Going Green first steps

Big or Small?

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 31:  The Eiffel Tower is...

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 31: The Eiffel Tower is seen before the lights are switched off for Earth Hour 2012, on March 31, 2012 in Paris, France. According to organisers the biggest ever Earth Hour has participants including individuals, companies and landmarks in 147 countries and over 5,000 cities, agreeing to switch off their lights for one hour at 8:30pm. The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben Clock Tower in London, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the Empire State Building in New York are among the monuments whose operators have agreed to participate in the demonstration. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 31:  The Eiffel Tower is...

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 31: The Eiffel Tower is seen after the lights are turned off during Earth Hour 2012, on March 31, 2012 in Paris, France. cAcording to organisers the biggest ever Earth Hour has participants including individuals, companies and landmarks in 147 countries and over 5,000 cities, agreeing to switch off their lights for one hour at 8:30pm. The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben Clock Tower in London, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the Empire State Building in New York are among the monuments whose operators have agreed to participate in the demonstration. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Your journey toward greener living can begin with large home improvements or something as small and simple as switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs. A few small, do-it-yourself projects can have a great impact on the amount of energy you save and the money that will be saved as well! Start with one small project. Even making sure that all your appliances (except those that HAVE to remain on, like the fridge and freezer) are turned off every night will save you money. Leaving them on stand-by costs you money, so even the small step of building a habit of going round your house every night to make sure everything is switched off, saves your pocket, as well as contributing to the environment. You can get started on that money saving habit right now, by making sure that any unnecessary lights are switched off, switching off lights when you leave a room and by not leaving the television or music centre playing when no one is watching or listening to it. Need some help to motivate yourself to do that? Pin a piece of paper to the wall or a noticeboard and give yourself a tick (check mark) every time you check that everything is switched off or lights have been turned off. Award yourself a penny or a cent for each tick mark. It will soon mount up AND you will be saving money on energy!

Baby steps to saving energy

  • Use a dehumidifier if you need to cool your house in summer. They are cheaper to run than air conditioners and may provide the cooling you need. How? Have you ever been in a very hot and steamy climate? If you sweat, you have to keep mopping your forehead, because the perspiration can’t evaporate away. That means your body can’t lose excess heat. In a hot dry climate, any perspiration disappears as soon as it is formed, helping to cool your body, so you feel more comfortable when the air is dry. When the air is humid, it usually feels warmer.  When you use a dehumidifier, you may not even have to use your air conditioner.
  • Make sure your solar panels face the sun. A house located within the northern hemisphere should have south-facing panels. This way, you will be able to take full advantage of the solar power and get as much energy as possible from those panels. Solar panels work best with direct sunlight, light that that is perpendicular to the panel, i.e. at 90 degrees (a right angle). That means you should also tilt your solar panel to get as much direct sunlight as possible. The tilt angle is different for each location, so you need to work out the best tilt for your location and this pagehas some VERY helpful information on that.

    Array of Solar Panels, Saintfield High School,...

    Array of Solar Panels, Saintfield High School, Northern Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Consider having a programmable thermostat installed in your house, in order to help significantly decrease your energy bills. These thermostats can be programmed with your own preferred settings to regulate the air temperature in your home year-round. They are also programmable for day and night temperatures. You should set bedroom temperatures lower than those for living rooms, to help you sleep more comfortably and you can reduce the temperature in rooms that you are not occupying.
  • Opt to receive as much correspondence as you can through email. Going paperless can help the environment in many ways. Going paperless helps the environment by limiting the amount of deforestation as well as the energy costs associated with paper communications. In addition, going paperless helps the environment, something that everyone benefits from.
  • Watch how many watts you use. Gadgets such as the Watt Minder or the Kill-A-Watt will help you find out which of your appliances are hogging energy. You can plug in various devices into these and see how much energy that item uses for periods of time including a hour, month, and even a year. This can let you see how much your devices really cost you.
  • To save energy during cooking, use your microwave whenever it’s feasible. Ovens use much more energy than the microwave for cooking. By using the microwave, you are cutting down the amount of energy you use a great deal.
  • Use drapes or curtains in your windows for when you are not home. They will help to keep the temperature and the energy consumption of the house down when the house is vacant. Usually, windows that face south receive the most sunlight. Try using coverings on all of the windows, such as dark curtains, roman shades, or some roller shades. In winter, two layers on the windows, such as insulated curtains, or blinds and curtains can help keep your warmth in and draughts out.
  • Before you bring in an energy professional to assess the viability of solar panels, list every appliance in your home, as well as its energy consumption. This will allow the professional to give you a quote that is accurate, so you don’t get any unwelcome surprises..
  • In order to cut down on fuel usage, you should consider using carpooling not only for work, but for other activities too. If you are a parent, set up a neighborhood carpool and take turns with the other parents. Just make sure you have enough of any required car seats for all the children. If you live close to family or friends, carpool for grocery shopping or other errands to save fuel. You can also save fuel by planning ahead for your meals so you only shop once a week or even less.
  • Investing in a washing machine that is front loading is a great way to go green. These washers do not use as much water as top loaders, and they do a better job of cleaning clothing. In addition to using less energy, you will also save money.

