It does not have to be Earth Day to think about how you can make a difference. Here are a few tips:
· Reduce home energy consumption by turning down the heat at least 2 degrees in the winter (68 or lower), turn up the air conditioner at least 2 degrees in the summer (78 or higher).
· Walk, bike, carpool or take public transit whenever possible and combine your errands to reduce driving.
· For your next vehicle purchase, choose a fuel efficient, low-emission car or a hybrid.
· To keep the house cooler in the summer, keep blinds and curtains closed.
· Take advantage of our sunny summers and line dry your clothes outside. Your clothes smell fresh and you save energy.
· Build a greener home.
· Save energy by switching to CFL or LED light bulbs.
· Go solar. Installing a solar panel will allow you to reduce drastically your reliance on coal-generated electricity, taking some strain off your overtaxed electricity grid and moderating your carbon footprint.
· Unplug appliances that aren’t being used. They use energy in standby mode.
· Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room.
· Reduce consumption first, then reuse, donate or repair items, and finally recycle whenever possible.
· Take reusable bags to the grocery store them handy in the trunk. Given a choice between plastic and paper, opt for paper.
· Buy products with recycled content and with less packaging whenever possible.
· Take your batteries to a recycling center.
· Buy permanent items instead of disposables.
· When you receive unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazines, or junk mail, ask to be removed from the mailing list. Then recycle the item.
· Buy locally grown food and choose organic. Food is fresher, healthier and energy is saved on transportation.
· Start a compost pile. Yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 24 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.
· Save water by turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth.
· To help conserve water, do outdoor watering before 11:00 am and after 7:00 pm on hot days.
· Buy eco-friendly cleaning and laundry products to help preserve water quality.
· Wash things only when necessary and make sure dishwashers and washing machines are full before running them.
· Save water by rinsing vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under a running faucet.
· Conserve water by using a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios.
· Deep soak your lawn and only water when it needs it. Letting grass grow taller in the summer will help the soil hold the moisture and require less water. Consider xeriscaping and planting native and drought tolerant plants.
· Consider planting shade trees on your property. Trees shade roofs from the hot summer sun. Shrubs and vines can be planted to keep walls cool. Shading your air conditioner can reduce energy costs by as much as 50 percent.
· Drink tap water instead of buying bottled water to help keep plastic out of landfills.
· Turn your water heater down to save energy.
· Use low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets.
· Discover your local watershed and learn how to protect it.