Follow these tips to really make a positive impact for sustainable living!
- Carry your own personal water container, and refill it rather than buying plastic bottles of water. Buy a water filter, and refill from the tap.
- Carry your own coffee mug to a coffee house.
- Transport groceries via your own refillable canvas bags instead of using either paper or plastic bags.
- Re-use the plastic grocery bags you have. There are a million uses for them, from picking up pet droppings to re-using as trash bags in the car or home.
- Skip eating meat for two days a week.
IN THE CAR
- Drive sensibly. Avoid speeding, rapid acceleration and braking.
- Add air to the tires of your car so they’re properly inflated.
- Avoid idling. Turn off your car whenever possible.
- Replace clogged air filters to improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent and protect your engine.
- Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks to avoid fuel economy problems due to worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, or transmission problems.
- Consider buying a highly fuel-efficient vehicle. A fuelefficient vehicle, a hybrid vehicle, or an alternative fuel vehicle could save you a lot at the gas pump and help the environment.
- Combine errands into one trip. Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
- Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
- Avoid high speeds. Above 60 mph, gas mileage drops rapidly. The http://fueleconomy.gov/ web site shows how driving speed affects gas mileage.
- Turn off your lights and appliances when you don’t need them.
- Dry your clothes using a clothesline instead of running your dryer.
- Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
- Use cold water in your washing machine.
- Air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s heat cycle.
- Wash only full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher.
- Change at least three of your household light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Clean your refrigerator coils to help your fridge breathe easier and require less energy.
- Look at catalogs online rather than having them mailed to you.
- Cut back on shower time.
- Install low-flow showerheads and low-flow toilets.
- Look for the Energy Star label on appliances and products. Energy Star appliances meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Check the insulation levels in your attic, crawl spaces, ceilings, floors and exterior walls. Visit www.energysavers.gov for instructions on checking your insulation.
- Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing. When replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
- In the winter, turn your thermostat down at night. You save 3 percent on your heading bill for every one degree you turn it down.
- During the winter, keep draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to let the sunlight enter your home. Close them at night to reduce the chill. Keep all south-facing glass clean.
- During the summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain. In the summer, you can save money by automatically turning your air conditioning up at night or when you are at work.
- Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
- Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
- A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
- Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy web site, www.dsireusa.org, to see if you might qualify for tax credits or rebates for buying a solar water heater.
- Keep your refrigerator temperature between 37 to 40 degrees for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5 degrees for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0 degrees.
- Planting shrubs, bushes, and vines next to your house creates dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer. Plant so there will be at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) of space between full-grown plants and your home’s wall.
- Unplug your computer every night. Unless it’s unplugged, your idle PC still uses electricity.
- Avoid printing out documents that easily can be read and filed electronically.
- Use both sides of each piece of paper prior to recycling.
- Use task lighting. Instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it.
- Pick just one day this week and ride your bike, carpool, or leave your car at home.
- Check into telecommuting, carpooling and public transit to cut mileage and car maintenance costs.
*Courtesy of http://www.titanmag.com/2008/sustainability/tips.html
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