10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green
Keep reading for 10 simple things you can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier, healthier life.
1. Save energy to save money.
Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
- Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
- Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a "smart"power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts"phantom" or "vampire" energy use.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
- Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying. If you must use a dryer, consider adding dryer balls to cut drying time.
2. Save water to save money.
- Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
- Install a low-flow showerhead. They don't cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
- Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
- Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.
3. Less gas = more money (and better health!).
- Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
- Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
- Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.
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4. Eat smart.
- If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store-and it's even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
- Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.
- Watch videos about why local food and sustainable seafood are so great.
- Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain [pdf]. This is especially true for seafood.
5. Skip the bottled water.
- Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.
- Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
- Check out this short article for the latest on bottled water trends.
6. Think before you buy.
- Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you've just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
- Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
- When making purchases, make sure you know what's "Good Stuff" and what isn't.
- Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
7. Borrow instead of buying.
- Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
- Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.
8. Buy smart.
- Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
- Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
- Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you'll be happy when you don't have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).
9. Keep electronics out of the trash.
- Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
- Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
- Recycle your cell phone.
- Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.
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10. Make your own cleaning supplies.
- The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
- Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.
SAVING AROUND THE HOME
It all makes cents!
Recycling Tips...How To Reuse Everyday Objects
Uses For Everyday Objects
- Best reuses for a fabric softener sheet: Keep drawers and luggage fresh. Wipe the lint screen of your dryer. Clean lint and pet hair off furniture. Eliminate static cling in skirts by rubbing on pantyhose.
- Use old Christmas cards as Christmas tags by simply cutting out the design on the card.
- Recycle old cards by using the front panel as a post card.
- Plastic soda bottle uses: Make a disposable funnel from the top half Cut a scoop from the bottom half, Or use the bottom half as a plant "greenhouse."
- Best use for an empty pump top handsoap dispenser: Fill with liquid soap detergent.
- Store onions in old pantyhose or nylons.
- If your fan belt snaps, use a pair of pantyhose as a substitute. Cut to fit.
Uses For Old Newspaper
- Protect carseats from muddy or wet clothing
- Put into loose shoes to tighten
- Stuff in leather shoes to preserve shape
- Stuff in wet shoes overnight to dry and deordorize.
- Crumple and place in suitcase for couple of weeks to remove stale odors.
- Use as mat when polishing shoes
- Stuff hats to keep their shape
- Stuff leather handbags in storage
- Wrap around candle bottoms so they'll fit holders tighter
- Cover store windows when remodeling
- Dampen and spread over window-panes before painting
- Use to dry and polish window after washing
- Stuff under doors and in cracks to stop cold wind from
- Use as a bounce reflector when taking flash photographs or use to reflect sunlight into shadow areas.
- Start fires
- Sharpen pencils by rubbing the point on newspaper
- Spread out between garden rows to discourage weeds
- Use to wrap green tomatoes to ripen
- Cover plants during a frost
- Use as a mat for wet darkroom photographs
- Put under car wheels when stuck in snow, >
- Wrap and store Christmas tree ornaments
- Crumple (no colors) and place in plastic containers to eliminate odors
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Courtesy of pioneerthinking.com/
Energy Saving Tips
Energy-Saving Solutions for Your Home
Energy costs are reaching record highs, and heating and electricity bills are keeping pace. Luckily, there are steps you can take in your home to lower your heating and electricity bills.
Stop funneling money to coal-fired power plants
1. Purchase clean, renewable electricity!
Visit green-e.org to find out if you can switch from purchasing electricity from CO2-spewing coal-fired power plants to clean, renewable energy sources.
Smarter Lighting: A Bright Idea
One of the easiest and cheapest places to start saving energy is with lighting.
2. Replace your most frequently used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use only a third as much electricity as a standard incandescent bulb. Because a compact fluorescent will usually last ten times as long as a regular bulb, which means it is will easily pay for itself. If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal the removal of one million cars from the road.
