Ten Simple Steps to Going Green – Part 2
Easy Ways to Save Money, and the Planet! A Two Part Series
We all feel inclined to save money with everyday items and who doesn’t want to leave a better planet for future generations? Given the opportunity, utilizing efficiency and conservation can and will save money (both long and short term). The best of all worlds is when you can save green, keep green, and leave green when you move out or on. These ten simple steps that require little to no financial investment and can reap rewards that your bank account – and the planet – will thank you for! This week we’ll look at the next 5 from our Top Ten List:
6. It’s Electric – and Virtual!
Kiss your paper goodbye! Not just your paper, but even most magazines now come in virtual editions – which are readable on any handheld reader or mobile device. This method is a more convenient way to enjoy your periodicals, and requires less resources such as wood, water, and energy since it isn’t printed. E-zines are also cheaper to manufacture since there are no shipping costs, and will never end up in a landfill or a burning pile of rubbish. Even your favorite books now carry better value as e-books – you can borrow them from your local library, carry unlimited quantities in your pocket, and never have to haul a hundred pound milk crate full of books up a pair of steps ever again! Not only that, but buying an e-book is cheaper than a traditional one – and with most public libraries offering free access to electronic magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals, you will never have to be without reading material ever again.
7. No-bath Nights (or Share-A-Shower!)
This might sound like an excuse for getting out of personal hygiene (no, kids, this isn’t proof positive you don’t need to bathe) – or for us adults, a justification for some quality time with a significant other. The truth of the matter is that by using showers instead of baths, we can eliminate as much as 35 gallons of water waste, per person, per day – not to mention all the energy (either electric or gas) that would have gone into heating the water for those baths! Even better is keeping every shower around 5 minutes or less; navy-style showers being the ‘favorite’ for the really passionate water conservators.
8. Wrap It Up!
We’ve spoken before about the power of wrapping up your hot water heater, exposed HVAC ducting, and hot water pipes – however, it’s important enough that it bears repeating! Not only that – but important enough that even the US Department of Energy advises: Insulate Your Water Heater Tank, Insulate Hot Water Pipes, and Insulate Air Ducts.
9. Break Down!
What cheaper, easier way to feed your plants, garden, or even your lawn with the nutrients and minerals it needs than to compost your biodegradable food matter, and mulch your lawn waste? While fertilizers can make your plants or grass spurt and look pretty for a month or a season, they can long term do more harm to your soil than help to your plant. The best way to feed a plant is to actually feed the soil it grows in – with compost! By returning vital nutrients and minerals to the soil, encouraging microbe growth, and raising water retention, you build better planting soil – which builds better roots, and better plants. Mulching your lawn clippings can create shade for your root systems, return nutrients back into the grass you just trimmed, save you money on garbage bags, and cut down on landfill waste. If all else fails, grass mulch makes wonderful compost to mix in with your table scraps!
Last but not least – unplug. While it feels good for us to relax and unwind, it’s also important we let our electronics and appliances do the same, too! By using power strips (and switching them off when not in use) we can eliminate pesky phantom power drain, which is a drain on our wallet. Not only that, but when our personal electronics are fully charged there is no reason to keep them on a charger – unplugging a fully charged laptop, tablet, or cell phone can also prevent miniscule electric charges which will add up. (For more information, read this fascinating article about ‘energy vampires’.) While the naysayers might think that each household saving 1-2 kilowatt hours a month is no big deal (which it isn’t, financially, since its only about 22 cents) the truth is that with 134 million households, we can be saving a lot, together.
Do you agree – or disagree? What ‘easy’ steps have you implemented in your life to take yourself from mean to green? Don’t be shy – drop us a line in the comments below.
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This is an original article written by Mai Bjorklund for Swartz Electric. This article may not be copied whole or in part without the express permission of Swartz Electric, LLC.
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