Alternative Energy

June 29, 2010

Save Money – Save The Earth

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It does not matter what side of the global warming debate you are on, this article will help anyone who wants to save money. By making simple changes in our lives and thinking about particular habits and routines that we have, all of us can take simple actions to improve the quality of our lives, live a more eco friendly life, and save money by going green.

Most blogs that discuss saving money and the environment will include tips such as walk or bike rather than drive, try public transportation and carpool, and think about using an alternative fuel vehicle. Unfortunately these are not an option for everybody. However, there are many different things we can do to become a part of the national movement of “going green.”

Simple Actions to Save You Money and Save the Planet:

1. Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. If every household in the United States changed only 1 frequently used light bulb to a fluorescent light, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for one year. This is one of the easiest changes to make in order to save money and help save the earth.

2. Expand your batteries life span. It is best to buy rechargeable batteries but if that is not an option here are some tricks to increase the life of a battery.

•Do not replace all 4 batteries. When your device stops working, it may be because only one battery is dead. Try buying the self-testing batteries and check each one, only replace the dead batteries.

•Keep your batteries in the refrigerator to make them last longer.

•Believe it or not, your laptop computer does not belong on your lap. Laying a notebook on a soft surface restricts air flow and heats up the battery. To prolong the life of the battery, invest $5 to $20 in a “cooling pad.”

3. Get a home energy audit: Check to see if your utility company offers a free home utility audit to help you find air leaks, poor insulation and determine your homes energy efficiency.

4. From the home energy audit, you will likely be told to seal and insulate your home. You can hire a contractor or for the more adventurous try a “Do-It-Yourself-Guide.” This may cost some money up front but will definitely save money in the long run.

5. Keep your water heater warm by wrapping it in an insulation blanket. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adding insulation to your water heater can reduce heat loss by 25-45%, thereby saving you 4% to 9% in water heating costs. You can buy these at any home improvement store for about $20.

6. Insulate your car’s battery. Check to see if your car’s battery is insulated properly, if not buy a plastic insulated battery blanket for $10 to $30.

7. Charge your batteries with solar power. Pay a onetime fee of $80 to $200 and then charge your batteries for free for years and save money.

8. Unplug unused electrical devices and save money on your electricity bill. This is easier said then done. Start by unplugging your cell phone and iPod chargers. In addition buy a power strip that allows you to turn it on and off easily.

9. Turn off the lights and go green! This may seem like a no-brainer but it is amazing how many people keep their lights on, television running, and computers going. Turning these off will not only save money on your electricity bill but will add in our efforts to save the earth.

10. Keep your thermostat between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Use blankets, open windows and take off layers of clothes. For most of us, this is easier said than done. Remember to turn off your thermostat when you go to work and when you go to bed. If you forget, get a programmable thermostat. This can save a considerable amount of money on your heating bill.

Important facts to keep in mind: First it does not require more energy to reheat your home than it does to keep it at the same temperature. Second, turning the temperature up higher does not make the house warm up faster, it only makes the heater stay on longer after turning it off.

11. Stop using store catalogs and shop online. Most of the time you save money online anyway.

12. Stop receiving junk mail. Millions of trees are lost each year on junk mail alone. You can try to get your name deleted from the junk mail sources or spend a little time and write on each junk mail received, “Return to Sender.” You do not have to pay for the postage and eventually you will stop receiving mail from them.

13. Print less often. Write down directions on small note pads, do not print emails. If you need to print there are free software programs out there that allow you to edit web pages to only print the content that you need.

14. Ways to Save Water:

1. Take shorter showers

2. Turn the water off while shaving or brushing your teeth

3. Repair all toilet and faucet leaks immediately. A leaky toiled can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day, a leaky faucet a little less.

4. Be smart when irrigating your lawn and landscape. Only water when needed, early morning is best.

5. A water saving-energy efficient dish washer used with the right dishwashing soap can save water, energy and save money.

15. Eat out less. Restaurants use more energy to produce your meals.

16. When staying at a hotel, practice what you do at home. Turn off the lights and television when you leave, don’t waste water, turn off the A/C when you leave the room. Reuse your towels and use your own toiletries. The hotel’s toiletries are cheap and are always over-packaged.

17. Conserve and use less and transition to “living green.” Use less shampoo, cleaning detergent, soap, toothpaste and paper products. It is amazing how much conserving saves you money and how beneficial it is in our fight to save the planet.

18. Buy used: Search online classifieds and newspapers. You can find gently used furniture, appliances, cars, and many other things.

19. These next two items are the easiest, quickest way to start “going green” and living more eco friendly. Invest a little money in reusable shopping bags ($1 to $5). My favorite is the Chico Bag that clips onto your purse or keys and are therefore hard to forget. Use them at the grocery store, the mall, or any other place where you need to pick up a few items. This not only saves plastic but it brings public awareness towards the living green movement.

20. Avoid using plastic water bottles. Instead buy reusable aluminum or stainless steel bottles at any Target or Sports shop. This truly helps in the effort to save our planet but it is also beneficial for our health.

21. If you have to use the one time use plastic water bottles, fill some bottles up (not completely full) and put them in the freezer. This increases the energy efficiency of your freezer by allowing it to run less and you can use the frozen water bottles when you need an ice pack. When they melt, it makes for a wonderfully cold drink.

22. Save your left over’s. You can save bread bags, butter containers, and other packages that you can use to store your left over food. Buy cheap labels at the dollar store and label everything.

23. When possible avoid using disposable plates, cups and utensils. These cost a lot of money and take up a lot of space in our landfills.

24. Use cloth diapers not disposable. It is not as difficult or inconvenient as most parents think it is. There are many great articles on the cloth versus disposable debate.

More difficult steps towards “going green.” Spend a little time and money in the short term, save money and/or save the planet in the long run.

1. Composting your food and yard trimmings lessens the amount of garbage that is sent to landfills and also reduces the amount of pollution to the atmosphere.

2. Efficient Landscaping: This can save money, save energy and save the earth.

3. Install solar panels. Solar is quickly becoming more affordable and efficient and many states have tax incentives now.

4. To help get you motivated towards “going green” and eco friendly living, research incentives and tax rebates for home improvements at the U.S. Department of Energy.

5. Last but not least, PLANT A TREE. One tree, over its life will absorb over one ton of carbon dioxide and put healthy oxygen into the air.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who believe that the problem is much too big for one person to make a difference. But that is simply not true. Every time you choose to recycle instead of throwing it in the trash, or walk to the store instead of drive, or spend a little extra money on organic and eco friendly products, you alone are making a difference. And if 100,000 people just made simple changes in their daily routine, our efforts will significantly improve our chance to save the earth and save the planet.

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