Conservation Saves You Money
Here are some easy things that you can do, right now, to make a difference, many of which will save you money as well. What more incentive do you need?
1) Turn down the heat
Electricity consumption differs dramatically in households around the world, but energy efficiency is universal. Figures from Greenpeace state that the average household in Europe consumes 4,667 kWh, in Japan 5,945 kWh per year, whereas the typical American household consumes 11,209 kWh.
According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, by turning your home’s heating down by 2 degrees in the winter and up by 2 degrees in the summer you can save around 450 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
2) Unplug un-used appliances
You might get a small 21st-century thrill sitting in your home with the lights off watching all the red stand-by lights of your gadgets and appliances glowing in the dark, but they’re really little red warming lights that electricity is being wasted. Even when devices are off and those little red lights aren’t glowing, they still use electricity.
Fact: According to the University of Strathclyde in the UK, the average household will use 525 kilowatts per year to keep equipment in stand-by mode.
3) Buy energy efficient products
From fridges and cookers to computers and light bulbs, some energy efficient appliances may be more expensive to buy, but will generally save in energy use and bills in the long run. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use four times less energy, and last eight times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
Extra tip: Research your products before you buy them. Do the manufacturers have an environmental policy; do they try and avoid toxic chemicals where they can? Greenpeace’s guide to “greener electronics.” is a good place to start.
Learn more: All about electronic waste
4) Insulate your home properly
Yes it’s dull, but proper loft insulation and boiler lagging can make a great difference to reducing wasted heat in homes and the amount of energy needed to heat them. Weather-sealed windows are also important, just as much for homes that need air-conditioning as heating.
Fact: The average American home that has proper weather striped doorways and windows can save 375 pounds of carbon dioxide and $274 per year. (Source: stopglobalwarming.org)
5) Don’t wash dishes by hand
Finally, a good reason to avoid washing up. No need to try and avoid the chore by protesting that scouring those pans will make your hands like scaly lizard’s claws and your life as hand model will be ruined, a study by the University of Bonn, in Germany found that a fully loaded dishwasher uses only half the energy and one-sixth of the water than hand washing the identical set of dirty dishes.
Extra tip: Choose a plant-based detergent as modern dishwashers use more detergent than hand washing (Source: Friends of the Earth). Also if you can’t pronounce the ingredients in a household cleaning product, it probably isn’t good for the environment.
6) Recycle more
We’ve been recycling for thousands of years. It was only when the industrial revolution came around that it became almost as cheap to make things new rather than reuse them. As well as reducing the need for “virgin” material.
Fact: Creating a ton of aluminum cans from scratch takes five times the amount of energy as it would to produce a ton of recycled cans. (Source: Friends of the Earth)
7) Lower the Flow
Your old shower head probably delivers a lot more water than you really need. Reduce that to 2.5 gallons a minute or less with today’s standard shower head – it can make a difference in your water bill. The low flow shower heads of today work and feel a whole better than those old mister from the 70’s and 80’s. For even greater savings, replace your old toilets with today’s standard low flush models that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush. Again the new ones work a lot better than the first generation of low flow toilets.
8) Reduce the Runoff
Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems can lower your water bills by delivering water directly where you need it. By reducing or eliminating runoff, you also reduce the burden of fertilizers and pesticides on our lakes, streams, and oceans and still have a gorgeous garden or lawn.
9) Keep Your Cool
Ceiling fans can make you feel cooler while reducing air conditioning costs by as much as 40% in summer. In winter, they can save up to 10% in heating costs by circulating warm air from the ceiling to the floor where you can enjoy it. Learn more about reducing your energy bills.
10) Try Branching Out
For an all-around environmental boost, plant a tree. When properly sited, trees and other landscaping can save up to 30% in home cooling and heating costs. They also help cool your community and make your Smart Choice home even more enjoyable.
11) Look for the Energy Star Label
Replace your old, inefficient appliances with Energy Star qualified appliances and save energy and money.
12) Something Bugging You?
Stay in control by starting with nature’s own methods to beat the bugs. Attract birds with birdhouses, feeders, and natural backyard wildlife habitats to help reduce pests. Bug lights, screening, citronella candles, and insecticidal soaps are other less-toxic alternatives.
13) Clear the Air
Tune up your systems to make your family more comfortable while you save on heating and cooling costs. Upgrading and properly maintaining your home air filters is easy and helps improve indoor air quality. Vented range hoods and room exhaust fans also help remove smoke, moisture, airborne bacteria, and other indoor air pollutants.
14) Get the Lead Out
In the U.S. and Canada, over 58 million homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paints. Houses plumb ed with copper pipe before 1990 used 50% lead / 50% solders. To reduce lead hazards in your home and protect your family during any home renovation, ask a Paint Department at your local paint store for the free information sheet “Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home.” To get rid of the lead solder ask one of our plumbers about alternative piping for your home. Or you may just want to filter your drinking water. We can help with that as well.
15) Make Your Own Mulch
Composting is the smart way to dispose of leaves, yard clippings, selected food scraps, and other organic wastes. Instead of burdening landfills, you’ll produce rich nutrients to fertilize your garden the natural way. And it’s free. Make it a habit to recycle your glass, cans, cardboard, and newspapers, too.