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These motion-activated streetlights could cut L.A.’s energy use by 40 percent At night, brightly lit office buildings are depressing — you know that either people are working too hard, or the building is wasting energy. Dutch mechanical engineer Chintan Shah looked at streetlights and saw a similar problem. Why light a path if no one’s walking or biking there? 20121006_IMG_3030_urbanbike by Jean-Christophe Courte in Compost, List of composting systems on Fotopedia - The Photo Encyclopedia Compost (/ˈkɒmpɒst/ or /ˈkɒmpoʊst/) is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste (leaves, food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture.

Here's why turning off the lights really does make a difference From my ramblings on why green lifestyle choices won't save us to the meteorologist who broke down over climate change and vowed never to fly again, I've regularly argued that personal carbon footprints can be a distraction, when what we really need to focus on is collective, system-wide change. It's not always a popular position. In fact, some commenters have accused me of being "weazely" - and they may have a point. Ask Umbra: Does leaving the lights on really keep the burglars away? Send your question to Umbra! Q. I always cringe when I see people leave their lights on when they’re not home to deter would-be burglars. Does burning the bulbs for hours really prevent robberies? Ron K.Wheaton, Ill. A.

Wind power kept the heaters working in Texas Wind power helped Texas avoid blackouts as residents and businesses turned on their heaters this week amid plummeting temperatures and dwindling electricity supplies. On Monday morning, wind turbines provided 1,800 megawatts of the 56,000 megawatts of power available in most of Texas — which was just enough to avoid outages after several fossil-fuel power plants shut down due to weather-related problems. But in an odd twist, that wind-based salvation has led some to complain that the Lone Star State is too dependent on the clean energy source.

Which type of stovetop is the most energy-efficient? Q. Dear Umbra, What kind of cooktop is better: gas or induction? ValerieNelson, B.C. These simple steps will make your refrigerator work better Q. Dear Umbra, My refrigerator died suddenly at the tender age of 25. I bought an energy-saving one and found out that these new fridges last only seven to eight years. First of all, I was disappointed that I had to add to the waste management with my old one (although I hope some of it will be recycled in some way).

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