Sun Report

13 Ways to Go Green in 2013

Happy New Year from Solar Energy World! To ring in 2013, we have compiled a list of 13 ways to go green, so that this year can be your most eco-friendly year, yet.

williamcho / Foter / CC BY-SA

1. Get a home energy audit.
Saving money and becoming more energy efficient are two of the benefits of having a home energy audit. An analyst will survey your home, identifying weak points where energy is lost. It’s an easy way to see where you can start saving money, and will point out the changes that will make the biggest impact.

2. Block drafts around windows and doors.
Gaps or cracks around windows and doors can cause significant heat loss in the wintertime (or gain, in the summer). Save energy by either sealing the weak points using caulk or draft guards, or having replacement windows or doors installed. Properly fitted windows and doors with energy efficient constructions will help maintain the temperature of your home, meaning that your heating and cooling system will not need to run as often.

3. Unplug electronics when not in use.
This simple tip will help save energy, and may also keep your home a little more organized in the process! Appliances and electronics continue to draw energy when plugged in, even if they are switched off. This is obvious with electronics that have a light or clock that remains on even when the device is powered down, such as a television or DVD player. The more you unplug, the more you save. Start by unplugging your cell phone charger when not in use, and unplugging and storing your hair dryer after you are finished, rather than leaving it plugged in on the bathroom counter. These small changes can add up to make a difference.

4. Save time and energy by planning errands together.
Try to run errands at the same time, and plan the route that makes the most sense. By stopping at several different places that are close to one another, all in the same trip, you will save time, and money on fuel costs.

5. Eat greener.
Styrofoam take-out containers, plastic sandwich bags, and paper wrappers are just part of the waste that food can produce. How can you reduce it? Be mindful of what you need, and look for reusable alternatives. Glass or plastic containers can be used to hold sandwiches or other lunch items, and frequenting carry out places a little less often may help. You could also bring your own reusable bag when picking up dinner from a restaurant, instead of using the paper or plastic tote provided.

6. Recycle old clothing.
When it is time to clean out your closet, don’t throw old clothing into the trash. Items that are in good condition can be given away or donated, of course. Items that are beyond the wearable state may be recyclable. You can either look for ways to re-purpose the fabric yourself, or look for a textile recycling drop off location near you.

7. Add some foliage to your home.
When decorating your home, consider adding more greenery. Potted plants not only look great, they also help filter the air in your home. Certain plants can help remove mold from the air, increase the humidity level, and also increase the amount of oxygen in the air. Besides, plants and flowers look great in any room of the house!

8. Look for alternative heat sources.
It might be cold outside, but do you really need to increase your thermostat setting? Before you turn up the temperature a few degrees, try adding a sweater, a blanket, or lighting a fire in the fireplace.

9. Choose energy efficient appliances.
Many electronics and appliances are labelled as Energy Star certified. These products must meet certain levels of energy efficiency in order to bear the Energy Star seal. Choosing these products over others will ensure that you get the benefits you are looking for, while using less energy than similar products.

10. Wash in cold water.
Heating water is an energy expense that you may not need in all situations. Unless a garment is labelled that it must specifically be washed in hot water, you can save energy by washing laundry in cold water. Remember to choose the appropriate water level for the amount of laundry being washed!

11. Save water with every flush.
A conversion kit can help reduce the amount of water used every time you flush the toilet. Alternately, you can place a brick or a water bottle filled with gravel in your toilet tank to take up space and displace the water. This will cause the toilet to fill with less water after you flush, which adds up to a lot of water saved!

12. Reorganize your home for better air flow.
Take a look at your home. Are you heating rooms that are barely used? Are your air vents blocked by furniture, such as sofas or bookcases? Close the vents in rooms are that barely used, and close the doors to keep heat in the rooms used the most frequently. Move furniture away from air vents to allow heat into the center of the room.

13. Choose renewable energy.
Of course, we need to point out our favorite way to go green: solar power! Having a renewable energy system for your home means that you will reduce or eliminate your energy bills, while also reducing your impact on the environment. Renewable energy sources, such as solar power, are completely clean, meaning that harmful byproducts are non-existent when electricity is produced.

You may also be interested in:
5 Quick Ways to Conserve Energy
Manage Heat for Cooler Summer

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