Friday, October 2, 2009

Green Living - Energy & Water Conservation

Conserving energy & water is not only easier on the pocketbook, but shows that we care about the Earth by being careful with her resources. Here are some simple ways to conserve.


*Turn off lights, fans, t.v.'s, computers, and other "plug-in" items when they are not being used.

*Phantom loads (also called vampire or ghost loads) are the electricity used by appliances and other electronic devices when they're not in active use. (These include televisions, microwaves and coffee makers that are equipped with LED clocks, stereos, and radios. And don't forget your cell phone charger; it may draw power even when the phone isn't hooked in or after the phone is fully charged.) To eliminate "phantom loads", use a power bar to turn the power on and off as needed.

*Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which convert 20% of the electricity flowing through them into light. (A standard light bulb converts only 5% of the electricity flowing through it into light.)

*Carefully inspect the seal around doorways in your home. Make sure there are no gaps where the air can be sucked out.
If you are a home owner, you may want to consider getting a professional energy audit. The cost of the complete energy analysis is typically $300-$500, give or take. That may seem like a lot of money, but this analysis is well worth the expense--you'll save much more than that over time if you follow up on the auditor's recommendations. Energy auditors provide a written report that lists potential energy improvements.


*Turn water off while you are brushing your teeth.

*Take shorter hot showers.

*Instead of letting water run as you rinse dishes, fill up one side with soapy water and the other with rinse water. Dunk the washed dishes in the rinse water.

*As often as possible, wash laundry on the cold/cool water setting.

*Check the hot water temperature on your water heater. Many manufacturers set the temperature valve at 140 degrees, but 120 degrees is sufficiently hot, and lowering the temperature also reduces the risk of scalding from tap water (especially for babies and young children).

*Check that your sprinkler and/or drip system are running on the assigned days for your area, and at the correct time of day (between 7 p.m. and 11 a.m. for our area). Watering midday and afternoon can cause water waste because of quick evaporation from the heat and wind. Be sure that you're not watering so much that the water runs off your lawn and onto the sidewalk.

(Resource: "Mother Earth News" Oct/Nov 2008 issue, pg. 84-92)

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