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posted by alias Tomatoskin on Sunday 30th of March 2008 07:10:26 PM

50 Way GO Green!!!! HOME If you can't afford a new home or a large remodeling project, there are still plenty of things you can do to be environmentally friendly and save money. 1. Update your lighting Make it a policy to buy energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. You can now get a variety of shapes and perfectly match the color hue and lighting for each room. They look good and use at least two-thirds less power than regular lighting. 2. Buy Energy Star When you are ready to buy new home appliances, buy smart. Check for the Energy Star rating. These more efficient machines can reduce your utility bill as much as 30-percent. Deb Snoonian, Managing Editor of Plenty Magazine said, "Energy Start is a program sponsored by the EPA and the Department of Energy. Essentially, it's a way for them to recognize the companies and the products that are most energy-efficient. On average, an Energy Start appliance -- whether it's a computer monitor, a refrigerator, a washer or dryer -- is going to be about 30-percent more energy efficient." 3. Wall Warts Those clunky power adaptors draw energy from the wall all the time. Unplug them individually or attach them to a power strip and turn off the whole switch when not in use. Around 75-percent of all electricity in a home comes from appliances that are turned off, but are still plugged in. Make sure that you only have those appliances plugged in where you're actually using the electricity. You will save on bills and we as a society will save on energy. 4. Dormant Appliances Practically every appliance uses electricity even when it's switched off. Unless it needs power to retain programming memory, hit the switch. Better yet, make it a family practice. Amy Schachter, an Upper East Side resident, said, "My family reminds each other constantly. That's partly money, partly the fact that we know now that we're creating energy usage that is totally unnecessary." 5. Energy Audit You can find out how much energy your home uses each year with an energy audit. Many utility providers and state energy departments will audit your home free or at low cost to help you find ways to be more energy efficient. 6. Insulate Make sure your ducts are properly insulated and install weather-stripping around windows and doors for a better seal. Tax credits on efficiency-increasing heating and cooling equipment make now a great time to upgrade. And remember, insulation pays for itself year round. Cascio Construction President Michael Cascio said, "It translates into the heat or the air conditioning that you're going to use, and certainly you want to retain whatever heating system or whatever cooling system you're using, you want to retain that inside the house." 7. House Plants Invest in large, live houseplants that will help keep your indoor air fresher. 8. Save Water Place a water bottle filled with liquid or pennies into your toilet's water tank. This will cause the tank to use less water every time you flush. Plenty Magazine Managing Editor Deb Snoonian estimates it wil save you about a quart to half a gallon per flush. 9. Solar Water Heater Consider eventually installing a solar hot water heater on your property. It would cost about $8,500 for a family of four. You can apply for federal and state tax credits, which adds up to almost 50-percent. It'll take about six and a half years for the system to break even on its investment, then you're making free hot water. 10. Green Power Many utility companies offer renewable energy products that can be purchased as a percent of total energy use or in blocks of kilowatts. Buying green energy helps support the development and use of renewable fuel souces. RECYCLE There are few things you can't turn into something environmentally friendly while making your pocket a little greener in the process. 11. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies Using simple ingredients such as baking soda, soap and vinegar, you can make cheap, easy, and non-toxic cleaning products save money, time, and your indoor air quality. This is especially important if you have kids, pets or if there are elderly people in your home who are sensitive to chemicals in the air so you and your home will be healthier. 12. Safer Paint Paint can be made with the same volitile organic compounds found in nail polish or gasoline. Major manufacturers and some boutique brands have introduced low VOC paint. It spreads, it covers and leaves the room smelling just fine. 13. Aerosols Limit your use of aerosol cans. Because they have limited recycling value, the containers will probably wind up in a landfill. Instead of aerosols, look for spray bottles, liquids, powders and roll-ons. 14. Cloth Paper towels and napkins can be made from recycled paper, though in some cases the recycling costs more than making a brand new product. You won't hear that about cloth napkins, which can be washed and re-used again and again. 15. Laundry Room By making sure your lint filter is clean and your dryer exhaust free to open and close, you are essentially tuning up the efficiency of your appliance. It will run better and be more cost efficient. 16. Air Dry For the ultimate in low cost laundry drying, put the clothes on either a drying rack or go outside and use the clothesline. 17. Smart Landscaping Trees and shrubs provide shade during the summer and can help shield your house from frigid winter winds. Both can help lower your energy bill. 18. Walking the Dog Instead of plastic bags, scoop your doggie's doo in biodegradable bags. 19. Compost your leftovers Composting helps reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill. In the process, you create free, healthy fertilizer for your garden. 20. Collect the Rain Place a barrel under a gutter downspout and let it fill over time. Plenty Magazine Managing Editor Deb Snoonian said, "Rain water is actually healthier for plants and gardens than tap water which often has chlorine in it to kill bacteria, but bacteria can inhibit plants from growing. OFFICE Green at home is one thing; green at the office has its own set of special challenges. Going green is a lifestyle choice, not just a home activity. So what are some steps you can take at work to make things more environmentally friendly? 21. Buy a laptop Even an oversize laptop runs more efficiently and takes less energy than a desktop. 