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More Ways to Green Your Holiday 3

Mid December is the time of year that the internet abounds with useful tips to green your holiday and a multitude of tips to lighten your environmental impact over the holidays. The Most Repeated Eco Holiday Tips Switch to LED lights to conserve massive amounts of electricity and forego the wrapping paper for something homemade from old magazines, newspapers or brown bags and festive bows. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="178"]Reusable shopping bags Image by Luca Penati via Flickr[/caption] Ways to save money and environmental impact include:
  • From Eco-Wrap Your Holiday Gifts: Use vintage tins, reusable bags or eco paper to wrap your special gift.
  • Buy presents that don't require packaging such as gift certificates, movie passes or restaurant cards.
  • Don't wrap the presents or buy presents that don't need wrapping such as a charitable donation.
  • Give reusable shopping bags for gifts. Everyone should own these anyway.
  • Make your own gift with a reusable bag, fair trade coffee, a stainless steel water bottle and some soap nuts.
  • Make your own ornaments either from recycled materials or fun items from a thrift store.
Eco Book Gift Ideas From Eco-Libris: The Green Collar Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers - Part 1 - Consider the gift of an eco-book that will educate and inspire. Some of the more exciting recommendations include: “Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life” by Sophie Uliano “Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green” by Starre Vartan “The Lazy Environmentalist” by Josh Dorfman “The Better World Shopping Guide: Every Dollar Makes a Difference” by Ellis Jones For the eco conscious woman in your life, check out Inhabitat's Green Gift Guide for Her, with creative, unique eco-friendly gift ideas like a recycled chain bracelet, organic bath and body treats, purses made from recycled leather jackets or TONS of soda pull tabs. As always, Inhabitat finds great items that are as unique and stylish as they are sustainable.

Solar Energy Pros and Cons 57

Solar Energyby Bryan Wong Solar energy can be used for electricity, central heating, hot water, cooking, for producing salt and even for desalination. Solar energy comes from the sun's rays. Solar energy is very environmentally friendly. However, when the sun rays enter the earth's atmosphere it is quite dilute. While solar energy is considered to be a very environmentally friendly energy source, it still comes with some disadvantages. Let's discuss some advantages and disadvantages of solar. Let's start with the main advantage of solar energy. Solar energy is clean. To produce electricity or heat with solar energy you only need the sun rays. There is no need to use fossil fuel in combination with sun rays to produce electricity or heat. You just need a solar energy collector or solar power panels in order to collect solar energy. Solar energy is less expensive than electric heating. That is another big advantage of solar energy. By just using solar energy you can save a lot of money on heaters. In return you will get lower electric bills and it also means that you don't have to maintain heaters. If you live in a remote area where there are no power-lines solar energy can be the solution. There are remote areas where power companies have no means to access your home. Solar energy is a great alternative because it provides you with anything from heating water, electricity, and even cooking. Another great use of solar energy is for desalination in areas where fresh, drinkable water is scarce. Solar energy evaporates brine and leaves the salt crystals in the bottom of the basin. The water in turn condenses back in another basin where it is now drinkable. Although all of the above is very useful solar also has some disadvantages. These disadvantages also need to be discussed to paint a better overall picture. The main disadvantage of solar energy is that it's dilute. This means you have to have a lot of solar collectors installed around your house. Solar energy may be very cheap but the solar collectors are relatively expensive and require maintenance in order to work properly and efficiently. If you decide to use solar energy you need to calculate the return on investment in order to know if the investment will be worth it. One big disadvantage is that you need the rays to make use of solar energy. If you are situated in a part of this beautiful planet where there is not much sun light then this could be a problem. In other areas, the sun's rays are almost always covered in clouds making solar energy collectors useless. You should first know if the sunshine in your area is abundant for the majority of the year. Of course if you live in desert areas like in Arizona or Mexico produces a lot of sunshine for the most part of the year and is ideal for solar energy collecting. Lastly, the sun only shines during the day. Real Goods Solar Living SourcebookTherefore is you need electricity or hot water during the night, like many of us do, it can be a problem. You will need a backup system like the 'old' utility grid or you will need to store the electricity for later use. There are battery systems that can store solar energy for later use. Solar is very clean and an alternative to conventional heating and electrical systems. Although this is true it is also good to mention the disadvantages of solar energy. If you are considering using solar energy you must read this first to make a balanced decision.... About the Author: Bryan Wong is the owner of the solar information website www.GetEasyInfo.com/solarpower - A great website that shares quality Info, News and tips on solar energy. Buy the book: Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook [affliate] Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/gaylon/286488601/