Friday, January 30, 2009

Ever wonder where all that waste vegetable oil goes that restaurants use?

Countless restaurants simply dispose of their used vegetable oil, but Independent Energy, a local company that is committed to a cleaner local environment and a greener, more efficient local economy, is trying to turn that wasted vegetable oil into something much more useful.

Independent Energy collects recycled waste vegetable oil from local restaurants and uses it to produce Biofuels, such as INDeFUEL. INDeFUEL is an alternative fuel that burns cleaner and cost less than petroleum diesel, making it an environmentally friendly and cost effective source of fuel for local communities. INDeFUEL can be used in two diverse ways. Individuals with converted diesel vehicles can use it, or it can be used to produce biodiesel.

Several restaurants around the Wilmington area have become a part of Independent Energies waste vegetable oil recycling program. Businesses include Firebowl Asian Cuisine, Cubbies, Islands Fresh Mex Grill, Deluxe, Catch, and China One. Several businesses in the Outer Banks have also become a part of the program.

Benefits of becoming a restaurant that has Independent Energy collect your waste vegetable oil are extremely worthwhile. They will pay you to collect your waste oil, promote you as a Green Business on their website, online, local print ads, and local promotions, as well as provide you with clean recycled collection bins. One awesome part of the program is that they donate a portion of the profits to a local charity every quarter.

Supporting local businesses and communities is an excellent way to create an environmentally friendly area. Independent Energy has taken a considerable step to make our area a greener location.

To become a greener business visit Independent Energy’s website at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Outreach Truck Unveiling

Yesterday, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher unveiled its new outreach vehicle at Halyburton Park. Public and media learned more about outreach programs, toured the vehicle, as well as saw and touched a variety of marine invertebrates that are commonly found along the North Carolina coast, including sea stars, whelks, hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, and other marine invertebrates.

The Outreach program currently brings marine invertebrates, in addition to reptiles and amphibians to schools, libraries, camps, and community groups. By outfitting a large truck, educators will now be able to bring a bit of North Carolina’s coastal environment to students who live in the mountains or the piedmont and may never get a chance to visit the beach.

Features of the van include a life support system, heating and air to maintain proper temperatures, biodiesel fuel capacity and a ramp to allow easy and safe access for the animals and their caretakers.

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher received a grant from the Community Foundation of Southeastern North Carolina in the amount of $15,000 to help the aquarium acquire a new outreach vehicle. This is in addition to $55,000 raised by the N.C. Aquarium Society.

Friday, January 23, 2009

5 Ways to Green Your Home for $100

  1. Buy blackout curtains. Instead of installing windows with multiple panes, blackout curtains reduce heat loss by a quarter.

  2. Install a rain barrel. A clean, regular barrel can easily and inexpensively be converted into a rain barrel.

  3. Put a garden on your roof. Grab some dirt from the hard. The only thing that will cost you money is seed and tarp.

  4. Remove your carpet. It increases your in-home air quality and reduce allergies. Make sure you have hardwood underneath and get your landlord's permission where applicable. Then, recycle your old carpet.

  5. Put caulk around your outlets, switches and windows. Put an insulating foam gasket behind your outlets and switches.
(Photo: Rain Saver)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


New Hanover County experienced some winter weather on Tuesday, January 21. Although little snow fell in Kure Beach, enough was on the Aquarium grounds to build a snowman. NC Aquarium Director Donna Moffitt above poses with the tiny creation.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Aquarium Closing Early

Due to inclement weather, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher will close at 3 p.m. on Tuesday 20, 2009. The last admissions ticket will be sold at 2 p.m.

The Aquarium will reopen tomorrow, Wednesday January 21, 2009 at 12 p.m.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Cold - Turn DOWN the Thermostat?

There’s an age-old argument about which way to manage your home thermostat is best. Should you keep the same temperature throughout the day, or turn the thermostat down (or up in the summer) when you leave in the morning and back up when you return home?

Believe it or not, turning the thermostat down when you leave in the morning and back up in the afternoon uses less energy and, therefore, saves you money.

Studies have shown that the fuel required to reheat a home to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to fuel saved as the home drops to the lower temperature. Also, fuel is saved between the time that the temperature stabilizes at the lower level and the next time heat is needed. In other words, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more nergy you save.

By turning your thermostat back for eight hours by just 10-15 degrees, could save you five to 15 percent a year on heating bills. There is about a one percent savings for each degree setback during an eight-hour period.

It is recommended that while you are home; set the thermostat at 68° during the colder months and 78° during the warmer months.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Aquarium Free Day

The North Carolina Aquariums will celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by waiving admission fees. The 2009 holiday falls on Monday, January 19.

North Carolina’s three public aquariums are located at Fort Fisher, at Pine Knoll Shores, and on Roanoke Island. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one of two holidays each year that the aquariums reserve for the public to visit without an admission charge. The other “free day” is Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

The aquariums are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 362 days each year. Normal admission charges are: $8 adults; $7 seniors; $6 ages 6-17. The aquariums offer free admission for: age 5 and under; registered groups of N.C. school children; N.C. Aquarium Society members. All three facilities are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.