April 14, 2011 12:13 pm
By Barbara Pronin, RISMedia Columnist
RISMEDIA, April 14, 2011-As more consumers understand the threat of global warming, it becomes more important to make 'greener' lifestyle choices; that is, to buy products and make lifestyle changes that benefit the environment we live in.
While updated standards are in place today to increase the efficiency of major appliances, there are many small changes every homeowner can make to save energy, improve the environment, and save some money in the bargain.
Here, according to a consensus of utility companies nationwide, are nine easy ways to do your part:
Reduce usage Stem the flow of plastic into our oceans by taking reusable cloth bags to the market when you shop, and a reusable coffee mug when you make your morning coffee stop. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and unplug appliances that will not be used for long periods especially that semi-empty extra refrigerator or freezer that is sucking up energy in the garage.
Recycle right You may think you've recycled that empty plastic detergent bottle, but only clean waste is actually recycled. Rinse all plastics, glass jars and soda cans before tossing them into the recycling bin. Remove the glossy advertising inserts before saving and bundling newspapers. Take those styrofoam packaging peanuts that came in your package and donate them to a local packaging store.
Buy organic Patronize local farmer's markets for organically grown produce and opt for certified organic packaged foods that have been grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals. Choose cleaning products that are environmentally safe and, when possible, consumer goods made with recycled materials.
Save energy replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents to save both energy and money. Seal off gaps under doorways to keep heat and air conditioning in. Programmable thermostats, double pane windows and attic insulation are relatively inexpensive investments that will more than pay off in the long run.
Involve the family Get the kids thinking and plan a monthly Family Green Meeting. Give a small prize to the family member who suggests the best green project for each month: start a family vegetable garden; organize a neighborhood recycling program; a list of ways to save water, energy.
Tune-up Tune up heating and cooling systems once each year, and change filters monthly or as needed. Sealing your heating and cooling ducts could improve the efficiency of your system by as much as 20%.
Decrease your carbon footprint Try walking, biking, car pooling or using mass transit whenever possible. Remember that fully inflated tires get better gas mileage, so check them often.
Green your thumb - Plant trees, both to shade and cool your home naturally and to help regulate climate change overall.
BYOB - Bring your own cloth bags to the grocery store to cut down on plastic use.
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