Green living is all about taking small steps to reduce your energy consumption, cutting down on the amount of waste you produce and minimizing your dependence on non-renewable natural resources like oil. Here are 9 simple tips to help you live green:
1) Evaluate Your Home
One of the first steps in reducing your energy consumption, minimizing your carbon footprint and living green is to evaluate how much energy you use at home. Look around your home – have you installed low-energy lightbulbs and plugged electronics into power bars that can be turned off? Are your windows insulated to reduce heat loss, and are you using water saver shower heads and a low-flow toilet? Doing your own home energy audit will help you identify problem areas in your home – follow the DIY instructions provided by the US Department of Energy to learn how [http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits].
2) Develop Good Energy Habits
Make a habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room, shutting off the water while you brush your teeth and closing the refrigerator door quickly. Simple steps quickly add up into big energy savings; reducing your carbon footprint and cutting the amount of water and electricity you use throughout the day.
3) Check Your Ride
Using the trip odometer, evaluate the fuel-efficiency of your vehicle. Most automobiles become less fuel-efficient as they age; chances are good that the MPG rating your vehicle had when it was new no longer applies. If possible, drive the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle you can – if you occasionally need extra cargo space, renting a truck or van is far more environmentally-friendly than driving one on a daily basis.
Food waste such as vegetable peelings, egg shells and leftovers can easily be composted in either a backyard compost unit or through your municipal compost program. Diverting food waste from the landfill helps cut carbon emissions caused by garbage trucks while composted material makes excellent fertilizer for both home and commercial gardens.
5) Drink Tap Water
Contrary to popular belief, bottled water is no safer than municipal tap water – in fact, the testing standards for tap water are much more rigorous than they are for commercially-produced bottled water such as premium filtered water and spring water. Water is heavy; manufacturing and transporting bottled water requires a great deal of energy, and while the bottles are recyclable, they often wind up in landfill sites or strewn about natural areas. Invest in a BPA-free refillable bottle that you can fill with tap water instead of purchasing bottled water.
6) Eat Locally-Produced Food
The 100-Mile Diet, first developed by Canadian authors J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, raised awareness about the value of eating a diet comprised of locally-produced food. Many of us have become accustomed to eating fresh food throughout the year, regardless of whether it is actually in season in our area. This has led to an explosion in the international food industry; often the food we eat has been transported thousands of miles just to arrive at our local grocery store, using billions of tons of fossil fuels and creating massive amounts of harmful emissions. By eating food that is produced locally, you can help reduce your reliance on offshore food while encouraging local farmers to create sustainable, environmentally-friendly farms.
7) Grow Your Own Produce
While eating food from local producers is a valuable step towards going green, why not grow some of your own fresh produce? Even apartment-dwellers can grow herbs, tomatoes and greens in compact container gardens, providing you with a year-round supply of local carbon-free food right in your own kitchen window.
Freecycling is an old concept that has gained popularity over the past few years, thanks to both the economic downturn and the increased awareness about environmental issues. Freecycling involves giving away your unwanted, yet still useful “stuff” such as furniture, sporting goods, building materials and electronics to others who want it. This diverts waste from the landfills while reducing the demand for new products, leading to an overall reduction in carbon emissions from the manufacturing industries.
9) Repair, Don’t Replace
Thanks to the widespread availability of low-cost consumer goods like clothing, housewares and electronics, it often is far more appealing to simply replace a stained blouse, bent electrical plug or broken table than it is to fix it. Unfortunately, this is also taking a toll on the environment, leading to billions of tons of waste being generated each year from items that could easily be repaired and made serviceable again. Learn some simple DIY skills to help extend the life of your belongings, such as how to sew on a button, remove common stains from clothes and repair small electronics. There are a number of online tutorials available that provide clear step-by-step instructions that can help turn a novice DIY’er into an environmentally-friendly repair pro.
By following these 9 simple and affordable green living tips, you will reduce your carbon footprint, saving you money while you help to protect the environment.
Jamie Cody is a writer for centernetworks and often writes about technology and reviews on various products and services like hosting such as Go Daddy.
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