Why not break in 2011 with a New Year’s resolution that is easy on your wallet and easy on the environment?! Follow the steps below and you’ll be sure to feel better about yourself and your home throughout the year.
1. Change regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs. This is a very small change, but an important one. An ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about six months. It also uses 75 percent less energy and will last about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb, so you’re not only saving energy but money, too.
2. Power down computers every night. This step is good for your computer. Leaving computers on all the time shortens their lifetime due to heat stress and mechanical wear.
3. Recycle what you can. This includes newspapers, aluminum, glass and even plastic, motor oil, tires and old appliances. Obviously.com has a good resource for exactly what can be recycled called Commonly Recycled Materials.
4. Cut down on junk mail. The Direct Marketing Association has an online free service that allows you to opt out of catalogs and junk mail.Â Yellow Pages has an online service to cancel the phone book.
5. Use a programmable thermostat. Setting your thermostat three to five degrees lower while you are asleep and when no one is at home will lower your utilities bills and save energy. You can even adjust just one degree lower and save resources. Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system can also be beneficial.
6. Make sure all unnecessary lights are turned off. Leaving lights on is a huge drain on electricity. Always turn off the light whenever you leave a room. You can even adjust your lighting habits during Christmas.
7. Turn down the thermostat on your hot water heater. Your home only requires your hot water heater to be set at 120 degrees, but some manufacturers have set their heaters to 140 degrees, a temperature that can be scalding.Â Turning your hot water thermostat down 20 degrees can save you between 6 to 10 percent in energy bills.
8. Unplug cell phone chargers when not in use. Even when your phone isn’t being charged, your charger is using electricity. There are an estimated 190 million cell phones in use in the U.S. If all of their chargers were constantly plugged in, it would generate more than 190 megawatts per day, enough to power 100,000 homes.
9. Use eco-friendly cleaning products. There are many green cleaning products for sale at supermarkets across the country, but you can also make your own natural cleaning solutionsusing inexpensive household products such as baking soda, ammonia and white vinegar.
10. Turn off water while brushing your teeth. The EPA claims you can save eight gallons of water a day if everyone in your household turns off the water while they brush their teeth in the morning and at night.