Environmental Ideas Chowchilla CA

Save energy by washing clothes in cold water, turning down the temperature setting on the water heater -- as well as insulating the heater and pipes -- and using a programmable thermostat.

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Environmental Ideas

If you’re interested in saving energy, money and the planet, you can go green at home with a few free or inexpensive modifications. Here are 10 simple ways to save.
 

1. Get on green savings time

Saving energy can be as easy as doing laundry in the early morning or evening.

“Don’t use things that give off lots of heat during the day when using air conditioning,” said Christopher Appelt, associate professor of biological sciences at St. Xavier University in Chicago.
 

2. Fill 'er up

“Full loads of laundry and in the dishwasher are more efficient than partial loads,” Appelt said.
 

3. Set the temperature

Save energy by washing clothes in cold water, turning down the temperature setting on the water heater -- as well as insulating the heater and pipes -- and using a programmable thermostat.

“The bigger the difference in temperature between the house and outside, the more the temperature is going to want to move,” Appelt said. “In the fall, weatherize your home with plastic on windows and weather stripping on doors to keep the warm air in.”
 

4. Tote the green

Say no to plastic bags and yes to canvas totes when shopping.

Retailers are starting to offer plastic bag recycling and are even doing away with plastic bags. Whole Foods Market, for example, stopped offering plastic shopping bags earlier this year, giving customers the choice between recycled paper and 99-cent reusable bags.

For more totes made from recycled materials, try www.reusablebags.com  or www.BagsOnTheRun.com.
 

5. Green light

Compact fluorescent bulbs use one-third of the electricity incandescent bulbs do and last up to 10 times longer.

Start the switch to maximum energy savings by replacing bulbs in the kitchen and other most-used rooms.
 

6. Compost it

Get in tune with nature’s way of recycling by placing egg shells, unwanted produce, coffee grounds and even hair into a compost bin, which you can buy or build yourself with little more than a plastic bin, shredded acid-free newspaper or corrugated cardboard and garden soil.

Later, the compost can be used with houseplants and in gardens instead of harmful fertilizer.

“Artificial fertilizers can get into waterways and disrupt ecosystems,” said Appelt, who has a compost bin in an unobtrusive spot in his own back yard. “It smells earthy, like soil and dirt.”
For tips, visit www.howtocompost.org.
 

7. Get a green thumb

Plant a tree to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Get 10 free saplings when you join the Arbor Day Foundation (www.arborday.org).

Also, using a rain barrel or native plants in landscaping will save water.
 

8. Recycle

 The key is to make recycling simple and convenient.

“The easier it is, the more likely you are to do it,” Appelt said. “Recycling does truly save energy, uses fewer resources and keeps things out of landfills.”


9. Be a star

When buying a new appliance, look for the Energy Star label (www.energystar.gov), which can be found on 50 different kinds of products that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s specifications on preventing greenhouse emissions.
 

10. Go unplugged

“Some appliances use electricity when they’re turned off but plugged in,” Appelt said. Anything with an external power supply, remote control or clock display requires what is known as standby or vampire power.

The Natural Resources Defense Council recommends unplugging seldom-used appliances as well as chargers for cell phones, digital cameras and cordless tools when not in use; using power strips to switch off televisions and stereos, and setting computers to hibernate or sleep mode.

 
 

author: Vickie Snow