CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION: things may not be correct!
Going Green is easier than it seems! I know there are a million different “Go Green” lists out there, but this list complies all of those into one! Follow the link of specially underlined words to our Glossary page, which contains a list of definitions.:
- Start with the 3 R’s: Reduce, reuse, recycle. “It’s better to reduce your personal consumption than it is to reuse something, and it’s less environmentally taxing to reuse a product than to have it recycled.”
- Getting rid of something? Need something? Try your closest thrift store or join your local Freecycle group. As a last resort, try Ebay or purchasing from a regular store, but try to recycle all the packaging material.
- Recycle bulbs properly. Compact fluoescent ligh bulbs (CFLs) contain trace amount of mercury. This isn’t enough to harm us, but it can pose a problem if it leaches into the ground in landfills.
- Try filling in as much land as possible with trees, plants, or grass.
- Choose hardier plants that don’t need as much water to keep alive, and try putting mulch down to keep the moisture in.
- Make sure the plants are native to your region though- it pleases the wildlife much more, as well as keeping out invasive species.
- When mowing your lawn use sharp blades and let the grass grow a little longer than usual. Also, water your lawn sparingly. All of this will conserve energy.
- Use organic methods of gardening: Instead of spraying weeds with weed killers that will eventually get into our water system, try watering them with boiling water- BUT DO NOT GET IT ON YOUR WANTED PLANTS! Also, instead of pesticides and fertilizers, check your closest Whole Foods or Roots Market for more natural, organic garden supplements.
- Switch to more natural or organic local food. It will cut out unwanted pesticides from your diet as well as from the environment, not to mention all the tranportation and greenhouse-gas emissions you won’t be supporting. You can reduce the number of “food miles” you accquire by buying locally.
Replace your old appliances with new energy-efficient ones: by doing this you can slash off about 1/3 of your electric bill. But, since most of us cannot afford to replace all our appliances here are some small things you can do:
- Don’t set the refridgerator thermostat to high.
- Move your fridge away from a heating vent or out of the sun to a “shady” place, or at least cover up the vent near it or pull the curtains over the window.
- Turn on the “energy saver” switch.
- Clean the condenser coil- this can improve the efficiency of your fridge by 1/3!
- Donate your second fridge- if you don’t need it, don’t waste energy!
- Make sure the doors seal securely
Hot Water Heater, Washer/Dryer, Dishwasher:
- Either turn the hot water heater down a couple of degrees, or turn on the “energy conservation” setting.
- Buy insulation for your hot water heater, as well as the pipes at a local store.
- Install a timer on your water heater to turn off at night and just before you wake up in the morning.
- When possible, wash a few dishes by hand in a sinkfull of water not under a running tap. Over time, handwashing will conserve a large amount of energy.
- Don’t pre-rinse dishes. Today’s detergents are powerful enough to do the job.
- Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher.
- Wait until you have a full load to run the washer/dryer.
- Wash clothes in warm/cold water, not hot. The clothes will be just as clean, and you’ll cut energy use by 50 percent.
- Don’t over-dry your clothes. That will save 15 percent. Or even better, try hanging your clothes up to dry!
- Older heating and cooling systems are 1/3 less efficient than the new systems, so replacing the old with the new is a wonderful idea, but not very practical for most of us. There are a few things you can do right now though:
- Tune up your heating system. This one thing every couple of years can reduce your heating costs by 10% a year.
- Clean vents, close unused vents, and change filters in the vents. These simple things will save you about 10%.
- Buy a programmable thermostat, which can regulate different temperatures at different times of the day. And if you have one, use it!
- Try reducing you current temperature by about 2 degrees. This will save a few dollars, and collectivelly, make a huge impact.
- Make sure windows and doors are sealed. This will dramatically improve your household fuel efficiency.
- Try not using your A/C at all! Ceiling fans, instead of A/C, can reduce your cooling costs by more than half.
- In the winter set your temperature lower than usual, and pile on those layers of sweaters!
- Keep in mind that many of your appliances (including TVs, VCRs/DVD players ect.) suck up and enormous amount of electricity even when they’re turned off or in standby mode. Try plugging everything into power strips with surge protectors and just flip that one switch instead of spending an hour making sure everything’s turned off.
- At the VERY LEAST change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs! Make sure the bulbs you buy have the government seal of approval- the ENERGY STAR label. This means the bulb has been tested for quality and efficiency. Though they cost more than incandescent light bulbs, they last about 10x longer (up to a decade!) and save you cash in the long run. Not only that, but they use about 75% less energy than incandescents. This means that just swapping in one CFL for a incandescent reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released by about 500 lbs a year; replacing 17 is equivalent to taking one car off the road for a year.
- On top of replacing your bulbs, reduce the amount of energy you use. You don’t need the living room lights or TV on when you’re not in the room! In addtion to turning off unneeded lights, try dimming lights when you can and opt for natural sunlight vs. artifical light.
- Choose clean, renewable energy (wind, solor, hydroelectric power ect. that reduce our need of coal burning power plants) if it’s available to you.Not only do you significantly reduce your carbon footprint, but your electric bill will most likely go down because the fuel your using (sun, wind) is free and renewable!
- By removing yourself from direct-mailing lists (and subscribing to e-mailing lists) you can reduce the amount of junk mail you receive while at the same time reducing deforestion, which is responsible for 25% of all carbon emissions released into thte atmosphere through the burning and cutting of 34 million acres of trees annually. Greendimes and 41pounds.org can help you out with this!
- Petroleum-based plastic (all those plastic bags you get at the store) isn’t biodegradable. This means that all those bags us Americans use (about 100 billion a year) end up sitting for a millenium in landfills or choke marine life who mistake the bags for food. This killing is more common than you think due to the plastic trash, collectivly the size of Texas, floating in the North Pacific Ocean. For just plastic bags alone, around 12 million barrels of oil is used to produce them. You can do your part to stop this nonsense, by bringing your own reusable canvas totes with you shopping whether it’s at the mall or at the grocery store.
- Your gas-guzzling car emits about as much carbon dioxide as your entire house. The good news is that by buying a fuel-efficient car (like a hybrid) you can have an enormously positive impact on global warming. Since not all of us can afford to replace our car(s), there are still small thigns you can do: Drive less! Try telecommuting, carpooling, bicycling and/or using public transportation instead. This saves a ton of carbon dioxide a year as does piling multiple errands into one trip. If you can walk instead of drive, even better!! Getting your car tuned up helps as well, often improving fuel efficiency by 50%. Try watching your idling, don’t race your car’s engine, and try slowing down. Whatever it is, it can wait, save emergencies. Those three driving changes can have a big impact on how much money you spend buying gas as well as the environment. Try to limit your use of SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks. These are horribly inefficient transportation vehicles.
- Choose furniture made from eco-friendly sources, like bamboo or recycled wood. Buy good quality stuff- it’ll last much longer than cheaply made products, and prevents more wasted material ending up in landfills. Even better, buy used! Used does not mean old and nasty; there are brand-new items available out there that people just throw out!
- Buy or make your own natural, non-toxic cleaners and detergents; these are just as effective as those poisons your currently using! It’s easier than you think: