TEN TIPS for Living Green
Here are some simple tips and ideas on how you can live more sustainably and save money at the same time.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances
The major appliances in your home- refrigerators, washer and dryers, dishwashers, etc. account for a large chunk of your monthly utility bill. We’re not saying to go out and get rid of all your appliances and buy new ones right now, but when the time comes they need replacing, it would be smart idea to consider purchasing energy efficient models. Some current energy-efficient refrigerators could actually use less than half the energy of a model that’s 12 years old or older.
Unplug Your Charger
It’s amazing the amount of devices, tools etc. we use today that need recharging. Smartphones, tablets, and portable tools are just a few. Once people are done charging their devices, often they will leave the charger plugged in the wall. Unfortunately, chargers keep pulling power whenever they’re plugged in and all that energy is wasted. Best thing to do? Unplug the charger from the socket when charging is done.
Improve the Efficiency of Your Existing Water Heater
Well, we debated putting this one on here, but in all honesty, it is one of the best ways to cut down your energy bill. Tankless and solar water heaters in of themselves are great, but simple changes to your existing setup can cut your energy bills by 25 percent or more. Reduce the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees, wrap it in a water-heater insulating blanket and insulate the first 3 to 6 feet of hot and cold water pipes. These changes don’t take a lot of time or money, but could make a real difference in the energy you use.
Composting is a great way to turn food and lawn wastes into rich mulch. What’s great about this is the idea taking something that’s considered (literally) trash and turning it into something valuable. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
- Find an area in your yard with bare earth to start your composting pile. Having your pile on open earth would allow worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost.
- Gather a pile of lawn and garden waste onto the bare area. Be sure to mix “brown” materials like leaves and shredded paper with “green materials such as grass clippings. Having both ensures better results.
- Keep your compost pile damp but not wet. Moisten materials as you add them to your pile. This will help ensure your pile will not dry out which would slow down the process.
- Do not compost meat, bones or fish scraps. Stick with food scraps and yard waste only.
- Turning your pile as often as possbile helps to speed up the process. Aerating the pile in this way adds oxygen which helps the process to work better.
- Cover the pile. You can use wood, plastic sheeting, old carpet for example. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two elements essential for composting.
Switch to CFL or LEDs
CFL (compact flourescent lights) and LED (light-emitting diodes) use up to 80 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer. Out of the three LEDs are generally the most efficient and have the longest life span but also the most expensive.
Get a High-Efficiency Showerhead
You can lower your water heating cost by getting a high-efficiency showerhead. Doing this can save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year. This equates up $50 in energy costs and roughly 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. The showerheads are specially designed to conserve resources while still providing like a luxurious-feeling shower.
Buy Local Produce
Many communities have a local farmer’s market. They are usually fresher (fruits and vegetables shipped from outside the state and country can travel up to two weeks before it arrives in grocery stores. As a bonus they are often cheaper than produce found in stores and many are organically grown as well.
Use Rechargeable Batteries
It’s amazing how many AA batteries one might use in the home. From remote controls to flashlights to computer mice. I recently went around my home and found over 40 AA batteries being used. Rechargeable batteries are more expensive than their non-rechargeable counterparts, but last many, many times longer. Just remember to unplug the charger after the batteries are recharged.
Install a Drip Irrigation System
Like many of the other tips listed, this one requires an investment up front, but delivers savings over the long run. If you are out in your yard watering your plants on a regualar basis, not only will installing a drip system save on your water bill, but plants will do better with the consistent watering and you will save time as well.
Develop Better Energy Saving Habits
This is something that really doesn’t cost anything other than a little bit of effort. Turn off the lights when leaving a room. Turn off the computer when not in use. Take shorter hot showers. Turn off water when brushing or shaving. Developing good energy saving habits may not seem like a whole lot over the short run, but if enough people do it over the long haul, it could add up. More than anything, it’s about developing the right mindset in helping our environment.