The new year is upon us. Have you decided to try to have a more more eco friendly home this year, but in a way that doesn’t bust your wallet?
There’s so much we can do in ways both large and small that help to reduce carbon emissions and the pressure on the environment from the way we live. Here are five easy resolutions you can make that can have a big impact–and they’re much easier to stick to than quitting smoking! These also have the added bonus of saving you money.
1) Change a single incandescent light bulb to compact fluorescent. Do you know how much energy would be saved if every American household replaced just one 60-watt light with a compact fluorescent light bulb? It would be enough to power 1.5 million homes, or the entire states of Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of emissions not generated because of burning fossil fuels it would be the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road. (Source) Now imagine if everyone changed two bulbs, or three. The savings in the aggregate are immense. And how does it save you money? Though they cost a bit more than regular bulbs, they consume about 70% less power and last upwards of 10,000 hours, so the savings over time can be substantial.
2) Swear off eating meat once per week. Worldwide meat production accounts for about 20% of greenhouse gases between animal methane and the energy that goes into feeding and housing them. If everyone ate just a bit less meat it would make a huge difference in tackling the global warming problem. How does this save you money? We all know meat is expensive, so switching one day per week to vegetable-based protein such as beans or soy will clearly save you money. (Speaking of soy, the more you switch to soy in the products you use, from tofu to soy wax candles, the more you are relying on a renewable resource.)
3) Turn off your computer. All those whirring fans and clacking hard drives consume a lot of idle energy overnight. True, you won’t be able to help in finding E.T., but the Earth will thank you for it and so will your pocketbook. How does it save you money? Turning off a computer overnight will save you $90 in energy per year.
4) Lower the thermostat while you sleep or when away from the house. Settling in for a long winter’s nap under your cozy comforter? Spending a long day in the office? Turning down your home heating 5 to 10 degrees during these times saves a lot of energy and money. Turning it down by 10 degrees during these times can cut your heating bill by up to 20%.
5) Wash clothes in cold water. Ninety percent of the energy used in washing your clothes doesn’t go into swishing your pajamas around–it goes into heating the water in your hot water heater. You can save a lot in water heating costs by simply turning down the dial when washing your clothes. Cold-water detergents are just as effective as warm-water ones for scouring the dirt (but do try to find an eco friendly one–the subject of a future post!)
There you have it–five easy things you can do with little more than lifting a finger, and which can make a huge difference.
Happy New Year!