More Green Tips and Facts
Tips on what you can do in your home to help save the Earth and big bucks too.
Click on each tip for more information.
Invest in a programmable thermostat and set it way up or down (when everyone's at work/school, and asleep at night); program it to turn "on" shortly before folks get home/wake up/
Set your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees.
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
Paper or plastic? Neither! Take a cloth bag with you to the grocery store.
Trees help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that 100 billion metric tons of carbon over the next 50 years could be sequestered through forest preservation, tree planting and improved agricultural management.
Avoiding 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year, according to climatecrisis.net. The majority of car trips people make are under two miles, so that should be easy to swap driving for a bike or public transit, said Rob Sadowksy, executive director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.
It doesn't have to be a choice between plastic diapers that pile up in landfills and cloth diapers that require frequent laundering.
Americans buy 28 billion single-serving plastic water bottles every year, and 80% of those end up in landfills, according to the Container Recycling Institute. Meeting the nation's demand for bottle water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year, the Earth Policy Institute estimates.
Cell phone chargers, TVs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves and other electronics with transformers continue to draw power, even when they're off or not charging anything, as long as they're plugged in. In the U.S., such "phantom electricity" emits about 12 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere a year, according to Conservation International.
You can offset the carbon footprint of your car, home and air travel by funding renewable energy projects.
Every gallon of gas burned emits 20 pounts of carbon dioxide, so make the most of your tank.
The Postal Service delivers 17.8 tons of bulk mail each year, 44% of which goes unopened, according to the EPA. Just 22% of bulk mail is recycled. To stop the flow, visit the Direct Marketing Association, the leading global trade association of business and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques, at www.dmachoice.org, and get put on the "do not mail" list. It costs one dollar, but it'll remove your name from the lists for five years.
Washing your clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot saves 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, according to climatecrisis.net. Drying your clothes on a clothesline six months out of the year would save another 700 pounds.
Cleaning a dirty air filter, wrapping your hot water heater in an insulation blanket, properly insulating your walls and windows, and caulking and weather stripping can save a total of 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, according to climatecrisis.net, the web site for "An Inconvenient Truth."
For every 38,000 bills paid online, 5,058 pounds of greenhouse gases are avoided and two tons of trees are preserved, according to NACHA -- The Electronic Payments Association, a non-profit. Using direct payment also saves a person about $150 annually in stamp and check costs and late fees, NACHA estimates.
If every Chicago resident replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of more than 20,000 cars, according to the city's Department of Environment. If every home in the country did the same, it would be like ditching 800,000 cars and would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year, according to Energy Star, a joint program between the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.