Green might be the new black but it will have the same staying power as a white button-down shirt, outliving its annoying trendiness for good reason. This week, green is “universal” and entering your home in more ways than one. Good things are being made available to you in visuals and tidbits on network channels and a new U.S. EPA Green Homes website. As Green Week proceeds on NBC Universal channels from Nov. 15 to 22, the network is promoting its “Green Is Universal” campaign for the third year in a row.
Information on greening your home, lowering energy bills and green stocks will be featured on NBC Universal’s various networks that include NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, iVillage, Bravo, Oxygen, USA Network and The Weather Channel. Primetime will feature green episodes of 30 Rock with a cameo appearance by Al Gore, Community, The Office and several others.
Beginning on Sunday, Green Week shows will feature information on reducing your carbon footprint, alleviating asthma and where to put your money. Real stories will be told about American neighborhoods exposed to high levels of air and water pollution as well as new innovations in generating energy.
Amid television coverage, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced its new Green Homes website, featuring tools to cut energy costs, reduce waste and water usage, and improve indoor air quality in American homes. Homeowners, buyers and renters can click on a room in the virtual green home and have their finger on ways to green each room of a home as well as outside in the yard.
The significance of the information, you wonder? There are approximately 128 million homes in the U.S., collectively responsible for more than half of America’s entire energy use and a third of the carbon dioxide emitted nationwide. While green building is all the rage, residential America is virtually untouched in terms of green practices and technology, the EPA says, due to a lack of clear, consolidated, and credible information.
According to the Energy Information Association, approximately 40 percent of the pollution generated in the U.S. comes from buildings, half of which is due to American homes; just behind buildings are transportation and industrial sources. The typical American household uses most of its energy on heating and cooling and heating water. Miscellaneous uses account for 15 percent of typical energy use, followed by lighting (11%), refrigerator/freezer (7%), television (5%), clothes washer/dryer (5%), cooking (3%), personal computer (2%) and dishwasher (1%). A majority of American homes are largely built from old, inefficient methods and materials. However, one shiny nugget appeared last week as the EPA announced a landmark one million Energy Star homes are now part of the American residential landscape.
As NBC launched Green Week with features during NFL programming, Sunday was America Recycles Day, sponsored by EPA. Keeping up with recycling and reusing wherever you are helps fend off pollution and climate change.
The lifecycle energy savings of recycling rather than landfilling one aluminum can is equivalent to the energy use of a laptop for 5 hours, a 60-watt incandescent light bulb for 4 hours, or a 60-watt compact fluorescent light bulb for 20 hours, EPA says.
Whatever you may watch, read or hear, find what you can do or change. “Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” as American author Annie Dillard once said.