How to Live in a Greener & More Economical Manner

Posted On Friday, 07 April 2017
How to Live in a Greener & More Economical Manner

It is amazing to think the extent to which each of us has the power to significantly reduce our carbon footprint, and make big savings in our household, by living a little “greener.”

Some energy saving methods are obvious. For instance, using less electricity and saving on water use both are well-known methods.

However, others are either less known or involve making a change.

These are just a few steps your family can take to make this world a little greener, while saving a few dollars in the process:

Air Dry Dishes & Laundry

Recent polls suggest that a daily habit in Europe -- drying clothes on a line instead of in the dryer -- is majorly unpopular in America, where approximately 85 percent of all households use tumble dryers on an average more than twice a week.

Clothes dryers account for a whopping six percent of our annual energy expenditure. We also expend undue energy when placing our dishwashers on the heat dry (instead of air dry) cycle. If your dishwasher does not have an air dry cycle, just turn the machine off after the wash cycle is complete and open to door slightly to allow dishes to dry.

Only use your washing machine and dishwasher if you have a full load. Otherwise, the energy expenditure is difficult to justify.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

This will enable you to use the most heat when necessary, and to turn down the thermostat, or even turn off the heating, if you will be away from your home for several hours. Also, try to ensure that your water heater’s thermostat is turned down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Consider Changing or Updating Your Heating Source

If you have an old boiler or furnace, you may be eligible for a renewable heat incentive scheme. In the UK, one such incentive saw many citizens switch from energy-wasting boilers to biomass boilers or solar/thermal heat. In America, there are many schemes available on both a state and federal level.

Consult energy.gov to discover the many tax credits, rebates and savings you can take advantage of, for everything from paying for energy improvements to installing high efficiency heat pumps.

Clean or Replace Filters on Furnaces or Air Conditioning Units Regularly

Follow the instructions set by the manufacturer. Also, ensure you eliminate trapped air from hot water radiators at least two times during the winter season. Ask help from a heating professional if you are unsure about how to do this.

Make Sure Your Air Ducts Are Well-Sealed

Leaky ducts that leak hot air into unheated spaces can add hundreds of dollars to your yearly heating bill.
In the winter season, keep draperies and shades on south-facing windows open. This will enable the sunlight to heat up your home naturally.

Consider Installing a Green Roof

If you live in an urban area and your roof is flat or shallow-pitted, your home may be a great candidate for a beautiful garden roof, which will provide insulation and lessen the need for heating and cooling.

Save on Fuel by Driving Safely

Reckless driving, which includes driving fast and slamming on the breaks frequently, wastes fuel. The same applies for speed bumps. Drive slowly in areas which contain them, instead of driving fast and breaking every time you approach a bump.

Unless it is really hot, avoid relying on air conditioning. By dropping your speed from 80mph to 70mph, you can actually save as much as 25 percent on fuel.

Other steps you can take to reduce your fuel consumption include reducing the amount of weight you are carrying in your car, checking to see that tires are in order, and not allowing the revs (revolutions per minute) in your car jump to 3,000 or so per minute. Change gear upwards at 2,500 revs. If you can, ditch your car completely in favor of greener forms of transport, or better yet, cycle or walk to your destinations!

Further Reading

Energy.gov, Save Money and Energy Today, accessed March, 2017.
Quotezone.co.uk, Compare energy prices from all suppliers, accessed March, 2017.
Homeguides.sfgate.com. How to save by not using dishwasher heat, accessed March, 2017.
Blog.opower.com, America’s most unpopular way of saving energy…is one of Europe’s favorites, accessed March, 2017.
Need.org, Saving Energy at Home and School, accessed March, 2017.

Helen Lawler

Helen Lawler is a freelance writer and mother. She previously worked in several positions in the healthcare sector, ending her career in a management role. Upon becoming a mother she decided to pursue her first love of writing and has rediscovered a lost passion as well as finding a flexible and rewarding role that complements family life.

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