Green Tips from Local Experts!0
Reduce waste, conserve water, increase your home’s energy efficiency…
GREEN TIPS FOR FAMILIES
Replace your light bulbs and turn off the lights – CFLs are three times more efficient and last 10 times longer than incandescents.
Drive less and get a more efficient car – carpool, take the bus or train, trip chain to eliminate unnecessary driving, ride a bike or walk, or telecommute or use flex time.
Find and eliminate phantom loads – Appliances use energy even in standby mode. Use a power strip to easily turn off items when they aren’t in use.
Reduce your waste – Eliminate disposable water bottles, plastic bags, and other unnecessary purchases from your life. Bottled water uses as much energy to reach you as if it was a quarter filled up with oil! If Californians cut our plastic bag use in half, we’d save 2000 barrels of oil a day and keep plastic out of our oceans.
Conserve water – Fix leaks, install low flow shower heads, low flush toilets and faucet aerators. Use laundry machines and dishwashers sparingly and practice smart landscaping.
[Submitted By: Community Environmental Council]
INCREASE YOUR HOME’S ENERGY EFFICIENCY
With energy prices rising, there are good reasons to take steps to make your home more energy efficient. Not only can you lower your energy bills, but you also can ensure your family stays warm and comfortable when the temperature drops. Here are six simple and relatively inexpensive projects you can work on make your home tighter and more energy efficient.
Add a layer to your attic insulation, especially if your home was built before 1980. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to cut heating and cooling costs, according to the Department of Energy. As a general rule, if you have less than 12 inches of insulation in your attic, you probably need more.
Seal all cracks and crevices, both inside and outside your home’s building envelope. Pay particular attention to penetrations for cable wires, plumbing pipes and electrical boxes, as well as those spots around windows and doors where siding or bricks and wood trim meet. Use expandable foam-sealant products around doors and windows, then finish off with the best-quality caulking you can find. Make sure all products are low in volatile organic compound (VOC) content to ensure good indoor air quality.
Seal the ducts. More than likely, thanks to leaky ductwork, you’re heating your attic and basement and wasting energy. That’s because small cracks or holes in the ducts leak warm, conditioned air into the unheated spaces through which the ducts travel. So check your ducts for leaks, and use duct mastic (preferable) or duct tape (acceptable) to seal the leaky spots. If you’re installing ductwork in an addition or new home, consider installing the ducts in conditioned spaces, or make sure the ducts are well-insulated.
Install a programmable thermostat. By programming your thermostat to lower your home’s air temperature when no one is home this winter (say, from 72 degrees to 65 degrees during the day), you can save as much as 10 percent on your heating costs. Programmable thermostats are priced from about $30, which you should be able to recoup in the first year of use.
Check and, if necessary, replace furnace filters, and clean air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed. By changing filters monthly, you can save as much as 10 percent on heating costs.
Insulate the water heater and pipes. If you haven’t insulated your water heater, you may be losing heat into the surrounding area, which in turn will make the water heater work overtime to keep the water hot. Consult your water heater directions or a qualified water heater professional to determine whether your water heater is properly insulated. Also, insulate hot water pipes to keep the water in them warmer longer. Insulating materials for pipes and water heaters are available at hardware and home improvement stores.
Submitted By: Karen Feeney, Green Resources Manager, Allen Associates
GOING GREEN TIPS
Greening our homes can seem like a daunting task. There is so much information coming at us from all sides, especially when it comes to our children and homes. Yet, they are most precious and the most affected by unhealthy living habits. Living a greener lifestyle does not remove the fun. In fact it makes you think outside the box and come up with more meaning to life! Here are a few steps to take when thinking about green parenting.
Take advantage of hand-me-downs, or more politically correct, “gently worn” clothing. It seems that children are always out growing their clothes faster than we can replace them. Most kids under the age of 5 have fairly decent clothes to pass on to someone else to use. More often than not you can find great bargains at resale or thrift shops. This will minimize wasted clothing plus help out on the budget! If you simply cannot be seen walking into a non-department store to buy your kids clothes then ask around or shop online. www.craigslist.com offers some great buys in the local area.
Green up your parties. So many times we leave a party with junk and trinkets that end up in the garbage as soon as you get home. Why not create lasting memories by having an outing or volunteering at your favorite non-profit. Many times we can create just as much fun by contributing to the local community. One suggestion would be to have the kids decorate cards to be given to a children’s hospital or nursing home. Sometimes an animal shelter needs the pets to simply be handled and loved. Do you have a child that adores animals? Why not have their party there? You don’t have to cut out the cake and ice cream but do make sure it’s healthy!
Unplug your home. We have saying in our home before we walk out the door ” There’s too much electricity on when the sun is shining.” The kids scramble around the house looking for things to turn off and unplug. We let them know that this saves our environment plus our piggy bank. It helps to start them early and get them in the mindset that we need to be sure to do our part.
Throw out the toxic bathwater! It is unfortunate but now days our baby’s nursery products are full of toxic chemicals. It is being recommended by pediatric doctors to simply not use any mainstream personal care products on newborns. I suggest getting rid of all your products and starting over with those that are free of harmful chemicals. Even baby wipes are full of chemicals that are not so healthy for their delicate skin. If you want to check out yours or your baby’s products, reference this website >>
[Submitted By: Amber Alcoser- Green Living]
Share your tips BELOW on how your family is going green and how you model this for your children…