“Come clean” this Earth Day with these simple guidelines to make your life more eco-friendly and tips on how to start living the green life.
Cool and heat your home efficiently
1. Cool your home at 78 F or warmer with the thermostat fan switched to auto. For additional savings, raise your thermostat to 82 F or warmer when you’re away.
2. Heat your home at 68 F or cooler with the thermostat fan switched to auto. To save even more, lower your thermostat to 65 F or cooler at bedtime or when you’re away from home.
3. Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically and maximize your energy savings. It also helps to maintain a comfortable temperature when you wake up or return home.
4. Clean or replace your air conditioner’s filter regularly to help your unit run more efficiently and trim cooling costs.
5. Turn off your ceiling fan when you leave the room. A fan that runs all the time can cost up to $7 a month.
Control your water use
6. Use your dishwasher to conserve energy. Avoid pre-rinsing dishes to save up to $70 a year.
7. Limit the time you run your pool pump:
- » Summer – six hours a day
- » Winter – four hours a day
Control your appliances
8. Adjust the water level on your washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water. Always use a cold rinse.
9. Clean the lint filter in your dryer before every load to dry your clothes faster and save money.
10. Use the auto sensor function on your dryer to conserve energy by not over-drying your clothes.
11. Capture rain water for gardens. Save money on utility bills by catching the rain water that runs off your roof while also reducing stormwater runoff that can overwhelm community sewer systems.
12. Plant some bamboo. Choose a clumping variety to prevent the plants from spreading uncontrollably.
13. Plant a garden. Grow boxes, like the EarthBox system sold at Sun Harbor Nursery, controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden – with less fertilizer, less water and less effort. Sun Harbor also offers seminars about Earth Boxes, call (321) 773-1375 for information about the next seminar.
14. Landscape with native plants. Native plants will require less watering and eliminate the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
15. Lessen the use of pesticides by using garlic and cayenne pepper to discourage certain pests like aphids. Reducing your exposure to harmful substances and preventing the spread to drinking water.
16. Used coffee grounds make a great fertilizer for plants that thrive in acidic soil, like rhododendrons or azaleas. Sprinkle coffee grounds and eggshells around the base of plants to repel ants, snails, and slugs.
17. Breathe easier- certain easy-care greens (English ivy, mums, and peace lilies) naturally help remove indoor air pollutants.
18. Purchase Energy Star appliances. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2010 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars — all while saving nearly $18 billion on their utility bills. According to energystar.gov
19. Make your own nontoxic cleaning solution using vinegar, borax, and baking soda. Or try this “recipe” for an all purpose cleaner:
Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water.
20. Use low-phosphate detergent. High levels of phosphate have been shown to negatively impact fish and plant life by reducing the amount of oxygen in the water.
21. Reduce waste that ends up in the landfill. Reuse jars and containers or donate to schools for art projects.
22. Say no to plastic bags. The Worldwatch Institute estimates that in the U.S. alone, an estimated 12,000,000 barrels of non-renewable petroleum oil are required to produce the 100 billion bags consumed annually. Use reusable bags available at most retailers or shop fashionable styles from envirosax.com. If you have to use plastic, reuse or recycle them.
23. Purchasing produce from local farmers supports the local economy and since the food is local it doesn’t travel as far and has less environmental impact.
24. Some food travels thousands of miles which can lead to a big carbon footprint so buy seasonal produce- that hasn’t been shipped from across the world.
25. Drive the speed limit. The faster you drive, the more fuel your vehicle uses per mile, which adds up to more money and more greenhouse gases.
26. Tune up your car’s engine. A well-maintained engine can improve mileage.
27. Keep tires inflated. Deflated tires cause a loss of fuel efficiency.
28. Don’t idle for more than 10 seconds. Idling creates pollution and wastes gas.
29. Recycle everything you can. Visit brevardcounty.us/swr/recycling.cfm to find out what materials can be picked up curbside.
30. Stop buying plastic disposable water bottles. Americans consume more than 34 billion one-use plastic beverage bottles every year, 80% of which are not recycled. Purchase an inexpensive reusable water bottle.
31. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. Save money by reducing the energy needed to heat up water.
32. Save trees and energy by stopping unsolicited “junk” mail. Visit optoutprescreen.com.
33. Reduce paper usage by going paperless and paying your bills online.
34. Fix leaky faucets. Those drips can add up to gallons of wasted water.
35. Line dry your laundry. It lengthens the life of your clothing and saves energy. Plus the sunshine helps to naturally disinfect clothes and gently bleaches whites.
36. Unplug unused chargers and appliances. Even when not in use, chargers still use energy.
37. Turn off your computer. The Department of Energy recommends shutting off your monitor if you aren’t going to use it for more than 20 minutes, and the whole system if you’re not going to use it for more than two hours.
38. Buy compact fluorescent light bulbs. They cost more than incandescent but use about a quarter as much energy and last longer too.
39. Install dimmer switches which will extend the life of bulbs even further.
40. Log on to the Conservation Fund’s Carbon Zero Calculator at conservationfund.org and in less than five minutes, you can measure and learn how to offset your carbon dioxide emissions by planting trees.
41. Switch to Fair Trade coffee. A Fair Trade label means that the field-workers are not subjected to unhealthy farming methods and are also paid a fair wage. Buying coffee of these standards can help reduce your overall carbon footprint.
42. Reduce waste. Donate your old glasses to the local Lions Club that redistributes them to people who can’t afford a new pair. For collection locations visit lionsclubs.org
43. Try a multitasking soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s all-in-one soap. Its gallon jugs, made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials, are actually less expensive than the smaller bottles, and can be used on ev
erything from your dishes to your body to your laundry.
44. Reduce your family’s lunchtime waste. Two moms created Laptop Lunches, colorful bento-style containers with washable, reusable compartments for different foods. They estimate that reducing disposable packaging and single-serving items can save a family $250 per year. Laptoplunches.com
45. Before buying new, check out the Freecycle Network at freecycle.com. According to their website, this grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people is g
iving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free!
46. Don’t waste water by rinsing dishes before loading your dishwasher. Today’s machines are designed to clean off the mess.
47. Use a microfiber cloth, which can take the place of 60 rolls of paper towels before it needs replacing.
48. Green your next move. Rent reusable crates rather than using cardboard boxes. Rentacrate.com
49. Don’t trash your meds. They can contaminate water sources. Take them to the pharmacist to dispose of.
50. Use soy candles- they burn cleaner and soybeans are a renewable resource.