Earth Day 2008

Today is Earth Day. To honor this planet that we call home and tackle the environmental problems that we face today, we can all pitch in by going green in our own little ways. Here are some simple tips that we can all follow.

Reduce, reuse and recycle. With increasing population, landfills are getting scarce. Also learn about environmental and health hazards involved in electronic

product use and disposal. E-waste has become a valid problem, and when you learn about the issues it might change how you use everything from your cell phone to your computer. Our junk is often shipped to poor, far away countries that pay the price for our consumption.

 

  1. Consume less. One important aspect of Earth Day is to reduce the amount of things we use in our day-to-day lives.
  2. Buy smart and save. When you need to purchase new items for yourself or as gifts, ask yourself if the item is recyclable.
  3. Learn about recycling and recycle locally. Use Earth 911 to find recycling resources in your area.
  4. Give your junk away. "One man’s junk is another man’s treasure." Use groups like Freesharing and Freecycle to recycle unwanted items.
  5. Recycle your old cell phones and recharge your batteries.

Conserve water. Learn about your local watershed through adoption. The EPA invites you to adopt your local watershed. Through this effort, EPA challenges citizens and organizations to protect and restore water resources at a local level. You will become more aware of what you can do to conserve water, like…

  1. Use cold water to do your laundry. Home laundering accounts for up to 36 percent of total household hot water use. You can save 90 percent of the energy you use to wash clothes when you switch to a cold wash.
  2. Wash clothes only when you have a full load. Two socks or a full load require the same amount of energy to wash. You’ll save money and energy when you wash clothes less often.
  3. Install a low flow showerhead and take short showers. The goal is to limit the flow to less than three gallons per minute, as this amount is far less than you might use with a regular shower.
  4. Learn how to find water leaks. One drip can waste 250 gallons of water a month, which translates to 3,000 gallons of wasted water annually. Learn how to read your water meter to determine if you have water leaks. If you have a leak, learn how find that leak.
  5. Use less water when you flush. Up to half the water consumed in a home is used in the bathroom. New low-volume flush toilets don’t need displacement devices; but, if you own an older toilet, a plastic bottle will come in handy. Fill it with water, recap it, and place it in the tank. You’ll reduce the flow by 40 percent and still maintain enough water for a good flush.

Conserve energy. Learn more about heat and electricity and how to conserve energy and cash on any electrical appliance, including lighting. Banish myths, calculate your energy output, and learn how to live greener. One of the aspects that sometimes gets overlooked when considering renewable energy options, is reducing the energy you consume. Before you spend a dime on solar, wind or hydro- power, it is imperative that you look at your current household environment and do things to conserve energy.

  1. Before you buy an appliance, learn about what’s available. The Federal Trade Commission database can help you learn about new energy-conserving appliances. In addition, you can refer to the manufacturer’s Web site to learn more about the appliance and to find authorized repair shops.
  2. Learn how to make your current appliances run more efficiently. Mr. Electricity, How Stuff Works, and Energy Hawk provide unbiased information on how to make your current appliances more efficient.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFL bulbs are more expensive, but even the cheapest energy saving CFLs will typically last for 5,000 hours compared to only just over 1,000 hours on average for the best conventional bulbs. You can save $30 or more in energy costs over each CFL bulb’s lifetime.
  4. Use energy efficient windows. Up to 16% of your heat can escape through unprotected windows. Close your drapes at night or install insulating shutters to retain heat. If you have a large expanse of glass that doesn't receive direct sun, keep the drapes closed as much as possible.
  5. Use energy efficient dish washers. A dishwasher that is 90% full uses 4 units of electricity. If it is only 50% full, it still uses 3 units of electricity. Fill the dishwasher to save on your electric bill.
  6. Use front-loader washing machine. Front-loader models use 25% less energy than a standard models. Also, simply switching from a hot/warm cycle to a warm/cold cycle when washing laundry can save you 10 cents a load.
  7. Insulate. Buy a water heater blanket and keep your water heater insulated. You'll save $40 per year.
  8. Get a smart power strip. 75% of electricity used by home electronics is consumed while "off". By using a power strip and switching off when not in use, you lessen CO2 emmissions and reduce your energy bill.
  9. Keep your heat and air conditioning filters clean. Check your furnace and AC filters regularly. Cleaning or replacing filters once a month during periods of high use will insure proper air flow, promote better health, increase efficiency, and save money too.
  10. Get energy efficient thermostats. You can save energy and money by using a programable thermostat. It can reduce your energy needs from heat or AC when you are at work, away at vacation, or asleep.

Transportation. In 2004, the U.S. census estimated that out of the nation’s 128.6 million workers, 77 percent of workers drove alone to work, 10 percent carpooled, two percent walked, and five percent used public transportation. With increased demand and rising gas prices, these simple tips are not only environmentally green but will also put some green back in your wallet. (The savings have been compiled from various published articles in the last year, based on an average of $30 per week in gas or ten gallons of gas per week at $3 per gallon ).

  1. Bike or walk to work. The only gas you’ll use with this option is oxygen. Savings: $1,560 per year.
  2. Carpool. If you must use your car, share your ride. Savings: $780 per year if shared with one other person.
  3. Telecommute. Telecommuting twice a week can save you 40 percent of your gas costs according to the Telework Coalition. Savings: $624 per year.
  4. Keep your car tuned. A well-tuned car uses approximately nine percent less gas than a poorly tuned car, and you can lose about two percent in fuel economy for every pound of pressure your tire is under the recommended level. Savings: $150 per year.
  5. Learn to drive. Rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gas mileage by five percent around town and 33 percent on the highway. And, you get less mileage for your money (23 percent less) if you drive over 60mph. Savings: $634 per year.

These are just 25 simple tips that make a positive impact on your wallet and on the environment. Let’s all fight global warming together!!

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