The responsibility of a greener environment rests on all of us. But it's easier than you think to make your home a little greener, and get back a little green in your pocketbook in the process. Below, please find some simple tips for greener living at home.
Simple Tips for Promoting Sustainability at Home:
Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs to save energy and money on your electric bill. Make your life a little easier by putting CFLs in hard to reach places, such as ceiling fixtures and enclosed outdoor fixtures. Compact fluorescent lights use a fraction of the energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, allowing you the convenience of changing bulbs less frequently. If one million households changed four light bulbs each, 900,000 tons of greenhouse gases would be eliminated.
Plant a tree. By planting trees near your home you can reduce home cooling costs by as much as 50 percent. A single tree can absorb more than one ton of CO2 over its lifetime.
Bank online and pay bills online. If every U.S. home received and paid its bills online, annual greenhouse gas emissions would drop by 2.1 tons.
Recycle. You can make 20 new cans from recycled material with the same energy it takes to make one from scratch.
Share the driving. The average commuter burns 340 gallons a year, creating a 3.4-ton cloud of CO2. Ride with one extra passenger and you've cut that figure in half. Find one more and you've cut it by two-thirds.
Recycle paper and use recycled paper products. One ton of recycled paper uses 17 fewer trees and 67 percent less energy than non-recycled paper. Every ton of recycled paper saves enough electricity to power a three bedroom house for an entire year.
Bring reusable bags to do your grocery shopping. The average American family of four tosses out about 1,500 plastic bags a year and each one can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. The bags are manufactured from about 12 million barrels per year of crude oil and natural-gas derivatives.
Buy eco-friendly household products. If every American household used just one box of an eco-friendly powdered detergent instead of the petroleum-based kind, we'd save 217,000 barrels of oil a year – that's about 90,000 tons of CO2.
Use the cold cycle in the washing machine. Wash your clothes in cold water and save yourself up to $400 a year in utility bills.
Buying ENERGY STAR electronics, refrigerators, washers, and air-conditioners will make your house more efficient, cut your emissions and save money on your utility bills. Make your house more efficient by wrapping your hot water heater in a cozy blanket; it can reduce your emissions by 1,000 pounds of CO2 a year. Blanket insulation kits can be purchased for less than $20.
Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
A five degree higher setting on your air conditioning thermostat will save about 10 percent on cooling costs.
Install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat and save as much as $115 per year. The thermostat also provides more flexibility than standard models, such as the ability to program daily settings and adjust heating or air conditioning turn-on times as the outside temperature changes.
Reduce the amount of hot water used by installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Older showerheads deliver four to five gallons of water per minute. A new, two-and-a-half-gallon-per-minute showerhead will reduce your water consumption by one-third to one-half. A typical bathtub holds about 60 gallons. A top-quality, low-flow showerhead will cost $10 to $20 and pay for itself in energy saved within four months.
Use microwave ovens to save energy. Microwave ovens are about 33 percent more efficient than convection ovens and 66 percent more efficient than conventional ovens.
When landscaping your yard consider bamboo. Bamboo stores more CO2 and generates 35 percent more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.
Reuse plastic containers. 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to make bottles every year, a waste that could instead power electricity in 250,000 homes.