Many people still think that being environmentally friendly costs more, in some cases this can be true, but there are many things the average person can do that will save money and help the environment.Here we offer you 12 Ways that you can Save Money and The Environment.
Change all your household light bulbs to energy saving lamps. Some years ago these were very expensive, but now they are similar in price to the old fashioned, and power hungry incandescent ones. They are readily available in lighting shops, hardware stores and even supermarkets are catching the idea. The good news is they still last a lot longer, many of them work on a dimmer, and they give you a healthier softer light. You can do this all at once, like we did, or you can just replace them as they fail and your budget allows. They use much less power, therefore saving on lighting energy bills.
Turn unused lights off, when away from the room for more than 20 minutes. Almost every home burns unnecessary lights. Lights in the kid’s bedroom when they are in the bathroom. Lights in the Kitchen when the family is outside, or in the living area. Outside lights left burning for hours because someone is coming home late should be replaced with a sensor light that turns on as soon as someone approaches, this is also added security for your home. This will save you hours of unnecessary power usage every year.
Ask your power company about switching your supply to green generated power, many power companies offer this alternative today but do not advertise it. This normally costs no more, it is a consumer choice, but you can have power allocated to you that is generated by alternative energy. The more we support green power generation, the more readily available it will be, and the faster we can help the planet.
If you are a long term thinker and planner, then investigate the cost of a supplementary small household wind, or solar, generator. These can easily be installed on your roof, and whilst there is a larger upfront cost, they can reduce your power bills to a minimum, or even nothing if you do not have air-conditioning, or electric heaters. They can be purchased as low as 6,000 used to supplement your existing power, or for around 15-20,000 used to supply all your needs. These can reduce your power bill from 50-90%, and make an enormous contribution to the environment. You can find out more about wind generators at the American Wind Energy Association website. Depending on the size of your power bill, you could pay for your wind generator and have free electricity for the rest of your life, from as little as five years!
Turn Off all appliances every night whilst you are sleeping, or away from your home. The average ‘LED standby light’ used on an appliance costs about 10% of your electricity bill every year. Those tiny little lights pervade our lives, they are everywhere, almost every appliance or electrical device has one – if we can minimise them when we are not using the appliances or the home/office, we save big time and so does the environment. Imagine if everyone did this, we could close 1 in 10 eco-unfriendly power stations! A standby light on a television can use as much power in a day, as watching the TV for four hours. So here there are big savings for you and the environment.
Turn off your computers and associated devices like hard drives, monitors, printers, routers, print servers. They all use standby by power. Some experts estimate you can save as much as 90 used per year by just turning off the PC and monitor.
Make it a rule in your house, if no one is watching the TV ensure it is turned off fully. Same goes for any appliance or device not being used. This will save you an estimated 16-24% of power for that device every year.
When you replace appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines, dryers, even small appliances – check the energy rating on the box or device. There are many energy efficient, green friendly appliances produced now and these are the ones to buy. You will save money over the lifetime of the appliance, even if it costs a bit more to start, but often they are the same price. Look for the energy star label, or similar in your country, and you will save more money.
At festivity times, minimize light pollution and energy usage by just having lights on your tree. Replace all your energy hungry lights with colourful decorations instead, there are even glow in the dark festival decorations which are really exciting but do not consume any power. I know the Christmas lights are a tradition, but it is a tradition that will become culturally unacceptable as our plant spins into chaos because we emit too much pollution every day. This will also give you more money to spend on the actual family festivities, help the environment, and you and your neighbours will have more restful sleep. If you cannot give up your Christmas lights, then at least put them on a timer!
If you use air-conditioning it is better’ for your health, and the health of the planet to set it at around 22/70°. This is a comfortable, cool temperature for humans. It is not good for our bodies to leave 18/64° of airco and go into 38/100 degrees outside, it weakens our immunity. It also stresses the air conditioners and the lifetime is drastically reduced, and it is incredibly power hungry as the compressor is almost continually working. Ensure your house is insulated inside the roof, and add whirlybirds to your roof – these two simple, low cost steps will dramatically decrease the inside temperature of your home in summer. An added advantage is they also prevent heat escaping in the winter. I have seen a difference of 10 degrees less in summer inside a house where these steps were taken!
Winter heating is essential for human comfort, but again consider the temperature. It should be maintained at a comfortable 21-22/68-70°, this is a natural temperature for a human body to operate with maximum performance. Some people, and shops, have their central heating so high that it stifles the human brain functions – they slow down in a high temperature. It is OK in winter to wear a light sweater inside! Heating is a huge cost in most homes, and the older your home is the worse it will be. Many old European homes consume 3-5,000 litres or 600-1000 gallons of fuel every season. This is very expensive. For just a few hundred dollars putting insulation inside your roof, ensuring all your doors and windows are well sealed can reduce this consumption by up to 50%. Remember heat rises, so your roof is the obvious escape vent for your expensive heating, and you may still be cold at floor level. Install a ceiling fan and using the reverse cycle, will transfer the existing generated heat back down to the floor again and freshen the air. This has an added bonus, that it cools very effectively in summer.
Where you have access to natural gas, it is worth converting electrical appliances to the gas system. Many companies offer large rebates, even free appliances, to encourage this. Gas is cleaner, and far more efficient source of energy than electricity. You will cook faster, pre heating not required. You will heat any area much faster. Hot water only needs to heat as required, which means endless hot water (no more cold showers after the teenagers) but it only heats when you are using it. We do not recommend stored water systems with pilot lights. Gas is generally much cheaper than electricity, but you need to check this for your community.There are many more things you can do, but this is already a huge start in giving you more money in your pocket and being a positive contributor to a clean, safe planet for your family.