If you are waiting for me to tell you that you have to use organic, spend lots of money and start composting in order to make a difference then let’s refresh your thoughts. I just ask you rethink what living Green means to you and what fits your lifestyle. I want you to think that half of your household bill goes to heating and cooling your house. The facts that I am going to share are amazing and take such little energy on our part. I read that recycling a single aluminum can will save enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours. These tips can save you money if you are buying, remodeling or making improvements. Most of the energy that we use in our house is created by burning carbon based fuels which produces carbon-dioxide resulting in global warming. Making smarter choices today only helps you to save you some green in your pocket and on the earth.
1. HVAC/ Filters - To keep the HVAC running the best the filters need to be changed every 30 days to 3 months depending on your lifestyle. If you have a shedding dog or young child then you need to change them every 30 days. All that shedding of hair and human flesh is part of the dirt that fills up a filter. Excessive dust/ dirt build up can lead to extensive maintenance. It will also make your bills higher because your system will have you work harder to heat/cool your house. Keep your HVAC tuned up and make sure it is the right size for your house.
2. Lights - just always remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room. I just invested in solar lights for my outside pathways. Not only do they save money but they were easy to install. The savings was immediate since I didn’t have to call an electrician. All I had to do was put them in the ground in a sunny area. The sunlight during the day gives them the ability to light the area for 6-8 hours. Switching to Compact Fluorescent Lamp light bulbs from incandescing lights could save you 25% on your yearly electric bill and use 75-80% less energy. Thanks to the use of today’s technology they emit the same amount of light. It saves you money by producing less heat helping save the energy on cooling and prolonging its life. They say that if everyone replaced one bulb in their house then it would be like keeping 1.3 million cars off the road.
3. Keeping the heat/ cool in – There are several items in your house to watch out for as they can become a weak link to a homes energy loss. Check to make sure that you don’t have drafts especially in your crawl spaces, garages, under doors, windows and attics. There is a Spray Polyurethane Form (SPF) which is installed as a liquid and expands many sizes. Reflective Insulation is available to create a barrier to insulate attics and floors. If you have a fireplaces then be sure the damper is shut when it isn’t in use. Windows and attics both can heat up your house if you don’t have the right shades or protective barriers.
4. Thermostats – Programmable thermostats are available and make it so you can control the air flow when you are not a home. If you don’t want to replace your current one then you can save about $36 per year by turning the thermostat down 3 degrees. Remembering to turn the thermostat down when you leave for extended periods of time will also save you some green.
5. Appliances – There are many appliances in a house but keep in mind that the ones that cost the most require the greatest amount of electricity to generate heat. Appliances make up about 13% of your annual electric bill. I am sure that you have seen the energy star sticker on many appliances. This is a symbol of an energy efficient appliance. They use less water or electricity making it so your bills are cheaper. In fact even choosing a different model can save more money. A top mount freezer can save you 20-25% less than a side by side refrigerator. The dishwasher’s expense mostly comes from the energy to heat the water and dry the dishes. One way to cut a quick cost cut off the heat dry, use the energy cycle, run only when full and night since that is an off time. Saving tips for your washer/ dryer are to use the energy cycles, be conscious of the water to clothes ratio, line dry your clothes, wash your clothes in cold water and buy front loaders. Hot water heaters are the third largest expense because they heat water. A good temperature is 120 degrees. If your unit is 10 years or older then be sure to buy an insulated blanket as the newer ones already come with the extra insulation. Make sure to also check to see if your water lines are insulated too. Taking a shower instead of a bath saves as a bath usually uses most of your hot water. It also reduces your water by around 10-15 gallons a year. Here is a helpful link for usage of appliances http://www.glendalewaterandpower.com/rates/power_usage_matrix.aspx
6. Random important items – These are the easiest of them all to remember. Unplug the cell phone chargers and other wall items when they are not charging a device. I learned just a few months ago that only 5% of power was used to power the cell phones. That means that 95% of power is wasted just leaving them plugged into the wall. This is why they stay hot. If you let your computers go to sleep rather than leaving them on for all hours then you use around 80% less energy. Turn your computer off if it is 3 years or older.
I gave you the tools to begin to make your difference so, now I challenge you to write down your promise. The first step is deciding what your lifestyle can handle. Then call and collect the last 12 month history on your electric and water bills to get your average. Start a journal and watch the savings. The transition takes some extra energy but your activity does matter. Some might not save you money immediately but down the road you will have more “green” and know that you did make a difference.
A Mogo Original By: Courtney Hamlett