Going Green Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket

By Silicon Valley Blogger on 10 July 2010 (Updated 13 July 2010) 3 comments
Photo: panorios

With all the environmental disasters we've been facing lately, it's easy to feel helpless about the state of our world. You may feel frustrated and even compelled to protest the big picture issues we've been experiencing. But rather than fall into this mood, I'd like to suggest that we take a look at those things we have a bit more control over.

How about we revisit those things that we can actually do in the name of going green? I'm hoping that in some capacity, the small actions may add up. Having control over some things may help assuage some of the frustrations we feel. After all, we've already covered a few ideas for going green and saving money at the same time. How about a few more simple moves that we can do around the house?

Watch Those Energy Bills

Let's start with the obvious. Your electricity bill: if there were things you could do to go green that could also bring your utility bill down, wouldn’t you want to do them? But of course! So let’s get started in that direction right now.

First, you need to get in the habit of turning your thermostat down. Even doing this by just a couple of degrees can make a dent in your electricity bill, and you'll hardly notice the difference in your house. But in case you do, you can always throw on a sweater until you become accustomed to it.

You can also choose to unplug your electronics, particularly "energy vampires," or appliances that are heavy energy users. While it's been reported to save only around 30 to 60 kilowatt hours a month in an average house, you may want to do this more for the sake of reducing CO2 emissions. Something as simple as using a power strip may simplify how you're able to control your energy usage.

When it comes down to where your energy hogs are at home, don't look further than your home office. It's the perfect place to use an eco-socket (or power strip). There are several versions of these available at hardware stores but the basic idea is that the strip has one switch on it that automatically powers off everything that is plugged into it. You could have ten things plugged into one panel (easy to do in a home office when you think about it) and they will all switch off in one hit.

You can also buy various appliances nowadays that save energy all on their own. Even kitchen items and other household objects are now being manufactured with the environment in mind. You can buy kettles which have an eco-switch on them which allows you to boil at slightly lower temperatures. You can use more energy efficient light bulbs or install light dimmers to allow you to use less power altogether.

Go Green Around The Yard

Another way to save is to recycle as much as you can at home. Get a compost bin and start chucking all your garden rubbish in it, as well as some of your compostable kitchen rubbish as well. For those who use compost, making your own can add to your savings.

If you've got a garden, then you can also try growing your own fruit trees and vegetables, which can be quite rewarding. One great benefit? It allows you to grow produce that is truly organic and free of pesticides and other additives. Plus, there's the convenience of having them ready to hit your kitchen without a trip to the store.

And if you're so inclined, buying things secondhand from yard sales and online sites like Craigslist and eBay is another great way to promote recycling. I personally love shopping for gently used items, as I've found a lot of my favorite treasures this way.

So have you got any tips for saving money and the environment that have worked well for you? While the politicians and big companies worry about the big picture, I'm all for doing what I can in my little corner of the world to help with keeping things clean and green.

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Guest's picture

We keep most everything around here on power strips, even the microwave. The stovetop is turned off at the breaker until needed (why have all those clocks in the kitchen staring at you everyday), plus the trek to the fusebox each time I want to use the oven is great added exercise.

I have line-dried my clothes for the past year and although it was originally for saving energy purposes my clothing is actually looking and holding up better than it ever has in the past. There is a lot to be said for ditching the dryer (though we do throw towels in because we can't get rid of the 'scratchy' feeling line drying gives them).

While we haven't made the lightbulb switch as yet (can't stand the lighting given off by those bulbs) we do however keep lights off most of the time. I burn a lot of candles around here too.

I have to tell you, my energy bill has taken a nosedive ever since I got serious and started paying attention to all the wasted energy around here.

Guest's picture
minhus

I switched a lot of bulbs to CFLs, including my outside lighting. Also, the outside lighting needed updating, so I switched to motion-detector lights, which means I can have lighting when needed (like when I arrive home after dark), but I don't need to leave them on all the time.

Along with turning the AC temp up in summer and the heat down in winter, I lowered the temp on my water heater.

Also examining the things I buy out of habit, and whether I really need them helps too. Fabric softner and ziploc bags are just two of the things I no longer buy or miss.

Guest's picture

The first thing we did was to start to recycle. Once we started recycling just our plastic and paper, it was shocking to see how little actual garbage we created. And we haven't even done anything as far as compost goes.

I think this might be a great place to start because it doesn't cost a dime to do.