Go green tips: How to green your home, work and community interview and podcast with Nancy H. Taylor
Podcast correction – I incorrectly referred to the URL of Planet Jackson Hole as PlanetJH.org.” The correct URL is Planetjh.com. This is referring to where Nancy Taylor publishes environmental and going green related articles.
Nancy also gave us ten (10) tips to help you green your home and family. They include green energy tips, water conservation tips and more.
1. Green your home with compact fluorescents (CFLs) light bulbs
Change your non-dimmable light bulbs from incandescents to compact fluorescents.
CFLs come in all shapes and sizes and even many shades of the color spectrum; so you do not have to have a white glare or even use the curly bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are going to be obsolete soon, so educate your kids about how much energy CFLs save. Because CFLs have a trace of mercury in the bulb, they must be disposed of at a recycling center.
2. Green your home by reducing the temperature of your water heater
Turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees F. or 50 degrees C.
If your water heater is not insulated, wrap an insulating blanket around it. If your water heater is gas, and not insulated, be sure to leave room for the air vent. Do not cover any venting pipes with a blanket.
3. Green your home with an energy audit
Arrange to have an energy audit for your home or apartment, which can be done through most utility companies or through an independent contractor.
This audit will tell you where and how you are wasting energy, or areas that are lacking insulation. If you follow some of the suggestions, it is possible you can get a rebate from the utility and possibly a federal or state tax credit.
4. Green your home by reducing the amount of heat and electricity you use
Get a programmable thermostat for your furnace or home heating system.
If your home or apartment is vacant all day, setting the heat to turn down while you are gone will save you money and energy. Also, turn the heat down at night. Adjust your air conditioner, so that it cools to a warmer temperature in the summer. Use shades to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer. In the summer, open windows at night to let the cool night air in, then close windows and curtains to keep the house cool all day.
5. Green your energy use by reducing your consumption
Turn off lights and the TV when you leave a room. We are used to leaving appliances running even when we don’t need them.
Appliances that run unnecessarily:
- Draw energy
- Cost us money
- Create carbon dioxide
When you buy an appliance, be sure it is Energy Star rated; there are ratings for everything from air conditioners to Xerox machines.
6. Green your energy use by using a power strip
Involve everyone in the family in using power strips. Any gadget that has a digital readout or transformer box on its power cord needs to be plugged into a power strip and then turned off when not in use. They include:
- DVD players
- Phone chargers
- Adding machines
- Coffee makers
Just about any any device draws power even when it is turned off.
If you plug the devices into a power strip and then turn the power strip off at night or whenever your computer or TV is not in use, you can save up to 10% on your energy bill.
7. Green your home by reducing your carbon footprint
Try walking, biking and more Try to minimize the carbon-producing transportation patterns of your family.
- Take public transportation
- Ride your bike for more than just recreation
- Join your neighbors for shopping trips, meetings or events
- When you fly offset the carbon footprint of your trip by buying green tags
8. Green your home with organic, sustainable local food and change your shopping habits
Food buying patterns use energy too. Most food travels 1500 miles from farm to fork. See if you can find food that was not transported from far away. Many stores carry local produce from neighboring farms.
- Read the labels on fruits and vegetables to see where they were grown
- Buy in bulk
- Avoid foods that use large amounts of packaging
- Buy from a farmers market or community supported agriculture (CSA)
- Bring your own bag to the market. Stop using plastic bags for supermarket shopping. Plastic is a petroleum product
9. Green your home by reducing water consumption
Water is another source of energy use; it needs to be heated for showers and washing dishes.
- Take shorter showers or put a shut-off valve on the shower to turn it off while soaping, shampooing or shaving
- Put a water-saver nozzle on your showerhead and all faucets
- Use cold water to wash your clothes and dry your clothes on a rack or a clothesline
- Turn the water off when brushing your teeth, (a great way to teach kids about not wasting water) or while shaving
10. Green your home by reusing water
Using potable water from the hose to water lawns and plants can deplete your water supply, especially if you are in a drought region of the country.
- If you live in a place where you could collect rainwater, catch it in a barrel and use it for watering plants and landscaping.
- If you are landscaping, plant drought resistant plants using a method called xeriscaping.
Find out more about Nancy Taylor and her book Go Green: How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community