Living Greener: Ten Tips to Help You Go Green

Making simple and easy changes in your home will help conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions, and best of all, help you save money! need some suggestions? Here are ten ways to “go green” around your house and in your daily life.

1. Replace Your ordinary Light Bulbs with Energy-saving Alternatives

Get rid of your old incandescent bulbs and switch to compact florescent lights (CFLs) or LED bulbs. CFLs come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wattage to fit any light fixture. They may cost more than regular light bulbs, but you will make up the difference with the energy saved (translating into a lower utility bill). Their longer life spans also mean less replacement costs. In addition, think about using LED bulbs, especially during the holidays. These are real energy savers and will not need changing for as long as you live in your house.

2. Don’t Forget about those High-watt Floodlights!

Speaking of lighting, an average floodlight (100-watt), used for six hours each day, will use more than $39 of electricity over one year. It will emit over 375 pounds of carbon dioxide gas (depending on where you live). Easy fix – replace all your floodlights with CFL versions – they use 25% less energy. In addition, use LED bulbs in your landscape lighting. They will last for at least 10 years and will reduce energy usage by more than 75%.

3. Wash Full Loads

Dishwashers and clothes washers use lots of water and energy, so make sure you run full loads each time. If you need to do a partial load of clothes, adjust your water level accordingly. Also, skip rinsing your dirty dishes. Scrape any leftover food off your plates and place in your dishwasher. Today’s dishwashers can handle most food residue left on dirty dishes. Buying an efficient dishwasher detergent will help, too.

4. Change Your Shower Head

A low flow, high-efficiency shower head will save over 2,500 gallons of water per person per year. They are specifically made to conserve water while still maintaining good water pressure. This simple change will save you more that $40 in energy costs. Also, putting aerators on your sink faucets is an inexpensive way to save water.

5. Conserve Water in Your Bathroom

Keep a bucket in your bathroom and fill it with the cold water that comes out before the hot water starts. Use this to water your plants. Change your old toilet to a new, water conserving model which uses less than half the water to flush, or place a brick or full plastic jug inside the tank of your toilet to displace some of the water.

6. Adjust Your Hot Water Heater

By making simple adjustments to your water heater set-up will save money and reduce your carbon footprint by more than 25 percent. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees, protect it with an insulating blanket and wrap insulation around the first 3-6 feet of your water pipes.

7. Make your Own Compost

Turning your food scraps and lawn waste into mulch will reduce your overall trash production, and you will have nutrient-rich compost for next spring’s plantings.

8. Take Advantage of your Energy Provider

Tap the resources available from your local electric company and take advantage of any special incentive/rebate programs. Go to your energy provider’s website to learn more about their energy conservation programs.

9. Drive Smarter

You can improve fuel efficiency by more than 20 percent by making little changes in your driving habits . Driving close to or at the speed limit, keeping your tires at the recommended pressure, making sure air and oil filters are clean, and stepping on the gas and the brakes carefully will help reduce your emissions and improve your fuel economy.

10. Use those Travel Mugs and Reusable Bags

Little efforts, like bringing your own coffee mug to your favorite coffee shop will help save money and help conserve resources. Take along reusable shopping bags whenever you go to the grocery store. Ask for paper instead of plastic if you forget your bags at home, and reuse the bags at home. Paper bags make great book covers and are easily replaced.