What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Updated Technology Can Save You Money and Be Eco-Friendly

Pictured is our new PVR satellite receiver from Bell that was installed on Monday.  This is a 9242 that we bought rather than pay rental and thanks to a great deal from a friend who was switching to another television satellite provider, we were able to replace 4 additional rental receivers effectively eliminating the $26 monthly rental fees ($312 annually).  The PVR cost us $500 less a 25% discount for a total of $375.  So how does upgrading to new technology save money?
  • PVR - A PVR receiver is a personal recording device that works even when the unit is turned unlike a VCR.  This immediately saves on electricity use but it also saves on buying VCR tapes, DVDs and prevents these items from later ending up in the landfill.  The PVR model we bought can actually power 2 televisions, one on high definition and the other on standard definition.  This effectively eliminates one receiver further saving the electricity used for that receiver.  The payback period for our PVR considering only the rental cost is 18 months.
  • CFLs - Compact fluorescent lights are the norm when it comes to energy efficiency.  Incandescent bulbs are no longer being manufactured in North America.  CFL bulbs use a third or less electricity than incandescent bulbs.  The main downside to CFL is they do contain mercury so they need to be taken to centres that will recycle them without releasing mercury into the environment.  
  • telephones - I posted recently about changing out our old phone sets for a new phone system that not only reduces electric consumption by 59% but also is saved us $30 per month for 3 months then $24.95 there after by eliminating services we had through Bell.  They are even EnergyStar® rated!
  • EnergyStar® rated appliances - In today's world EnergyStar® rated large household appliances are a must as well as replacing any small appliances possible with those EnergyStar® rated.  Always look for the lowest energy consumption possible.  
  • electronics - Have you noticed that all electronics keep getting smaller and smaller?  That ultimately means that electrical usage for these smaller electronics decreases.
  • GPS - At one time I can recall buying a new Rand-McNally North American road map each year as well as picking up or buying various road maps along the way.  On average since we have been married at $50 per year for maps we have spent well over $1,000 but in terms of trees used for the paper for these maps we have spent much more.  A few years ago we went computerized using a program called Streets & Maps and then Google Maps both of which we could print out directions but then we borrowed Lucy, our nic name for one of our kid's GPS.  There is no paper involved and the directions got us from point A to B with no problems.  After borrowing Lucy several times we finally broke down and bought our own Lucy at a grand cost of $169 that eliminates buying any software or paper maps.  Thanks to Lucy we should never have to buy another road map again!
  • e-billing, email, e-flyers - All of these options greatly reduce the amount of paper used per household.  While there is no monetary savings, they are eco-friendly by saving paper used.
  • digital cameras - Oh my gosh, our digital cameras have to be one of the biggest money and paper savers possible.  I like average somewhere around taking 30 pictures on any given day but that dramatically increases for vacations and other special events.  Using a digital camera allows me to share pictures without printing, print those pictures I really want to while saving paper and the chemicals used for processing photos.  It's a win, win all the way around that for our use paid for itself likely in the firs 3 months of owning a digital camera.
Garden Gnome