The Internet is chock full of tips on how to go green. Many are useful, but most are hard to commit to.
Let’s face it, starting a community garden or converting the roof to a solar panel array are fantastic ideas, but typically outside the capabilities of the typical working mom and dad. Instead of dedicating your time and effort to one or two environmentally-conscious actions that are more powerful statements than power savers, here are five ways to significantly cut down on home energy use and invest in future renewable energy resources that don’t require a lot of investment, effort, or expertise.
1. Make the Conversion to CFLs
This tip should be at the top of every go green list on the Internet. Compact fluorescent lamps cost more than the traditional incandescent lamp light bulb, but the energy savings equate to nearly $40 per bulb over the course of its lifetime. Money aside, switching every light fixture in the house to CFLs is a surefire way to get more out of energy without taking more of it. When money is tight and the bathroom lights are out it is tempting to forgo the CFL for the regular bulb that’s dollars cheaper, but stop and think about the future and you’ll see the CFL is the brighter idea.
2. Beware the Cell Phone Charger
Cell phone chargers plugged directly into the wall are notorious energy wasters. That’s why, if you haven’t noticed, charger makers have been mandated to manufacture their products with universal USB port capability. Whether charging a phone or not, chargers continue to pull energy from the outlet at alarmingly high rates, especially when they’re left plugged in constantly, which is the norm. One of the easiest ways to cut down on electricity use is simply by going through the house commando style and taking chargers out one at a time. Tell your loved ones to exercise responsibility and only plug their chargers in when actually charging their phones.
3. Look into Green Options Offered by Your Power Provider
Nearly half of all Americans now have the option to promote sustainable energy investment through their utility company in the form of green options. You basically pay an extra few dollars a month for the guarantee that you’re helping drive future energy investments. Energy Plus Holdings, for example, has seen a massive stock value increase after initiating such a program, which indicates that industry insiders see these moves as long term business survival strategies by utility companies. Check with your utility company to see if such an option is available for you. You could be supporting 100% wind generated power by just paying a little extra every month on your electric bill.
4. Bring Back the Farmer’s Market
You might not have the time in your schedule to start one, but why not become a patron? Farmers markets are making a big comeback across the American landscape, and getting your fresh produce locally is a great way to contribute to less resources being used to get food from one place to another. Plus I don’t know about you but locally grown ingredients always taste better, even if it’s just a matter of loyalty.
5. Watch Your Water Usage
The water bill can either be your biggest worry or your least concern, depending on what municipality you live in. But regardless, water shortages are becoming an increasing problem globally. We might not feel it yet in the U.S., but it’ll get here eventually. Check for leaks and be conservative about the amount of water you use for dishes, baths, and washing clothes. Consider it good H20 karma paid toward the uncertain fate of the world’s fresh water supply.
All of these steps make big contributions to your energy economy as well as the Earth’s energy conservation. None require more than a few minutes effort or a few extra dollars a month. Follow these cost-saving measures and who knows; maybe a solar paneled roof won’t be such a pipe dream expense after all?
This post was written by Jimmy Miller, lover of all things energy efficient and green.