All homes are built differently and are located in different areas. When you consider the many different characteristics present in homes, it can be difficult to determine which green energy source will work best in your particular home. There are some that will work for every home, and others that will not. And not everyone is as comfortable with all the changes that can be made. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything at once. Take baby steps and try one or two tips first to see how you get on. Once you see that you are saving money and time, you will be motivated to try more. Use the advice that works in your situation and come up with some of your own money saving, earth friendly tips.

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Save yourself money


  • If you are not using something, turn it off. When you are ready to leave a room, go around and turn off appliances such as computers, televisions, and most importantly, the overhead light. Try using a power strip so you can turn off all of your electronics at once, instead of letting power be wasted in standby mode.
  • A dishwasher containing clean dishes

    A dishwasher containing clean dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Save money and energy by only running your dishwasher with a full load of dishes. A lot of energy is wasted when only a few dishes are washed at a time. Pack your dishwasher full, and you may be surprised at the amount it can hold. Take care to line up your dishes, so you are able to put in as many as you can.

  • Be sure to learn more about passive and active solar power. Passive solar power doesn’t require the costly power-storage cells that active power does. Active power will require a large installation process and can cost a great deal more. While when you use passive, they use the thermal energy from the sun in order to store energy inside the walls of your house and heat your household with it.
  • An on-demand hot water heater is a good way to stay green. Unlike conventional water heaters, green water heaters are not constantly running, which wastes tons of energy. An on-demand water heater instantly heats water as it is needed resulting in tremendous savings.
  • For anyone looking to be as green as possible, a straw bale houseis an interesting option. Straw is an excellent, inexpensive form of insulation and it can be plastered. Though you may not be ready to live in a pile of hay just yet, you may want to consider adding onto your existing structure with such a room.

    English: Small straw bale house with clay mortar

    English: Small straw bale house with clay mortar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Instead of purchasing traditional batteries for your modern gadgets, buy rechargeable versions instead! Traditional batteries can end up in landfills, leaching out poisonous chemicals, though many areas now have collection areas for these. Preserve the environment and save yourself some money by choosing rechargeable ones instead. This can save you a ton of money over time.
  • Put solar panels on the roof to make the home greener. The initial cost of installing solar panels may seem significant, but consider the long term saving when calculating the final cost. Once you have the solar panels hooked up to your home’s energy system, your solar energy will be free, and can even earn you money if you can sell the surplus to your local energy company.
  • A good tip for saving energy is to change your boiler. Many old boilers were not made with saving energy in mind, whereas new boilers tend to be more energy efficient. They not only produce less carbon dioxide, which is good for your health, but they can significantly cut your energy bill.
  • Use rain barrels or collected rainwater around your house to water plants, or use it for your toilet. Your water bill will decrease and this also benefits the environment. The collection of rainwater is very easy. If you don’t have barrels, just place glass jars outside while it is raining, and they are ready for use once they are filled.
  • Consider more efficient home appliances, such as water-saving toilets. Up to 50% of your home’s water is used by the toilets in your home. Older toilets use 5 gallons per flush, whereas new models use less than 2 gallons. Even in older models, you can add a brick or stone or a plastic bag filled with water to take up some of the space in the cistern so you use less water for each flush. And an article on Yahoo suggests that the hippies used to  flush the toilet only after several people had used it, rather than each time it was used!
    Solar cake in a solar oven (GSO: Global Sun Ov...

    Solar cake in a solar oven (GSO: Global Sun Oven) made in developing countries and USA: more information on http://atlascuisinesolaire.free.fr/indexEN.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • Build and use a solar oven to bake outdoors and save energy. A solar oven is very easy to make. All you need is a window, a piece of foil and a sturdy box. They require only sunlight to reach a temperature of more than 300 degrees, and they only take a few minutes to construct. A solar oven can also be used to pasteurise water in contamination situations. This is mainly used in the third world where they do not have access to clean water but could be used in emergency situations anywhere there is sufficient sunlight.

