Remember when you were a kid and your mother emphatically asked you to shut the lights off when you left a room—you were wasting electricity? I am sure there has been a comment or two addressed to you as a child or as an adult to remind you to break a bad energy habit or not to get into one.
Or maybe you were the one to remind someone else! Now it’s time to be reminded again of just how easy it is to save—and ultimately make a difference to the planet.
Below is a Checklist for Smart Savings To Greening Your Home or Apartment:
1. Energy-efficient appliances save energy and money. Replacing old appliances with Energy Star models can save 30% of your energy bill. Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program sponsored by the DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For more information on recommended products go to energystar.gov before making your next purchase.
2. Run the dishwasher only when it’s completely full.
3. Look to see if your dishwasher has an energy-saving control.
4. Run your clothes washer only when you have a full load of laundry.
5. Clean your dryer’s lint filter before each load or even better, hang clothes to dry when possible.
6. Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible.
7. Don’t overload the dryer with clothes, as it requires more energy.
8. Replace ordinary incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent bulbs. If every household in the country replaced four 75-watt incandescent bulbs that burn four or more hours a day with four 23-watt fluorescent bulbs, we would save as much energy as is consumed by approximately 38 million cars in one year. Your lights use 5-10% of your home’s energy.
9. Don’t use the automatic feature on appliances—turn it on at the time you need it.
10. Getting and paying bills online saves water, oil and trees. Some companies will even refund you a dollar when you pay online/go paperless.
11. You can prevent “vampire voltage” if you unplug appliances when fully charged or not in use.
12. If you own ceiling fans they should be set to spin counter-clockwise in the summer, which pulls hot air up to the ceiling and away from the living space. In the winter, reverse the setting so the fans blow the hot air down.
13. If you own an air conditioner use the energy saver button as much as possible.
14. When you leave your home turn off the air conditioner and leave the blinds down to keep the space cool and not require as much energy next time it is turned on.
15. Clean air conditioner filters regularly.
16. Cover liquids in your refrigerator and place other foods in containers. Uncovered foods release moisture that the appliance must expend energy to deal with.
17. If trying to work or read, sit by a sunny window instead of turning on a light if you can.
18. Install faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads to cut water heating costs by 50% and save up to $300 a year.
Even with huge technological advances in 2011, we still have to remind ourselves that we don’t need to look at the inside of our fridge for five minutes like we are watching television.