Eye on Sustainability: Greening Your Home

Published Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:40 PM

Earth Day is April 22 but going green year round makes environmental sense. Worried that being earth-friendly means growing your own food or going solar? Put aside that all-or-nothing way of thinking and read on for easy tips on going green, right in your own home.

Not too hot, Not too cold: Watching your thermostat is an easy way of conserving energy. More than half of a home's energy use is for heating or cooling. In the colder months, commit to shaving the temperature a few notches down from 68 degrees for big savings. Small tricks like adding a sweater for warmth and keeping your furnace filter clean can help. In the hotter months, use fans instead of air conditioners when you can and be sure to switch off the AC when you're not at home.

Green Appliances: Did you know appliances older than ten years are energy hogs? Upgrade to "Energy Star" appliances which use up to 50 percent less energy than their older counterparts. According to the Energy Star site, if just one in 10 homes used energy-efficient appliances, it would be equivalent to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees. Wow!

Bright Bulb: Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) use 66 percent less energy than a standard bulb and last up to 10 times longer. Time to see the light!

Be Water Smart: Conserve this crucial resource with simple steps such as watering lawns every other day, running dishwashers only when full and shutting off the water while brushing your teeth. And consider conservation products such as low-flush toilets and aerators on all household faucets.

Avoid Plastics: Break that bottled water habit, which adds up to billions of plastic bottles in landfills, by using a reusable BPA-free water bottle. Say no to plastic grocery bags and yes to reusable cloth bags. Tired of needing an endless supply of zip lock baggies to send your kids to school with lunch? Look for reusable packaging online.

Clean Green: Say good-bye to harsh chemical cleaners and hello to the dozens of natural, earth-friendly cleaners now on the market. Using toxic chemicals to "clean" your home, clothes and bodies just doesn't make sense.

Garden Green: Educate yourself about natural, chemical-free gardening and lawn products. A thick, weed-free lawn doused with chemicals is not a thing of beauty.

Earth Eats: Eating organic and local foods helps reduce the amount of chemicals you consume and the amounts of chemicals and fuels required to produce your food. Support local farmers' markets and local retailers when you can. Driving to the mall costs you money and your local retailers needed business.

For more ideas on greening your home, visit www.earthday.org


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