Although some don’t believe in climate change, you can still benefit from green energy in your home. You can save on utility bills by doing simple things like turning the lights off when you aren’t using them.


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Everything we do in and to our home will affect the environment one way or another, either for good or bad. Becoming aware of this is an important first step, which can lead to considerable savings for you, as well as benefiting the environment. This also includes improving energy efficiency in your home. And there are a number of ways in which you can make your current home “greener” that will put more “green” in your pocket too. Insulation is an important first step in reducing energy usage and reducing your outgoings. It’s even more important now with the rising cost of energy these days. And there have been many improvements to insulation in recent years that make it more effective and efficient as well as even safer in the home. Those walls, lofts and attic spaces can lose huge amounts of expensive heat from your house, so insulating them can save you a great deal of money as well as making a more comfortable home – warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. After all, insulation works both ways! A lot of insulation is very easy to install or lay down, or you can go for a professional job and get an approved contractor to install cavity wall insulation. Once you have the insulation in place, it’s worth looking at the types of heating and air conditioning systems that are available. Modern ones are all so much more energy efficient. While the initial costs may seem a bit steep, you should recover your money in the long run, through lower bills. Before agreeing to buy any new system, check whether there are any grants available to you locally, or any other help. It is possible that some grants for those on a low income or those over a certain age may be available. Sometimes financial help is only available for certain systems or by using certain installation contractors. Check up on the required conditions to be met before signing up for anything. Solar panels are one way of providing additional heat and power in your house. The costs of installing these have come down considerably and the latest designs are a lot more efficient and easy to maintain. The panels are also more attractive and with so many people opting for this form of additional heat and power generation, solar panels have become very much the “in-thing” in many neighbourhoods. You may have a local contractor who can install solar panels for you or you may need to check for a national company. Whichever you chose, make sure they are certified to fit and install solar panels correctly. Solar panel installation at an information center adjacent to Ögii Lake (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Solar panel installation at an information cen... Windows are another source of heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer and many homes still have the original windows, which may be outdated by today’s standards for energy conservation. They may also have shrunk from their frames, creating draughts. Where possible, think about replacing windows with double, or even triple-glazed windows. It’s not necessary to do every window at the same time, these can be done bit by bit if necessary. And in some houses, there may be certain windows that need replacing anyway or where you have already noticed cold draughts in the winter winds. Cutting out the heat loss from windows (and doors) can have a very beneficial effect on your bills! In hotter climates, you can even get tinted glass that will reflect the sun’s glare during the summer. Quite aside from insulation, if you are going to redecorate your home, you can now get healthier paints that are free from VOCs (volatile organic compounds). and this is another way to get your house greener and make it a safer and healthier place for you and your family. Let’s take a look now at water. Rainwater may be scarce in some areas, but when it does fall, you can collect it for free and make good use of it, saving your water bills. There are a number of ways to collect rainwater, from rain barrels (keep them covered to prevent accidents and to keep insects out) to underground tanks set into your garden.

You can collect rainwater through your downpipes using an adapter. The water can be used for washing your car, watering plants and is even said to be very good for washing hair, leaving it soft. There are also many ways now to save water inside the house, by using less. For instance, there are a number of new toilet models available. These use less water than older models. Some have two buttons, one for a short flush, one for a longer flush where necessary. You can also get more modern shower heads that will use less water. As water bills increase, replacing your toilet or your shower head with a more modern one incorporating water saving technology can save you money over time. It’s important to think through any changes you may want to make. Anything you do must always consider whether you can afford it and just how much of a saving it will make for you. But in general, you will find that being kind to the environment will also be kind on your pocket! Check out a few of these ideas and see if you can make your house greener and more eco friendly!

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Do not forget the most basic ways to save energy, such as turning off the lights you don’t need. You might be amazed at the amount of energy savings you can gain over time, simply by making it a point to turn off lights. There’s also the extra benefit of having a lower electric bill.

You may want to install solar panels on the roof to create a more eco-friendly home. Although the upfront costs for solar panels are significant, they will pay for themselves in just a few years. Once your solar panels are installed, you can generate lots of free power. It’s also possible to sell some of your excess power to nearby electric companies.

Energy efficient appliances have Energy Star logos. Appliances with an ENERGY STAR designation meet the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Energy and additionally the EPA You can get a tax rebate from these type of items, as well.

