Going Green does not have to be intimidating and it doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, Going Green can save you a lot of money. Here are 5 easy things you can do this weekend to greatly reduce you impact on the environment, and reduce the impact on your wallet...
ENERGY STAR estimates that "if every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars."
Sure CFLs are a little more expensive than incandescent bulbs but you will recoup that cost and more in a relatively short amount of time. Check out our cost analysis that shows that over the life of an average CFL you'll spend 1/4th the amount on energy and the bulbs themselves as compared to using incandescent bulbs.
A programmable thermostat can greatly reduce the amount of energy you use to heat and cool your house. Basically with the programmable thermostat, you only use the energy when you need to. I have one and I love it because it is set to turn the heat off at night, but turns back on again an hour before I get up, so when I get out of bed in the morning on those cold winter days I am welcomed with a nice warm house and the peace of mind knowing I didn't waste energy all night long.
Programmable Thermostats range in price from about $40 up to a couple hundred, and they are easy to install. You can find a great DIY here at Curbly.
By installing a low-flow shower head you can reduce your water consumption by up to 50% and reduce the amount you spend heating your water. A low-flow aerator cost about $10 and are Child's play to install. You can learn more about low-flow aerator at EarthEasy.com
Going Green is all about sharing ideas and resources, but we don't need to be sharing our heating and cooling with the great outdoors. You can save considerable amount of energy by keeping that warm or cool air inside your home. There are many steps you can take to weatherize your home but one of the easiest and most effective is applying weather stripping to doors and windows. This helps prevent energy leakage which means you'll spend less to heat and cool all year round. Here is a great article from the Department of Energy about air sealing your home. It's simple and easy to do yourself, or if you want to go all out, consider getting a home energy efficiency analysis. This is when the pros come in, use the latest and greatest in technology to identify all the inefficiencies in your home then fix them.
When I was growing up my mother guarded the cupboard under the kitchen sink like it was a Hazmat bunker, and for good reason, it was. Traditionally our cleaning supplies consisted of some very toxic materials that we didn't want getting into the wrong hands, we'd spend a lot of energy making sure those toxins stayed in their prisons, but then on the weekends we'd break them out, spread it all over the house and then flush the rest of it out into the ground waterâ€¦ a little strange huh? There really is no reason to be using deadly chemicals in our daily cleaning, and by making the switch to kinder cleaning products we are not only protecting our kids, pets & earth, but we are likely to save a penny or two.
First off, replace disposable cleaning implements like paper towels with reusable ones like sponges and cloths. Even better buy recycled and biodegradable sponges & cloths. Next tackle the chemicals. You can buy eco-friendly cleaning products like Seventh Generation or if you want to go a step further you can start to mix your own natural cleaning solutions. Try starting with the Eco-Me Home Cleaning Kit, which includes everything you need to get started down the path to making your own natural cleaners.