Commons Ground: Three Ways to Live Eco-Friendly

Living sustainably doesn’t mean living off a steady diet of granola and kale or wearing Birkenstocks. In some respects, it simply means making smarter choices about energy consumption. The Commons team is passionate about green living and want to give you information that helps you lead an eco-friendly lifestyle without compromising on comfort or convenience. Let’s take a look at three convenient ways to make your lifestyle more energy efficient.

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1. Maximize Machines

Machines work for you, but they don’t have to work all the time. Here’s how you can reduce the energy consumption of three major appliances:

Washing Machines

Save water and energy by washing full loads only.

When possible, use cold water to wash clothes. According to Energy Star, heating water accounts for 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes.

Clothes Dryer

One of the simplest ways to make your dryer more energy efficient is to clean the lint filter. This step helps improve air circulation and reduce fire hazards. Get into the habit of cleaning it before each load.

Dishwasher

Always run your dishwasher with a full load. For many people, that means running it once every two or three days.

Instead of rinsing off your dishes (which wastes water and energy), simply scrape off any food. With the aid of detergent, most modern dishwashers are powerful enough to clean your dishes without pre-rinsing them first.

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2. Work Your Windows

When the weather gets frightful, a closed window is so delightful. Keeping drapes closed in the wintertime reduces heat loss. Alternately, keeping those drapes closed in the summer can mean cooler indoor temperatures, and reduced energy costs.

Although any curtain is better than nothing, opt for insulated curtains, when you can. These curtains often have a high-density foam layer that helps maintain your indoor temperature.

Hang these curtains floor to ceiling. It’s not just for aesthetics. Floor to ceiling curtains blocks cold or hot air from entering and leaving through your windows.

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3. Smart TVs

TVs present a great way to save energy. Replacing your 10 year old model with a newer television can save up to half the amount of energy consumption. When you’re shopping for a TV, here are two energy-saving features to look for:

Automatic Brightness Control- Sensors raise and lower the screen brightness for optimal viewing, and better energy management.

Local Dimming- On LED TVS, this energy-saving feature dims or turns off sections of backlighting to produce deeper blacks.

Almost all new TVs offer power saving, or sleep, modes. After a period of inactivity, your TV will automatically shut off. This saves on energy.

Energy Star® rated TVs for 2014 rates TV efficiency here:

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=most_efficient.me_tvs_under35_inches

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Remember, little changes can significantly reduce your energy consumption. Let us know on Facebook and Twitter if you have any go-to energy saving tips!

 

#LifeAtTheCommons Get Up and Go!

The sun is shining in New England, which means it is the best time to get out, enjoy and explore.  With so many fun activities outside your front door, we figured it would be fun to find new adventures that won’t break the bank!  Here are five local things to do for under $25 this summer. In fact, these are five cool and mostly-FREE local events, so get up and go have some fun!

National Sand Sculpting Competition at Revere Beach, July 18th-20th.  This event is free and includes concerts and fireworks!  Bring the kids for sand sculpting lessons, check out the amazing exhibits and get your toes wet while you’re there!  Since we haven’t spent any of your money yet….bring your $25 just in case the aroma from the food trucks or world-famous Kelly’s Roast Beef grabs your attention!

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Free Flicks Fridays on the Charles River at the Hatch Shell beginning Friday, July 11th and continuing for the following six weeks.  This is a great opportunity to bring your family into the city. Break out some blankets or lawn chairs and pack a picnic basket.  Movies start at dusk and feature a variety of box offices smashes including Frozen, the Goonies and Despicable Me 2.  Aside from feeding the meters or parking lot fees, this is another freebie!

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Shakespeare on the Common July 23rd-Aug. 10th featuring the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night, which follows the journeys of twins separated by a shipwreck. Free culture in a beautiful setting – what could be better!  Shows take place at the Parkman Bandstand at Boston Common, Tuesdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 7 pm for the live performance. Public transportation is available via the Red Line. Or take the Green line, and then walk up Newbury to catch the best people watching experience in Boston.

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Cape Cod Canal 100th Anniversary Celebration will take place July 25th – August 3rd.  The week-long celebration of Cape Cod’s centennial features everything from tall ships to fireworks to clambakes to baseball games. Be sure to check out the Parade of Lights on July 26th, which takes place at 9 p.m. at Mass Maritime Academy (throughout the length of the canal).  The Cape Cod Baseball League will have an All Star game at Upper Cape Tech in Bourne at 2 pm on July 27th and the Tug Boat Parade is on the 29th at 4 pm along the banks of the canal.  Don’t miss their fireworks that evening – a display that soars above Buzzards Bay.  There are plenty more historical and family themed events to check out as well. Best of all, it is free!

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Endless Summer Festival at Nantasket Beach, Hull on Saturday September 20th from noon – 5 p.m. Not only is the event free, parking is too!  The annual event features live music, shopping, art and food from over 25 area restaurants – and given Hull’s reputation for great eats, this will be a delicious day! There are plenty of contests as well – Kid’s Street Art Competition, Daddy’s Hot Dog Eating Competition and Touch A Truck will entertain visitors of all ages!