In today's world, people are much more aware of the environment and their role in protecting and preserving it than in the past, but many still wonder how they can make a difference without spending a fortune. Green technologies are a great option for long term solutions, but it is not necessary to do a complete retrofit of your home to do your part in helping to protect the environment. Small changes can make a big difference!
The following are a few ideas that can be implemented for little or no cost, but can have a big impact on our environment.
Turn Off The Lights
It may seem like a simple thing, but turning off lights when leaving a room, or shutting off electronics and appliances in your home between uses, can drastically reduce your electricity consumption. One of the biggest power consumers in our homes is our electronic gadgets. Most electronics switch to standby mode when you shut off their power switch, so are not truly "off" until you cut the power that runs to them. The easiest way to remedy this is to plug your electronics into power strips that have on/off switches built in. Remember, just by shutting off your power strip, you can reduce your overall electricity consumption and power bill by as much as 10 percent per month.
We all know the benefits of recycling. It saves natural resources and cuts the amount of energy required to manufacture products. Most items can be recycled and it is easy to do. Recycling can be as simple as reusing plastic bags you have around the house for alternative purposes, such as waste basket liners. If you are moving, they also make great padding for breakables. An easy way to avoid the inevitable population explosion of plastic bags that plagues us after a trip to the market, is to take along reusable cloth bags when you go shopping. Other items that can be recycled include paper, glass, aluminum, clothing, electronics and most household items. Composting is a great way to dispose of organic waste and your garden will thank you for your efforts.
Water is the most essential and important natural resource on earth, and conserving it is something that we all need to actively participate in. The most common item that wastes water in U.S. households is a leaking or constantly running toilet, accounting for more than 1 trillion gallons of water wasted annually. In many cases, this is easily corrected by simply replacing the rubber flapper inside the tank. It is an inexpensive repair and very simple to do. It can also prevent up to 200 gallons of water from being wasted daily! This applies to faucets as well, both inside and out. Repair or replace leaking faucets.
When watering lawns, early mornings are best before the day begins to heat up. Also be sure that you are not over-watering. Use a timer when possible, but if you do not have one, limit watering to 30 minutes or less per area watered, and water only 2 or 3 times per week. This will conserve water and reduce your water bill.
Adjust The Thermostat
When temperatures begin to dip, instead of automatically bumping up the thermostat, try wrapping up in a warm blanket or getting out a light jacket or sweater instead. This will reduce your utility consumption and your bill at the same time. When summer starts to warm things up, use fans to circulate air instead of turning on the air conditioner. Evaporative coolers are also a great alternative for those living in drier climates. They use very little electricity and can save 60 percent or more over a refrigerated air conditioner to run. Another great benefit of evaporative coolers is that they do not use harmful fluorocarbons to cool the air.
Remember that for each degree you adjust the thermostat, you can lower your utility bill by as much as 10 percent. Also be sure to have your heating and cooling units inspected by a professional technician annually to ensure optimum efficiency.
Becky Harris is an environmental blogger for U-Pack, writing about small changes that make a big difference, including abf portable storage containers.