Spring Greening: 10 Quick & Easy Energy Savers
Tiffany Wilmot of green consultanting firm Wilmot, Inc., offers up a few friendly reminders in time for Earth Day.
Written By: Nashville Lifestyles
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already got a few good green habits in place. More and more of us are doing our part to save energy, water, and waste—and we’re doing it for our own health, to save money, and care for creation. But there’s always room for improvement, which is why it’s a good time to add a few more ideas to your green checklist, or even to help a friend start making simple changes.
— Tiffany Wilmot is the president of Wilmot, Inc., a Nashville-based sustainability and green building consulting firm.
10 Quick & Easy Energy Savers:
1 - Change your bulbs.
When buying bulbs, if you want the light to be warm like the old incandescent bulbs, just look for the “Kelvin number” on the package or bulb itself. You want 2800 or less. Tip: The higher the color temperature, the more blue the light; the lower, the more yellow and warm.
2 - Programmable thermostats.
They’re easy to install, cost less than $100, and make your house more efficient, comfortable and convenient.
3 - Turn the AC up and heat down.
This sounds obvious, but it's a lot cheaper to heat or cool yourself than your entire home. Recommended temperatures are 78˚F in the summer and 68˚F in the winter. You can do better if you’re willing to add or delete more layers of clothing.
4 - Insist on energy efficient products.
In your home, work, church, and office. Read labels and buy only energy efficient products. Look for the EnergyStar label and SEER Ratings on your air conditioners.
5 - Use ceiling fans in summer AND winter.
In the summer, turn it on faster so it feels cool on your skin, and make it rotate clockwise so it's pulling the air up. In winter, slow it down and reverse direction so it pushes hot air down. Turn the fans off when you aren't in the room, especially in the summer. The motor actually heats up the room and the fan is only helpful for it's evaporative cooling effect on the body not to cool the room.
6 - Insulate your home well to keep heat from escaping out of the house.
You only want to pay to heat your home, not the whole city. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to insulate: weather stripping, sealing and caulking leaks around doors, windows, and outlets. You can DIY or hire a professional.
7 - Manage your garbage.
Recycle what you can. Though it uses 60% of the energy that virgin materials would, the main benefit is that you don’t have to mine new resources to make the same product. Composting is easy and great for kids to do. Start a compost pile or two in your yard and you’ll have better fertilizer for your plants than you could ever buy. More on composting at nashville.gov
8 - Walk, skip, ride your bike!
We spend so much time and money on our cars. The average cost of having a vehicle is $14,000/year. If you're going somewhere that's less than a mile away, you can get there almost as quickly by walking after factoring in parking and walking to and from the car. Plus, you'll trim your waistline! With innovations like Car Share and B-Cycle and the Music City Circut, Nashville is making it even easier to get around town.
9 - Clean Green.
You can probably clean and prevent pests in your whole house or building with just four products: baking soda, vinegar, borax and lemon juice. Most cleaning products are extremely toxic; if they were in a 96 gallon drum they’d be considered hazardous waste. Indoor air pollution from toxins in the cleaners is unhealthy especially for children and pets. Save money and buy one-gallon jugs of white vinegar and baking soda at places like Costco. Check out more on the wonders of baking soda.
10 - Kill the Plastic.
Do not buy bottled water. It takes 47 million gallons of oil to produce plastic bottles and only 20% of those bottles get recycled—what a waste! Instead use a stainless steel thermos and take it everywhere you go. If you don't like the taste of tap water (even though Nashville has the fourth best water in the country, props to Metro Water Dept!), use a carbon filter which will turn it into sparkling fresh water at a fraction of the cost of bottled.