Friday, February 28, 2014

The Bottom Line on Energy Efficient Upgrades

Wondering which energy-saving upgrades are worth it? These simple steps tend to pay for themselves quickly:
Installing weather stripping to an older home can reduce heating costs by 10 to 20 percent.
Adding or upgrading insulation in an under- or un-insulated attic or basement can pay off quickly on energy bills.
Upgrading from incandescent light bulbs requires spending more on replacement bulbs, but with the energy savings and longer lifespan, LED bulbs pay for themselves in about three years, and CFL bulbs can pay for themselves in as little as three months.
Replacing inefficient shower heads with a water-saving model will save the average family 2,900 gallons per year and 370 kilowatt hours of electricity.
Switching to low-flow toilets can reduce the water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent (or 13,000 gallons per year) for an average savings of $110 per year.
Using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the indoor air temperatures lower or higher to save on heating and cooling costs can pay for itself in less than a year.
Upgrading to Energy Star appliances can reduce energy costs dramatically, especially if your current fridge or dishwasher was manufactured before 1990.
Switching to a front load washing machine can save you $150 a year, using 35 to 50 percent less water and up to 50 percent less electricity than a conventional top-loading model.
Installing a water heater blanket is an inexpensive way to save you 4 to 9 percent in water heating costs.
Upgrading an older heating system to a high-efficiency furnace is a good investment if your system is older than 20 years.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Color Maryland Green Contest for K-12

Poster, photography, video and poetry contest - submissions due March 7.

Calling all young poets, photographers, artists and producers!

Students in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit original creations inspired by the State's outdoors to the 2014 Color Maryland Green contest. The annual contest encourages children to take advantage of the abundant recreational opportunities and natural resources that Maryland has to offer. The artwork must be original and should showcase the beauty and wonder of the State's natural world.
Entries can be any work of art or film ─ such as photographs, oil paintings, pencil and charcoal sketches, computer design, crayon and marker drawings, poetry and video.

 For more information and how to enter visit the Color Maryland Green Contest.

For more information or to request COLOR MARYLAND GREEN instructional materials, contact                 La Von Boston at or (410) 260-8009.
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Maryland Department of the Environment | 1800 Washington Boulevard | Baltimore | MD | 21230