Save Some Green
Saving money can also be good for the environment. It’s a win-win situation! Listed below are just a few tidbits of information on ways you can clean up our earth and also save you some green. Don't forget to put away that extra savings in a Money Market account for short-term savings or a Certificate of Deposit or IRA for longer-term savings.
Make your home more efficient - and reap the benefits.
Here are a few simple ideas:
- Turn down the temperature on your water heater to 120 F.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Close vents in unused rooms and shut the door,
leaving less area for heating and cooling units to cover.
- Install ceiling fans to help circulate air
and reduce the use of an air conditioner.
- Install adequate insulation in an attic for an easy way to see
instant savings on energy bills. The recommended amount of insulation
on an attic floor is 12-15 inches. See a specialist
for a more comprehensive evaluation of your home's insulation.
- Upgrade appliances with ENERGY STAR options.
- If you are serious about home sealing or other home efficiencies,
consider a Home Energy Audit by a professional energy auditor.
To find an energy auditor, click here.
Other easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
Stop the Junk Mail
Each year, 100 million trees are cut down and turned into junk mail, with Americans receiving a total of 400 million tons of it every year. Earthworks Group, an environmental consulting firm, said cutting out junk mail is one of the most effective things people can do to reduce pollution. There are several ways to stop the flow of junk to your house.
For a few examples of how to take your name off mailing lists, check out EcoCycle.org and their article, "Stop the Junk Mail Monster."
Switch to Online Billing
Every year, producing and transporting paper checks has the same environmental impact as burning 674 million gallons of fuel. That's 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of gas, oil and diesel fuel. If every American turned off just one paper bill, it would save enough paper to stack as tall as 1,000 Empire State Buildings.
Toilets account for 26.7 percent of water consumption in the home. We used to be told to place a brick in our toilet’s water tank to save this increasingly scarce resource. Instead of a brick, try a plastic bottle filled with water and a little sand. Most toilets will flush perfectly well with a little less water. The average toilet uses three to seven gallons of water per flush. A bottle in the tank will displace enough water to save half a gallon to a gallon each use, or up to about 10 gallons a day in a typical home. Older toilets use considerably more water, so if yours was installed before 1992, replacing it with a more efficient one could save thousands of gallons of water.
Use Commercial Car Washes
Getting your car washed at a commercial car wash is better for the environment than doing it yourself. Commercial car washes not only use significantly less water per wash – up to 100 gallons less – but they often recycle and reuse the rinse water. If every American who currently washes a vehicle at home chose instead to go to a professional car wash just once, up to 8.7 billion gallons of water could be saved, and about 12 billion gallons of soapy, polluted water could be diverted from the country’s river, lakes and streams.
Ditch the Plastic
Carry a reusable water bottle. The biggest growth in bottled beverages isn't beer or soft drinks or juices. It's tasteless, colorless and sugarless water. Americans buy an estimated 28 billion plastic water bottles every year and nearly eight out of every 10 bottles end up in a landfill. Once they end up in a landfill, bottles can take thousands of years to decompose. Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for up to six hours. And approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil—enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year—are used to make plastic water bottles, while transporting these bottles burns even more oil. If these reasons are not enough, research shows that many plastic water bottles are not safe because chemicals from the plastic leach into the water.