It doesn’t matter if you are a “tree hugger” or a “hippie,” an environmentalist or simply a homeowner, there is something that we can all agree on, that we like to save money, and fortunately for us in many cases saving the environment can also mean saving us money. The even better news is that making changes in your home or routines don’t have to cost you a lot of green but these simple, every day maintenance tips and routines can save your household some money and reduce your carbon footprint too!
We have all heard for many years the phrase “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,” but many of us don’t realize that taking these steps can also save us money, in addition to caring for the environment.
Reduce: Saves you money and helps the environment
Did you know that over the course of approximately 40 years, the amount of waste that each person creates has almost doubled to 4.5 pounds a day? The best way to reduce what we throw away is to stop having as much waste in the first place. In order to reduce we can cut back on consumerism, look for and encourage eco-friendly packaging practices. By starting with reduction we automatically avoid the costs associated with waste disposal and decrease the toxicity of toxins, trash and chemicals in the environment.
Reuse: Saves you money and helps the environment
Did you just print a coupon? Write a note? Did you empty out a jelly jar or are you finished using that map? Reusing is easy; it is simply finding a way to use everything in your house one or more times. What can you reuse? Just about everything from purchasing reusable water bottles to cut down on expensive petroleum waste to old CD’s.
For some more ideas on reuse visit: Repurposing Projects: Recycling Old Magazine Racks into New Purposes, Repurposing Old Maps: 12 Ways to Recycle, Reuse and Create Crafts with Old Maps and Repurposing Projects: Recycling Old Magazine Racks into New Purposes.
Recycle: Saves you money and helps the environment
Start with curbside recycling but it doesn’t have to stop there. You can also participate in free cycle groups, or resale children’s clothing, toys and shoes. Need more ideas for recycling at home? Visit Living Green 101: Recycling at Home.
Home maintenance and care: Saves you money and helps the environment
It’s actually a myth that washing dishes by hand is more eco-friendly, but there are some considerations that make using an automatic dishwasher even more eco-friendly. In addition to using an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent like Seventh Generation, you can reduce energy use and save money too. First, only run a full dishwasher–make sure every loader in your home knows how to pack the dishwasher to full capacity. Next plan ahead and turn off the drying cycle and allow dishes to air dry. Turning off the drying cycle saves up to 20% of the total energy used for running your dishwasher.
Did you know that about 20% of your home electricity is used by your refrigerator? No one is in favor of unplugging it, but there are some tips you can use to make sure you don’t waste energy. To find out if your fridge could use am inexpensive repair to help make sure you are not wasting electricity (or cold air) hold a dollar bill up to the door and close the ‘fridge door. If it is hard to pull out, then you’ve got a good seal. If not, you could save the planet and money by replacing the gaskets and stop the cold air leaks. If you have an energy saver switch make sure it is turned on. Take time to check your temperature settings. The ‘fridge should be between 38 to 42 degrees and the freezer should be between 0 to 5 degrees.
To clean your laundry and save some green take time to check the settings and make sure you’re not using more water than you need for each load; and of course wash the largest loads possible. Try skipping the hot water unless you know you need strong washing. Use warm water, if necessary, but cold whenever possible.
Did you know when the air filters are dirty; your heating and cooling systems work much harder and waste more electricity, not to mention the unhealthy stuff you keep re-circulating. To save money and energy clean or replace your filters regularly and consider permanent filters, which pay for themselves over time. They can cost over a hundred dollars, but use a green cleaning method and never buy air filters again. Not only are you saving energy and money but consider the space saved in landfills.
Does your counter or cabinet contain a George Foreman Grill, toaster oven, electric skillet or Crockpot? Did you know that using your smaller appliances can save you money and time cleaning up, as well as be better for the environment? Always use the smallest cooking appliance available to reduce your energy use when cooking. Your oven is a large space to heat up for a few slices of cheese bread or chicken strips.
What’s your ideal temperature? There are few things that can really start your day off wrong and running out of hot water for your shower is probably one of them but did you know that many thermostats are installed at unnecessarily high settings. In order to save money and be eco-friendly check your water thermostat setting and aim for 120 to 130 degrees. You can always adjust it if you decide you need hotter water. For most families this temperature setting will meet your needs and reduce energy waste, not to mention help to avoid hot water burns.
We all have AC adapters for everything from power tools, to cordless phones, to laptops. Did you know if they are plugged into the wall and not even plugged into the device they can still pull as much as 40% of the electricity that is used to charge the device? This is truly an area where haste makes waste. Take the time to unplug AC adapters and you will reduce your energy use, carbon footprint, and save money too.
Reduce the amount of power you use to “light up your life.” Use energy star, energy saving CFL light bulbs throughout the household. For every incandescent light bulb that is replaced with a compact fluorescent light bulb, you can save $45.00 in energy cost.
Boost energy efficiency by sealing cracks, caulking and save up to 40% on your home energy bill by insulating the duct work.
Add insulation to your hot water pipes and by lowering the temperature of your water heater. This can save you up to 5% each year.
Replace worn out windows eliminating heat and air conditioning loss and saving you money too. You can even earn some money back with tax credits available on certain eco-friendly home improvement projects, like this one.
Use alternative power sources and sustainable when possible. In our household we actually switched to another energy company (after a great deal of research) and found that we have saved money each month on our electric and gas bill. But not only that, the energy in our house is provided through environmentally friendly and self sustainable methods. Be careful to avoid energy scams. If you haven’t done your homework you could end up losing money due to many hidden charges so check out the company with the Better Business Bureau.
Replace dripping faucets. Did you know that the average US household consumes about 90 gallons of water a day? It is estimated that approximately 14% of those 90 gallons are wasted due to faucet, toilet or pipe leaks. Don’t let your money go down the drain.
Clean Green Driving: Saves you money and helps the environment
Is there someone at work you could car pool with or is public transportation available in your area? Not only do you save money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint, but you can use that time for other pursuits like listening to a book on CD or learn another language, like my husband did using public transportation. My husband saved $45.00 a month by using public transportation and brushed up on his Spanish speaking skills with his time spent on the metro. It even provided him with to the door service, saving him on parking, gas and time spent walking to the office. Find out more clean, green driving tips that can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Organic Gardening: Saves you money and helps the environment
Consider using these eco-friendly ideas to protect your garden from pests with natural and environmentally friendly solutions. Create your own landscaping delight with a rain garden and be sure to use a moisture control device when watering your garden and lawns.Not only will you save money on water, but you, your family and your pets will be healthier too by avoiding harmful chemicals that can even cause seizures in your pets.
Donate and disposal saves you money and helps the environment
Do you have left over paints from that last home improvement project? Consider donating it to Habitat for Humanity or another nonprofit organization that can use many of these un-used products for their own improvement projects. You may even get a tax deduction for a charitable contribution.
Be sure to dispose of oils, chemicals, toxins and batteries properly. Be sure to become knowledgeable about this Guide to Proper Battery Disposal.
Using these tips and suggestions routinely will reduce your home energy use and you’ll save some green on your bills while you’re going green too. Not only can you save money but you may even make money. The My Emissions Exchange Website helps homeowners calculate the amount of carbon emissions avoided by using environmentally friendly tips such as these. Next this website sells your carbon credit on your behalf for anywhere between $10.00 and $25.00 per ton of carbon avoided. After their 20% commission the remaining funds are put in your PayPal account.
So the next time you buy an air filter, change a light bulb or replace a leaky water faucet think of these money saving, money making and environmentally friendly tips.
Calculate your carbon footprint using this useful calculator.