Class #5: Swaping Non-Eco Bulky Fridge with a Cooler This Summer

Hello and welcome to my next, fifth class! Since we have a hot summer this year, it’s worth to talk about smart ways of being more eco-friendly while saving money on electric bills.

How much energy does your fridge use to keep drinks cold? Drinks can take up nearly half the space in your fridge, which might mean that it’s working harder than it has to so it can keep things cold.

Some drinks, like cans of soda, don’t necessarily need to be kept in the fridge but you probably still want to keep them cool during those hot summer days. A good ice cooler can keep your drinks cool.

eco ice coolerWith the development of better insulating materials, the quality of ice coolers has improved over the past few decades.

Now it’s becoming increasingly popular to buy a cooler that can keep drinks and sandwiches cold for several days because they’re losing their reputation as being cheaply made and incapable of keeping food cool for very long at a time.

That means you can save money on keeping drinks cold because you’re both buying less ice and spending less money on the electric costs of cooling them cold in the refrigerator.

Benefits of Using An Ice Cooler or Ice Chest

The high-quality ones have good enough insulation to keep the ice frozen for as long as you need it in most cases. Many of the truly good ones can keep ice frozen for as long as ten days. That’s long enough for most road trips. Look for coolers that get good reviews from people who frequently take road trips lasting more than a week and you’ll have a good idea of how long they can hold ice.

You’ll have something on hand to keep perishables cold in an emergency. If you live in an area that has frequent blackouts during bad or especially hot weather, a few good ice coolers can save the food and drinks that will spoil most quickly if they aren’t kept cool. If you have an emergency such as a flood or storm that may have damaged your electrical system, it’s also a good idea to have a cooler on hand so that you can save what’s in your fridge.

You may think you’re spending too much money just to keep drinks cold. In fact, you’re probably right. Some drinks, like soda and beer, do fine in an ice cooler because they don’t have to be kept as cold as milk or juices to be refreshing. If you transfer them over to an ice cooler, you’ll not only be spending less money on the electricity needed to keep them cold, but you’ll also have more room in your fridge.

A lot of coolers and ice chests can have more space than you think. If you’re used to just hauling a cooler to work to hold your lunch or to the beach to hold a few beers, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of volume a cooler can have. Some of the most popular ones have a volume of more than 400 quarts.

What Should You Look For In An Ice Cooler?

What is the ice cooler normally used for? If you intend to keep drinks and/or food in the cooler long-term, you’ll want one with a good ice retention rating and enough volume to suit your needs. The larger, more durable ones with better ice retention will usually be better suited for storing drinks or food in. Also, be sure to consider the environment it will be used in. If you intend to move it around a lot or take it to the beach, see if you can find one that has wheels and a handle for more comfortable moving, but can stay in place when it’s not actually being moved.

Does it get good reviews? Look for reviews by people who have actually used that particular cooler because they’ll usually be brutally honest about the pros and cons. is another good place to look for honest reviews.

Can you inspect the cooler yourself? If you have the chance to look at the cooler in person, don’t be shy about looking it over and seeing if it’s large enough and feels sturdy. Sit on it. Stand on it. Put a few heavy things in it and move it around to see if you can handle it comfortably when it’s full. This will tell you a lot about how the cooler will perform at home.

When you’re looking for an ice cooler to store drinks in, you shouldn’t skimp and buy something that you don’t feel comfortable using just to save some money. Sure, you can and should set a reasonable price range so you can get a good deal for the money. However, if your maximum is a round figure, don’t let the fact that a cooler might be a few bucks over that turn you off if it’s perfect otherwise. Get the one that works best for you.

Class #4 – Your child want to ride a dirt bike? Go green, buy an electric one!

Today’s class (fourth already!) is a bit off-topic, although still closely related to the eco-living aspects of everyday’s life. If you have kids, boys especially, I am sure you’ve once gone through the on-going questions like: “dad, can I get a dirt bike” (or any other motorized ride on toy). I’ve been there several times and decided to write this class to make more parents aware that buying a motorized vehicle for children doesn’t have to be in conflict with an eco-friendly approach to living.

Let me explain.

Electric Dirt Bike Razor
Razor is one of the makers of electric dirt bikes. Kids love riding them.

