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Green Tips

Money Savers

If your washing machine has a setting for the amount of clothing you're washing, choose a low setting—you'll use less water and your clothes will get just as clean.

Dial it down. Moving your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Today's dishwashers are about 95% more energy-efficient than those bought in 1972—your old dishwasher may be costing you more in energy bills than it would take to buy a new one.

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are an energy-saving alternative to incandescent bulbs—they produce the same amount of light, use 1/3 of the electricity and last up to 10 times as long.

Many idle electronics—TVs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves—use energy even when switched off to keep display clocks lit and remote controls working. Switch off power strips and unplug electrical devices when you're not using them.

U.S. consumers spend up to 10,000 times more per gallon for bottled water than for tap water.

Refrigerators and freezer units account for 1/6 of a home's energy use. Select energy-efficient models when buying replacements.

Artificial lighting accounts for 44% of electricity use in office buildings. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you're leaving any room for 15 minutes or more and utilize natural light when you can.

Improperly sealed or caulked windows can account for up to 25% of total heat loss from a house.

Letting your faucet run for 5 minutes uses about as much energy as a 60-watt lightbulb consumes in 14 hours.

A family of four using low-flow showerheads instead of full-flow models can save about 20,000 gallons of water per year.

If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, you probably have an inefficient model that uses between 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. Newer, high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush.

Screensavers don't use less energy. "Sleep mode" reduces a computer's energy consumption by 60 to 70%. At the end of the day, power it off completely.

The refrigerator is the single biggest energy-consuming kitchen appliance. Opening the door accounts for between $30 and $60 of a typical family's electricy bill each year.

Energy Savers

Today's dishwashers are about 95% more energy-efficient than those bought in 1972—your old dishwasher may be costing you more in energy bills than it would take to buy a new one.

Where electricity is produced from coal, using a fluorescent lightbulb instead of an equivalent incandescent bulb prevents 1,300 pounds of CO2 and 20 pounds of sulfur dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Many idle electronics—TVs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves—use energy even when switched off to keep display clocks lit and remote controls working. Switch off power strips and unplug electrical devices when you're not using them.

Refrigerators and freezer units account for 1/6 of a home's energy use. Select energy-efficient models when buying replacements.

Using cold water can save up to 80% of the energy required to wash clothes.

Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricy.

Use a microwave instead of the stove to save energy. Microwave ovens use around 50% less energy than conventional ovens do.

Artificial lighting accounts for 44% of electricity use in office buildings. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you're leaving any room for 15 minutes or more and utilize natural light when you can.

Letting your faucet run for 5 minutes uses about as much energy as a 60-watt lightbulb consumes in 14 hours.

Screensavers don't use less energy. "Sleep mode" reduces a computer's energy consumption by 60 to 70%. At the end of the day, power it off completely.

The refrigerator is the single biggest energy-consuming kitchen appliance. Opening the door accounts for between $30 and $60 of a typical family's electricy bill each year.

Only 10% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb produces light; the rest is given off as heat. Compact fluorescent lighbulbs (CFLs) are up to 4 times as efficient as regular bulbs.

The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. Print on both sides and in draft mode whenever feasible.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Dial it down. Moving your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

In North America, fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1,500 miles before reaching your plate. Buying fresh, local food eliminates long distances traveled and preserves flavor and nutrients.

Plant a tree. An average tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.

Use less hot water. Washing your clothes in cold or warm instead of hot water can save as much as 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Change a bulb. Replacing one regular lightbulb with a compact fluorescent light can save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Generating enough electricity to cook for an hour in a standard electric oven creates 2.7 pounds of CO2. A toaster oven creates 1.3 pounds over 50 minutes; a microwave creates 0.5 pounds over 15 minutes.

Reduce and Recycle

The U.S. uses 100 billion plastic bags annually, consuming about 12 million barrels of oil. Less than 1% of plastic bags are ever recycled. Reusable bags can help reduce the number of plastic bags you use.

According to U.S. EPA, about 40% of heavy metals including lead, mercury and cadmium in landfills comes from electronic equipment and discards.

