Green Living

Aug 26, 2012 by

10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green

How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization, share ideas on how to GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN at home and at work. To learn more about Worldwatch’s efforts to create am environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs, sign up here for weekly e-mail updates.

Climate change is in the news. It seems like everyone’s “going green.” We’re glad you want to take action, too. Luckily, many of the steps we can take to stop climate change can make our lives better. Our grandchildren-and their children-will thank us for living more sustainably. Let’s start now.

We’ve partnered with the Million Car Carbon Campaign to help you find ways to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. This campaign is uniting conscious consumers around the world to prevent the emissions-equivalent of 1 million cars from entering the atmosphere each year.

Keep reading for 10 simple things you can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier, healthier life. For more advice, purchase State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures to learn more about the shift from consumerism, the W, a report from 60 renowned researchers and practitioners on how to reorient cultures toward sustainability.

    1. Save energy to save money.

 Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.

  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
  • Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use.
  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
  • Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.

 

  1. Save water to save money.
    • Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
    • Install a low-flow showerhead. They don’t cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
    • Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
    • Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.

     

  2. Less gas = more money (and better health!).
    State of the World
    Purchase State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World to learn more about overcomig global climate change

    • Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
    • Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
    • Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.

     

  3. Eat smart.

     

  4. Skip the bottled water.
    State of the World
    Purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet to learn more about eating sustainably.

     

  5. Think before you buy.
    • Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you’ve just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
    • Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
    • When making purchases, make sure you know what’s “Good Stuff” and what isn’t.
    • Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.

     

  6. Borrow instead of buying.
    • Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
    • Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.

     

  7. Buy smart.

    • Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
    • Wear clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
    • Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you’ll be happy when you don’t have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).

     

  8. Keep electronics out of the trash.

     

  9. Make your own cleaning supplies.
    Million Car CampaignJoin the Million Car Carbon Campaign by purchasing your Earth-Aid kit today.
    • The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
    • Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.

     

  10. Bonus Item!

     

Thanks to members of SustainUS, the U.S. youth network for sustainable development, for contributing their ideas on how to go green and save green at home and at work.

 

1 Comment

  1. Amy Malloy

    This is a fantastic reference for anyone looking to take those first steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle. It is applicable both at home and at work, where some of us spend most of our waking hours! There is so much talk about the creation of green jobs, especially during an election year. But, it seems we should pay an equal amount of attention to “greening” the jobs that already exist. I recently compiled a list of ideas for someone looking to transition into a career with an environmental focus. (see http://www.everblue.edu/blog/create-your-own-green-job). Your top 10 list of ways to go green is a perfect resource for anyone looking to start green initiatives in the workplace. These are great ideas for low cost ways to bring sustainability and cost savings to a company, protect the environment, and transform an ordinary job into a green career!

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