You can do more than wear green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year. You can “go green”—throughout your home.
The best way to start is simply to waste less. Here are four ways to do that:
Save energy. Use the energy you need—wisely, so you don’t waste any. It’s simple to conserve energy at home. Some examples: Turn off lights and electronics when they’re not in use. Use a smart power strip to help you turn off multiple electronic devices at once. Lower the heat at night during the winter and raise it during the summer. When the weather is mild, turn your air conditioning system off completely. Replace old, incandescent lightbulbs with high-efficiency LEDs. Use cold water—instead of hot—whenever possible to save the energy used to heat water.
Conserve water. A few conservation strategies: Take shorter showers. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full. Invest in water-efficient toilets and low-flow faucets and showerheads. Fix leaks immediately.
Recycle electronics. When you replace your computer, printer or other electronics, don’t throw the old ones in the trash; they’ll wind up in a landfill. Instead, donate or recycle them. Manufacturers and retailers often have recycling programs, and some charities accept used electronics. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycling 1 million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,500 homes for a year.
Shop locally. Like your electric cooperative, many nearby markets and shops are locally owned and operated. These small, independent businesses often rely on local farmers, craftspeople and labor to supply them with what they sell and the services they provide to you. That means their goods require less long-distance transportation, which has a positive impact on the environment.
You already buy your electricity from your local electric cooperative; look for a neighborhood food cooperative, credit union and other kinds of cooperatives to do business with as well.