Tuesday, October 21, 2008

5 Minute Earth-Friendly Changes

There is so much info out there about going green, at times it can be a little overwhelming. Start small with some simple changes that will make a difference for the environment and your bank account.

1. Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer.

2.Turn off lights when you leave the room.

3.Unplug appliances, cell phone chargers, DVD players and other "phantom loads" when you are not using them. Phantom loads are items that use energy while in the instant-on mode - if it has a clock or a glowing light it is using energy. It is estimated that, 75% of the electricity used to run home electronics is consumed while the products are off.

4. Switch your old incandescent bulbs to compact flourescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs last 10 times longer, use a quarter less energy, and give off 90% less heat.

5. Improve your indoor air quality - the EPA states that indoor air quality can be more polluted than outdoor air. Furniture, flooring, paints, and adhesives offgas VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Look for low or no VOC choices which are now widely available.

6. Weatherproof your home - attach rubber sweeps to the bottom of doors, apply low-VOC caulk to cracks in window and doorframes, insulate outlets and light switches with inexpensive foam gaskets.

7. Conserve water. Install a low-flow showerhead and shorten your shower time. Check toilets for leaks, only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full, install aerators on your faucets.

8. Replace your air conditioner or furnace filter monthly. Also look for reusable filters that can be cleaned which reduces waste.

9. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees and insulate your hot-water storage tank.

10. Switch from using hot water in your washing machine to cold water and use half the energy.

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