Go Green: A List of Green Home Improvements You Can Do for Free! (Part 2)
Last week, I gave you a list of green home improvements you can do around your home for free. Many news articles will lead you to believe that you need to spend thousands of dollars on renewable energy devices, renovations, and new appliances that you may not really need (or can afford). So, I gave you a list of things you can do in the bathroom, kitchen, or while doing cleaning and laundry that wouldn’t cost a single penny and over time can do just as much good as an upgrade that may cost several thousand dollars (or more).
As promised, here is the second part to the list. Check it out!:
If you must leave the computer or printer/copier on, make sure it is set to sleep or stand-by mode.
When you make prints or copies, always make them double sided (rather than printing on one side of paper). This way, you’ll use half as much paper and save trees in the process.
If you have any used paper you don’t need any more (such as paper that has printed material on one side, but is blank on the other side), you can always use it as scrap paper or for taking notes.
If you have a choice between printing material or saving it to a disk or CD, always go with the disk/CD option!
Also, anything that can be sent via e-mail to co-workers, clients, employees, and so forth should be, if you are allowed to do so.
Always recycle office supplies when you can. This includes paper, printer cartridges, and other electronics. Staples is one office supply store that recycles some of these things. Check other stores in your area (such as Best Buy or Office Depot) to find out if they have any recycling programs available.
Lawn and Garden:
To clean debris off the sidewalks, patio, porch, or out of the garage, use a broom instead of a hose. This conserves water.
Check around the yard for standing (stagnant) water to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. This can include pots, wheelbarrows, buckets, bird feeders, and other such items.
Before you water the lawn (or any other outdoor plants you might have), check the weather forecast. If there is rain heading your way, you can give the hose (or sprinklers) a break and conserve water.
Only water the lawn to the point of being soaked once a week. This will encourage a healthy lawn, even in hot conditions. If your lawn still appears dry, don’t water it more often! It will improve once cooler temperatures return.
Also, when it comes to watering your lawn or garden, only do it in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler outside. This way, there’s less chance of the water evaporating (unlike during the hotter times of the day).
Compost! Always compost your yard clippings when you can. If you don’t have enough space to compost, check if there’s a yard debris recycler in your area. Earth911.com may also have some suggestions on this.
General Home Improvements:
Place furniture, such as desks, tables, and chairs near windows. This way, you can take advantage of the natural sunlight during the day, rather than wasting electricity on a lamp.
Always turn off and unplug electronics or lights when they are not in use.
If you have light fixtures that hold more than one light bulb (such as some ceiling lights), don’t feel obligated to fill every socket. For example, some ceiling light fixtures will hold 4 light bulbs, but you can see just as well with only 1 or 2 bulbs in use.
Any appliance that produces heat (such as the oven or a washer) should only be run during the cooler times of day in the summer months. This will cut back on the heat in your home and the need to run cooling devices, such as fans or air conditioners. The specifics on certain appliances, as well as other information can be found here. Not only will this home improvement improve the sustainability of your home, but is will also save you money too!
On hot days, close all windows, curtains and blinds. This will reduce solar gain and prevent all that nasty hot air from coming into your house. At night time, open the windows to take advantage of the natural cool air, instead of running fans or air conditioners.
If you do use an air conditioner, you should clean the filters every month to keep the appliance running in good condition.
During the colder months, you should set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees. Also, to keep warm, instead of turning the heat up, you can always throw on more layers of clothes, open all the curtains or blinds during the day (except on north-facing windows) to soak up the natural sun, and close all doors to rooms that are not being used so the heat doesn’t spread to unnecessary areas.
That’s all the tips for this week. Next week will be the third and final part of this particular segment, and will include information on transportation, recreation, and your pets!
By Heidi Marshall
Tags: appliances, climates, computers, cooling, efficiency, electronics, energy use, general home improvements, Go Green, green home improvements you can do for free, heating, home improvements, home office, hose, lawn and garden, lights, natural energy, paper, printers, Recycling, tips, watering