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If you're looking to keep cool this summer, you may be looking for a new air conditioning unit. Whether you're looking for a standalone AC unit or a central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, choosing one of the best solar-powered AC units can help you reduce your carbon footprint and save money on utility bills.

In this article, we'll go over the basics of solar energy AC units, including installation tips, the benefits of solar HVAC, information on the best solar-powered air conditioners on the market and frequently asked questions.

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The majority of all Texas residents live in a deregulated energy market. This means every day, people have the freedom to switch to a different provider in their service area to save money. Competition helps keep prices down, and Texas energy rates are below the national average.

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Making the switch to solar energy can help you lower or even eliminate your monthly electric bills while reducing your carbon footprint. However, before installing a clean energy system in your home, you must first answer an important question: "How many solar panels do I need?"

To accurately calculate the ideal number of solar panels for your home, you'll need a professional assessment. However, you can estimate the size and cost of the system based on your electricity bills, energy needs and available roof space. This article will tell you how.

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Your electric bill depends on where you live. It also depends on your electricity provider. Some providers may offer fixed rates and others vary. There has also been no shortage of stories in the news lately about power outages caused by deregulated platforms initially designed to help consumers save money that eventually became overwhelmed by crushing cold or heat. However much you pay on your monthly bill, theres no doubt you've heard about the potential for low rates and greater plan flexibility.

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In Today's Eco Update

  • Keystone XL is dead.
  • Revived Siberian microorganism.
  • The Big Con.
  • Record CO2 emissions.
  • Dr. Bronner's chocolate.

– summaries below written by Angely Mercado

The Keystone XL Pipeline Is Officially Dead

The Keystone XL pipeline is officially canceled.

TC Energy, the Canadian company behind the pipeline that would have moved oil from Alberta's tar sands to Nebraska, confirmed Wednesday that it was giving up on the controversial project.

"The Company will continue to coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the Project," the company wrote.

The news was met with jubilation from environmental and Indigenous groups who had spent years battling the project over concerns it would worsen the climate crisis and harm the ecosystems and communities along its route.

Olivia Rosane

24,000-Year-Old Microorganism Revived From Permafrost

Scientists in Russia have revived a bdelloid rotifer — a multicellular microorganism found in wet environments — after the invertebrate spent 24,000 years frozen 11 feet beneath the Siberian permafrost.

According to a study published in Current Biology, research has suggested these tiny creatures can slow their metabolisms down to almost stagnant and survive frozen for up to 10 years. Scientists from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science found that rotifers can survive for much longer. The 24,000-year-old rotifer was able to reproduce and feed after being thawed.

Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry's Deceptive 'Net Zero' Strategy

A new report published by a trio of progressive advocacy groups unveiled the so called "net zero" climate pledges, which are often touted by corporations and governments as solutions to the climate emergency. The report's authors argued that it's simply a form of greenwashing that should be eschewed in favor of Real Zero policies based on meaningful, near-term commitments to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, The Big Con: How Big Polluters Are Advancing a "Net Zero" Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny, was published by Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International, and is endorsed by more than 60 environmental organizations.

CO2 Reaches Its Highest Level in Human History

Last month, EcoWatch reported that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels this year were expected to climb to beyond 2019 levels, despite falling during the pandemic. Two reports released earlier this week detailed that CO2 levels have indeed spiked, and that the annual peak reached 419 parts per million (PPM) in May, the highest level in human history.

Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who published the reports, have tracked atmospheric CO2 for more than 60 years. But using other data, researchers were able to estimate that CO2 levels haven't been this high on Earth in more than 4 million years.

Dr. Bronner's to Launch Vegan, Organic Chocolate Bars

Dr. Bronner's, a popular natural soap brand, is releasing Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate this Aug. 1 and will sell its product online by the fall. The dairy-free chocolate will come in six different flavors: roasted whole hazelnuts, crunchy hazelnut butter, salted whole almonds, salted almond butter, salted dark chocolate and smooth coconut praline. The bars will be made from cocoa grown through regenerative organic practices, and are made with lower-glycemic coconut sugar.

The push to produce chocolate began when Dr. Bronner's learned that the Ghanian farmers who supply its Regenerative Organic Certified Serendipalm also grow cocoa and decided to expand the partnership. The company's farming partners use dynamic agroforestry, a farming method used by Indigenous peoples of Latin America. Dynamic agroforestry creates "forest-like systems with high biomass production," according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In addition to being certified USDA organic and vegan, the chocolate is a certified fair trade product.

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Krill oil has gained a lot of popularity recently as a superior alternative to fish oil. Basically, the claim goes, anything fish oil can do, krill oil does better. Read on to learn what makes krill oil supplements better than fish oil supplements, why you should consider adding these to your list of vitamin subscriptions and supplements, and which brands we recommend.

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While topical lotions and creams may help treat the immediate discomfort of dry skin, they may not address the underlying cause. Adding the right vitamin subscription or supplement may rejuvenate and hydrate your skin from the inside, helping you to avoid dry skin from the start. Here are some of the most important vitamins for skin health and the best supplements for dry skin that we recommend.

