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9 Reasonable Ways to Go Green at Home

A collection of reasonable changes you can make to your home to make it energy efficient. This ultimately will save you a lot on annual expenses.

Going green is not just what we do to help save the planet.  There really are quite substantial monetary savings to be had if you know  how to act and what to look out for.  There are many settings which allow for "green" activity, but for our audience's sake we will highlight 9 ways to conserve at home.

Lighting

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are available for you to go right out and purchase today, and are the easiest way to save your energy, and more importantly your money. Unlike incandescent bulbs which last about 1,500 hours, CFLs last about 8,000 hours. They also convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat, so on top of the monetary savings, your indoor temperature will stay cool with the lights on.  Recycling is also worth mentioning in a "going green" post. These lights contain mercury which is harmful to the environment if not properly recycled after use.

Unplug When You’re Done

This is easier said than done for some electronics, but anything that has an LED light (which glows after it’s turned off) continues to use electricity and continues to waste your money.  That goes for TVs, cell phone chargers, printers, stereos anything you see glow when the lights go off.  You may be surprised to save up to $200 a year by simply pulling the plug when you’re done!

Recycle Your Obsolete Electronics

TVs, stereos, cell phones, and computers are all common electronics which can be easily recycled.  Most Americans have cell phones along with other small electronics stashed in drawers somewhere around the house. Mygreenelectronics.org will direct you to a recycling source in your area. You can also sell unused cell phones to Greenphone.com. Many used phones can be sold for around $35.  That seems like a much better deal than leaving them in your drawer for years as they age and depreciate in value.

Monitor Your Energy

It’s much easier to conserve energy when you know exactly how you’re using it.  Finding a professional to check out your home and report back to you will go a long way.  Auditors which are certified by the nonprofit Residential Energy Services Network can be found at RESNet.us. About 30% of your utility bill will disappear after a thorough energy audit takes place and changes are made.

Stop Dripping

Every day we use about 100 gallons on average.  Our household water consumption has doubled since 1950, while our population increase has yet to hit that mark. Reducing the flow may not even mean changing your water habits. It could be as simple as fixing a leaky faucet or toilet.  Keeping in mind our average daily consumption (100 gal.) a dripping faucet can waste up to 74 gallons a day, a leaking toilet up to even 200 gallons a day.  Fixing appliances that waste water can definitely get you a nice chunk of change for annual savings.

Let the Grass Grow

Too much lawn maintenance can actually hinder the overall quality. For common grass found on most front lawns, it’s best when they’re allowed to grow at least 2 1/2 inches tall. When grass is at this height, there is more surface area to take in sunlight, which ultimately leads to thicker turf and deeper roots.  Once your grass is in this condition, you won't need to water as often.

The right lawn maintenance can save more than just water though.  You can easily save money by letting grass clippings remain spread across your lawn.  In doing so, it adds nitrogen to the soil and discourages weed seeds from sprouting, and you’ll need less fertilizer and grass chemicals.

Energy Star

When choosing a new electrical appliance, find one with an Energy Star label. This label means it’s sponsored by the EPA and the Department of Energy.  This label also guarantees that a product will be energy efficient.  Depending on the appliance that you purchase, you may even be eligible for a tax credit when you file at the appropriate time.  If you’re looking for specific number for your budgeting, Energy Star products use about 30% less energy than others, leading to an annual savings of just under $600 on average.

Full Loads

It’s understandable that there are times when you need to wash one or two dishes or shirts quickly.  However, if you put them in the washing machine or dishwasher instead of washing by hand in the sink, you’re wasting a lot of water, power, and money. The average American family washes about 540 loads of laundry a year, which consumes up to 21,000 gallons of water.  Monetary losses will begin to pile up because most of the energy consumed by washers goes toward heating the water, which is expensive.  Combining half-loads and using cold rather than hot water will absolutely save you a solid annual amount. 

Outside Critters: Friend or Foe?

Find out which animals are garden friends and which are garden foes. Your backyard environment is as elaborate as any wild forest or weeded area. It definitely pays to know which creatures you have on your side. Birds eat many insects, they just need water and trees for nesting. Many insects are aesthetically pleasing and more importantly they can be beneficial to your outside area if in the right environment.

Looking for more in-depth advice on how to go green inside and outside the home, visit Earth911.com for more information.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Argile August 06, 2012 at 10:40 PM
CFL's DO NOT last their advertising duration! I've had many of them burn out within 3 months. The older ones from years ago worked better. I had one last 9 years. It seems these newer ones are built poorly. IMO even mentioning them here is irresponsible since they contain elemental mercury! If everyone recycled them like they are supposed to they MIGHT be a good option. But many of them end up in the trash and right into the landfill. LED's are a much better option. Unless you diligently recycle them CFL's are NOT the way to go.

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