Water-saving toilets can get you started on a greener lifestyle. It’s estimated that as much as fifty percent of your water usage comes from the toilet. Older toilet models use up to 70 percent more water per year than newer ones.

If you’re not using an appliance, turn it off. So, make sure you turn things off like the computer, TV, or lights when you leave a room. A power strip should be used for electronics and can be easily turned off when not needed, since the standby mode is still utilizing power.

Find out about the various energy sources that are available in your local community. Determine which energy source is cheapest for your home. Don’t forget to account for any government incentives that might be in effect. It can benefit you to use natural gas instead of electricity, for example.

To make you home greener, install a programmable thermostat. It can save you a significant sum of money your monthly energy bills. They have certain setting that allow you to regulate the temperature during any time of the year. You can also set up your own programs to control the temperature during different times of day.

It will pay off over time if you spend more on green efficient products in the future. Green technology appliances can cost a bit more up front, but you will be paid back through lower energy bills for the life of the appliances. It is also one more positive impact on the environment that compounds.

Using lids on your cookware when you have them on the stove can help conserve energy. This keeps more of the heat you are using to cooking with, making it so that you can keep your stove settings lower and saving energy.

Did you know that straw can help you keep your home more energy efficient? Straw is a natural insulating material, and is also very inexpensive. If you don’t want to rebuild an entire home using straw, try building a smaller structure near your home to help you save energy costs part of the time.

Try using a carpool if you want to reduce fuel consumption. If you have children that you take to school or sporting activities, try setting up a carpool with other parents, and trade off the days you will drive. Those who live close to friends or family can go grocery shopping together.

Now that you’ve read this article, what is your opinion? Are you ready to give green energy a try? Improve the quality of your life when you use the ideas from the article above. Start using these tips and your quality of life will improve thanks to green energies.

Dress more warmly to be green and reduce energy costs. Sweaters of varying thickness can offer more warmth, from two to four degrees depending on its weight. It’s not necessary to dress good at home, so grab a sweater to save money.

Decide to receive your correspondence through email by opting out of receiving monthly statements. Go paperless with any company that has the option. This doesn’t only help you communicate and save electricity, it will lower your bills as well. In addition, it will help protect the environment for all.

There is a lot you can do if you want to save energy. Going green doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money, as you can begin simply by setting the thermostat to 60 degrees for those periods when you are not home.

You can also conduct monthly cleanings of your furnace filters. Reducing the water heater temperature to 120 degrees can save money too. Every little thing you do helps!

Shade your windows from excessive amounts of sunlight to improve the energy efficiency of your home. You can do this by putting up blinds or curtains. Keeping your home cool in the summer means you will not be tempted to use the air conditioning as much. You will save energy and money.

Business owners are surely aware of how expensive it is to use electricity to run your business. Try replacing electricity with solar energy. This will also help attract customers because people like green businesses. Many companies have been rewarded by an increase in business because they try to be green. Over time, you will attract more business, as people will respect your environmental action and message.

Add solar panels to the roof for an immediately greener, and more energy efficient, home. There is of course an initial investment that is not cheap, however, long term use and the resulting savings, will far outweigh the up-front cost. Solar energy is free once panels are installed, and you might even have the opportunity to sell off some of this power to local electric companies.

Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones. Traditional batteries get thrown into the trash, and that is very bad for the environment. Help save the environment, and keep some money in your pocket, with rechargeable alternatives. Over their life span, rechargeable batteries can actually save you up to hundreds of dollars.

Put your refrigerator and freezer units in a low-temperature location in your home so that they stay cool with less energy. Placing them in a sunny location or directly in front of heating vents can increase the time that they need to run.

An easy way to save energy is to use covers when you’re cooking with pots and pans. You can actually be a more efficient cook when you do this, and it helps you save energy and money in the process.

Instead of using standard lights for your next holiday season, make sure to use LED lights to decorate your tree and home. Research was performed by the United States. By having everyone make this change, the country can save 2 billion kilowatt power hours. That much electricity could power at least 200,000 home for a whole year. At the very least, you can shave some money from your own power bill!

Remember these tips and do your best to apply them to your household. You’ll see your energy bills drop and be proud of the service you are performing for the environment. Take small steps. They will add up over time and you will find you have one of the greenest homes around.

