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Ten Ways to cut energy costs in Your Home 

1.Review your energy requirements annually 
Examine all your energy costs in detail so that you know where your energy dollars are going. That way when you see the electric bill spiking, you can find out what is really going on before it gets out of control. Ask me about a Home Energy Analysis!!! 

2.Install energy saving lighting 
This is probably the single MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to not only save money, but also to save energy. Incandescent lighting is much more expensive to operate than fluorescent lighting. Modern compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity. 

If every one of 110 million American households replaced an ordinary 60-watt bulb, with a compact fluorescent, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads. 

The single greatest source of greenhouse gases in the United States is power plants--half our electricity comes from coal plants. One bulb swapped out = enough electricity saved to turn off two entire power plants--or skip building the next two. The typical U.S. house has between 50 and 100 "sockets" If we all bought and installed two compact fluorescent bulbs? Five? Fifteen? 

Compact fluorescent bulbs don't just work, they pay for themselves. They use so little power compared with incandescent bulbs, a $3 compact fluorescent pays for itself in lower electric bills in about five months. In addition, compact fluorescents, even in heavy use, last 5, 7, 10 YEARS! 

3.Eliminate Phantom Load Energy Use 
A "phantom load" is the energy that's sapped by appliances when they're plugged in, but not on. Use power strips or manually unplug DVD players, computers and cell phone chargers to save electricity from disappearing without a trace. In the average home, 40% of all electricity is used to power home appliances while they're turned off. If all phantom loads in US homes were stopped, we could shut down 17 power plants. Power strips with surge protectors make it easy to "unplug" many appliances at once. 

4. Install programmable thermostat 
You will be delighted with the savings a simple upgrade like a programmable thermostat will yield. No more 'forgetting' to turn the air conditioning off! Best of all YOU can determine the temperature you desire for each room. A typical programmable thermostat costs about $75 and can pay for itself in one heating/cooling season. If used properly, a programmable thermostat can save 10% per year on heating and cooling bills. 

5.Maintain your HVAC units 
Purchase a service contract. Make sure filters are replaced regularly. Clean HVAC systems can save customers money as they perform more efficiently, decreasing energy costs. Another alternative is to use ceiling fans. They take a lot less energy that the air condition, and moving air feels cooler. 

6.Turn off lights and equipment 
Train everybody to turn off lights as they leave rooms. Install energy saving bulbs wherever possible. Turn off computer monitors and computers. Energy costs soar when power is wasted. 

7.Install Energy Star rated appliances 
Everything from copiers to clothes dryers is Energy Star rated. Buy or lease but replace with Energy Star rated electrical equipment for maximum energy savings. Efficient products can reduce energy use by 30 to 50 percent. For example, many home and commercial appliances run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If those appliances consume 30 percent less energy, the savings add up quickly. A typical household equipped with Energy Star products can reduce its yearly energy bills by about $400. In 1997 alone, these efficient products and building designs have kept more than 15 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. At the same time, these products saved businesses and consumers more than $1 billion in energy costs. 

8.Energy Efficient Doors and Windows 
Wherever possible, close doors so that individual room thermostats can operate efficiently. Install Energy efficient, and or double glazing, storm doors and windows wherever possible. About one-third of a typical home's heat loss occurs through the doors and windows. 

9.Install on demand water heating 
Why keep a 400 hundred gallon tank of water hot all the time? Install on demand hot water heaters in bathrooms and washup areas. That way you just heat the water you use. If you absolutely must keep the old hot water heaters, see if you can shut them off when not in use. Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 14 percent of your utility bill. 

10.Install a pool cover 
You can save significantly on energy, chemical and water costs by installing a pool cover. In 1996, the Department Of Energy determined that there are about 3 million private pools in the US, and these pools use about $ 3.5 Billion dollars a year in heating expenses. Energy savings with a pool cover can be as much as 80%. In addition to conserving electricity, with a pool cover, you conserve water by reducing the amount of make-up water needed by 30%-50%, reduce the pool's chemical consumption by 35%-60%, reduce cleaning time by keeping dirt and other debris out of the pool. 

