I'm sure some of you might be tired of hearing about how we all have to go green. I personally believe that we should all do as much as we can to start using less energy and start using more sustainable methods of just about everything we do. It is funny, but in a lot of cases, there is a direct relationship between taking the 'green' route and saving money. If you don't believe me, then keep reading and I'll show you in these six simple steps, how you can Go Green AND Save Money.
Step 1: Light!
I know that everyone and their grandmothers have heard this step, but its so important that it has to be repeated. Change your light bulbs to compact florescent! CFLs last longer and only use about a quarter of the energy that normal light bulbs do. For the little bit extra that you'll be paying for them, you'll make that up in no time from energy savings alone. And here is something else that most people don't think of. Because CFLs produce a lot less heat then normal bulbs, your cooling costs will be less in the summer. This is because you don't have inefficient bulbs heating up the house while your furnace is doing the job more efficiently. Before I get off the light subject, if you are willing to spend a little more money, you can step up to some LED light bulbs, which will last longer and use even less energy then your CFLs! LED light Technology is getting better and cheaper all the time, so keep your eye on these as they are a better, greener, choice over CFLs.
Step 2: Food!
Buy local foods whenever you can. When you buy your food from local farmers, that food needs to travel less distance, this means that less pollution is being created in transporting that piece of food to your table. Not only are you saving the earth, but for the same reason, when you buy local you will generally pay less money for the same product because you don't need to pay for all the extra shipping charges that are attached to something that travelled half way across the globe. You can take this one step further and start growing your own fruits and vegetables, or better yet, if you have the time, energy and the space try aquaponics. Aquaponics is the combination of growing plants and fish to eat. When you grow your own vegetables and fruit, you can make sure that you keep them organic, which means a healthier product is coming to your table. As an added bonus, you will find that your local fruits and vegetables taste better, this is because they are fresher and are allowed to stay on the plant for longer.
Step 3: Chores!
When it comes time to replace the appliances in your house, make sure you buy energy star certified appliances. Look at all your different options and choose the one with the lowest energy usage. By switching all of your appliances over to most energy efficient ones you will be reducing the amount of energy you use to run them. Which directly translates to lower utility bills for you, and less pollution from the power plants that supply your energy. Since appliances generally cost a fair bit of money, I recommend not going out and replacing everything you have all at once. Wait until your current ones die, or are ready to be replaced, then, since you are buying a new one anyways you might as well pick up the most energy efficient one you can.
Step 4: RRR's
You've probably been told this your whole life, but these three words are very important, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Do everything that you can to follow these steps, and you will be doing your part to help the earth. Most people, when asked if they do these three things will tell you that they do, but on closer inspection what they are doing is only a fraction of what they can do. I know this, because looking at what we do here in my house, I can see blatant ways that we can improve our process. And I believe we do more then most people to start with. You all know what these words mean. So start taking a moment to think about what you are doing when you go to throw something in the trash. How could you avoid throwing this out in the future? Less Garbage at the dump, is something we should all strive for.
Step 5: Toys!
This step is for all you electronics lovers. Unplug any wall warts that aren't being used (also known as vampires). These are those AC or DC adaptors that sit in your outlet to charge up all your neat electronic toys. Some of these will use the full amount of power whether your electronic unit is plugged into it or not. Another big power killer is your TV, some LCD or plasma screens can use up to 80% of their power, even when turned off! So if you are not using it, unplug it. If you don't want to deal with the plug every time, pick yourself up a power adaptor with an on/off switch. every time you are done, just flick the switch on the adaptor and you'll be saving yourself energy, which means you'll be saving yourself money.
Step 6: Motion!
Use the power of your body to travel instead of your vehicle. Whenever you can; walk, ride your bike, roller blade, jog, skateboard, whatever your favourite way to travel is, do it instead of taking your car. This may mean that you have to leave home earlier and sometimes put up with not so perfect weather. But you will not only be saving yourself money (less gasoline used) you will also be helping the plant. As an added bonus, you'll also be exercising which means a healthier and happier you! When you look at all the benefits of using human propelled motion instead of fossil fuelled means of travel you can't deny its the best way to go whenever you can.
These are by no means an exhaustive list, you can do so much more, but as you can see, these steps are simple. So go out and and get a little green, have fun and be happy to know that you are not only saving the earth, you are also saving yourself some of your hard earned money.