Wednesday, August 4, 2010

7 Savvy Ways to Go Green At School

It's back to school time! Whether your child is starting their very first year of school or inching closer to graduation, these seven savvy tips will reduce their daily impact on the environment and make them the smartest kids in the class.

7. Trash Free Lunches. Pack a trash free lunch by using reusable lunch boxes and containers. Fresh foods and fruit are great healthy alternatives to prepackaged snacks. Instead of packing a napkin, pack a washcloth for the student to wipe their hands and face.

6. Green Transportation.
On days that the weather is nice, encourage your kids to bike or walk to school with friends. On rainy or snowy days, be sure to have a neighborhood carpool plan in place to reduce traffic and minimize carbon emissions.

5. Reusable water bottles.
Ditch the plastic water bottles and stick with a reusable canteen that can be refilled all year long.

4. The Write Stuff.
Mechanical pencils are handy tools that will last your child all year long with its refillable lead. For younger kids, try recycled newspaper pencils.

3. Create Recycled Textbook Covers. Most schools require their students to cover their textbooks to prevent wear and tear throughout the year. Use the sturdy brown paper bags from the grocery store or funny comics from the newspaper.

2. Clear the Air. Make sure your child’s school air is safe. Petition the school board to do so through the EPA’s Healthy School Environment Resources. HSER is your gateway to on-line resources to help facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, parents, teachers and staff address environmental health issues in schools.

1. Start a Recycling Program. Use HSER's resources to petition the school board to go green by implementing recycling and composting programs.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

BrightHome Helps Westchester Residents Reduce Home Energy Bills, Stay Cool

Unique Approach is Saving Homeowners up to 40% Every Month

One year ago, BrightHome Energy Solutions opened its doors with the goal of offering Westchester County homeowners a “single source” option for an unbiased and comprehensive evaluation of their homes’ energy usage.

In addition to a comprehensive whole home energy audit, BrightHome recommends the appropriate solutions and is able to implement these solutions.

“I was impressed with how thorough the BrightHome technicians were,” explains a Rye resident and BrightHome customer. “They did a whole house audit, top to bottom and explained how I could save money and be more comfortable. I was surprised that it cost less than I anticipated. They guaranteed a specific percentage of energy savings and they delivered.”

Another BrightHome customer in White Plains says, “The positive results of their work were immediate. Our house is less drafty and feels much more comfortable…and the financial proof is in the pudding – our energy use year-on-year decreased right away.”

Tom Brown, an Energy Savings Consultant at BrightHome explains the concept, “We adopt a whole house approach, meaning we analyze every aspect of your home and how it works or doesn’t work in unison. Is your home too leaky? Is it properly insulated? Is your heating and cooling system properly sized? Are the windows and doors properly sealed? Is the air you breathe safe and healthy?”

“We're able to guarantee energy savings because of our in-depth audit and analysis of your home. We evaluate each home individually and design custom solutions to fix your homes problems. We can guarantee the quality and the energy savings because BrightHome team members do all the work. If you need insulation, we install it. Replacement windows and doors, we install them. The same for high efficiency air conditioning and furnace systems,” said Brown.

Right now, there are state cash back incentives that help homeowners pay for improvements that reduce energy usage. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, offers cash back incentives up to $3,000 and zero or low-interest financing with the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program. $1,500 in federal tax credits is available until Dec. 31, 2010.

In order to qualify for these incentives, work must be completed by a BPI certified contractor like BrightHome. BPI is a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving the energy performance, as well as the health and safety of homes. Each participating contractor undergoes rigorous training to become certified.

Many BrightHome customers are able to pay for the improvements with these incentives and realize enough savings from lower energy bills for a good return on their investment.

“This is a real win-win-win situation,” said Tom Brown. “Homeowners are saving on monthly bills, living in a more comfortable and healthier home- plus lowering carbon emissions and reducing harm to the environment.”

Homeowners are encouraged to have their home evaluated by a trained energy expert. The comprehensive home energy assessment, or energy audit, costs only a few hundred dollars, but the data can be worth thousands.

If you want to save on your energy bills, reduce your energy consumption and be more comfortable contact Tom Brown at 914-909-5300 or visit the BrightHome website at for more information.

BrightHome is an approved NYSERDA contractor, BPI accredited and a founding member of Efficiency First.


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BrightHome proved the efficiency gains... Our energy use year-on
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