Climate change and the need to “go green” are topics constantly in the news. Solar panels line the roofs of your neighborhood and wind turbines have begun to dot the suburban landscape. Americans are demanding change and they want it now. Waiting for the government to do something could take forever, so it’s time to take the bull by the horns.
In conjunction with the Million Car Carbon Campaign (MCCC), I’ve put together a list suggestions to help you reduce your carbon footprint. The MCCC’s goal is to eliminate the equivalent carbon emissions of a million cars.
Read on for simple ways you can help the environment, while saving a few bucks and living happier in the process.
Save Energy – Save Money
- Adjust your thermostat two degrees lower throughout the winter and two degrees higher during the summer to lessen your cooling and heating costs.
- Don’t replace blown-out incandescent bulbs with new ones. Good lord, why do they even sell those any longer?! Install a CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb) instead.
- Unplug appliances that are not in use. Merely shutting them off doesn’t fully cut the energy usage. Better yet, install a smart strip that will detect when an item isn’t in use and cut the power completely.
- Trust me on this; your clothing comes out just as clean in cold water as it does in hot. Nearly 90 percent of the energy used to wash a load of clothes goes to heat the water.
- Give the clothes dryer a break and hang clothes out to dry now and again.
Save Gas – Save Money
- Leave the car in the garage and bike or walk to work. This will not only save you some money on parking and gas, but it will help get you in better shape.
- If you live far from your place of employment, find out if car sharing or ride sharing is an option so you can give up your car for good.
- Fight injustice in the inner city by petitioning your local officials to spend more on bike lane and sidewalk upgrades. Small improvements like these can significantly reduce traffic.
Save Water – Save Money
- Reduce your water usage in the shower by setting a timer. Cutting shower time in half can lead to hundreds of dollars in savings every year.
- Purchase a low-flow showerhead. They are inexpensive and pay for themselves within a month.
- Replace your existing toilet with a dual flush system.
- Every faucet in your home should have a faucet aerator. These help keep water pressure high while conserving water and heat.
Eat Smarter – Save Money
- Think of the most expensive item you buy at the store; what is it? That’s right, it’s meat, and eliminating two or more meat meals a week will leave you healthier and a bit richer.
- Commit to growing something, anything, on your own instead of relying on the grocery store. Even if you don’t have room for a full-size garden, there are yard-sharing options that will help increase growing projects in your neighborhood.
- Focus on local food. Try foraging in suburban areas. And even if you can’t grow your own, just a little effort will reveal local food artisans you never knew existed. There’s also evidence that eating local is one of the best things you can do for the economy.
What are your favorite ways to save money while also contributing to a healthier, cleaner planet? Share them in a comment!
Image via Flickr/kennymatic
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