When trying to green your home or your lifestyle, there are things on the expensive end of the spectrum such as installing a solar power system or buying an all-electric car such as a Nissan Leaf. There are also many things on the cheap side that can be done relatively easily at no or minimal extra cost. We’ll run through some of the 5 easiest things you can do to green your life in this post.
1. Program Your Thermostat
You can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs just by programming your thermostat. Setting the thermostat back while you are at work or sleeping, and having it turn on to the right temperature before you get home or wake up will reduce your energy bills greatly. The majority of all modern thermostats have programmable settings for different times of the day as well as weekday and weekend modes.
In addition, keeping your thermostat down in the colder months and higher in the warmer months can help save you energy and money. Each degree in temperature you save in heating or cooling results in a 3-5% saving each month.
2. Save Water
There are many ways to reduce the consumption of water in your home. Approximately 30% of home water use is used when flushing toilets. Replacing your toilets with water-saving toilets and/or dual-flush toilets is a great way to save water. Many toilets these days can be replaced for less than $100.
Another tip is turning off the water while you brush your teeth which can save up to four gallons a minute, and turning off the water while you shampoo and condition your hair which can save you more than 50 gallons a week. If turning off the water while showering doesn’t appeal to you, installing a low flow showerhead could help you achieve the same goal.
Additionally, if you water your lawn, do it in the morning to reduce mid-day water evaporation. Try avoiding watering your lawn at night. Although it helps reduce evaporation, it promotes the growth of bacteria and mold which is obviously detrimental to your lawn.
3. CFL Light Bulbs
Although Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs are typically more expensive than your traditional incandescent bulbs, they last up to 10 times longer! A typical 13-watt CFL light bulb is comparable to a 60-watt incandescent bulb which means that CFL bulbs use less than 25% energy as the equivalent incandescent. Not only do you save money in the long run by not having to replace bulbs as often, you also save money by not having to spend as much in energy costs.
If you used CFL light bulbs 5-10 years ago and hated how they took a while to turn on or warm up, or that you weren’t able to use them in a dimmer, newer CFL bulbs turn on instantly and some models are even compatible with dimmers!
4. Unplug Appliances
Even though your appliances or electronics may be turned off, 75% of energy used to power these devices is actually used while they are in “standby” mode. Physically unplugging the devices while they are not in use will help you save up to 75% of energy used to operate them. Examples of the common culprits are coffee makers, cellphone chargers, laptops, and TV’s. Using a power strip can make it much easier and convenient to unplug and plug in multiple devices at once.
5. Go Paperless
Many utility companies and banks offer paperless statements. Receiving these statements electronically helps cut down on paper usage and reduces the amount of landfill waste. If you throw out the yellow pages and/or advertisements immediately after getting them, many of these mailings offer ways to unsubscribe to their offerings and prevent you from getting them in the first place. In the worst case if you still get these mailings, recycle them to help prevent the amount of recyclable waste that ends up in our landfills.
Take your first step in becoming more energy efficient and green by following these easy tips.
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