Saturday, February 16, 2008

List of things you can do to help our Environment

Here are some things I do (including some suggestions for others). Doing most/all of the below can greatly help the environment.

* Use Compact Fluorescent bulbs wherever possible in the home.
* Use LEDs in the proper places where needed.
* Only wash cloths in cold water (been doing this for many years)
* Use an alternative washer like this one (opens in new window).
* Lower the water heater thermostat to something reasonable (or get an on the spot water heater)
* Get a very efficient vehicle. Pedal powered bike, walking, partial zero emissions vehicle (or no emissions vehicle, I use a PZEV).
* Drive much less. I drive as little as I can
* If you are in an area that has very low humidity in the summer, look into using evaporative coolers instead of heat pumps. Use fans when possible. Here in Northern California where I'm at, the summers are not humid and so we only have an evaporative cooler to cool the house when it gets too hot. We usually try to keep windows open at night to let in the cool summer night air.
* Only purchase "green energy" from your power company. If they don't offer it, request it and keep requesting it. Get others to request it.
* Use a low wattage computer. See this post for one (opens in new window).
* Do not buy bottled water or soda. Drink tea or filtered water from the tap.
* Buy as much produce locally as you can. This may not be possible in Winter. Always try to purchase Organic produce that was grown as close to your home as possible.
* Go vegan (hard at first for meat eaters but a lot of vegan food is delicious). Raising livestock is usually inhumane and also consumes lots of food (the land used to grow said food could be used to grow human food for those who are starving to death). Raising livestock also pollutes horribly. Check out this post to see how most animals are treated while being raised for food (opens in new window).
* Invest in some solar panels. I've seen 1kW grid tie in solar systems for under $6k
* Do not use disposable utensils, plates or cups. Avoid paper towels when possible. Use only recycled paper towels when they are NEEDED.
* BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) to the grocery and anywhere else bags may be used. Pressure your state/country to implement a per plastic bag tax (see This post (opens in new window) to see how Ireland did it). I have saved about 20 or so bags this week alone while shopping for my family and someone else.
* Keep an eye out and turn off any unused lights, appliances, etc. When I first moved into this house, the previous residents had electric bills in excess of 10kWs a month and now my wife and I have managed to bring it down to around 1KW a month (which includes two desktop computers and four people).
* Recycle Reduce and Reuse. I have converted two 3-compartment laundry hampers into recycling bins. I will be adding a few more soon. Each compartment is for a different thing that can be recycled. I have collected about 6 30 gallon trash bags full of compacted cans within a couple months from this home and the homes of others. They will be taken to the center soon. I recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles, cardboard, paper and steel cans. Try to make use of a compost pile. Before I moved in here, the family produced around 20-40 bags of trash a WEEK. Now we have reduced that to only 2-3 bags and aiming for 1. The only difference is in number of people, two people left. Now there is four people in this house. Mind you, I have only been living here about 3 months.
* EarthShip. Look into it. Check out this post to find out more (opens in new window).
* Insulate your home very well.
* Lower the thermostat in Winter to between 60-65. In summer raise it to 75-80. It will save tons. Keep your air filter clean. Use a reusable filter when possible. Have the insides of your furnace cleaned about once a year by a professional. Also have your duct work cleaned out once every year or so by a professional.
* Low flow shower heads, sink faucets.
* This may sound gross to some, but it's not as long as you use common sense (and keep the lid down). Most people flush their toilet after EVERY use, even if they just had a little sprinkle. Some get low flow toilets, some manipulate their older ones to use less water. We have older toilets that use something like 3-4 gallons a flush. I manipulated them and now they use about 1 gallon a (small) flush and about 3 gallons for a full flush. I also will only flush after depositing solid waste or after a day (whichever comes first). This I know saves a lot of water in a house of four with three guys.
* Use natural non-toxic cleaners in your household along with safe natural laundry soap, dish soap, etc.
* Use common sense where possible, keep in mind what you need to do and do it.

This post will be updated from time to time to add more content, edit current content, etc. I hope your found this post useful!