There is so much information around these days on how to do your bit for the environment. Some of it is very confusing. You can make a start on living in a more environmentally-friendly way by making changes in your home. Some are easy and simple and can be done right now. Others may take a bit longer to implement and may cost some money, but you will get it back over the long term, as well as helping the environment.

You can improve your home’s enviromentally-friendly footprint by making some or all of these changes. The home is the easiest place to start.

Your home appliances, such as the fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, etc are a good place to start. Take a good look at them. If they are more than a few years old, they may not be as efficient as newer machines. They may be using more water and electricity than necessary. If you can afford to do so and if your appliances are not as efficient as modern ones, then try replacing them. By improving your energy efficiency you will save money in the long term, as will optimising your water usage. With so many areas having water shortages and the cost of water these days, improving water usage in your appliances will also save you money, as well as helping the environment.

Still on the subject of water, do you have any leaky taps? Your water service may be coming round to check on this. Get any leaks fixed BEFORE you get an official notice! You can get toilets that will use less water or you can use special bags that are inserted in your toilet cistern and that mean you use less water every time you flush. If you want to be even greener, you can use rainwater for flushing toilets. It can be collected and stored in an underground tank in your garden and pumped up to your toilet cistern as necessary. Check your pipes and make sure none of these are leaking either. It’s a good idea to insulate your pipes too. Insulating them during the warmer weather is a lot easier than trying to fix a burst water pipe after a heavy frost.

One easy way to save money is turn your heating thermostat down or not turn it up when the weather gets colder. Add another layer of clothing instead. Just a few degrees on the thermostat may be hardly noticeable in terms of room temperature but it can make a big difference to your fuel costs during the year.

TIP: Don’t have your heating come on just as early in the day, or turn it off a bit earlier at night. This can add to the savings too.

Make sure you don’t waste water. This is an easy and cheap way to save money and help the environment too. Turn the tap OFF while you are brushing your teeth. Use a mug for rinsing, instead of leaving the tap running. Use the shower only for as long as necessary to get clean, don’t spend any longer in it than that. Make sure your washing machine or dishwasher is full before running it. Try and cut down on the total amount of water you use each day.

You do NOT need harsh chemicals to keep your house clean. There are many simpler products, many of them much cheaper, that will keep your home clean. Using these can save money. Making the change will help the environment too.

Fluorescent light bulbs will give you more light and use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. You can get energy saving bulbs now, to replace your old ones. This will save you money too. And there are occasionally special offers that you can use to get energy saving bulbs at lower prices. Check your local council.

Cut down on the amount of plastic packaging you buy along with your product purchases. If you have to buy something in a plastic container, then try to re-use it around the house, or try to get refillable containers for certain products. Otherwise, use the recycle facilities, instead of dumping it in the bin for landfill.

Use home produced compost from your vegetable peelings instead of chemical fertilisers in your garden. You will improve your garden’s natural fertility and provide a haven for wild life. Lots of kitchen waste, such as tea leaves, coffee grounds, egg shells, vegetable peelings, fruit skins, etc can be used for compost.

A bit more expensive, but well worth it for some houses and areas, is to check your windows and see if they need replacing to cut down on draughts and keep the temperature more even. You can get storm windows, or you could try adding shutters to your windows. Storm windows and internal shutters can help reduce draughts and keep the internal temperature of your house more even, both summer and winter. They will cost money but they can soon repay their cost in energy savings and a more comfortable environment for you.

If you no longer need something, consider: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. By reducing your usage of something, you are saving money as well as the environment. Can you reuse something? If not, can you recycle it? Also consider Freecycle and Freegle to let someone else use what you no longer need. If you have taken groceries home in a plastic bag, can you reuse that bag for something else? Take it shopping another time? let a local small shop have it for use for their customers? Many small shops are happy to take plastic bags and egg cartons to recycle.

How are you heating your home or where is your energy coming from? Could you become self-sufficient in energy by providing your own? Maybe even sell some back to your local electricity company? Probably the easiest source for your won energy at the moment are solar chargers. you can get solar chargers that you can carry with you to power phones or laptops. There are even cars being created that run on solar panels. You can also power your entire home this way and sell the excess back to the electric company.

There are many ways of becoming more environmentally friendly and helping your own budget at the same time. Some suggestions cost nothing and can be put into use immediately. others may require more thought and will require an initial outlay. If you haven’t done much on this previously, why not start small and improve as you go along? What you can do will depend very much on your own needs and of course your own personal budget. But the most important thing to remember is that you have to start somewhere and that you can make a real difference if you commit yourself to doing something each and every day.

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