What are some of the ways I could “go green?”

Posted January 22, 2014 by The Argonaut in Real Estate
Start with your light bulbs.  “Installing a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) is the quickest, easiest way to save energy – and money,” says Better Homes and Gardens. “Unlike incandescents, CFLs convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat.”
That gorgeous French door refrigerator you’ve had your eye on?  Here’s another great reason to buy it: it could actually save you money!  Older appliances can be energy suckers.  Check EnergyStar.gov and take their test to see how much energy you could be saving by upgrading your fridge.
According to EnergyStar, “a household with Energy Star products uses about 30% less energy than the average household – an annual savings of about $570.”
Do a home audit.  This can give you a close-up look at your home’s energy usage and identify areas that could be more efficient.  EnergyStar.gov recommends starting by making “a list of obvious air leaks (drafts)” because the “potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year.”
Take about simple.  Improving your eco-friendliness and removing toxic substances from your house is as easy as buying a spray bottle and a bottle of vinegar.  If you really want to get crazy, get a couple of lemons and some olive oil, too.
Switch to showers.  A typical bath takes 30 to 70 gallons of water, while the average eight-minute shower uses only 17 gallons.  If you can’t bear to give up your weekly soak, installing low-flow shower heads and toilets will help offset the greater water usage.
Recycle your water.  It’s far easier (and way less disgusting) than it sounds.  “For many areas of the United States, rainwater harvesting systems could probably provide at least 50% of our water needs, saving the huge amounts of energy required to process the water and transport it to the home,” said Live Green.  All you need is a 50-80 gallon rain barrel that you can connect to your downspout, and the rainwater collected can be used for gardening.
Recycle . . . your clothes.  We all know about recycling paper, plastic and glass.  But what about clothes?  Donating your unused clothes has an impact on the environment, and on the individuals who receive your items.
“By some estimates, for every item of clothing donated, 27 pounds of carbon emissions are reduced based on the fact that you don’t have another item being produced while one is headed to the landfill,” said Real Simple.  You can donate to a local charity or list your items on Freecycle.org.
Hold on to that holey pair of sweats or the t-shirt you never got rid of from your college ex, and turn it into a rag to clean with.  “13 billion pounds of paper towels are used in the U.S. every year.  If all Americans used one less paper towel a day, 571,230,000 pounds of paper would be spared over the course of the year,” said Earth 911.
Go Meatless on Mondays, says RealSimple.com.  Think you can handle a day a week living like a vegetarian?  “Raising livestock produces a large amount of greenhouse gases, so cutting back, even one night a week, makes a big difference.”
How big a difference?  “Adding one meat-free meal a week (for a family of four) has the same impact as driving a hybrid car,” they said.

This week’s question was answered by Bob & Cheryl Herrera, Professional Real Estate Services, (310) 306-5427.


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