Eco-tastic ideas for the new year

By Tom Watson

As green goes mainstream, the innovations never stop. Consumers now have a bounty of eco-tastic products, practices and programs to choose from. Today, in honor of the new year, we’ll highlight 11 great green ideas for 2011.

Q: Let’s start with energy. What’s hot?

A: Breakthroughs in energy conservation and usage have kept the environmental movement humming in the 21st century. Consider these in the coming year:

  • Change the channel. It’s getting easier to buy a TV that’s not an energy hog. By next summer, every new television will have a federally required label allowing shoppers to easily compare its energy efficiency with that of other models.
  • Prove sun skeptics wrong. Yes, solar energy does work in Seattle, and residential applications have become more affordable and available. Resourceful nonprofit efforts, such as the Solarize Seattle program (, which coordinates bulk purchases of solar panels, will bring sun power to the masses one neighborhood at a time.
  • Know your own power. “Knowledge is power” was never more true than with home energy conservation. Dozens of new resources and programs help measure home energy use and show you how to conserve, including, and

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Appeared in The Seattle Times on December 31, 2010.

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