Welcome to The Green Detective Blog

Do Dryer Balls Really Save Energy?

It’s a question we’ve all asked time and again, along with “what time is it?” and “why are we here?”.  Or, at least, it’s a question I’ve asked once or twice.  Do dryer balls work?  A small spiky ball that, when added to your clothes dryer, is claimed to reduce drying time by up to 25%.  They also can be purchased in the form of wool balls, although to be fair, I have to admit I haven’t tried these. In any case, as you might expect, the results indicate that the answer is a resounding NO. I’ve done my own experiments which were not terribly precise or scientific and found no discernible improvement.  When I searched the web, I found several stories that all seemed to agree that these balls had no appreciable effect on dryer time.  The best study I found was done by a high school kid, who followed a fairly solid scientific process. here is the link to his study: blogs.sas.com/content/iml/2013/08/12/do-dryer-balls-reduce-drying-time/ There is anecdotal evidence that these balls can effectively soften clothes and perhaps do away with the need for dryer sheets and fabric softeners.  But as an energy saver…... read more

Use the Eco Button for an easy way to put your computer to sleep

A simple yet, satisfyingly useful product is called the ECO Button.  It doesn’t do much really.  You press it and it puts your computer to sleep.  You can do that yourself, by choosing sleep from the lower left of your Windows screen.  Where this product improves on that is two-fold.  One, it is a large green button that sits on your desk and so putting your computer to sleep can be done with barely a thought, as you propel yourself from your computer, for the phone, bathroom, or the call of non-digital life.  The second thing is that the large green button glows with a slowly pulsing light that can be slightly annoying but more to the point, makes it hard to forget. One nice little trick is that, once the computer is off (asleep, hibernating, or fully off), you can press the button one more time and the light will go off until the computer starts up again (which, by the way, is NOT by pressing the ECO button again, but rather by the traditional method of hitting any key or moving the mouse. The original is from England, but there are copycats available, too.  Both can be found on Amazon or on Ebay.   Here is the website of the original producer (they deserve the credit!)... read more

Energy Saving Tips

Credits / Rebates Here I will try to keep up-to-date information on all the tax credits or rebates you could benefit from for buying services or products that will reduce your home energy usage. dsireuse.org: Choose your state from the map of this site, to find a summary of all credits or rebates currently being offered. Unfortunately not as user-friendly or comprehensive as it could be. www.dsireusa.org Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy: Check out this site for rebates on energy-star fridges, new windows, new insulation and geothermal systems. You can even get $250 for a home energy audit. First come, first served, until the money runs out. www.dmme.virginia.gov Appalachian Power: At the moment, there are no energy-savings programs being offered by APE for Virginia residents. They promise some in the future, so it might be worth keeping an eye open here. appalachianpower.com/save/programs/Virginia I’ve heard that if you phone them up, you might be able to get a free home energy assessment paid for by the utility. Are you eligible for the free federal Weatherization Program? Find out… http://www.communityhousingpartners.org/development/energy_services/services.shtml#weatherization... read more

Alternative Energy News & Tech

Want to Learn More? The world of energy efficiency is exploding now. Whether human instigated or not, the fact of climate change has finally reached the general human psyche. That combined with the simple economics of trying to lower one’s utility bills has finally ushered in a rush of new knowledge and new research about our energy present and our energy future. Here you will find links to websites we like. We hope you will, too. Mother Earth News – a great resource for living simply www.motherearthnews.com The government program that started people talking green www.energystar.gov Calculate your carbon footprint www.nature.org The Home Energy Saver – do-it-yourself energy audit tool hes.lbl.gov Further Reading… Make Your Own Green Cleaners Solar hot water – a primer China goes green Thermal Cameras Spot Energy Gaps in Your Home – NYTimes How Much Energy Does It Take to Get Our Energy?. Lets Clear The Air About Home Energy... read more