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Go Green with Ed Begley Jr.
Go Green with Ed Begley Jr.
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 Go Green with Ed Begley Jr.

Living with Ed follows Ed Begley, Jr., and his wife, Rachelle, as they green their home, family, and celebrity friends. But if you've ever wondered what kind of advice they'd give the rest of us, then the Ask Ed forum is your chance to find out. Readers submit questions and comments about the show, green living, and more, and Ed chimes in with his green answers; here, we've rounded up some highlights of the past week.

Q. I'm working on starting a green business. I live in a small town and would like to help people start living green. I'm most interested selling home and building products just like you might see on the Planet Green channel. Any advice would be great.

A. I get this question a lot. I think the key is to provide services that people need at the very ground level - the low hanging fruit so to speak. Solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars - all good things but not ground level things. What people really need these days is a home energy audit - one that can create a game plan for energy efficiency in each home. It looks at insulation, windows, ducting, lighting, HVAC etc. and creates a full plan to bring each house up to a high level of energy efficiency. If I were to start a business, it would be doing home energy audits and doing the work that follows from them.


Q. I am seeing an increase in people focused on solar and wind energy which I feel is a good thing. The thing that concerns me is these systems require the use of batteries and I have not seen any discussions on the life of these batteries and how they should be addressed in an environmentally friendly way. Are you aware of any site or companies that have thought through this whole life cycle approach?

A. I just replaced my lead acid batteries that store my electricity from solar at my home. They were fully recycled. Industrial batteries used for such large scale purposes are always recycled. Lead is expensive - everyone wants to recycle it. However, a much easier way is to grid-tie the solar - then no batteries are needed at all, as the grid is your storage system.


Q. This may seem like an "oxy moron" question- but are there small appliances that are also eco-friendly?

I normally let my hair dry naturally. But on the rare occasion when I dress up and would like look nice, I actually have eco-guilt using an electric blow dryer and curling iron as I know how much energy they suck up.

How about small kitchen appliances (coffee pots, toaster ovens, crock pots) or alarm clocks and radios?

A. Small appliances that have heating elements are the most energy hungry. Things like clocks use minimal power. Coffee makers, blow dryers, curling irons and toasters like energy a lot! Running a coffee maker is ok as long as you don't leave it sitting on heating the pot all morning. Have a cup and shut it off. Toasters use a lot of power but are quick about it. Blow dryers and curling irons! Oh boy - don't get me started on Rachelle! I never had those things in my house before Rachelle...


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