The Green Scene: 25 tips for saving money (and the planet)
For the Nevada Appeal
Did you know that 83 percent of Americans call global warming a serious problem, and say it’s our responsibility to stop it? But many of us don’t know where to begin to help alleviate this gigantic problem. In reality, there are dozens of opportunities in our own homes that to make a positive change.
Small changes by everyone can create a huge, positive difference in the environment.
To help get started, we have researched and complied a short list of those small and large opportunities – all of which can easily be applied to work and home.
1. Change light bulbs to CFL or LED and save 50 percent or more on energy, plus they last five times longer.
2. Heat your home to 68 degrees in winter and 72 degrees in summer. Reduce both at night. For each 2 degrees you adjust, you save 6 percent on energy bill.
3. Weather strip doors and windows, or replace with dual glazed.
4. Use smart plugs to shut off power to appliances, and unplug unused appliances or devices. The U.S. spends moe than $4 billion annually on stand-by energy in homes and businesses.
5. Upgrade your water heater with a solar powered system or go with a tankless system.
6. Run a full dishwasher, rather than cleaning dishes by hand – yes, it actually uses less water!
7. Turn off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving.
8. Use cold water for doing your laundry.
9. Check insulation in attic to make sure it’s adequate. Full insulation can save as much as 20 percent on energy costs.
10. Put insulating shades on your windows, especially south-facing windows, and keep drawn in summer, open in winter.
11. Shut off all lights when leaving a room. This will save you 5-10 percent on energy bills annually. If your electric bill is $100 month, you’ll save $120 per year.
12. Shut off computers and monitors every night.
13. Get an energy audit for your home or office. This is a free service offered by your utility company.
14. Recycle everything possible – dumpsites and many cities have bins for plastic, glass, metal and batteries.
15. Use “green” cleaners and cleaning methods: vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and borax will do what the chemical-based cleaners do.
16. Reduce or eliminate lawns. Plant shrubs and groundcovers that are drought resistant and require little water to survive.
17. Filter your water instead of using bottled water. It is much cheaper and eliminates much of the 30 billion plastic bottles tossed in the U.S. yearly.
18. Create a compost heap to throw leftover food into. It cuts down on garbage being put into landfills and turns into great fertilizer for your flowers and garden.
19. Use recycled products: paper, napkins, toilet paper, greeting cards and tissues.
20. Use reusable plates, cups and utensils. Do not use or buy Styrofoam.
21. Recycle printer cartridges at office supply stores. It helps the environment and you can get credit for them.
22. Buy certified carpeting, furniture and other household goods. FSC, SFI and Greenguard are made with sustainable manufacturing processes.
23. Select low VOC paint for your next paint job. This low emission product is sold at Home Depot, Lowes and as other places.
24. Patronize companies that are making efforts to be environmentally friendly. Buy local so things don’t have to be shipped into your area.
25. Pass it on. These tips are meant to help you, your family, friends and co-workers.
• Steve Rose is owner of Solar Solutions Unlimited. Call 775-884-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.