation, at an altitude of approximately 35,786km. This altitude is where telecommunication satellites usually operate.

With more than 600 satellites in orbit, the amount of space junk is increasing by at least 200 per year.

Space junk is usually created through collisions, explosions and lost or discarded material from space flights and rockets.

Did you know that more concrete is made each year than any other man-made material? It’s second only to water as the most consumed substance on the planet. It’s been reported that each year, more than one ton of concrete is produced for each person on earth!

Hempcrete is being billed as an eco-friendly alternative to concrete. Hempcrete is a generic term for a hemp-based building material that can be used in place of concrete. It consists of a mixture of hemp, lime, sand, plaster, and cement, and can be used in the same way as concrete.

There are a number of trademarked variations for hempcrete. Here are some of them:

Hemcrete
Hemcrete, or Tradical Hemcrete, is a trademarked version of hempcrete produced by Lime Technology in the UK.

Canobiote
Canobiote consists of hemp hurds coated with mineral salts. Canobiote is intended to provide insulation for wood-framed, closed lofts and floors . It’s particularly ideal for those that receive regular use.

Canobiote was patented by a group called La Chanvriere de L’Aube (LCDA). LCDA is a French company that specializes in production and processing of industrial hemp. Established in 1973, LCDA works together with many hemp farmers located in Champagne – the vineyard region in Eastern France.

Canosmose
Also patented by LCDA, Canosmose is a light-weight concrete made with hemp hurds and natural lime. Canosmose is intended for non-load bearing masonry, such as walls sectioned with wooden supports.

Isochanvre
Isochanvre was created by France Périer, who previously worked for LCDA promoting Canobiote. Like Canobiote, Isochanvre is typically used for acoustic and thermal insulation. It is also increasingly being used as a construction material.

The Difference?
These products appear to be quite similar. Isochanvre and Canobiote are slanted towards insulation, while Canosmose and Hemcrete are promoted as a construction material.

As with many proprietary products, it’s not absolutely clear what the technical difference is between these products. What we do know is that they are all hemp-based, and used for housing construction. We also know that hempcrete has some great benefits over concrete.

The Future of Concrete?
Who knows what the future of concrete will be. Given the sheer scale of the concrete industry, I think it’s unlikely that one solution will completely replace concrete. I suspect we’ll see more and more environmentally friendly versions of concrete. Hempcrete will be one of the many. But one thing’s for sure; hempcrete won’t make any headway in the U.S. until the U.S. government finally recognizes hemp for its outstanding potential.

Live Earth has announced the artists that will perform for Live Earth India on December 07 this year.

Famous international and local musicians will perform at the concert that will be broadcast live around the world on the internet.

The Lineup
The full lineup to date is:

Bon Jovi
Amitabh Bachchan
Roger Waters (from Pink Floyd)
will.i.am (from Black Eyed Peas)
Anoushka Shankar
Abhishek Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Hrithik Roshan
Preity Zinta
Bipasha Basu
Shiamak Davar
Farhan Akhtar
Arjun Rampal
Purab Kohli
Hard Kaur
Jalebee Cartel
Vishal & Shekhar
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Sunidhi Chauhan
Sonu Nigam
Shaan
The show will include appearances and messages from former U.S Vice President Al Gore, IPCC Chairman and Director General TERI India, Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, and various environmental advocates and celebrities.

About Live Earth India
Live Earth India is a concert being held in India to raise awareness for our planet’s urgent environmental crisis.

“Live Earth’s mission is to leverage the power of music and entertainment to focus the world’s attention on the most pressing environmental issues of our time and then actively affect change. The addition of these celebrated and influential artists will increase the force of our event and shine a spotlight on the challenges and opportunities surrounding climate change issues in India.” said Kevin Wall, Live Earth founder.

Live Earth India will be the second Live Earth concert to date. The first Live Earth concert, “Live Earth: the Concerts for a Climate in Crisis”, which was held on 07/07/07, was the “Most Watched Online Entertainment Event Ever.”

The concerts were hosted on seven continents, broadcast in 132 countries, and inspired 2 billion people worldwide to engage with the issues and the solutions surrounding the global climate crisis.