3. Replace outdoor lighting with a motion-detector equipped bulb or fixture.
Outdoor lights that are left on all night can add unnecessary waste energy and disturb wildlife. You can safely and efficiently light the outside of your home by installing light fixtures that are activated by motion sensor or a timer. These devices will keep areas well lit when you need them to be while reducing your energy bill
Hot Water shouldn't be a drain on your wallet.
Over 10% of your energy bill goes to heating water for your dishwasher, shower, and faucets. You can cut this energy use, and your energy bill, by implementing these easy steps.
4. Lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees and drain any sediment.
Though you need to keep your water heater above 120 degrees to prevent bacteria from building up, many hot water heaters are set too high. Draining some water a few times a year reduces sediment and increases efficiency.
5. Add insulation to your hot-water heater.
The standard hot water heater is on all the time, adding extra insulation will save more energy than you think. Most hardware stores sell pre-made insulator "jackets" that can be easily wrapped around one's water heater. Adding insulation to your water heater and any exposed pipes can knock up to 15 percent off the costs of heating water.
6. Install a low-flow shower head.
Low-flow shower heads are also a worthwhile investment (especially for renters, because you can take them with you) that will reduce the amount of hot water you use and hence the energy needed to heat it.
Heat your home - Not the planet.
Heating and cooling your home is the single largest expense on your energy bills. But taking steps to weatherize your home, you can make keeping your home a comfortable temperature easier and cheaper.
7. Check for and seal any cracks or gaps.
Heating one's home is the single largest use of energy for the average customer. Tiny gaps and cracks in an older home are roughly equivalent to a one-foot square hole punched in your wall, which means that sealing gaps with
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8. Tighten Windows and Loosen Your Budget
If all windows were as efficient as the best products now widely available in the marketplace, the average household would save $150 a year, and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by about 4,300 pounds per year. A cheaper and easier method than replacing windows is to insulate your windows during the colder months with transparent film that keeps the heat in and the cold out.
9. Heating Ducts: Keep the air flowing
If just one in ten households used current technology to upgrade their inefficient heating systems, we could keep 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air. You can also save money and cut pollution by having your heating vents and ducts cleaned regularly, and having your furnace serviced.
10. Sweaters are in this season, so lower your thermostat!
Besides insulation, you can make a big difference in your heating bill by keeping your home at a slightly lower temperature. Lowering your thermostat one degree can cut as much as 10% of your heating bill.
Appliances and Electronics
11. Replace old appliances with more efficient models.
Though buying a new appliance isn't cheap, replacing an old appliance, like a refrigerator, washing machine, or furnace -- with a new, energy-efficient model can significantly cut your energy bill. Look for the Energy Star label as a minimum; some models can be even more efficient. And though buying a new appliance is a major investment, many states and utility companies offer substantial credits or other incentives to replace an outdated appliance with a more efficient one.
12. Defrost your Freezer
The frost and ice that builds up in your freezer over time does more than make it hard to get to your ice cream - it also causes your freezer to work harder to keep the freezer at a cold temperature. By routinely defrosting your freezer, you can keep your ice cream cold and the planet cool.
13. Dirty Clothes, Clean Planet
Modern washing machines and detergents can clean clothes effectively in cold water - which means you don't have to waste energy by using hot water. Another way you can save energy in your washer-dryer and your dishwasher is to always wash full loads.
* courtesy of SierraClub.org
SUMMERTIME ENERGY-SAVING TIPS
These tips are designed to help you choose effective ways to reduce your energy bills. Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements made to your home.
The savings numbers are based on your total summer electric bill. Equipment mentioned must be electric powered for estimates to be accurate.
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FAST AND FREE
The average home spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs. But you can lower your energy bills and help save the environment at the same time!
1. Be a speedy chef
Nothing is more energy efficient for cooking than your microwave. It uses two-thirds less energy than your stove.
2. Push a button to wash your dishes
Surprise! Your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then let dishes air-dry to save even more!
3. Fill up the fridge
Having lots of food in your fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. So your fridge doesn't have to work as hard to stay cool.
Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Here are some additional suggestions you can do at home, at absolutely no cost to you.
