How can I go green ?

Reduce. Reuse. Re…it is a familiar mantra, one that ecologists hope everyone takes to heart. Still, naysayers grumble that going green requires huge amounts of cash thrown into endless home improvements. Going green doesn’t have to be difficult, or painful. Here are some ideas for making your home the greenest in the neighborhood.

1. Getting a mean green clean. When cleaning and disinfecting your home, reach for rubbing alcohol over bleach. Isopropyl alcohol and other nontoxic and biodegradable cleaners fight germs just as well, without the fumes and pollutants.

2. Dare to go bare! Bare feet, that as. Don’t wear shoes in the house. This minimizes dirt and allergens that get can get spread throughout the home. Consider offering guests comfy slippers and socks to make the trend easier to take.

3. Use a dishwasher. Yep… who knew? Using the dishwasher, running full loads and air-drying, can be a greener choice than hand washing dishes. You tend to use less water and soap, and it is more sanitary. Try running that one past your spouse the next time you are in kitchen appliance section of your favorite home improvement store!

4. Say no to the draft! Drafty windows and doors allow precious heat or cool air out during the year. This makes your heating and cooling system have to work overtime, costing you hundreds in utility bills and shortening the life of your appliance. Use caulk or weather-stripping to close up those gaps!

5. Pull those curtains. This isn’t just a great way to keep the privacy and peace amongst the nosey neighbors. Closing the drapes during the day maintains a steady temperature in your home. The heavier the drapes, the better they work. This saves money and energy use to boot!

6. Open the fridge. Unlike other appliances in the home, the refrigerator runs all day every day and can account for a significant portion of your energy bill. There are a couple things you can do to make sure your appliance is running at peak performance. Take out a dollar, and place it in the door of the fridge. If after closing the door, you are able to pull the bill out easily, you need to replace the seal, because it is letting precious cool air out (and warm air in!). Also, if you open the door to your refrigerator and it fails to close by itself, you need to have to have it stabilized.

7. Replace. If your appliances are older, they may not meet certain energy efficiency requirements. It is best to replace them in this instance.

8. Ditch the screensaver. Those cute squiggly lines and flying saucers allow your computer to eat up huge amounts of electricity, making your friendly desktop an energy hog. Consider using your computer’s sleep mode instead.

9. Got electronic waste? Collect your old CD’s, diskettes, cords, scanners, and cartridges and donate them. There are firms, like Green Disk, who will recycle them for a fee – or for free!

10. Make them take it back! Signed up for those no-junk-mail lists, but still getting endless amounts of stuff? Send a message by sending it back! Simply write return to sender on the package, and pop it in the closest mail receptacle to return it at their expense. Your name will be removed, and one less person will have a tree killed for their sake.

Going green is not hard. The rewards of doing so go far deeper than having a safe environment.

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