Volume 2, Issue 1
TURN DOWN THE HEAT, PUT ON A SWEATER
According to the Department of Energy, for every degree you lower
the thermostat, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill.
Let’s do the math: You lower your thermostat from 70 degrees to 65 Inside this issue:
degrees. Let’s say your average heating bill is $100 a month and we
will use an average savings of 2%. 5 degrees x 2% x 100 bucks = 10
bucks!!! That’s $120 a year. A light long-sleeved sweater is gener-
ally worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds about 4
Energy Vampires 2
Other heating tips: Humid air feels warmer than dry air. Increasing the humidity
Hydrogen Peroxide 3
of your home also helps you resist winter colds and moisturizes dry skin. Operat-
ing a room humidifier will make you feel more comfortable. If your heating sys-
tem has a humidifier, make sure that it’s functioning properly. You can also add The Dirt on 3
humidity by keeping house plants. Plants clean the air and add moisture to it at Antibacterial Soaps
the same time. Putting trays of water on top of radiators also helps.
Resource and Recy- 3
Keep your furnace air filter clean, clean, clean! A dirty or clogged filter can make
for Hire (FREE!)
your furnace and fan work harder, which costs you more. You’ll be warmer for less
money, and breathe easier, if you clean or replace your furnace filter often. Check Energy Hogs 4
the filter at least once a month, and more often if you have a lot of dust. Make
sure it gets cleaned or replaced at least twice this winter.
KEEP A PITCHER OF WATER IN YOUR FRIDGE
There are several benefits of placing a container of water from the tap in your fridge:
1) A pitcher of water will help your refrigerator keep your food cool more efficiently, much like
how a cold ice pack works in a cooler.
2) Whenever you need a glass of water, you won’t need to run the tap to get cool water, cutting
down on waste. You won’t need as much ice either, which requires energy to make.
3) Having cold water ready for you in the fridge will discourage you from reaching for a dispos-
able plastic water bottle.
4) You’ll be more likely to drink water rather than reaching for sugar-loaded soft drinks.
5) As tap water from municipal wells sits for a while (particularly when uncovered), much of the chlorine
from the filtration processes evaporates out. This means a tastier drink!
If you missed the Bottle Water vs. Tap Water Taste Test held in November at the courthouse, the overwhelm-
ing choice was Carlton County well water! 19 voted for well water, 9 for city water and 6 for bottled water.
What is an Energy Vampire? It is an electric appliance that sucks energy, even when it is turned off. The
power consumption of Energy Vampires adds up. Energy Vampires use up approximately 5% of the electric-
ity in the United States, which adds up to more than 3 billion dollars a year. Energy vampires are the fastest-
growing power users in our homes.
Always an Energy Vampire
Laptop chargers, fax machines, answering machines, printers, TVs, cable boxes, cable modems, modems,
VCRs, DVD players, DVD recorders, digital video recorders, photocopier with paper sorter, phone chargers,
hubs and routers, iPod chargers, video camera battery chargers, night lights.
Usually an Energy Vampire
LCD monitor, audio system, photocopier without paper sorter, plugged-in electric toys.
May Be an Energy Vampire
Desktop computer, CRT monitor, battery charger for AA, AAA, D, C, and 9V batteries
(Nickel-Cadmium and Nickel-Metal hydride), boom box, battery chargers for rechargeable
Never an Energy Vampire
Incandescent lamps, compact fluorescent lights.
What Can You Do About Energy Vampires?
Unplug your appliances when not in use. You can also use a power strip and just flip the switch when not us-
ing the appliances. Make sure to read labels before purchasing. Choose a model that uses the least standby
power. If possible, purchase an Energy Star product, which uses less energy on regular usage and on standby.
Want more information? Visit the US Department of Energy to find out more on energy efficient appliances
HYDROGEN PEROXIDE TIPS
Many individuals are switching from chloride bleach to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Hydrogen per-
oxide is comprised of the elements hydrogen and oxygen or simply water with an extra oxygen
molecule. It breaks down into oxygen and water. Chlorine bleach on the other hand forms more
toxic byproducts such as dioxin and furans when chlorine reacts with other chemicals. Dioxin and
furan are abbreviated names for a family of toxic chemicals, many of which are cancer causing sub-
Hydrogen peroxide is very handy and safe for multiple applications including cleaning and disinfecting. The
following are a few hydrogen peroxide uses and tips:
• Store out of direct sunlight and in a cool place, as exposure to the sun and heat will quickly break it down
into oxygen and water.
• Hydrogen peroxide in a 3% solution applied to a rag can be used to clean cutting boards to help kill sal-
monella and other bacteria.
• Half fill a spray bottle with 3% solution and then top it off with water for use as a bathroom, toilet and
kitchen disinfectant and cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide is better than using chlorine especially if you have a
septic system as it won’t harm the bacteria in the treatment area. It will have already broken down by the
time it reaches the treatment area.
• Add a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your whites in place of bleach.
• Dip your toothbrush in a 3% solution to help kill bacteria on the brush after brushing.