This year’s concert is to be held at Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai, India on 07 December. As with last year’s event, Live Earth India will be broadcast by MSN.

Attending/Watching The Event
To attend the concert in Mumbai, you can book tickets online through BookMyShow.com

If you are unable to attend the concert in person, you can watch it online at msnindia.com/liveearth.

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the world’s largest rabbit is a Continental Giant called Amy.

Amy, from Worcester in the UK, is more than 120 cm (4 feet) long and weighs as much as a medium sized dog.

Her weight? Well that depends on which report you choose to believe. In February this year, the Daily Mail reported that Amy weighs two and a half stone (15 kg). But then in March, it reported that the giant rabbit weighs three and a half stone (22 kg).

Perhaps she put on 7 kilograms within a month!

In any case, whichever weight it is, this could make Amy the heaviest rabbit in the world too.

Big Appetite
Amy’s owner, Annette Edwards, says that each day, Amy goes through enough rabbit food to fill a dog’s bowl, as well as two apples, a handful of carrots, half a cabbage and fresh hay.

But Mrs Edwards insists that Amy is quite healthy and not overweight.

“She is enormous but not because she over eats on junk but because she gets plenty of exercise and eats very healthily.”

“Amy is a fussy eater, the carrots must have their green tops still on, and the hay has to be fresh and green or she won’t go near it” she continues.

Other Large Rabbits & Previous Record Holders
Herman, a German Giant, weighing 7.7 kg
Herman, a German Giant, weighing 7.7 kg

There are a lot of large rabbits out there.

Here are some examples:

Herman, a German Giant reportedly weighing 7.7 kg (although he looks much heavier than that)
Rudi, also a German Giant, weighing 8.7 kg
Roberto, weighing in at 16 kilograms (possibly the world’s heaviest rabbit?)
Humphrey, weighing over 12 kg and still growing
Largest Rabbit Breed
The largest species of rabbit is the Flemish Giant. The largest Flemish Giant can grow to around 9.5 kg. The smallest weigh in at around 5 kg.

Flemish Giants are usually steel grey in colour. They are long with a large full head and the ears are long and erect.

The Flemish Giant’s diet should include plenty of fresh hay, fresh fruit and vegetables, a well-balanced dry rabbit mix and plenty of clean water.

Guinness Book of World Records
Amy or Roberto may be the largest and heaviest rabbits in the world, but they won’t be making it into the Guinness Book of World Records any time soon (at least, not for their size or weight).

Unfortunately, some rabbit owners cruelly over feed their rabbits in an attempt to get them into the record books. As a result, the Guinness World Records no longer lists the world’s largest (or heaviest) rabbit.

OK, so we all know about the environmental benefits of recycling. Compared to throwing our trash into a landfill, recycling can have a significantly positive impact to the environment.

But how much trash are we actually throwing into landfills each year?

Here are some figures from the United States and the United Kingdom.

United States Landfill Usage
According to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2006, Americans generated about 251 million tons of trash. Of this, 82 million tons (32.5 percent) was recycled. A further 31 million tons (12.5 percent) was combusted (burned) with energy recovery. That means that 138 million tons (55 percent) was discarded in landfills.

The report also shows that the amount of garbage produced each year is increasing quite rapidly. In 1960, when EPA first started monitoring waste usage, the US produced 88.1 million tons of garbage. This worked out to be 2.68 pounds per day for each American. Now, with the nation producing 251.3 million tons of garbage per year, the average American produces 4.6 pounds of garbage each day!

Here’s a chart showing the increase in garbage since 1960. The blue line represents the total garbage generation each year (in millions of tons). The orange line represents per-capita generation (pounds/per person/per day).

Here’s the full report: Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2006 [PDF file]

United Kingdom Landfill Usage
Meanwhile in the UK, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has found that 434 tonnes of waste is produced in the UK each year. Of this, 30 tonnes come from households. 73 percent of this waste goes to landfill.

ESA point out that of the 73 percent that ends up in landfill, 90 percent could actually have been recoverable. This means that instead of being dumped in a landfill, it could have been recycled, composted, or combusted to generate energy.