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Go Green and Save in 2016

 money

SAVE GREEN IN 2016

It is never to early to start thinking about plans for the next year. As 2015 winds down, lets gear up for saving in 2016.

Here are a few simple things you can do to save money while being eco-friendly. If you have a limited budget, start with the free ones and then try and add another step as you can afford them. In the long run, the savings will far outweigh the initial cost!  

GO GREEN to SAVE GREEN IN 2016

Reduce Energy Consumption

  • ·        Insulate! Insulate! Insulate!
  • ·        Insulate electrical sockets on outside walls.
  • ·        Turn off the lights when you leave a room to help reduce your electric bill.
  • ·        Unplug your cell phone charger when not in use. (Considered an energy vampire)
  • ·        Turn off anything with LED lighting, ie VCR/DVD, cable box,etc… Again, energy vampires.
  • ·        Do not hold refrigerator or freezer door open for an extended period.
  • ·        Close blinds or curtains on sunny side of house in summer to keep the sun from heating up the room, keeps AC from having to work harder. In winter, open blinds and curtains so sun warms the room, decreasing heating costs.
  • ·        Caulk around windows to keep an airtight seal, reducing energy costs
  • ·        Seal leaks around the house. A common place to look is at the junction where the foundation and house meet. Also another place to look for is where the electric and plumbing come into the house.
  • ·        Change all bulbs to CFL bulbs or LED lighting.
  • ·        Change furnace filter every month to have furnace work efficiently.
  • ·        Use Energy Star appliances when possible.
  • ·        Use a programmable thermostat.
  • ·        Turn down the thermostat. For every degree you turn it up or down you save money. In the winter, turn down the furnace. Wear shoes, socks, and a sweater. We program out thermostat to go down to 64 degrees at 9 pm when the grandchild goes to bed. Everyone can be warm snuggled under the covers! Also open curtains and/or blinds during the day to let the sun warm the room.
  • ·        In the summer, turn air conditioner up and use a ceiling fan in the room you are in, when you leave the room turn off the fan. Close the curtains and blinds on the side of the room the sun will be shining into. This helps to keep heat out thereby reducing energy costs.
  • ·        Caulk around your dryer vent.
  • ·        Turn down water heater to 120 degrees. This can cut up to 5 % off bill with each 10 degrees that you lower the temperature.
  • ·        Put an insulated wrap around your water heater.
  • ·        Use a pressure cooker to cook things quicker, food is also healthier.
  • ·        Give your digital clock away, use a wind up clock, or if you need an alarm what about your cell phone?
  • ·        Weather strip and caulk around doors and windows.
  • ·        Using the microwave is cheaper than using the stove or oven.
  • ·        Cook with crock pot, pressure cooker, or microwave.
  • ·        In the summer, arrange cooking so that you don’t use the oven and heat up the house. Use the grill as an option.
  • ·        In the winter, when you use the oven when the food has finished cooking open the door so the room is warmed too.
  • ·        Air dry dishes, don’t use the high heat drying cycle of the dishwasher.
  • ·        Don’t put the refrigerator near a heating vent.
  • ·        Keep temperature of the refrigerator about 34 degrees F.
  • ·        Keep the freezer temperature between 0-4 degrees F.
  • ·        Keep the refrigerator coils clean. Vacuum the coils every month for maximum efficiency.
  • ·        Keep refrigerator a couple of inches away from the wall so coils won’t have unnecessary heat trapped.
  • ·        Keep freezer full. If necessary use gallon jugs of water between grocery trips. Uses more energy to keep air in freezer at proper temperature than to keep solid items frozen.
  • ·        In refrigerator compartment it is most efficient for the air to circulate around foods.

Reduce Water Consumption

  • ·        Turn off water, don’t let it run when brushing teeth or working in kitchen.
  • ·        Put a brick or plastic bottle filled with water in your toilet to decrease the amount of water you use when flushing toilet.
  • ·        Reuse your bath towel more than one time! Hang it up to dry and use for a few days to reduce the amount of laundry you have. This is for energy AND water savings.
  • ·        Use the water that was used to boil eggs, cool it, and water your plants with the water. Utilize the water that will run down the drain, use it to water your plants or gardens.
  • ·        Insulate at minimum the first 6 ft of hot water pipes from the water heater.
  • ·        Use low flow faucets and showerheads.
  •         Reduce the amount of time spent in the shower by a few minutes for water savings
  •  Take a shower instead of a bath-uses less water
  • Fix any water leaks!  