• Make a whitening toothpaste by mixing baking soda and enough hydrogen peroxide to form a paste.
THE DIRT ON ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS
According to the American Journal of Infection Control, of all the soaps on the shelf today,
76% of liquid soaps have an antibacterial ingredient, as do 29% of bar soaps.
Researchers from Columbia University’s School of Nursing conducted a study for 12 months.
Half the households used plain soap and the other half used antibacterial soap. Bacterial counts on the par-
ticipants’ hands were measured and the study did not show a difference between soaps.
Typical infections we get at home or work aren’t bacterial — they are viral. An antibacterial soap won’t do
anything about viral infections. Colds, influenza and many “stomach bugs” are caused by viruses.
In 2005, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel ruled in an 11 to 1 vote that mass-marketed
antibacterial soaps have shown no evidence of preventing infections more effectively than hand washing with
regular soap and water.
The FDA advisory panel heard evidence that chemicals used in the antibacterial soaps could accumulate in
the environment and promote resistant bacterial. Drug resistant bacteria are considered a major health
threat by public health officials. Some strains such as S. aureus (staph) have alarmed experts with increased
levels of resistance to multiple antibiotics.
The FDA advisory panel also heard evidence that two common antimicrobial agents, triclosan and triclocar-
ban, accumulate in soil and groundwater.
It is anticipated that changes to the antibacterial soap market are eminent, though the FDA is unlikely to pull
any existing products from the market but could move to restrict new products and restrict labeling.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that keeping hands clean is one of the most im-
portant steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The CDC advises the follow-
• Wet your hands with warm running water.
• Apply soap to your hands, do not put hands under running water yet.
• Rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds.
• Rinse well under running water.
• Dry your hands with a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
RESOURCE AND RECYCLING COORDINATOR FOR HIRE (FREE!)
The Resource and Recycling Coordinator is available to come to your business or organization
to discuss recycling with you and your employees or members. This includes businesses,
churches, non-profits, organizations, scout troops...call 218-384-9178 for an appointment.
Flatten as many of your containers and boxes as possible to save space and make transporting recyclables
For plastic and glass, rinse containers and remove all caps and rings. For tin containers, rinse, remove labels
Plastic bags don’t belong in recycling bins! Use paper bags since the paper bag can be recycled with mixed
Be a smart shopper—buy reusable, returnable or recyclable items. Buy in bulk when possible. Bring your
own bags to the store instead of using disposable plastic bags.
Complete following Scavenger Hunt at home and find out if you have Energy Hogs
lurking in your home. Check the answer box that best matches you and your home.
To busy to complete this worksheet? Have the kids do it for a school project.
1. How much insulation do you have in your attic? 6. How often do you turn lights off when you leave
G 6 inches or less (1 pt.) the room?
G 7 to 11 inches (2 pts.) G Almost never (zero pts.)
G 12 inches or more (4 pts.) G Sometimes (1 pts.)
G Always (4 pts.)
2. How often were your furnace filters cleaned or 7. Count the number of compact fluorescent light
changed within the last year? bulbs (CFLs) you have in your house.
G Not at all (zero pts.) G No CFL bulbs (zero pts.)
G 1 to 3 times (2 pts.) G 1 to 4 CFL bulbs (2 pts.)
G 4 or more times (4 pts.) G 5 or more (4 pts.)
3. How many layers of glass do your windows 8. Search your house for the Energy Star symbol
have? and count how many you find.
G Single-pane with no storm windows (zero pts.) G No Energy Star labels found (zero pts.)
G Single-pane with storm window or double-pane (2 pts.) G 1 to 2 Energy Star labels found (2 pts.)
G Double-pane with reflective coating or gas-filled (4 pts.) G 3 or more Energy Star labels found (4 pts.)
4. At what temperature do you set your thermo- 9. At what temperature do you wash your clothes?
stat when you are home and awake? G Mostly HOT water (zero pts.)
In winter: G Mostly WARM water (1 pt.)
G 73 degrees or more (zero pts.) G Mostly COLD water (4 pts.)
G 70 to 72 degrees (2 pts.)
G 69 degrees or less (4 pts.) 10. How much time do you spend in the shower?
In summer: G 15 minutes or more (zero pts.)
G 74 degrees or less (zero pts.) G 10 minutes (2 pts.)
G 75 to 77 degrees (2 pts.) G 5 minutes (4 pts.)
G 78 or more (4 pts.)
5. Open your front door and check the condition
of your weather stripping between the door and the
G None (zero pts.)
G Worn out (1 pt.)
G Good Condition (4 pts.)
34 to 44 points Great Job!!! You’re doing a great job busting those Energy Hogs in your home.
Keep up the good work!
33 to 15 points Almost!! You’re on your way to becoming an Energy Hog Buster, but there is
more to do.
14 to 1 points Oink! Oink! Looks like you and your house might be an energy hog. Don’t
worry, taking this test is the first step to figuring out where Energy Hogs are lurk-
ing in your home and how to fix them.