Economic hardships alone shouldn’t be cause for becoming more aware of greenhouse gases and global warming; however, in my case, my desperate need to be frugal forced me to re-evaluate my carbon footprint and overall wastefulness.
After much research and painstaking self-reflection, I decided that I could be more energy efficient and save money doing it without much effort. These are but a few of the simple changes I made recently to be more responsible and improve my bottom line. Clean Up The World proved to be an invaluable source.
For decades parents, husbands and wives have complained about leaving lights on after leaving the room. While I am no different, I am also guilty of leaving the television or radio on when I go to the bathroom. I am sure most of us do.
Ordinary incandescent light bulbs remain the most popular type of home lighting, but it’s very inefficient. Switch to compact fluorescent light (CFL) and lower carbon emissions while reducing your energy bill. A 20-watt CFL provides as much light as a 100-watt incandescent and will last about eight times longer.
Installing dimmer switches allows you to control how much light is actually needed. Lighting the average home “generates about two-thirds of a ton of greenhouse gases every year and consumes 20 percent of the average household’s electric bill.” Add dimmer switches and reduce your energy bill while lowering carbon emissions.
While your home may be well-insulated, your windows are the weakest link. Conventional single-pane glass exposed to direct sun on a warm summer day can literally generate as much heat as a space heater. On cold days, those same windows lose more heat than insulated walls. To lower your energy bill and reduce carbon emissions try one or more of the following three suggestions:
a. Lined drapes are a great starting point to cut heat loss. Cut heat transfer through windows “by installing heavy, lined drapes with pelmets or valances.”
b. Cover south-facing windows with awnings. Adjustable awnings will provide shade during warmer months and allow light (and heat) in the winter.
c. Upgrade your windows. Wooden and vinyl frames transfer less heat and therefore provide better insulation than aluminum.
Electric clothes dryers not only cause your meter to run rampant, they generate greenhouse gases. According to Clean Up The World literature, each load done in an electric clothes dryer generates more than 6.5 pounds of greenhouse gases. Whereas, by comparison, a solar clothes dryer (a clothes line) produces none. Benefits: Lower carbon emissions and lower energy bills.
Average washing machines produce greenhouse gases as well — nearly 200 pounds of emissions in a given year — but things really heat up when you wash your dirty laundry with hot water. The majority of energy used to wash a load of clothes comes from heating the water. Choose the cold cycle and save money while reducing carbon emissions.
Using less laundry detergent is another way to reduce carbon emissions. Nearly 3 pounds of greenhouse gases are generated during manufacturing of just 3.5 ounces of the most popular laundry detergents. The scrubbing motion that occurs within your washing machine does most of the work, therefore, less detergent can be used when doing your laundry without compromising the cleanliness of your family’s clothes.
Read more from this contributor:
“Understanding Your Goldfish”
“Enjoying a Walk with Your Dog”
Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin, “True Green”; (2006)