 Save Money on Laundry

  • ·        Empty dryer lint trap before drying clothes.
  • ·        Don’t wash small loads in the washer. Fill the machine to capacity to keep from doing multiple loads of laundry.
  • ·        Line dry clothes whenever possible.
  • ·        Remove laundry from dryer promptly, to prevent wrinkles and having to iron.
  • ·        When drying clothes separate the lighter clothes from the heavy ones. Dryer will keep running until the wettest item is dry.
  • ·        Wash clothes in cold water. Can save up to $63. a year for the average consumer.
  • ·        Don’t run appliances during peak times. In some areas your energy costs more at these times. Check with your local gas and electric company to see what your peak times are. (Usually around 1pm to 5pm.)
  • Make your own laundry soap-cheaper and no added fillers or chemicals

Saving money in the Home office

  • ·        Turn off the computer, printer, and fax machine when not in use.
  • ·        Shred paper to prevent identity theft, use in compost piles.
  • ·        Use a Smart Strip with all office equipment.
  • ·        Only print what you must have in print form, if you can save in a digital file, do so. If you need to retain it for records purposes, look into an online backup/storage facility. They are very inexpensive and your records are guaranteed safe. (This is great also if you have a system crash!)

Want more ideas, be sure to catch Part 2! If you can think of others-feel free to add them in the comments!

Largest budgetary and environmental impact

Taking care of the environment, reducing carbon emissions,

Saratoga New York
Saratoga New York

relying less on fossil fuels, eating healthier it seems that the majority of the population has a reason to want to live a greener lifestyle. The beginning of our journey came in the form of trying to save money and living a healthier, more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Being a part of suburban homesteading, doing all we can to make the best of our little 1/5 acre, has taught us many lessons. Among those is that this trend is not a new lifestyle- it is a reversion to the lifestyle of our ancestors. Our ancestors being self-sustainable out of necessity were really living a “green” lifestyle before green was cool!

Last year we actually did a list of 101 things that one can do to save money, all while having a positive impact on the environment. ( Why you should go green in 2014 Part 1 & Part 2) It is not all inclusive by any means, but does make a significant impact in the budget while living the greener lifestyle.

Of all the things on the list, I would have to say that the largest impact-both to budget and to the environment, came in the form of taking a serious look at our energy usage. Not just how much we were using, but the type of energy we were using.

We made multiple adjustments in our lifestyle to decrease the amount of energy used on a daily basis: Paying close attention to energy loss as well as energy wasted.

Energy lost is heat or a/c going out the cracks, windows, doors etc. Tightening up our house was not an expensive venture, but it was a little time consuming working to find and plug all those air leaks. This seems to be an ongoing effort with a 100 year old house. But it has made a significant difference, both to budget and our comfort, keeping a more consistent temperature in the living space.

Energy wasted was like a treasure hunt to see where we were using energy that was unnecessary. Enter the “energy vampire”. The energy vampire is an appliance or electronic device that pulls energy even when not in use.

We took a close look at things like the clock on the stove and the clock/timer on the microwave. These burned constant while serving no useful purpose for us. The stove did have an “off” setting for all lights, but the microwave had to be unplugged when not in use.

All of our televisions and other electronics are on a surgeElectric Plug protector/power strip, which can be turned off when not in use. The tv’s with attached cable boxes, when turned back on have to reset which takes about 2-3 minutes, but is no real issue to us.

Our biggest regular draw on power is from our aquaponics tanks. Since we raise tilapia, the water must be maintained at a constant temperature, ph, and aeration, so heater, aerators and pumps must be run constantly. Being the biggest drain on our power has prompted us to convert the greenhouse entirely to solar. As I write we are in process to convert our entire household over to solar, but that will be another post.

Being in a deregulated energy state, our third major move was to research the use of an alternative energy provider. Energy deregulation allows us to make the choice as to whom we buy our energy from. We are not forced to be a part of the energy monopoly still found in many states.

We researched several companies with a focus on savings over the utility, but one that also derived energy from green sources. Our choice made a huge impact on the amount we were paying each month for the energy we did use.

If saving money or reducing your expenses is on the “to-do” list, take a hard look at energy consumption, energy waste, and if in a deregulated state, energy choice. It can make a significant impact on the budget.

 

 

Finnish experts: Solar and wind power yield cheapest energy

banner-solar-us-en

jpratt27

Scientists at the eastern Lappeenranta University have calculated that China would become even more profitable if it were to make the switch to renewable energy within the next five to ten years. As the largest energy consumer in the world, China’s energy production remains a cornerstone of all global climate initiatives. The Finnish project was recently recognized in Japan for its groundbreaking simulation work. See YLE for more

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