26 recycled PET plastic bottles equals a polyester suit. 5 recycled PET bottles make enough fiberfill to stuff a ski jacket.

The average U.S. citizen uses 50 pounds of tissue paper per year. Try to buy the highest content of post-consumer recycled content, looking for either 100% recycled or FSC certified tissue or toilet paper.

Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Switch to e-billing. In the U.S., paper products make up the largest percentage of municipal solid waste, and hard copy bills alone generate almost 2 million tons of CO2.

Reuse containers and reduce waste. The average child's school lunch generates 67 pounds of waste over a year.

If using solid wood for a project, select products with the Forest Stewardship Council label, certifying the wood was responsibly grown and harvested. Or find salvaged wood products at local used-building materials retailers.

Batteries can cause serious harm to human health and the environment when disposed of with municipal solid waste. Many companies and retailers will take your old batteries and properly dispose of them or have them recycled.

The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. Print on both sides and in draft mode whenever feasible.

Polystyrene ("Styrofoam") is difficult to recycle, both because recycling facilities aren't commonplace and you can't make it into new high-quality polystyrene.

Saving Water

If your washing machine has a setting for the amount of clothing you're washing, choose a low setting—you'll use less water and your clothes will get just as clean.

Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Older showerheads can use 3 gallons per minute or more. New, efficient models use 2 gallons per minute or less.

A full bathtub requires about 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons.

A family of four using low-flow showerheads instead of full-flow models can save about 20,000 gallons of water per year.

If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, you probably have an inefficient model that uses between 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. Newer, high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush.

The average dishwasher in U.S. homes today uses 8.7 gallons of water per load. Washing by hand for 10 minutes with water running can use 20 gallons.

A leaky faucet that fills a coffee cup in 10 minutes will waste an estimated 3,000 gallons of water per year.

The average washing machine uses about 41 gallons of water per load, whereas newer, high-efficiency models use less than 28 gallons of water per load.

Cooking

Use a microwave instead of the stove to save energy. Microwave ovens use around 50% less energy than conventional ovens do.

Generating enough electricity to cook for an hour in a standard electric oven creates 2.7 pounds of CO2. A toaster oven creates 1.3 pounds over 50 minutes; a microwave creates 0.5 pounds over 15 minutes.

Laundry

If your washing machine has a setting for the amount of clothing you're washing, choose a low setting—you'll use less water and your clothes will get just as clean.

80% of dry cleaners in the U.S. use perchloroethylene, a solvent that has been linked to cancer, nervous system damage and hormonal disruption. Seek out a non-toxic professional dry cleaning alternative or "green cleaner" in your area.

The average washing machine uses about 41 gallons of water per load, whereas newer, high-efficiency models use less than 28 gallons of water per load.

Washing Dishes

Today's dishwashers are about 95% more energy-efficient than those bought in 1972—your old dishwasher may be costing you more in energy bills than it would take to buy a new one.

The average dishwasher in U.S. homes today uses 8.7 gallons of water per load. Washing by hand for 10 minutes with water running can use 20 gallons.

Lighting

Where electricity is produced from coal, using a fluorescent lightbulb instead of an equivalent incandescent bulb prevents 1,300 pounds of CO2 and 20 pounds of sulfer dioxide from being emitted in to the atmosphere.

Compact fluorescent lightbuilbs (CFLs) are an energy-saving alternative to incandescent bulbs—they produce the same amount of light, use 1/3 of the electricity and last up to 10 times as long.

Artificial lighting accounts for 44% of electricity use in office buildings. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you're leaving any room for 15 minutes or more and utilize natural light when you can.

Only 10% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb produces light; the rest is given off as heat. Compact fluorescent lighbulbs (CFLs) are up to 4 times as efficient as regular bulbs.

Heating and Cooling

Dial it down. Moving your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Improperly sealed or caulked windows can account for up to 25% of total heat loss from a house.

Home Improvement

If using solid wood for a project, select products with the Forest Stewardship Council label, certifying the wood was responsibly grown and harvested. Or find salvaged wood products at local used-building materials retailers.

Choose low-toxic paints that are low in volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which can irritate the lungs and cause allergic reactions. Zero-VOC paints also are available.

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