You Can Save Some Green by Going Green
By Samantha Chang
You may have noticed that gas prices have skyrocketed and your utility bills have increased significantly over the past year or so. That’s because soaring global oil prices have had a damaging trickle-down effect on our bottom lines, so it now costs us more to air-condition and heat our homes and fuel our cars. Every week, oil prices are setting new record highs and the trend doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. Meanwhile, you can trim your energy bills and do something great for the environment with these simple energy saving ideas.
Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs? And they provide the same amount of light and use one-third as much electricity as regular bulbs, so what are you waiting for? While the energy-efficient bulbs cost more upfront, they’re more efficient in the long run because of their extended life and the impact they’ll have on your electricity bills.
Decorate with Potted Plants
Why waste money on expensive interior décor when beautiful, vibrant plants can perk up your home and provide an eco-friendly side effect? Recent NASA studies suggest that common indoor house plants can actually fight indoor air pollution by absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air, says Dr. Bill Wolverton, an ex-NASA research scientist. “Future results will provide an even stronger argument that common indoor landscaping plants can be a very effective part of a system used to provide pollution-free homes and work places,” he says.
Use Power Strips
Even when your computer, TV and microwave are turned off, they continue to draw a substantial amount of energy if they’re plugged into an outlet. To minimize energy waste and your utility bill, try putting your appliances on power strips that can be turned off when they’re not being used.
As consumers, collectively we wield tremendous power. Therefore, let your dollars do the talking for you by purchasing greener cleaning supplies and personal care products. For example, many conventional dishwashing and laundry detergents are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource that also contains carcinogens. So opt for fragrance-free options, if possible, and other products that use biodegradable and environmentally friendly ingredients. Generally, the cost of these products is on par with, or slightly lower, than name-brand products that use harsh chemicals.
Rethink Your Daily Commute
Obviously, the most eco-friendly commute is walking or biking to work. But if you live in a big city, this may not be practical, so instead of driving to the office every day, consider car-pooling or taking public transportation. Not only is this better for the environment, but you can save a decent amount of money every month on gas and parking. Another great option is to consider telecommuting if your employer is open to this.
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