Friday, October 19, 2012

Simple ways to Go green and Save Green

Most people think going green has to be synonymous with spending green. But before you go and drop big bucks on those organic cotton sheets, check out these tips for how to be environmentally conscious and save money at the same time.

1. Install native plants
-You will save money on installation & maintenance.
-Native plants usually cost less because they are easier to come by
-Native plants require less time and water for maintenance since they are already adapted to the climate

2. Use alternate systems for irrigation
-1 sq. foot of yard requires a little over .6 gallons of water to be covered by 1" of water. To cover a typical lawn of 100' x 100' requires 6200 gallons of water!
You get charged both for using the water and the sewage that it produces so costs can add up quickly.
-Alternate methods include installing a rain cistern or barrel, and using rain water for irrigation purposes, you could also use a drip irrigation system or avoid watering your grass at all!
-For drainage, rain gardens are an inexpensive solution

3. Simple weatherproofing
-For a few dollars you can by weatherproof tape and door stops to install on doors that lead to the outside to prevent drafts and heat loss.
-Install thermal curtains ($20-$80 a set) According to the Department of Energy (DOE), 25% of the energy used to heat and cool homes goes right out the window. These curtains will help you save $4-$8 per window per year
-Wrap your water heater with an insulation blanket (about $40) and save about $100/ year on energy costs.

4.Green Clean
Vinegar makes a great non-toxic environmentally friendly cleaning product. It disinfects and leaves a nice shine. Use it on everything from glass to silk plants. Add a few drops of essential oils if you are not keen on the smell.

5. Make a few simple changes around the home:
-Energy efficient light bulbs. (will save you about $35/year over 5 years)
-Reduce your thermostat by 2 degrees in the winter and increase it 2 degrees in the summer
-Replace shower heads with slightly lower flow versions
-Buy a pack of rags for cleaning rather than using disposable wipes
-Clean the vents for appliances (refrigerator, microwave, dryer, HVAC) things will run more efficiently saving money and energy.

What are your tips for going green and saving money?