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12 Easy Ways to Go Green

Small adjustments in lifestyle routines can lead to big changes, particularly when it comes to the environment. The following list details 12 easy ways to “go green” to help the environment. Not only will you decrease your negative impact on the Earth, but you will also save a few dollars and create a healthier home.

Change your light bulbs

One of the simplest and quickest ways to save both energy and money at home is to install compact, fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). These light bulbs turn most of their energy into light as opposed to heat, using approximately 75% less electricity. They also last up to ten times longer.

Unplug appliances with LED lights

Appliances that glow after you turn them off continue to use power. These include phone chargers, TVs, and printers. Instead of plugging these devices directly into wall sockets, plug them into power strips, which you can turn off easily when you’re not using them.

Don’t throw away your electronics

Make use of your computers, cell phones, and additional electronic devices for as long as possible. When it is time to get rid of them, look for opportunities to recycle or donate them appropriately. Consult with the Consumer Electronics Association for recycling resources in your area.

Adjust your thermostat

The average American household spends 50% to 60% of its energy budget on heating and cooling. Every degree that you lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer saves between 1% and 3% on energy costs.

Fix your leaks

A dripping faucet wastes nearly 75 gallons of water daily, and a toilet with a leak wastes up to 200 gallons each day. Repairing a leaky toilet can save a home $30 and 73,000 gallons of water annually.

Choose Energy Star label appliances.

Are you in the market for new household appliances? Look for products that boast Energy Star labels, which guarantee energy efficiency. Many Energy Star purchases also come with tax credit eligibility. Typically, a household with a majority of Energy Star appliances uses approximately 30% less energy than a standard household, amounting to yearly savings of around $570.

Run full dishwasher and washing machine loads

It can be tempting to wash just a few dishes or articles of clothing at a time. However, this practice wastes power, water, and money. The average household in the United States washes approximately 540 loads of laundry and over 150 loads of dishes annually, using more than 22,000 gallons of water. Whenever possible, run full loads on short cycles with cold or warm, as opposed to hot, water.

Make your own cleaning supplies

A wide variety of cleaning products can be made at home with simple, readily available ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, soap, and lemon. These cleaning supplies are non-toxic and just as effective, if not more so, than store-bought products.

Keep your grass long

Isn’t it neat that one of the 12 easy ways to go green simply means less work for you and your family? Spending less time on your lawn actually results in a greener lawn, both aesthetically and in terms of the environment. Most varieties of grass should grow to a length of 2 1/2 inches, so don’t mow too often.

Skip the bottled water

Bottled water is expensive and creates large quantities of container waste. Instead, purchase a water filter to purify your tap water. When you need water with you at school or work, put it in a reusable water bottle, preferably made of aluminum.

Print on both sides of the paper.

Even though many software programs have an option for printing on both sides of the paper, most people still opt to print on just one side. Make the switch in your printing preferences, and you’ll never look back.

Make your own cleaning supplies.

A wide variety of cleaning products can be made at home with simple, readily available ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, soap, and lemon. These cleaning supplies are non-toxic and just as effective, if not more so, than store-bought products.

 

David Larkin is CEO/President of DAL Builders in Chicago, IL.  As the general contractors Chicago homeowners trust, DAL Builders has been serving residential and commercial property owners as a general contractor since 1994.  Connect with DAL Builders on Facebook.