Top Green things you can do in your KITCHEN 

Buy as much as you can from local producers. Most produce in the U.S. is shipped an average of 1500 miles before being sold. That's a lot of wasted fuel! By buying 10% of common fruits and vegetables locally, 300,000 gallons of fossil fuels are saved - preventing 8 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air. Also, large national producers use a large amount of paper and plastic to keep food fresh. Buying local also means supporting small farmers and the local economy. Shop your local farmers market or grow your own garden. It doesn't get more local than that! 

2.Sustainable Seafood Choices 
There are several species of fish and shellfish that have been severely overfished in the past decades (not to mention trouble with pollution). Only by making better choices at the supermarket can we change the demise of these creatures and their environment. Some of the fish in danger include Red Snapper, Orange Roughy, and Chilean Seabass. Better buying choices would be U.S. farmed Tilapia, Striped Bass, and Pacific Halibut. For a complete list of environmentally friendly fished seafood and seafood to avoid, check out the Seafood Watch Guide. 

3.Use Natural Cleaning Products 
Check out the label of most household cleaning products and you'll find something about calling 911 or the Poison Control Hotline. This stuff is not good for people, animals, or the environment! Most things in the kitchen can be cleaned with the Big 3: Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Lemons. Try these first and save the industrial strength stuff for the truly difficult cleaning. 

4.Save those Scraps 
Think before tossing out those vegetable scraps. Can I use this for something else? Many vegetables work great for making a chicken or vegetable stock. Parsley stems, carrot pieces, onions, tomato bits, celery, and others work great. Composting is great for your yard in lieu of traditional fertilizers. Compost your kitchen scraps in a compost pail. There are several on the market today that are odorless and store nicely under the kitchen sink. 

5.Use re-usable Cloth bags at the Grocery 
Most large grocers sell re-usable cloth grocery bags for between $1-2 per bag. These bags are not only useful for many tasks but are great for the grocery. They can hold more groceries that paper or those infuriating plastic bags because they are strong and don't tear. In the U.S., about 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees go to producing plastic and paper bags each year. Let's not add to thise numbers! For a great site about how to reuse those bags: www.reusablebags.com 

6.Use glass, aluminum foil or (if you must) recyclable plastic 
Instead of reaching for the plastic wrap, or plastic baggie - both of which take fossil fuels to produce, and take 1000 years to biodegrade - opt for aluminum foil (it comes in 100% recycled form!), glass containers, and or if you just can't give up your plastic, at least buy the type that biodegrades from one of our green vendors. Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags -- from grocery and trash bags to those ultra-convenient sandwich bags. The processing and burning of plastics is considered one of the main contributors to global warming, according to the EPA. In addition, sending plastics to the landfill also increases greenhouse gases. Reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics for one of the best ways to combat global warming. 

7.Use the Right Size Pan for the Job 
Use the smallest size pot or pan necessary for the cooking task. A smaller cooking surface requires less energy to heat. Also, match the pan to the right size burner. Cooking with a 6-inch diameter pan on an 8-inch burner wastes over 40% of the heat produced. 

8.Induction Cooktops 
Induction cooktops are greatly more efficient than gas or electric rangetops with a power saving of 40- to 70-percent. These cooktops use induction heating which involves an electromagnetic field causing resistance (and heat) in an ferrous (iron-containing) pot or pan. They offer almost instantaneous temperature control and a cooktop that remains cool to the touch (only the pot gets hot). Induction cooktops are still more expensive than conventional cooktops, but prices will most likely fall rapidly as they become more popular and competition increases. COOL! 

9.Compost your food scraps 
Composting helps reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill, which can save you money if you live in a municipality with a "pay as you throw" system. In the process, you create free, healthy fertilizer for your garden. Compost provides a full complement of soil organisms and the balance of nutrients needed to maintain the soil's well-being without the chemicals of synthetic fertilizers. And healthy soil minimizes weeds and is key to producing healthy plants, which in turn can prevent many pest problems from developing to begin with. 

