Print the energy and water consumption chart and post in a visible spot in your home. If you live in a deregulated state in the U. Bring back the clothesline! This information can be tracked over time, allowing you to gauge the impact of actions you take to reduce your carbon footprint. Draught-Excluder for Chimneys: Even with a damp, a lot of heat flows up chimneys in the winter. Check out the Chimney Sheep to save on heating and reduce uncomfortable drafts. One well-respected Green-e certified company is TerraPass.
In general, you will lower your summer air-conditioning bill by planting trees and bushes along the west side of your home. The easiest way is to unplug appliances that are not being used. You can also plug your appliances into bye bye standby or smart meters so that they are powered down completely when turned off. Consider installing a well insulated skylight if more light is needed. Encourage family members to get in the habit of turning off lights when they leave a room taping small reminder notes to light switches can help.
Energy Efficient Mortgages U. Renewable Energy Certificates REC : If you don't have the ability to switch to renewable energy, consider buying an REC which let's you essentially purchase renewable energy without switching electricity suppliers.
Buying energy from a utility, on the other hand, is like renting - at the end of fifteen years you don't have anything to show for it - and you are left vulnerable to the fluctuating costs of energy. One investment option is solar panels which can produce energy for 40 years or more - far longer than it takes to pay off the installation costs currently around 15 years for homeowners and only 7 years for businesses. Wind power, where available, has a far quicker payback period.
The International Dark-Sky Association works to educate individuals and communities about the use of energy-efficient, properly designed lighting that allows for good night sky viewing. The Fatal Light Awareness Program educates individuals about how urban lights harm migratory birds.
Conserve Water Freshwater degradation is a looming crisis that we must face head on with strong and effective actions. To determine your overall water footprint, use the Water Footprint Calculator. Determine a baseline to start reducing from. Chart the number of gallons of water used in the last 12 months for comparison to each month this year if water consumption is listed by CCF hundred cubic feet , one CCF equals gallons.
Make specific changes in products used and family member habits: buy water saving products where needed get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits e. Keep the water turned on only while it is needed. For drinking water, keep a pitcher in your refrigerator so you don't have to let water run to cool.
Fix Leaks Promptly! Check your water meter when no one is using water in the house. If it's moving there's a leak. A running toilet can waste 2 gallons a minute. Check by adding food coloring to the tank without flushing. After 10 minutes, look for leaks indicated by color in the bowl. This is most likely a worn flapper valve that can easily be replaced. Visit Terry Love's consumer toilets report for a great review on available low flow toilets.
Flush your toilet only every other time or when it has solid waste.
Green Eco Tips for Sustainable Living
Showers: Replace existing shower heads with the lowest flow product you can find. Shower heads with a mist setting let you reduce water flow even further. Shower instead of taking a bath. Time your showers - try to keep them to 5 minutes. If taking a bath, limit how high you fill the tub. Aerators: Install flow restrictor aerators inside all faucets for a savings of 3 to 4 gallons per minute. Full Loads: Always run full loads of laundry and dishes. Choose the short cycle at low water levels whenever possible. Set the clothing washer at the lowest possible temperature needed and for single rinse only.
Dish Washing: Use your dishwasher and don't rinse dishes beforehand for an average 20 gallon savings. If you buy a new washing machine, choose a " high efficiency " model. Native Plants: Fill your yard with native plants. This will cut down significantly on watering requirements and, in the process, provide much needed food and shelter to local wildlife. Mulching: Mulch your gardens to reduce water evaporation around your plants this also reduces weeds and builds healthy soil.
Drip Irrigation: Install a drip irrigation system to water your plants more effectively For Your Hoses: Buy a squeeze nozzle for all of your hoses. However, if you're watering plants, use a watering can to reduce water waste. Best Time to Water: Water at night to minimize evaporation. Leftover Water: If you have house plants, whenever possible water them with leftover or unused water from drinking, cooking, and showering.
Keep of water pitcher near your sink or bathtub and collect unused water running from the tap waiting for cooler or warmer water. Car Wash: Take your car to a car wash that recycles water.
The lithium-ion battery
If you wash it yourself, use a bucket and sponge and rinse sparingly. Water Pollution: Protect our water supply by following the steps outlined in How to Clean Up Our Water: 12 simple actions to help stem the tide of polluted runoff. Tap Water: Make the switch back to environmentally-friendly tap water instead of bottled water. Cooking Vegetables: Steam rather than boil your veggies to save a quart or more of water. Better yet, try giving vegetables a quick rinse, placing them in a covered bowl, and microwaving them for a minute or two.
Drinking Water: In the U.
For opportunities to do restoration work for a local organization, check out VolunteerMatch. The American Hiking Society coordinates week long volunteer vacations to help restore trails. Plan regular gatherings for tree-planting and watering. They frequently find their way to open water even from 's of miles away and can harm or kill turtles, whales, and other marine mammals. For the price of a few cobwebs in a ceiling corner, they'll minimize unwanted bugs in your home. Green Nights Sleep: There are now dozens of great brands of eco-friendly mattresses.
Or, safer yet, avoid purchasing clothes that require dry cleaning. Soap Nuts: Check out environmentally-friendly soap nuts Sapindus to replace your laundry detergent. It can also be used as a general cleaning soap. Information: Why you should avoid PVC plastic. Responsible Shopping: Whenever possible, shop at co-ops, local health stores, and socially and environmentally responsible chain stores. Locate a "green building" professional through the Green Building Council Directory.
Get answers to specific questions at Green Home Guide. Keep up on new green products at Building Green. This can be a fantastic resource for used building material. Building Material Donations: in the US and Canada, Habitat for Humanity has hundreds of local donation centers Restore where unused building material can be donated. Alternatively, try returning excess materials to the store where purchased. Personal Finances Move Your Money: If your money is currently at a large banking institution, moving your money to a credit union or community bank will help strengthen your local community.
A miniature version can even be created on your patio or deck. Basic elements include fresh water i. Purchase plants that are native to your area. Audubon provides tips for minimizing collisions. Food Garden: Jump into the food gardening craze! Get to know the specific ecosystem your home is located in e. Leave the leaves!
The Big List
Keyhole Garden : How to create a garden with a raised bed, lasagna garden, composting, and recycling system all rolled into one. The design creates a garden that uses recycled materials, less water and maintenance, and can be made handicap-accessible. Get a Great Workout While Gardening Sustainably: Replacing gas and water guzzling equipment with traditional tools is a great way to work up a sweat while creating a beautiful, sustainable space around your home: Scythe for the weed whacker leave the leaves for the leaf blower Push reel lawn mower or rent-a-herd of goats for the gas-powered lawn mower Long-handled grubbing hoe for the rototiller Stiff-bristled broom and some biodegradable powdered oxygen bleach and water for the pressure washer Climate-Friendly Gardens: Learn about becoming a climate-friendly gardener from UCS.
Rain Garden: Create a rain garden on your property to reduce runoff into storm drains. Veggies in Containers: Tips on growing great vegetables in containers. Backyard Bats: How to add bat-friendly features and plants to your garden.