4. Turn up your thermostat
Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. Always take into account health considerations and be sure to drink plenty of fluids in warm weather. (Save: 1 - 3 percent per degree, for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees)
5. Use your appliances wisely
To help prevent electricity outages, avoid running your appliances during peak hours, -- from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- or anytime an electricity emergency is declared.
- Do your laundry efficiently by using the warm or cold water setting for washing your clothes. Always use cold water to rinse clothes. (Save: 4 percent)
- Line dry clothes whenever you can. (Save up to 5 percent)
- When you need to use the dryer, run full loads, use the moisture-sensing setting, and clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each use. (save: 0.5 percent)
- Conserve energy by running your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded, and turn off the dry cycle and air dry dishes instead. (save: 1 percent)
6. Operating swimming pool filters and cleaning sweeps efficiently
- Reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to fourto five hours, and only during off-peak time. (Save: 1-2 percent per hour of reduction)
7. Eliminate wasted energy
- Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use. (Save: 2%)
- Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren't in use-most new electronics use electricity even when switched "off." Turn computers and printers off at the power strip. (Save: 1-2 percent)
- Unplug or recycle that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don't really need it. This will save you up to $150 per year! (Save: 10-20 percent)
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INEXPENSIVE ENERGY SOLUTIONS
Make a quick trip to your local hardware store to purchase inexpensive energy-saving tools and equipment.
1. Replace air conditioner filters
Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit. (Save: 1-2 percent)
2. Plug your home's leaks
Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers. (Save: up to 2 percent)
3. Choose ENERGY STAR® products
- Buy ENERGY STAR® certified table lamps and light fixtures, and replace your incandescent light bulbs that are used more than two hours per day with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent bulbs. For example, install compact fluorescent bulbs in your porch light if you leave it on overnight. (Savings: for each bulb you'll save 0.2 percent for each hour the bulb operates on a typical day. Therefore, replacing an incandescent bulb that burns 10 hours per day will save 2 percent)
- Buy ENERGY STAR® certified torchieres. (Save: up to 1 percent for each hour/day that it's on)
- Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat. (Save: 1-3 percent)
GOOD ENERGY SAVING INVESTMENTS
Planning to do some remodeling soon? Time to replace old appliances? Consider these energy efficiency suggestions when you make purchases.
1. Install a whole house fan
A whole house fan is permanently installed in your attic and draws cool air into your home through the windows while forcing hot air out through your attic vents. Use after sundown when the outside temperature drops below 80 degrees, and in the early morning to cool your house and help reduce your air conditioning use. (Save: up to 5 percent)
2. Install window shading
Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun. For additional future savings, use strategically planted trees, shrubs and vines to shade your home. (Save: 5 percent)
Solar control window films applied to existing glass in windows and doors is an effective method to reduce peak demand during hot months and conserve energy anytime air conditioning might be required. In addition to the energy management benefits, the use of these films can also reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation and reduce glare. Vist the International Window Film Association for more information. (save 5-10 percent)
3. Invest in a new air-conditioning unit
If your air conditioner is on the way out, buy an ENERGY STAR® air conditioner. (Save: up to 10 percent)
4. Seal your ducts
Leaking ductwork accounts for 25 percent of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor. Note: duct cleaning is not the same as duct sealing. As of October 1, 2005, if you install a new central air conditioner or furnace, your ducts will have to be inspected. (Save: 10 -20 percent)
5. Replace your refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® model
Refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer design can save you an additional 2-3% on your bill compared to a side-by-side design. (Save: 10 percent)
6. Increase attic insulation
If existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating your attic to at least R-30. (Save: 10 percent)
7. Install ENERGY STAR® windows
If your windows are due for replacement, ENERGY STAR® windows can make your house more comfortable year-round. (Save: up to 10 percent)
Courtesy of www.consumerenergycenter.org
Consumer Tips - http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/index.html
Energy Saving Tips from the U.S. Department of Energy - http://www.doe.gov/energysavingtips.htm
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