Kids like to be mobile and they like to feel like a grown-up when they ride their very first motorized vehicle. For this reason, it’s pretty inevitable that they’ll beg for their own dirt bike, ATV or motorized e-scooter. If are eco-friendly and don’t feel like paying for gas for these vehicles, you should “go green” and buy them an electric dirt bikelike the Razor.

Electric dirt bikes for kids are relatively new. Most models of dirt bikes for kids still use gas, but manufacturers are responding to the new market for more environmentally friendly options. That means they’ve developed the capacity to use rechargeable electric motors for mobile toys like dirt bikes and ATVs for kids. That’s good for you because you don’t have to make frequent trips to a gas station with a gas can and good for the environment because electric dirt bikes produce no emissions.

Benefits of Electric Dirt Bikes for Kids

I’ve spent some time browsing through the internet resources to see if my own views on kids’ dirt bikes resonate with what others say. So, if I would have to name key benefits, these would be the following.

They’re quiet. The motors tend to produce fewer decibels than equivalent gas motors, which means fewer complaints from the neighbors when the kids ride around on their dirt bikes.

They’re safe. While kids might still get a few scrapes and bruises while learning how to handle the dirt bike, this can be mitigated with a helmet and knee and elbow pads. Once they’ve learned how to steer and show that they can be aware of the environment they’re riding in, dirt bikes are actually a relatively safe outdoor activity. Electric dirt bikes for kids, usually have less powerful engines, so they don’t go very fast. The Razor MX500 Dirt Rocket Electric Motocross Bike, for instance, doesn’t go above 15 MPH even though it’s rated for older kids. As per this source, they aren’t rated for street use in most states. That means they’ll usually be riding them on the sidewalk or on smooth dirt surfaces, where they’ll be in less risk of being hit by vehicles on the road. Electric dirt bikes usually also have a limited range, so even if you don’t see or hear them right this second, they probably won’t have gone far on their electric bike.

You can usually find one that’s suitable for your child’s age. Like bicycles, electric dirt bikes can come in varying sizes. If you have a very young child who has just mastered riding a bicycle without training wheels, you should get one that’s less than 20 pounds so that it’s easy for kids to master while still being challenging enough to be fun. Heavier and larger bikes like the Kuberg Trial E 21-Inch are usually suitable for kids between the ages of 7 and 14.

They’re easy to maintain. Very often, they will just need to be plugged in between uses. If it seems to be running rough, it usually just needs to be taken to the shop for a tune-up.

It can increase your kid’s confidence and coordination. An electric dirt bike is a major confidence-booster for kids who like the freedom of riding around their neighborhood and it can increase their coordination as they learn how to steer it.

It’s eco-friendly. While it might not be as eco-friendly as riding an entirely foot-powered bicycle, an electric dirt bike does not have the emissions of a gas-powered bike. This is especially true if you use solar power for your home.

So, what should you look for in an electrical dirt bike for your child? The first consideration is to take your kid’s age, size and physical development level into account. The bike should be easy for your child to handle and big enough that he can spend a few years riding on it. The 16” version of the Kuberg 2016 Trial E Electric Bike is rated for children up to 10 years old, for instance, but if your child is in the higher percentiles in terms of height and weight, he might outgrow it before he reaches his tenth birthday. So you might consider the 21” version instead.

Another important thing to consider is the power rating of the motor. Besides the fact that higher cc ratings might need to be charged more often or for longer periods of time, the higher cc ratings can also move faster. A crash at max speed on a bike with a 125cc motor might hurt more than a crash at max speed with a 50cc motor. So if your child has not yet mastered the use of an electric motor bike or you worry about safety, consider buying one with a lower rating.

The truth is that electric dirt bikes can be fun for children on the move if you choose the right options. They’re eco-friendly, they can be found in a variety of sizes and motor powers to suit your child’s age and skill level, and they can be found at affordable prices so you feel like you’re getting a good value for your money.

To the next green-living class, folks!

Class #3 – How to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient


Hello to my readers! It’s Colin back again, this time with my third class where I’ll be discussing tips for making your home an energy-efficient home.

You might have heard about how making your home energy-efficient is important for the environment. They’re not wrong. Energy-efficient homes means that less fossil fuels need to be pulled out of the ground, transported and used to produce energy in ways that destroy ecosystems and pour toxins into the environment.

