Green, green, green – today green is the new “black.” Are you interested in participating in the green movement but are restricted because of financial limitations? While the US-GBC estimates a 2-7% increase in materials costs on average for “building green” there are lots and lots of ways to be green either completely free of charge or very, very cheaply.
Let’s Focus on Free
Here are some 100% free tips to help you get green.
Have an extra 1 gallon milk container you plan on recycling soon? Why not fill it with water and place it in the bowl of your toilet. Doing this will stop 1 gallon of water from being wasted with each flush of your toilet.
Reduce your driving. If you have a bike then why not ride your bike instead of driving? If you don’t have a bike then why not walk? Riding a bike and/or walking is not only good for the environment its good for your health too.
Keep some key drapes closed. Which ones? Close drapes on the sunny side of your house.
Keep room’s you aren’t using closed off and seal up an un-used heating/cooling vents. This should help reduce your heating/cooling costs.
Turn off lights when not in use – because lights produce heat they make your AC system work harder (and cost more).
Turn off your computer and other home office equipment – because they generate heat as well.
Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying heat cycles. If you are feeling extra earthy why not give your dishwasher a break. (If you stop using your dishwasher you can turn your water heater down to 120 degrees.)
Dry your clothes outside on a line instead of using your clothes dryer. If you need fluffing user your dryer but without heat.
Let’s Focus on Cheap
Here are some very inexpensive ways to help you get green.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs/compact fluorescent lamps or LED based light bulbs. CFLs and LEDs use less power to supply the same amount of light as an incandescent lamp of the same lumen rating. Remember you don’t have to replace all your light bulbs at once!
Install low-flow shower heads and faucets. This will help you use less water. (Make sure you have aerators in every sink, too.)
Plant shade trees around your house. This will help absorb CO2 and reduce your AC bills.
Add energy efficiency devices such as the Cool-N-Save(tm) Air Conditioner Pre-Cooling system. This device can improve your AC units efficiency by up to 30%. (Make sure your energy efficiency devices are Energy Star rated, Cool-N-Save(tm) is an Energy Star Partner.)
In the words of Kermit the Frog, “It’s not easy being green,” but the world and everyone sharing it will appreciate your effort.
Sam Greyhawk is an energy efficiency evangelist who works for Cool-N-Save(tm) in Huntington Beach, California. When you want to want to be green on a budget remember Cool-N-Save(tm).