Friday, June 13, 2008
Smart Habit Saturday
Today is Smart Habit Saturday. I have been trying to live a little greener. This list was posted on Pinching Your Pennies by Norah and I think these are great tips to live a little greener. This is an ongoing process and goal for me.
The title is "Lose 142 pounds (of carbon) a week".
1. Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot. Start with something easy. Washing machines produce over 500 pounds of CO2 a year when run on hot water. But your clothes will be just as clean and may even last longer when laundered in cold water.
2. Use a drying rack. Dryers produce about 1,450 pounds of CO2 per year and the high heat damages fabric. Get more life out of your garments, lower your electric bill and spare the planet by drying at least half of your clothes on a rack or line. Plus, sunlight is the most effective stain remover around.
3. Seal and weather strip your home. This summer, sealing your home will ensure you don't lose the cool air you're paying for. Weather stripping and caulking doors, windows, and any cracks or openings in walls will save about 225 pounds of CO2 per season as you run your AC. It pays off even more in the winter when you need to trap the heat; every year, you save 640 pounds of CO2 if you have natural gas heat and 470 pounds if you have electric heat.
4. Insulate. Insulating your house is a bit more demanding and best handled professionally. There are a number of insulating options better than the most common choice, fiberglass, which presents a breathing hazard from airborne glass particles and formaldehyde released during installation. Some green building specialists claim that spray foam is the most efficent and cost effective type of insulation, even though it's usually composed of petroluen based polyurethane. If you choose spray foam, consider a blend that includes soybean oil, such as BioBase501, to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. Another alternative, recycled denim insulation, uses more eco friendly material but isn't as efficient an insulator as polyurethane foam.
5. Wrap your water heater and turn down the temperature. Insulating your water heater with a simple diy kit, available at most hardware stores for $20, will save you 300 pounds of CO2 annually. As water heaters can account for up to 13 percent of your utility bill, set the temperature to 120 F. Turning it down from 140 F will save 479 pounds of CO2 annually. If you're really up for a renuvation, switch from a conventional water heater to an on demand heater.
6. Run the dishwasher only when full. Wait until you fill your dishwasher before turning it on and always set it to the energy saving mode.
7. Turn off your TV, DVD player, computer and cable box. Even while in "standby" mode, your home entertainment center and computer consume energy. Plug them into a power strip and turn it off after your shut down your electronics.
8. Clean your refrigerator. Take a look at what's on top of your fridge-cluttered much? Clear it off. Those piled up plastic containers and cereal boxes can prevent your fridge from venting heat effectively. Then go for the more demanding project: Remove the grill at the base of the fridge (or turn the fridge around) to clean the coils.
9. Compost your food scraps. Food waste stored in airless landfills is eaten by bacteria that release massive amounts of methane, a gas 21 times more heat trapping than CO2. As an added bonus, you get nutrient rich soil to grow tomatoes, herbs, and other garden favorites.
10. Take the bus or ride your bike. The average 12 mile commute to work produces roughly 12 pounds of CO2 (depending on your mileage, you produce one pound of CO2 for every mile driven). Even diesel buses are cleaner than cars when you factor in the number of passengers on board. Give the bus a shot once a week for a year. Or give your legs and heart a workout by communting on a bike and save even more. To sum it all up, after a year of these efforts, you'll have kept 3.5 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.