High-Tech Gardens

MudPi's smart garden set up

Smart gardens are becoming ever more popular and accessible with open-source software that helps to reduce water use, weed growth, and labor.

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Energy Efficiency: Choosing the Best Light Bulb


When it comes to choosing a light bulb, there are lots of options—but what’s the most energy efficient choice? Not all bulbs are created equal.

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A Cool Approach to Fuel Efficient Driving


Now that summer is finally here, it’s time to clear up some misconceptions around driving with the windows down versus using the AC to cool down your car.

Is it more energy efficient to use the A/C or to roll down the windows?

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More Than Home Energy Reports: Behavior and Energy Efficiency

home energy report behavior energy efficiency

Wondering how you can influence behavior to reduce energy usage among businesses as well as residents?

Over the last decade, energy efficiency programs—faced with aggressive goals and fewer easy wins relative to technology—began seeking to change participant behaviors, especially at the household level. One strategy—home energy reports—dominated the program design. Home energy reports feature a model where participants receive feedback on how their energy usage compares to other homes—leveraging social norms. There is now plenty of research proving that households will reduce their energy usage if they learn that their consumption is higher than other peer households.

However, one of the challenges with the home energy report model, is that while we know that households reduce their usage, we don’t know how they reduced their usage, or for how long those reductions will persist.

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Go Meatless for Sustainability on Monday or Any Day


Going meatless – on Monday or any day of the week, and as often as you’d like – is not only good for your health, but for the health of the planet as well. In fact, going meatless on Monday is something Cool Choices program participants can earn points for in our sustainability engagement programs. Some participants earn points just by eating less meat—opting for plant-based meals some of the time. While others adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. Recently a 2018 alumna, Judy, reported that she’s switching to a plant-based diet so she can create a greener footprint for herself. Here’s more information on the benefits of going meat free.

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Sustainable Resolutions for the New Year


Here at Cool Choices, we stand by the idea that sustainable actions – no matter how small – add up to make a positive, meaningful impact. Since the new year is the perfect opportunity to start practicing new, more positive habits, here is a list of ten small actions you can take to expand upon your sustainability journey in 2018.

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Alumni Sustainability: Innovative Recycling to Reduce Waste

alumni sustainability innovative recycling

Check out this story by Cool Choices sustainability program alum Kevin, who found a creative way to repurpose waste in his community by recycling old Styrofoam. We are always impressed and inspired by how our program alumni continue to take daily sustainable actions even after the program ends.

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Upcycling: Unique Ways to Eliminate Waste


Are you looking for a few unique ways to upcycle otherwise old or unwanted items in an effort to eliminate waste in landfills? Check out this story by Cool Choices sustainability program alum Jeanne from the Kenosha County UW-Extension sent us this awesome story of how she and other Cool Choices program alum (who are also members of Sustainable Kenosha) found a creative way to eliminate waste in their community by upcycling an old satellite dish from the Kenosha County Center and transforming it into a beautiful garden display.  We are always impressed and inspired by how our program participants feel Cool Choices impacts them and their decision to continue increasing their daily sustainable actions even after the program ends.

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Sustainable Gift Ideas for the Holidays


The holiday season is the perfect time to remind the people you love that you care. Often, exchanging gifts shows your appreciation for someone’s place in your life. This holiday season, you can say even more with your gifts – you can use holiday gift giving as an opportunity to show your gratitude for the planet too. Shopping for sustainable gifts this holiday season can help ensure the products you buy are ethically and environmentally produced.

Here are some sustainable gift ideas and tips to keep in mind as you begin shopping this holiday season. 

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Beyond the Game: Start With Small Sustainable Actions

Past players of the Cool Choices game-based sustainability program continue to make sustainable choices in their everyday lives even after the program ends. We are always impressed to learn how participating in Cool Choices impacts individuals and their decisions to take further sustainable actions. This month we were inspired by Sarah’s story!

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