So you’re ready to “go green” at home but wondering where to start? Great. There are so many things we can do to lighten our footprint on the earth. Here are 9 good “going green” moves you can implement right away. At no cost!
1. If you’re not using it, turn it off.
In Britain, the Energy Savings Trust says the typical home wastes £80 (apx $98 US Dollars) a year by leaving their appliances on standby. All up, that’s £227 million (apx $277,440,530 US Dollars) per year across the whole UK [source]. The Trust identifies stereos, TVs, games consoles, desktop computers, printers and scanners as items of special concern.
So how much power are we burning by leaving our gear on standby? About 15% of your power bill, according to EnergySavingSecrets. That accounts for one percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, too.
2. But what about lights?
Sure, you can save on running costs by turning the lights off every time you leave the room, but what if you’re only gone for 3 minutes? – to make a cuppa, for example.
Hardly seems worth bothering with, does it?
Let’s change the question a little. When you’re wanting to be super economical (while also going green), how long is too long to leave the lights on?
That sounds like a simple question but it’s not.
It depends on what type of light bulb you have. For compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), it’s 15 minutes. “If you will be out of a room for 15 minutes or less, leave it on,” says Energy.gov.
But for LEDs, it’s zero.
Why the difference? Because every time you turn a light bulb on or off (unless it’s LED), it shortens the unit’s operating life. Energy.gov discusses this further and also covers the other types of lighting in our homes.
3. Make your computer sleep.
Do you leave your computer on all the time? You can help by setting it to “sleep” after 20 minutes of inactivity. How to do that? Well, that depends on which type of computer you have but those clever chaps at Google will help you find what you need to know.
4. Cleaned your lint filter lately?
A clogged lint filter burns more power than a clean one, so a quick and easy power-saving tip is to remove the lint every time you run the dryer.
5. Long live the old-fashioned clothes line!
Instead of using a mains-powered clothes dryer, the green way is to use a foldable rack or an outside clothes line. Even if it’s only for some of your washing load (because it is kinda nice to get the drier to half-iron your clothes, isn’t it?).
6. Use water to make you feel warmer in winter.
Humidity makes your apartment feel warmer – without spending money on electrical or gas heating. Set pans of gray water near the radiator to increase humidity. An easy and free way to be more comfortable without the costs.
7. Print on both sides of the paper.
Paperless is the way to go if you can, but if you absolutely must print something, choose double-sided printing. You can set ‘double sided’ as the default setting on most printers. Again, a Google search will show you how.
8. Go digital.
We can all reduce the amount of paper in our lives by opting for online billing wherever possible. And online mailings too. Thanks to the CAN-SPAM legislation, getting off a mailing list is (supposed to be) as easy as clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every commercial email.
9. Getting too much junk mail in your mailbox?
Find a way to unsubscribe. Maybe mark the envelope “Return to Sender” and stick it back into the snail mail.
Register your address at the Direct Marketing Association’s dmachoice.org website to get off many direct mail lists all in one shot. You can get off email opt-in lists similarly.
That’s it for part one. I’ll be back with part two and more ways to go green at home.
BEFORE YOU GO
Which of these 9 “going green” moves are going to make the most difference at your place?
ABOUT OUR AUTHOR
Gary Harvey is a freelance blogger and writer with a special interest in green and clean technologies. At GreenTechWriter.com, he writes about how mankind is tackling the serious environmental challenges we now face. As he says, there are “big problems and remarkable solutions” and he’ll be sharing some of them with us here at Going2Natural. Gary is available to write for green businesses and green websites.