Monday, September 15, 2008

Ten Ways to Save Green by Going Green

But that doesn’t mean I can’t save money on gas, water, and other living expenses by taking simple—often free—steps to reduce consumption of natural resources. Even if you’re not trying to save the planet, by consuming and wasting less, you’ll save money. And that’s something we all like to conserve.

1. Become Anti-Bottle
A bottle of water usually runs between one to two dollars, which means buying a few bottles every week could add up to over one hundred dollars a year. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, consider what else it costs: 1.5 million barrels of oil go into making those bottles, and 22 million head to landfills every year.

2. Displace Instead of Replace
Instead of a fancy, new low-flush toilet to replace old large tank toilets, there is a simple, cheap (even free) method: displacement. By placing a brick, a plastic bag filled with water (sometimes called toilet tummies) inside the tank it will reduce the amount of water per flush.

3. Go Low-Flow
Low-flow showerheads will reduce water consumption, and, because they save hot water, energy consumption as well. If you have older pipes and your shower takes a while to heat up, simply put a bucket in the stall to capture the cold stuff and use this to water plants, mop, or wash dishes.

Adding aerators and low-flow faucet adapters (usually less than $5 at hardware stores) on all sinks will save water—and ultimately, money.

4. Move It, Don’t Lose It
Can’t afford a Prius? Not a problem. There are cheap, even free, ways to keep money in your pocket while still getting around town: bike, walk, run, carpool, or use public transit. Since gas prices aren’t likely to drop much from where they are now, getting in the habit of going car-free is not only a cheap way of transport, it’s a long-term habit that will save you money and reduce your carbon output.

If you do have to drive, there are ways to make your dollar go further. Drive laid back—don’t accelerate too fast from green lights and gradually slow down to red lights. And don’t let the tires slow you down. According to the Consumer Reports Web site, properly inflated tires can save up to one mile per gallon.

5. Weather Strip It

6. Wash Smart

For dishwashers, make sure to fill the dishwasher to the brim before washing, and opt out of the “heat dry” cycle...

For the clothes washer, use cold water, and during the summer months, line-dry.

7. Make Your Own
Rather than buying often-overpriced green cleaning products, you can make your own with everyday household items like baking soda and vinegar.

Along the line of simplifying to save, one way to cut back on how much we spend on disposables like paper towels, napkins, aluminum foil, and plastic bags is to use tea towels, cloth napkins, and Tupperware instead

8. Ward off the Vampires
You know those appliances that, although turned off, still have a standby screen that’s lit up or flashing? These are known as “vampire” or phantom electricity loads, and have been estimated to be responsible for 10 to 40 percent of the energy used in homes.

9. Cook Green

10. Buy Less
Divine Caroline, see details there.

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