8 Tips to Green Your Daily Life
Earth Day is an annual reminder that the planet needs us to step up our game now—not only for a holiday—but on a daily basis. Living a green lifestyle is essential to the sustainability of our common home. It is also good for our wallet, offering savings of thousands of dollars every hear when we make smarter energy choices.
Light up Your Life
Switching out your incandescent lights with LED lighting in your home or office can save up to 85% on your lighting bill. With new technology and greater availability, LED bulbs are now under $10 each and can last for up to 15 years. Unlike CLs (compact fluorescents), they do not contain mercury or other toxic elements. Live by the mantra, “On when you enter, off when you leave.” One noteworthy example: when the Ritz-Carlton Denver switched to LED lighting, the electrical engineering team was able to use some of the savings on their lighting bill to invest in other sustainable solutions.
Get to know your energy hogs and vampires and discover the best times to energize.
Save up to 90% on your electric bill with a few easy tricks. Put a timer on your water heater, so you are not heating water while you are asleep or at work. Don’t heat or cool empty homes or rooms. (Hotels routinely turn off entire floors when occupancy is lower.) Combine loads for the dryer. Big appliances are energy hogs, so the less you use them, the better. Power down and unplug your energy vampires like cell phone chargers, computer chargers, and home entertainment systems when they are not in use. You don’t need to charge your batteries 24/7, just as you don’t need your lights on 24/7. A simple power strip can make it easy to power down.
Xeriscape your lawns, at home and at work and plant native greenery. Research grey water systems and find out what you can incorporate at home. Support community gardens instead of grass at local schools and parks. Water plants in the early morning or evening, when more of the water is absorbed and less evaporates in the hot sun. Don’t keep water running while you brush, wash dishes or hands.
Investigate: Are green funds really green?
Sadly, there are more than a few fund companies that call their products sustainable, and/or socially responsible, but are invested in companies that are not. Most of the green exchange traded funds (ETFs) run truer to their name than the mutual funds (even of well-known socially conscious fund companies). Be careful when investing in individual clean energy companies. Most are still in the red and can have volatile swings in their share price. Purchasing a fund protects you from the risk and price volatility of owning just one individual company.
The average American spends almost $2,000 per year on gas and almost $4,000 when gas prices are at their high. Is it time to rethink your transportation? Look into a hybrid or an electric car. Powering up an EV costs half or less than fueling up with gasoline. Try moving closer to work. Look into commuting by bike or train. Biking or walking when you run your errands can beautify your bottom line, your bottom, and our planet. You’d be surprised how much exercise and health you can enjoy, and how much money you’ll save, with this one simple trick.
Reduce your heating/cooling bill
If your home is properly insulated, your body heat actually warms the space. If your utility bill is high, chances are that you have a drafty house. Visit PassiveHouse.us for tips on passive solar, insulation and energy reduction. Complete your energy efficiency upgrades in 2016 and you might qualify for a tax credit. (Learn more at energy.gov.) When you can heat or cool a smaller space (your office, say) rather than the entire house, you are saving a massive amount of energy (and money).
Clean Energy Tax Credits
Use them now! Many energy efficiency tax credits are set to expire at the end of 2016. Visit EnergyStar.gov and search for “tax credits” to see what is available.
The Global Earth Day Gratitude celebration on April 22
From 7:30 to 8:30 PM on April 22, 2016, Earth Day (worldwide, in your own time zone), individuals around the world will power up the gratitude and power down the grid to get as close to personal net zero as possible. Illuminate by moonlight, candlelight, or LEDs. (It will be a full moon.) We can count our blessings. Focus on energy efficiency. Observe the fresh insights that flood our awareness and the world consciousness. Be epic. Allow the lessons learned in this practice to inform new habits in the days ahead.
Download your free Earth Day Gratitude ebook at EarthDayGratitude.com. The ebook features valuable tips on sustainability and stories of gratitude from visionary leaders such as Prince Charles, Deepak Chopra, Kathleen Rogers, Lynne Twist, and more.