The lowest hanging fruit just begging to be picked are simple energy-saving practices.
Turn down the thermostat just three degrees in the winter and up three degrees in the summer. You can prevent the emission of nearly 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
Turn off the lights. Remember to hit the switch on your way out for that well deserved lunch break. The enery savings from 10 million employees turning off un-needed lights for 30 minutes a day is enough to illuminate 50 million square feet of office space.
Wash and rinse in cold water. If everyone in the United States alone switched to cold water with their washing machines, we could save about 30 million tons of carbon dioxide each year -- and more than $3 billion in energy costs, collectively. And what's more? Cold water cleans your laundry just as well as hot water.
Drink more water from reusable glassware. It's great for your bank account, your health, and your planet. The average American consumed more than 400 beverage bottles and cans in 2006, leaving behind wasted glass, plastic, steel, and aluminum. That adds up to excessive amounts of fossil fuels and hydropower for mining, processing, refining, shaping, shipping, storing, refrigerating, and disposing of those materials. Of course, changing your drinking habits both at home and at work is applicable to just about every other habit, as well. You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Purchase EnergyStar-labeled appliances. products are among the top 25 percent most efficient and can provide a 30 percent return or better through lower utility bills. After cooling and heating, appliances and other plug-in devises are the next biggest users of energy in your home. When looking for new appliances, seek out the most energy-efficient models. Most new appliances come with a yellow EnergyGuide label which, like mileage ratings on cars, shows its consumption in terms of kWh per year. Also look for Energy Star rated products (more on Energy Star below).
Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) Look closely at labels when buying light bulbs. Those marked as CFLs last 10 times longer and use 66 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs while delivering the same light levels. As a result, CFLs accrue net savings between $30 and $45 over their lifetimes, depending on your cost of electricity, the wattage size of the CFL, and the lamp's life span (manufacturers make CFLs that last 6,000, 8,000, or 10,000 hours). The return on investment is 15 times higher than leaving your money in a bank account or the average return on Dows-Jones stock investments. CFLs also reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions and are safer because they burn at a lower temperature (160 Degrees or less) than incandescent and halogen lights, which can burn at temperatures up to 500° F
- Turn down the hot water heater. Set your water heater to 130° F. While you're at it, turn down your house thermostat during the winter to 55° F when you go to bed or leave home. These simple actions can have enormous positive consequences, preventing the emission of more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide over the course of the year, while cutting your energy bill by more than 10 percent. And that's just from you! Get your friends on board, and the benefits will multiply
To print a PDF copy<<click here>>
Homes consume an enormous amount of energy, especially in heating and cooling, and American homes consume around six times the world average. Once you've audited your home for energy use (even if you haven't) some simple moves can cut your electricity bill.
Keep your house cool with natural ventilation instead of air conditioning as much as possible. Use in-room, ceiling, or whole-house fans to move air throughout the house. Blocking sunlight during hot hours of the day can help lower your cooling load. If your house uses electricity for water heating, wrapping your water tank in an insulating blanket can save on power.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of making your own electricity from the sun, wind, or water. Installing an home alternative energy system is becoming more and more cost effective as technology improves and assistance programs spread. Photovoltaic, or solar electric, systems are the most common. Depending on your available space, local climate, budget, and local utility, a solar electric system can provide all the energy needed for a typical home (and possibly more). Check with your local power utility about subsidy programs or other available programs.
Small, home-sized, wind turbines are a rapidly growing field. Wind Turbines can take a big chunk out of your energy use.
A home or building designed and constructed around energy efficiency can realize enormous savings. Everything from the positioning of the house, use of daylight and natural ventilation, lighting and appliances, and renewable energy system can push a building closer and closer to net zero energy consumption. If you are considering building a home, do serious renovations, or an addition, make sure that energy efficiency is a key design criterion.
Getting green power may be as easy as checking a box on your energy bill. About 600 of the
6,000 power utilities offer a green power option of one kind or another. In this sort of program, the local utility buys renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.) and then passes it along to customers. It often costs a bit more, but not much, and it helps support the industry for clean, green power. Before you sign up, though, ask where they are getting their power from. If its a source like waste coal or waste-to-power, you might be better off buying your credits elsewhere.
WAYS TO GO
GREEN AT WORK<<click
BACK TO TOP