August 24, 2011
Breathe easier without air fresheners
Most people like the smell of air fresheners, be they lemon, pine or something more exotic. But many common air fresheners are also sources of airborne chemicals with potentially harmful side effects – things like phthalates and VOCs. People with chemical sensitivities are particularly susceptible to artificial scents. Additionally, plug-in fresheners use a steady trickle of electricity, and sprays result in empty spray cans that must be disposed of (or hopefully recycled).
There are better ways to freshen air:
- Open windows to let fresh air in
- Clean up the source of the odour with non-toxic cleaners
- Eliminate the source of the odour (IE empty the trash more frequently)
- Use baking soda or potpourri
- Choose air fresheners that are specifically labelled as organic
When you step back and think about it, spraying chemicals into the air we breathe just to mask odours (which may be unpleasant but are usually natural and therefore harmless) just seems like a bad idea.
August 9, 2011
Roll down the window, turn off the air conditioner…
Air conditioners make cars bearable in the heat of summer, but they are HUGE energy users, increasing a vehicle’s fuel consumption by 20%. That means a vehicle that normally goes 800 kilometres on a tank of fuel will only go about 675 kilometres with the air conditioner on – and many of us have it on by default all summer.
The best solution is to just turn your AC off. When driving 60 KMH or less, roll down your window and enjoy a bit of fresh air. (Wise dogs have known the pure joy of fresh air for years.) At speeds above 60 KMH, keep a comfortable airflow moving by using the fan to bring in fresh air and keeping a window or sunroof open just a crack to let it out.
On really hot days when that’s not enough, alternate the AC on and off to get just the amount of cooling you need. Just remember: it costs you every time you turn it on.