10.Skip the bottled water at the grocery or convenience store 
Filter your tap water for drinking rather than using bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it produces large amounts of container waste. 

Green Your Office 

1.Recycle Recycle Recycle 
By talking with the boss of your company, or the person in charge of such things, maybe it would be possible to at least get recycling bins put around the office to collect all the paper scraps and aluminum or glass containers in the kitchen. If your city does not have recycling pick-up, there are companies out there that specialize in setting up programs where they come to your office on a weekly basis to pick up any and all recycling. 

2.Save Energy 
Try to make it office policy that everyone at least turns off their monitors, if not their computers, before they head out for the day. In some offices it is not possible to turn off the computers for network reasons, but there is no reason the monitor has to be on. 

3. Avoid individual Bottles of Water 
A lot of companies provide bottled water to their employees, but often this is in individual bottles that are kept in the refrigerator. Try to talk to the person in charge of buying food and supplies for the office to see if it would be possible to put in a water cooler and some plastic or glass cups that everyone can use. That way, paper cups and plastic water bottles do not have to be put in the trash or recycling bin every day. 

4.Use Recycled Paper 
Make sure that the paper that is used in copiers and printers is 100% post consumer recycled paper. All the big box stores like Staples and Office Max carry this, and there is absolutely no reason that paper should not be of the recycled kind. Offices use fifteen million sheets of office paper every FIVE minutes, so imagine how many trees are being destroyed so you can print out your reports. 

5.Use Innovative Software to save Paper 
GO digital when you can! There are great software programs available that help save paper. FinePrint (www.fineprint.com) is one that provides a printer driver to allow you to print 2-8 pages on a single page. This is great for saving paper! Another great product from the same company is PDFfactory. This software provides a printer driver that allows you to print to a PDF file, thereby foregoing the need to print to paper at all. Why not just save your documents to your hard drive, email to people that need a copy and back up to disk. GREAT idea! 

6.Use technology to save paper 
Contact the people you lease (yes, most companies lease, they do not own) your copiers and fax machines from to see if they have models that will print on both sides of the paper. Most of them will have them, and presenting the idea to your boss as a money saver and not an environmental move would probably be more influential. 

7.Use technology to save Resources 
When the need for a meeting comes up that entails travel outside your area, think about if you could accomplish the same goals by teleconferencing. With today's technology, you can instant message, VOIP, create forums or discussion groups, and even have face to face meetings via web cams. If you don't NEED to be there in person, save the company some money and the environment some damage by not traveling. 

8.Change habits in the kitchen. 
Try to get the company to buy real forks and knives and stop buying plastic ones that are only used once, are made from fossil fuels, and take 1000 years to biodegrade. This can save a landfill from getting filled up with even more plastic then it already is. 

9.If you happen to work in the shipping department, reuse those boxes! 
Just because it says something on the side of the box does not mean that it is no good. Sure, you might not want to send something to a paying customer in a box with some other company's name on the side, but there are plenty of times you can reuse boxes no matter what they say on the side! 

10.Use Solar 
If you have windows in your office, be sure to use the free light that is outside! Turn off those overhead lights and work by natural light; its better for your eyes and the environment. 

Other GREAT Ideas! Ways to go Green and Save Green 

1.Re-route your commute 
Walk or bike to work and save money on gas and parking while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity. If you live far from your office, investigate the option of telecommuting. Or move closer-even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term. 

2.Buy used 
Whether you've just moved to a new area or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items, rather than buying them new. Check out garage sales and thrift stores for clothing and other everyday items. Use your creativity in gift giving, including making homemade gifts, donating to a good cause, or even regifting. (And gift green, in general.) Your purchasing habits have a real impact, for better or worse. 

3.Think twice about new electronics. 
E-waste from discarded cell phones and computers is a growing environmental problem. Mounds of electronic refuse are being shipped abroad illegally for ‘disassembly' by workers with little protection against the mercury and other toxic substances they contain. Keep your electronics as long as possible and dispose of them responsibly when the time comes. Buy higher-quality items and don't give in to ‘psychological obsolescence' marketing campaigns. Recycle your cell phone and support good causes at the same time! 