From a standpoint that’s more practical for you, an energy-efficient home can save you money in the long run because you’re using less electricity. It doesn’t even need to be as expensive as you think and it can even be as easy as remembering to turn the lights off when you leave a room or adjusting the air conditioner to run less when you’re going to be out of the house for a while. If you have a smart phone or an iPhone, you could even download an app that lets you turn things off even when your away if you forgot. It’s these little things, plus these tips, that can make your home more energy efficient and lower your electric bill.

energy efficient home

Next time you buy appliances, look for an Energy Star rating. Energy Star rated appliances are designed to run more efficiently than the alternative. It’s a voluntary program run by the U.S. Environmental Agency for appliance makers that want the marketing edge that comes with having an appliance that has been certified to reduce electricity usage. Even with light bulbs, you might see an Energy Star LED model. LED is more efficient than other types of bulbs anyway, so make sure you use these.

Have your roof inspected and maintained. Heat rises, so a lot of heat can be lost through an ill-maintained roof and/or degraded insulation layer in the roof. This increases the amount of money you’re spending to keep your home heated during the winter months. It can even affect the efficiency of your air conditioner during the summer months when hot air seeps in through flaws in the roof and insulation layer and gets trapped under the roof.

Locate and repair any leaky areas that are causing drafts. If there’s a draft in one of your rooms, it’s not just annoying. It’s also costing you money. Many drafts are caused by window sills that have sprung a leak, so have them inspected and caulked or replaced if necessary.

Have your HVAC system inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Your heating and air conditioning is a major factor when it comes to how much you’re spending on your utilities. Having them inspected and maintained on a regular basis can not only slash your energy costs, but also reduce the hazards that come with having an ill-maintained HVAC system. If you are considering purchasing a new HVAC, you should not only consider an Energy Star model, but also consider what kind of HVAC would be most appropriate for your living space. If you live in an apartment or condo, you may wish to coordinate with the landlord or building manager if you are having issues with your heating and air conditioning. You may also be able to get away with installing efficient portable heaters and air conditioning units in the rooms you use most and turning off the central unit.

Invest in a thermostat that gives you the option to set it using a timer. The thermostat can turn your air conditioning off or run it less during times when you’re normally gone and turn it back on a little before you normally get back home. You’d be amazed by how much electricity this can save simply because you aren’t needlessly running your air conditioning.

Have your electric system inspected. Interesting tip: Contractors will usually refuse to sign off on a job if they find a problem with your electrical system until you have it repaired. This is because a faulty electric system can actually be dangerous and they don’t want the liability. A degraded electrical system can cause deadly house fires because they transport electricity less efficiently, often causing dangerous heat buildup behind your walls in the process. The reduced efficiency may also be driving up your electric bill.

Turn off computers and electronic devices when you aren’t using them. Even hibernation uses a small amount of electricity. Shutting them down not only clears the RAM and clears out about 90% of the problems you might be having with your computer, but also saves you on your electric bill.

Try not to run anything electrical during peak hours if you have a choice. Peak hours are usually during the afternoon, so instead of turning on lights, I just open the blinds to let light in through the window. Same goes for fans and the exhaust in the bathroom and kitchen. If you don’t need it, don’t turn it on. Even when you have things like hair dryers that you keep turned off, you should also unplug them because they’re still drawing a trickle of electricity that can add to your bill during peak hours.

Consider one of those solar water heating units for your shower. You probably know how annoying it is when you have to wait for hot water or it’s entirely out of hot water because you’re taking a shower right after somebody indulged in a long, hot shower. That means there are inefficiencies in your central water heating unit that wastes electricity while heating water you don’t need right now. With a good, properly installed solar heater, you’re using solar power to heat water exactly when you need it and you won’t need to worry about running out of hot water.

Be aware of the ways you might be wasting electricity in your home. It could be something like staring into your fridge while you decide what you want to eat. Besides making you look indecisive, it also makes the fridge work harder to keep food cool. You should only open it if you’re sure that you actually want something and, if so, what it is. Same goes for running a dishwasher that’s not very full or running small loads of laundry. You might not think it’s a big deal, but it adds up.

Saving electricity is not just about saving the environment. It’s about saving you money. It might take some up-front investment, but it’s worth it if you know that less of your monthly budget is going to the utility company.