Green Living Tips
With the tips below, you can reduce your environmental impact, conserve energy in your home and reduce the cost of running your household.
- Heating and Cooling Filters – check monthly and change or clean as needed
- Heating and Cooling can account for as much as one-third to one-half of a home’s total energy usage. If your system is 10 years or older, consider replacing with a more efficient one, preferably one that meets Energy Star guidelines. (www.energystar.gov)
- Review and as needed improve the insulation and weather seal at your attic and basement
- Replace old deteriorating weather stripping & caulking at windows and doors
- Air infiltrates the home through windows, doors & electrical outlets
- Replace with energy efficient type
- Add storm windows
- Caulk and foam perimeter to seal gaps
- Utilize insulating curtains, drapes and shades
- Insulate air leaking outlets & switches
- Replace old appliances with Energy Star models
- Change inefficient energy habits
- Wash clothes & dishes only with full loads
- Wash clothes in cold water
- Keep refrigerator & freezer full to facilitate efficiency
- Invest in programmable thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature. Set thermostats below 70 degrees.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs; they last 5-10 years and save up to 30% on electricity.
- Turn off and unplug lights, televisions, computers and small appliances when not in use.
- Solar gain
- Take advantage of south-facing windows in winter for warmth and light
- In summer shade your sun penetrating windows
- Cover or remove wall/window mounted air conditioners to prevent cold air infiltration in winter
- Water heater & hot water pipes
- Insulate, particularly if in an unconditioned space
- Lower water heater temperature to120º
- Replace inefficient units with “on demand” system or solar water heating
- Buy locally. From appliances to produce, the farther products travel, the more fuel and energy consumed.
- Water consumption
- Install low-flow showerheads and toilets
- Install faucet screens
- Showering instead of taking a bath uses less water
- Reduce your shower time
- Water filtering
- Use a water filter system to eliminate pollutants
- Drink filtered tap water instead of purchasing bottled water
- Repair leaks - Fix dripping or leaking faucets and toilets
- Use native plants and grasses for landscaping – they require less water.
- Use a timer on either in-ground sprinkler system or hose system to water the lawn. Set to water early in evening or morning to reduce evaporation.
- Collect rain water from gutters/downspouts to a barrel or cistern to recycle for watering plants
- Use exhaust fans in the bathrooms & kitchen to rid the home of contaminants and/or moisture
- Install a heat recovery ventilation system when possible to ensure sufficient home air exchanges
- Ensure attic & crawl spaces are properly ventilated & dehumidified to prevent moisture/mold concerns
- Control indoor moisture
- Insulate cold water pipes to prevent condensation
- Cut plantings back at least one foot from house to allow air circulation and drying
- Slope ground away from foundation to facilitate water run-off
- Ensure effective gutter/downspout run-offs and extend downspouts
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
- Houseplants in your home help remove toxins and clean the air
- Use low VOC (volatile organic compound) products - paints, stains, formaldehyde-based adhesive products
- Recycle - separate glass, plastic, paper, and electronics
- Compost household food products to reduce garbage in landfills and to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden
- Buy locally harvested wood
- Use lumber from forests with sustainable harvesting
- Use building materials made from recycled products
- Green your clean - choose low phosphate and no chlorine release detergents and cleaners
- Buy in bulk - avoid over packaged and single serving products for less waste
- Use washable containers with lids instead of plastic & aluminum wraps. Avoid petroleum based plastic containers, use glass or ceramic.
- Use of smaller appliances saves energy: (toaster vs. oven)
- Avoid toxic vinyl shower curtains. Use all-natural shower curtains that also reduce mildew