4.Add one meatless meal per week 
While strict vegetarianism isn't for everyone, even the most devout carnivores can cut back on meat consumption without cramping their style-and save money in the process. Industrial meat production requires huge energy inputs and creates noxious waste problems. The proliferation of factory farms is damaging the environment, and the global nature of the industry creates conditions that promote the spread of diseases such as avian flu, potentially costing society billions. 

5.Recycle, Recycle, Recycle 
The best way to be Earth-friendly is to cut down on what you consume and recycle whenever you can. The U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, according to the National Institutes of Health. That's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Every little bit helps; recycling just one glass bottle saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours. Some great online recycling resources: www.throwplace.com (The internet's landfill alternative) and www.bottlesandcans.com (GREAT information on recycling in California) 

6.Save water 
The Web site "Water -- Use it Wisely," created by a group of Arizona cities, lists 100 simple ways to save water. We'll share just a few here: Put an aerator on all household faucets and cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Install a low-flow toilet. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. If you have an older model, adjust your float valve to admit less water into the toilet's tank. Of course, you don't need products to save water -- behavioral changes also add up quickly: using a broom instead of the garden hose to clean your driveway can save 80 gallons of water and turning the water off when you brush your teeth will save 4.5 gallons each time. 

7.Save a tree, use less paper 
You can buy "tree-free" 100% post-consumer recycled paper for everything from greeting cards to toilet paper. Paper with a high post-consumer waste content uses less virgin pulp and keeps more waste paper out of landfills. Remove yourself from junk mail lists. Each person will receive almost 560 pieces of junk mail this year, which adds up nationally to 4.5 million tons, according to the Native Forest Network. About 44% of all junk mail is thrown in the trash, unopened and unread, and ends up in a landfill. If everyone in the U.S. was able to reduce their 10.8 pieces of junk mail received each week, we could save nearly 100 million trees each year! To stem the flow into your own home, contact the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service at P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512, or download the online form. Opt out of credit card or insurance offers at OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling 888-567-8688, a single automated phone line maintained by the major credit bureaus. Another GREAT way to get off those lists: www.greendimes.com 

8.Want hardwood floors? Opt for bamboo 
Bamboo is considered an environmentally friendly flooring material due to its high yield and the relatively fast rate at which it replenishes itself. It takes just four to six years for bamboo to mature, compared to 50-100 years for typical hardwoods. Just be sure to look for sources that use formaldehyde-free glues. 

9.Use healthier paint 
Conventional paints contain solvents, toxic metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause smog, ozone pollution and indoor air quality problems with negative health effects, according to the EPA. These unhealthy ingredients are released into the air while you're painting, while the paint dries and even after the paints are completely dry. Opt instead for zero- or low-VOC paint, made by most major paint manufacturers today. 

10.Garden green 
First, use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers. Compost provides a full complement of soil organisms and the balance of nutrients needed to maintain the soil's well-being without the chemicals of synthetic fertilizers. And healthy soil minimizes weeds and is key to producing healthy plants, which in turn can prevent many pest problems from developing to begin with. Use native plants as much as possible. Native plants have adapted over time to the local environment and support native animals. They also use less water and require less of your attention. Focus on perennials. Gardening with plants that live for more than one year means you don't have to pay for new plants every year; it also saves the resources used commercially to grow annuals. Stop using chemical pesticides. American households use 80 million pounds of pesticides each year, according to the EPA. These toxic chemicals escape gardens and concentrate in the environment, posing threats to animals and people, especially children. A better alternative is to try a variety of organic and physical pest control methods, such as using diatomaceous earth to kill insects, pouring boiling water on weeds or using beer to bait slugs. Install Xeriscaping (low water landscaping). You will appreciate the water bill savings! Finally, consider using an old-fashioned push mower. The only energy expended is yours. 

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