Wednesday, February 4, 2009

12 Ways to Make Your House More Environmentally Friendly

Making your house more environmentally friendly may sound like a daunting task, yet the small efforts you do at home every day can add up in terms of saved energy and money. The following is a list of twelve (12) simple tips for making your house an eco-friendlier and healthier place to live.

  • Lighten up on your lights. Compact fluorescent bulbs utilize approximately 25% the energy of their regular bulb counterparts. In layman's terms, if every American household changed just one bulb, the emissions savings would be comparable to removing 3 million motor vehicles from the road for an entire year. Fluorescent bulbs cost more but last 10 times longer. With fluorescent bulbs you can save up to $50 in electricity per light over their lifetime. Because they contain minute amounts of mercury, check with your local waste authority about proper disposal. To save even more money on lighting, install timers and dimmer switches. Turn off lights when leaving a room. Use solar-powered lighting in your patio or back yard.
  • Get rid of energy leeches. About 40 percent of the total energy used to run home electronics is used up when the items are not even turned on. Energy can be consumed through the cords of plug-in items such as cell phone chargers, computers, toasters, and other electric items. Be sure to unplug appliances when not in use and put your computer and monitor in the sleep mode since they consume about 95% less energy than those running on full power.
  • Become "Star" Struck. A joint venture program between the Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Energy Star helps you save money and protect the environment through energy-saving products and practices. Thanks to Energy Star, Americans saved $14 billion on their energy bills in 2006 while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions tantamount to those coming from 25 million motor vehicles. When you go shopping, look for items bearing the Energy Star label that says "Exceeds government efficiency standards by using less water or electricity."
  • Load up the refrigerator. Refrigerators consume the most energy in the house. However, a filled-to-the-limit refrigerator saves you money because it stays colder and operates more efficiently. To maximize the efficiency, set the thermostat of the refrigerator at 37 degrees and the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Turn up the heat. By reducing your thermostat 2 degrees during winter and raising it 3 degrees during summer, you will prevent the annual emission of about 700 pounds of carbon monoxide. In addition, every degree lowered during the winter month saves you 5% on your utility bill.
  • Lose the drippy faucet. Just one drop of water per second from a leaky faucet can expend about 160 gallons of water every month. To save money in the bathroom, consider installing water-efficient showerheads. A family of four can shave water usage by nearly 275 gallons per month by changing to the low-flow models.
  • Keep an eye out for your water temperature. Electric water heaters manufactured after 2004 have tons of insulation. On any model before that, wrap the water heater with insulating blankets. By doing this, you save 10% on your water bill annually. Using cold water to wash your dirty clothes saves you about half the energy needed when washing in hot. Also, setting your dryer on the moisture sensor and not the timer, will further reduce energy consumption by 15%.
  • Recycle. This is perhaps the easiest tip you can do to help improve the environment yet a quarter of us do not recycle. When shopping, look for products whose labels show that the product was made from recyclable materials. Reuse paper grocery bags by loading them up with old newspapers and use the plastic ones to dispose of trash or clean up your pet's feces.
  • Make your own fertilizer. Food scraps and yard waste make up to 30% of household garbage. Compost bins can convert that garbage into usable fertilizer for your garden and plants.
  • Stop junk mail. You can reduce the amount of junk mail filling up your mailbox by simply registering with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service. You can also write to the sending company directly and request them to remove you from their mailing list.
  • Throw away old batteries properly. Do NOT throw away old batteries in the trash. They can leak toxins into the ground. Instead, drop them off at a Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation site.
  • Heed paint warnings. One of the top 5 hazards to human health, according to the EPA, is indoor air. Indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air. Paints and finishes are among the leading contributors to polluted indoor air because they emit volatile organic compounds (VOC) similar to the kind found in nail polish and gasoline. If you plan to paint your home, shop for low-VOC, zero-VOC, and natural paints at your local Home Depot or Lowe's.

Protecting the earth for the enjoyment of our children and their children is an everyday commitment that requires everybody's participation. By utilizing these tips, you will reduce your electric, water, and heating bill and put more money into your pocket. Your progeny will thank you for making their world a safe and healthy one.

Autor: Fabiola Castillo Fabiola Castillo
Level: Platinum
Fabiola Castillo is a freelance article writer for various websites. She is a computer geek who is well versed in search engine marketing and holds ... ...

Fabiola Castillo is an online marketer for the website NinjaCOPS SuperStore. This virtual store sells not only personal defense items but also nutrition products such as weight loss plans, energy supplements, marine coral calcium, heart health supplements, and fat loss supplements.

Added: February 5, 2009