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CBD, or cannabidiol, now comes in a variety of different forms, including CBD oils, CBD gummies, CBD capsules, and even water soluble CBD powders. You can also use CBD vape oil like you would any other vape juice. Our guide to the best CBD vape oils will help you identify the top brands to consider and will provide important information about CBD, vaping, and wellness.

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There's no better way to show your dog that you love them than by keeping them healthy. In addition to exercise, a healthy diet, grooming, and regular checkups at the vet, you can also help support your dog's wellbeing with CBD dog treats. Learn how CBD oils and treats can benefit your four-legged friend and see which brands made our list of the best CBD treats for dogs.

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If you've been wanting to try CBD oil, but have been concerned about the price, our guide to the most affordable CBD oils will help you find the best quality CBD products from reputable and trusted brands. We explain how and why we chose our top recommended CBD oils as well as how affordable CBD oils could benefit you. Keep reading to find the right CBD oil for you and your wallet.

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A pump jack and surface water at an oil well and fracking site in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Citizens of the Planet / Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

What is fracking?

Fracking is a process of blasting water, chemicals and frac sand deep into the earth to break up sedimentary rock and access natural gas and crude oil deposits. The fracking industry, which has sought to promote the practice as safe and controlled, has preferred the term "hydraulic fracturing."

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The Race to Save the World is releasing on Virtual Cinema this Earth Day. Instead of focusing on paralyzing facts and numbers this inspiring feature takes a unique approach by following passionate activists, ages 15-72, who are in the trenches fighting for a livable future. These brave climate warriors put their lives on the line to push for change, regardless of the personal cost.

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At EcoWatch, our goal is to help readers find eco-friendly brands, products, and services that can create a more sustainable future. We review products that we believe can make a difference, and evaluate them on how well they live up to any claims about their environmental impact. We thoroughly research, compare, and test different products to find ones that we would use ourselves before we recommend them to you.

Our Review Standards

From reusable bags and recycled plastic shoes to solar panels and natural supplements, we approach every review with the same core set of standards in mind:

  1. Accuracy - Is the information true?
  2. Impact - Does the product make a difference?
  3. Transparency - Do we explain our review clearly?
  4. Accessibility - Can everyone understand our review?
  5. Positivity - Does our review help provide solutions?

Our Top Considerations

In addition to these overarching standards, here are the specific factors that we look for when evaluating eco-friendly products and brands.

  • Materials/ingredients - We look for products that use all-natural ingredients and sustainably sourced materials. We prioritize brands that use organic, recycled, or biodegradable materials whenever possible.
  • Green Certifications - We use recognized industry standards and certifications, like B-Corp, USDA Organic, Leaping Bunny, and Rainforest Alliance seals, to help distinguish the most eco-friendly brands and products from the rest.
  • Quality - The products we review need to both help the environment and actually work. Whether it's an alternative to paper towels or an all-natural sleep aid, we want to make certain that it is actually worth your consideration.
  • Packaging - The amount of packaging waste a product creates matters, and we highlight brands that minimize packaging and use recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable materials instead of plastics.
  • Price - In the eco-space, cheaper is not always better. Still, we try to compare all of your options to ensure that anything we recommend is fairly priced and worth the cost. Whenever possible, we highlight deals and less-expensive options.
  • Causes - We love brands that donate a portion of their profits to great causes. We try to recommend options that allow you to support organizations that make a difference with your purchase.

If a certain category of products has additional or unique standards to consider, we explain those clearly so you can fully understand everything that went into our reviews.

Our Process

Each of our reviews includes several different steps to make sure that we provide accurate, honest, and useful recommendations.

Industry Research

Our first step involves researching the industry or product category broadly. This allows us to learn more about industry standards, governmental regulations, how products work, how performance and quality are measured, and the leading brands to compare. During this step, we work to become experts on the details.

Brand Evaluations

Next, we look more closely at the top brands or products that we discover in our initial research. This involves thoroughly vetting the brand's site to see what makes them stand out and what types of products they offer. We look for information on the brand's sustainability efforts, philosophy, and environmental impact.

Product Reviews

In this step, we dig into the details of the individual products or services. Where possible, we try to get our hands on the product itself to test and evaluate. We then scrutinize the claims made by the brand in any product descriptions and specifications to see if they hold up, and how they compare to industry standards and competitors.

Recommendations

Finally, we write up our review and include a ranked list of the best options. We do our best to provide plenty of context in our reviews so that you know how we chose the products on our list, and why. In addition to our recommendations, we give you the links to all of our sources of information.

Reviewing Eco-Friendly Products

An important thing to note about eco-friendly products is that some industries or categories have more options than others. We always try to prioritize brands with the smallest environmental footprint and products that can make the biggest impact.

In certain cases, however, there may not be a brand or product that truly meets our standards of sustainability, or that offer imperfect solutions (like a good product that includes too much plastic packaging). In those cases, we will always note the areas where brands or products fall short environmentally and explain why we still recommend them anyway. If a company pledges to do better through changes to process, we will follow up to see if they live up to those pledges.

By doing our best to highlight goods and services that prioritize environmental stewardship, we hope to promote better practices throughout entire industries.

If you have any questions about our review methodology or any of the products we recommend, please email us at [email protected]