Nov 7, 2011

Ten easy ways to go green.

Being environmentally conscious is a MUST not a trend.  With dwindling resources, overburdened landfills, a growing population, and energy and toxicity concerns, it's imperative that everyone do their part to help.  Here are some simple, easy ways to help:

1) Shop locally. Food ingredients be fresher and material costs will be lower since fuel use and costs to transport long distance products will be eliminated.

2) Turn off lights when you leave a room. Children are easy to teach but we often miss the opportunity. Closets are an oft-forgotten room.  An easy solution is to install an occupancy or vacancy sensor in place of a's easy and pays for itself in just a few months. 

3) Ride a bike. When you can, take your bike to run errands. An added benefit is good exercise and fitness.

4) Share rides.  Is there someone at work you can carpool with? Does your company offer a vanpool?  It's not hard to find someone to shop with!

5) Turn down the thermostat. Rather than heat your home to a toasty 72 degrees in the winter, put on a sweater and turn it down to a cozy 68 degrees. Save even more - up to 15% of your bill - by turning it down another 5-10 degrees while you sleep. An automatic thermostat can be programmed so you don't have to adjust manually. You can acclimate yourself to a lower temperature by lowering your thermostat one degree per day. When you come in from the cold, 68 will be toasty and warm.

6) Maintain your tire pressure.  Keeping the correct tire inflation pressure helps optimize tire performance and fuel economy. Correct tire inflation pressure allows you to experience tire comfort, durability and performance designed to match the needs of your vehicle(s).

7) Recycle more. Don't empty your car into the garbage can in a parking lot. Take those bottles and bags to a grocery store for recycling if you don't have community centers or home pick-up. Consider everything you purchase and how it's packaged, opting to recycle packages you must buy, and change products whose packaging is excessive.

8) Insulate your home.  Whether you are trying to keep your home cool or warm, ensuring a good seal around windows and doors is key. Check air flow from receptacles and switches as well; there are inexpensive gaskets at big box hardware stores that fix them quickly. Be sure your dryer vents, chimneys, and other access points are also insulated. How about a blanket on your hot water heater and hot water pipes? It will keep the water hot longer, and save money on re-heating.

9) Use energy efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs save over 50% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs.  With better lighting, dimmability, recycling ability (Home Depot), and energy savings, what's not to love?  Many municipal energy companies offer instant rebates to purchase, so the costs per bulb are under $2.00. With nearly three times the life of incandescent bulbs, that's more than double the savings.

10) Compost.  Raking leaves and grass clippings into a compost pile is easy when you have the space.  The resulting mixture will provide fabulous fertilizer for your pots and garden.  There are many companies that sell compost bins, or you can make your own. Indoor composting is now easy, small scale and attractive. Check out the available products on-line when you Google kitchen composting.