Mother Earth Living

Green Your Life, Save Your Money

Environmentally friendly tips that fit your lifestyle and your budget.
By Stephanie Nelson
December 2008 Web
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There has never been a greater time to green your lifestyle. Regardless of where you are in your green endeavors, these tips will keep some much-appreciated green in your wallet. 

Nearly 20 percent of our home's electricity use goes to lighting. Here’s how you can save money at home.

Light green

1. Cut back on your utility bill by changing out five of your frequently used incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient bulbs such as compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). Energy Star says that homeowners will save roughly $30 in electricity costs for each lightbulb. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) also save you money in the long run.

2. By simply turning the faucet off when washing up in the morning and evening, you can save around 240 gallons of water a month, according to the Environmental Protection Agency

Medium green

1. Invest in dimmers to cut back on the wattage of your CFLs. Call your utilities provider and see if it is possible to switch to alternative energy; the cost may be more than what you’re currently paying, but the payback is supporting renewable and clean energy sources. 

2. Replace showerheads and other household faucets such as the kitchen and bathroom sinks with WaterSense-labeled products. WaterSense says you can save about $170 annually by making these simple changes. 

Dark green

1. Live off the grid and invest in creating your own renewable energy with solar panels, microhydro, geothermal or residential wind turbines. 

Taking environmentally friendly measures are not just for your home and lifestyle, but also for your work setting.

Light green

1. When not in use, unplug chargers, electronics and lamps as they contribute to 40 percent of your total electricity bill.

2. Send e-mails rather than printing out documents, and if you do print something, print on both sides rather than wasting paper.

3. If your company does not already recycle, call your local trash provider and request recycling bins. If your trash provider doesn’t offer a recycling option, check out Our Earth for options in your community. 

Medium green

1. Ask your coworkers to bring their own coffee cups rather than using paper or Styrofoam cups once and tossing them.

2. Before you think about sending your unwanted materials away, could you or a coworker use them in any way? One option is using shredded paper for packing materials. 

Dark green

1. Consider telecommuting or holding teleconferences rather than taking business trips. If you must travel, offset your emissions by purchasing carbon credits.

2. Ask your company to invest in energy-efficient computers as they will reduce energy consumption. 

Although gas prices are dropping, fuel-efficient vehicles are still the best way to save at the pump.

Light green

1. If a hybrid car is not in your near future, drive at or below the speed limit. The faster you drive, the more gas you will burn. Join a carpool at work or for errands.

2. When driving, cut down on air conditioning and heating when possible. Also, service your car regularly and change your oil and the various filters in your car. 

Medium green

1. Bike to work or ride public transit a few times a week to cut down on carbon emissions.

Dark green

1. Take public transit and bike or walk as much as you can.

2. Rather than buying a hybrid, look into car sharing.  

When grocery shopping keep in mind that you are what you eat. Why not be healthy, eco-friendly and green rather than processed and full of injected hormones?

Light green

1. When grocery shopping, buy organic food and eco-friendly household products. Many companies, such as Seventh Generation, have coupons readily available on their websites.

2. Eat a vegetarian meal once a week as meat; red meat has the highest greenhouse gas emission out of all the foods produced.

3. Buy local products (within 200 miles) to limit the amount of carbon used during transportation. Don’t forget your reusable bags in the car! 

Medium green

1. Support local farmers by shopping and eating local. Not only do the produce taste better, but you'll be supporting your local community at farmer's markets

Dark green

1. In addition to supporting local farmer’s markets, grow your own organic vegetable garden and if you have space and experience, raise your own livestock. In addition to this, start composting kitchen and food scraps if you haven’t already. 

Traveling accounts for a large percentage of our carbon emission, but this holiday season’s travels can be environmentally friendly.

Light green

1. Before you leave unplug all appliances, turn the air conditioning or heat off and turn the water to your home off to prevent flooding in the event that a pipe breaks.

2. Plan train and bus rides for shorter trips. Consolidate a few trips together rather than taking multiple visits, or take fewer and longer trips throughout the year. 

Medium green

1. Once at your destination, take green cabs rather than the traditional yellow taxi.

2. Although nonstop flights may be more expensive, they burn less fuel when flying as they are at a consistent altitude. 

Dark green

1. Get creative and sign up for a carpool for cross-country trips.

2. If you are staying at a hotel, ask what their green initiatives and commitments are. 

From wrapping paper to plastic trees and incandescent holiday lights, the season’s festivities can take a toll on natural resources.

Light green

1. When wrapping gifts, reuse magazines, maps, cards, posters, newspapers, comic books and old books rather than new wrapping paper.

2. Switch out incandescent lights for LEDs, as they last longer and use 90 percent less energy.

Medium green

1. Before buying a toy, take into account its shelf life. Also, consider recyclable items to keep your footprint small.

Dark green

1. Donate to charity. Heifer International provides poor families with farm animals and training in a sustainable agriculture setting.

More about green living

• Think you're the greenest of them all? Take this quiz and find out.

• Green victory! See why we love the White House herb garden.

• Shop at a grocery store that makes green efforts. Don't forget your reusable tote bag!


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