If you’re like most people, the new year is a time to make improvements in your life and take steps to meet important goals. Saving money and adopting more eco-friendly, green habits are common goals that are easy to accomplish together. Many people are still under the impression that green living requires expensive home improvements and elaborate lifestyle changes. But the fact is: there are many simple and money-saving ways to help the environment.
Green Habits in the Home
Every time you conserve energy in your home, it’s like putting money in your pocket. If you need new appliances, purchase the most energy-efficient appliances your budget will allow. If you can operate your home on solar power, then by all means do so. Big changes like these will result in big energy savings, but making lots of small changes can also be significant.
- Unplug appliances that are seldom used like the old stereo in the basement, the television in the guest room, or that refrigerator in the garage with just a couple of sodas in it. The National Resources Defense Council estimates a savings of 10 dollars a month with just this simple tip.
- Instead of keeping your entire home heated to 68 degrees, including unused rooms, turn the HVAC system down and use your gas fireplace to zone heat one or two frequently used rooms.
- Take advantage of passive solar energy for heating or cooling. In the summer, leave curtains drawn during the hottest part of the day to keep the house cooler, and in the winter, open them to take advantage of the sun’s free warmth.
- Check refrigerators, dishwashers, and other household appliances to make certain they’re running efficiently and thermostats are set correctly. For example, refrigerators should be set at around 40 degrees F and freezers should be set at 0 to 5 degrees.
Green Habits Around Town
- Consolidate your errands to conserve gasoline.
- Purchasing frequently used products in bulk not only saves you money, it saves on packaging, production, and freight costs.
- Visit your local farmers’ market for fresh produce and other supplies. Locally grown foods don’t require the same large amounts of processing and shipping (aka energy and fuel).
New green habits really aren’t that difficult to incorporate into your life. Practice one or two new ideas at a time and soon you’ll be feeling green all over.