Sunday, April 22, 2012
Happy Earth Day!
Use cold water. You’ve probably heard that using cold water in your washing machine can save you loads on energy costs—and it’s true! Cold water washes just as well as hot, especially when using detergent made specifically to work best in cold water (like Tide Coldwater Detergent!). For super tough stains that you’d usually trust to hot water, just give a good scrubbing or soaking with detergent before putting in the washer. Plus, cold water can help your clothes last longer, as hot water often wears away at some synthetic fabrics. Experts agree—use cold water to reduce your energy costs, cut down on harmful environmental emissions, and keep your clothes lasting longer!
Change your light bulbs. Have you switched your light bulbs to Energy Star rated compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)? CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than normal bulbs—that is, they use less wattage to produce the same amount of light. A 20-watt CFL bulb produces as much light as a 75-watt regular bulb. CFL bulbs last up to 10 times longer than a regular light bulb (10,000 hours as opposed to 1,000) and can save you up to $30 in energy costs over the lifetime of the bulb. Replacing just one light bulb in your house with a CFL bulb can save the release of 450 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year because now your formerly high-energy bulbs aren’t pulling so much energy from local power stations. Cool, right? That simple switch does wonders!
Get a home energy audit. Call up your local energy office (Google [Your Town’s Name] and “Energy Audit”) and request a professional energy audit. An auditor will come through your home and look for potential energy leaks—whether it’s drafty windows, an inefficient water heater, or insufficient insulation--and make recommendations on how to seal up the problems to keep your energy costs and emissions down. Some states offer tax incentives for receiving an energy audit, so look into an audit this Earth Day.
Plant something! While your yard may not have the space for planting a tree, take a moment to give back to the earth by planting something, whether it’s tending to your garden or dropping a few seeds into a clay pot on your porch. You’ll be contributing to a bit more recycling of carbon dioxide back into oxygen and teaching the kids a great lesson about the importance of gardening! Need ideas? Try some advice about planting flowers or vegetables.