How To Be Green
The Good Human
January 17th, ed 2013
Make The Road, Your Home, and Your Work a Little Greener
We can all take small steps to wisely use energy, help not pollute our atmosphere and do our part to keep unnecessary waste out of landfills. Here are suggestions of what you can do on the road, at home and at work to help preserve the quality of our air, land and water.
On the Road
The suggestions here all point to one objective: using less gasoline. Gas pumps billions of pollutants into the air every year, according to the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the number. To use less gas:
- Regularly avoid accelerating quickly.
- Don’t overuse your brakes (don’t rest your foot on the brake, for example) and don’t use your trunk as a storage locker.
- Maintain your vehicle with scheduled tune-ups and use the recommended grade of motor oil indicated in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
- Keep your tires properly inflated so your tires don’t wear down faster.
When shopping for a new or used vehicle from sites like automotive.com, choose the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. With a wide range of clean, fuel-efficient vehicles available today, it’s easier than ever to go green. To help you decide whether a hybrid vehicle is right for you, compare hybrids with traditional vehicles on a U.S. Energy Department-sponsored interactive website epa.gov.
To maximize energy efficiency in the home:
- Ensure your refrigerator is operating at peak performance by cleaning the coils every six months, keeping the inside temperature of the fridge between 38 and 40 degrees and the freezer between 0 and 5 degrees.
- To reduce inadvertent water usage, install low-flow toilets, fix any slow leak in a faucet (which can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day), turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth and wait to run your dishwasher until it’s full.
- Running the dishwasher only when it’s full saves another 20 gallons per day.
The average American uses approximately the equivalent of a 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products each year, according to CleanAir.org. To minimize the environmental impact of this, reuse and recycle. If your city has recycled trash pick-up, learn the rules for what should go into the recycled bin and diligently separate recyclable materials from those that can’t be reused.
To reduce heating and cooling demands at your office and use less electricity generally, check into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. Some of the energy-saving steps suggested include:
- Turn off the lights when you leave your office or conference room.
- Install a programmable thermostat that can automatically adjust the building’s temperature settings so energy isn’t wasted to cool or heat the air when the building is empty.
- Keep the blinds in a room open during the sunniest part of the day during cold weather, and close the blinds during the day in warm or hot weather.
- Install an EPA-qualified water cooler that uses about half as much energy as a standard unit.
Guest post by Natasha Grimm, a native of Washington D.C. who writes about environmental