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Earth-friendly At Home: Small Changes With Big Pay-offs

February 17, 2015

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It's easier than you may think to go green at home. Here are a host of simple, small changes that can make a huge difference to the environment as well as to your pocketbook.

WATER: Water is a precious resource we can all easily save more of. Try these simple fixes.

  • Instead of buying bottled water, carry filtered tap water in a reusable bottle, preferably aluminum, rather than plastic.
  • Fix leaky faucets and toilets. Use faucet aerators that conserve water, along with low-flow fixtures for showers, faucets, and toilets. Turn off the faucet between dishes and while brushing your teeth.
  • Wash full loads of clothes in cold water (most energy used in washing clothes goes to heating the water). Don’t machine dry clothes (or dishes): use a clothesline or drying rack. 
  • Take shorter showers to reduce water use and lower water and heating bills.

ENERGY: Nearly half of the energy used in our homes goes to air conditioning and heating. The following changes can help reduce your energy use.

  • If possible, install a programmable thermostat; in the winter, set it to 70 degrees during the day and 65 at night. In the summer, set it to 78 degrees. 
  • Set ceiling fans to spin counter-clockwise in summer to pull hot air up to the ceiling. In winter, set them to spin clockwise to move hot air down.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs, and turn off all lights when you leave a room.
  • Plug TVs, computers, monitors and other electronics into power strips; turn off the power strips when the equipment is not in use. 

STUFF: Most of us have way too much stuff cluttering our homes. Here’s how to be more earth-friendly in our buying habits.

  • Purchase well-made products that will last longer and need replacing less often. You may pay more up front, but you’ll do better in the long run
  • Buy gently used: Shop online for lightly used clothing, appliances, and furniture. And don’t forget garage sales and thrift stores. 
  • Borrow or barter: Trade used items in good condition for other people’s used items in good condition that you may need. Borrow books, e-books, music, and movies from the library. Share tools and appliances with neighbors. 
  • BYOB: Bring your own bags to the supermarket to cut down on the use of plastic bags.

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