We have all heard the term “living green”, especially in recent years. People are becoming more aware of the fact that our planet’s resources are limited in number and everything we do on a daily basis has an effect on the environment. What exactly does the term mean anyways? In the simplest terms living green can be defined as reducing your impact on the environment that we live in. We all want the future generations to have clean water, clean air, and sufficient food for all to eat.
One of the key benefits of living a greener existence is it is better for your own health. Eating organic food that has not been exposed to any chemicals is much better for your body. And breathing in cleaner air means your body won’t be exposed to the harmful toxins found in the polluted atmosphere. These are just two of the many benefits, but how can you start living in a greener home? It might seem like a daunting task but you can start small. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Program Your Thermostat Lower
It not only costs a lot of money to heat and cool your home but it also uses energy. This could be in the form of electricity, gas, or a combination of the two but either way it makes sense to limit the use when possible. A great way to do this is to use a programmable thermostat and set the temperature lower in the winter and higher in the summer. A good time to do this is during the day when the family is more likely to be away. You can easily program it up and down as needed, getting the temperature back to the most comfortable at night when everyone is home. Programming the temperature is a “set and forget” way to lower your energy costs and use less natural resources.
Reduce Idle Time Of Your Car
The prevailing wisdom has always been to warm your car up during the cold winter months. It was thought the engine needed to be at the right temperature before undergoing the stress that everyday driving can put on it. Plus you get the added bonus of getting into a warm car before you start driving.
However, studies have shown this can actually harm the modern engine. Unlike those with carbureted motors, fuel injected cars have the correct internal sensors to compensate for temperature differences. And the extra gas that would get pumped into the cylinder can cause wear and tear so it is recommended to warm your automobile up for only a maximum of 30 seconds. This will not only help your car but it will also help the environment by not burning unnecessary gasoline. You will also put less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Clean With An Energy Efficient Vacuum
Whether you own your home or are renting you undoubtedly know that you need to clean on a regular basis. Dust will quickly accumulate, especially if you have one or more pets living with you. A quality vacuum cleaner is a necessity but it will use electricity during those whole household cleaning sessions. When looking for a new model you should find one that is efficient, quick, and great at cleaning your floors. Whether you are looking for an upright or a canister vacuum try to find a reputable brand like Miele, Dyson, or Oreck. This will guarantee that it is not only quality built but will also clean your home efficiently for many years to come.
Wash Your Clothes In Cold Water
A washing machine is another of those necessary home appliances that can use a lot of resources if you aren’t careful. Fortunately most modern washers are energy efficient, using much less water than those of the past. They have sensors that can detect how much water to use so there is almost no waste. They do, however, still use electricity and hot water which requires energy (typically natural gas) to bring it up to the right temperature. One way to mitigate this is to wash your clothes with cold water when necessary. Most of the times this will be fine as your clothes will turn out clean and ready for use. If you have access to a drying line you can also hang your clothes up outside to dry.
Shut Your PC Down When Not In Use
It might come as a surprise to homeowners just how much energy the various devices can use when in “standby” mode. These devices are not really on but they are ready to bounce into action with the push of a button. This all comes at a price because the devices must be powered at all times. And even though it is a relatively small amount of power it does add up over time, especially when you are talking about multiple products drawing at the same time.
One of the prime culprits is the home computer as they tend to be left on all the time, not just when in use. If you are done using it for the day you can save energy by shutting it down. Modern computers can restart much quicker as they typically come with solid state drives and a faster loading Windows operating system. Take advantage of this technology (and live green) by powering it down each night.
Bonus Tip: Buy Green Energy From Your Power Company
According to Energy.gov 50% of customers today have the option to purchase what would be considered “green” or renewable electricity from their power supplier. And if this isn’t an option then all consumers can buy renewable energy certificates instead to put the money into a pool that is used to further green energy. The power landscape is changing across the United States as more people are becoming aware of the need to do what we can. Many people will even pay a little extra to source at least a portion of their power from greener sources. Hopefully this trend will continue and more companies will put a big focus on bringing these options to the marketplace.