22. Reduce Paper The paper trail follows many of us, adding hundreds of pounds of waste. You can reduce it with just a few changes. Save printing: send documents by email and keep files on your computer, not a filing cabinet. 23. Print Double Sides You can save plenty of paper by programming your printer to use both sides of the paper. In the case of a long report, do you really need 500 one-sided pages? 24. Refill and Reuse Cups "Many of us get take our coffee in the morning and were using plastic and cardboard cups," said Plenty Magazine Managing Editor Deb Snoonian. "Bring your own mug. You can leave one at work; you can even often times bring a reusable mug as you're commuting in your car. It can be refilled over and over again. Wash it at home it's a nice habit to get into that saves you one cup a day." 25. Pay Your Bills Online It's not only quicker and easier to pay by computer, it also puts a major dent in the paper waste pile. 26. Recycle Your Appliances Not just the big ones. Cell phones, PDAs and laptops can all find a new purpose after you're done with them. Many organizations refurbish them for low-income families. 27. Become Battery Smart Stretch your battery use. A battery too drained to power a flashlight might be perfect to operate your TV remote. Before you pitch it - switch it! 28. Lights Out Motion sensors, dimmers and timers can be set to turn things on and off when needed. 29. Going Grey Ask your commercial building manager about using gray water tanks. It's a system that recycles water from your building's toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Impractical? Don't say that around New Jersey's Aspen Ice Skating Rink where the septic water is collected, treated and put back on the rink. At this point, the systems are a bit too costly for one-family use, but if you're in a commercial building or a planned community, consider making the water work for you. 30. Water Speaking of water, instead of bottled water around the meeting table, filter your tap for drinking water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it produces large amounts of wasteful containers. CAR & GAS Even if you can't buy the most environmentally friendly car, there are still plenty of things you can do to get from one place to another with minimum energy. Getting to work, school and running errands all add to your energy budget. To go green you don't have to give up transportation, just use it a bit more wisely. 31. Work From Home Instant messaging and video conferencing now allow you to hold conferences or even take online classes. This means you save time and gas. 32. Use Public Transportation Trains, buses, boats, car pools and your own feet. 33. Rental Car When driving is necessary, use an inexpensive hourly rental car. 34. Drive Economically Even if you can't afford a fancy hybrid, there are plenty of cars that get great mileage. A car that gives you another 10 more miles to the gallon puts $1,000 dollars a year back in your pocket! 35. Drive Smart Properly inflate your tires, change your air filter and drive 55 mph on the highway. 36. Friendly Fuels Using bio fuels goes way beyond ethanol. Look for environmentally friendly oil car fluids and, of course, read how to use and dispose of them properly. 37. Car Air Conditioning It's practically standard on modern cars. Use it wisely. At higher speeds, open windows create drag and lower your mileage. Roll them up and use the air and recirculation. At slower speeds and around town, roll down your windows and catch a cool breeze. 38. One Right Turn Deserves Another The time spent in your car idling while waiting to turn against oncoming traffic burns fuel and costs millions each year. In metro New York, United Parcel Service (UPS) reduced emissions by 1,000 metric tons with a software map program customized for every driver to minimize lefts. 39. Drive Thru Avoid the drive thru. Instead of idling in line with your engine running for several minutes, save the gas by parking and going inside for your order. 40. Car Wash Commercial car washes can be more efficient than home washing. Check to make sure that they clean and recycle the water. AT THE STORE In the store, in your home, even while you sleep...There are things you can do to be more energy efficient and better to the environment. 41. B.Y.O.B. Bring Your Own Bag. Some grocery stores give you cash toward your next purchase for every bag you bring in to use again. It saves them and you money. "In the U.S., we use five hundred billion plastic bags every single year and only three percent of those get recycled," said Deb Snoonian, Managing Editor of Plenty Magazine. "You can also buy permanent bags with designer colors." 42. Packaging Check the amount of cardboard, plastic and other materials used for the box. Some retailers are replacing plastic containers with corn-based packaging. 43. Buy Big By purchasing things in larger quantities, you will probably save money and certainly save the cost of packaging and transporting smaller boxes of the same thing. 44. Green Fashions Are Becoming Hot Look for clothes and accessories like handbags that are environmentally friendly. 45. Pet Products Even kitty litter can be laced with questionable ingredients. Look for natural alternatives. 46. Antiques Antiques are sort of the ultimate recyclable, servicing generations of owners. Many can be restored with natural wax products at a very reasonable price. 47. Buy Water Efficient Showerheads and Aerators Many modern showerheads are built to conserve. Check to see how well yours works. Also, aerators on the faucets will keep water waste to a minimum. 48. Mattresses Federal regulations will soon require all sleeping mattresses to be fire resistant. If you like the safety but don't care for the flame retardant chemicals, some popular brands are introducing models with a more natural fiber based flame retardant barrier. 49. Energy Offset Certificates These essentially allow you to invest in an environmentally friendly cause. 50. Smart Recycling Smart recycling can be environmentally sound and pleasing, too. Companies like IceStone make durable surfaces made from recycled materials, like glass and concrete. Recycling is not limited to bottles. Used doors windows, fixtures can all be bought at a fraction of the new price. Think creatively - a New York man built a veritable castle of recycled materials. info taken from

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