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12 Ways You Can Help the Environment

It’s not hard to lower your carbon footprint, combat climate change, and help the environment. By doing just a few things differently every day, you can be kind to the planet.


Here are 12 things you can do to help the environment:


Reuse Water Bottles & Mugs

Reuse Water Bottles

Every time you throw a cup away, you create waste; disposable water bottles are made of plastic, the majority of beverage cups are plastic, styrofoam, or paper – and these products just end up in landfills (unless they are recycled). Cutting down on the number of cups you throw away is a great way to conserve resources. Get in the habit of only using one or two reusable mugs, thermoses/ sports bottles, etc… each day. If you’re refilling it with water, tea, coffee or juice, over and over again, just wash it out & reuse it.

Use Energy Star and Smart Appliances

Appliances that require less energy when compared to their traditional counterparts, are more energy efficient, and/ or have the ability to shift into a smart energy saving mode when needed; receive an Energy Star mark. The Energy Star label is used on a wide range of appliances and products; indicating to the consumer that the item in question will reduce energy consumption when compared to items not carrying the label. Many products have additional sustainable requirements that must be met in order to receive the Energy Star mark. Additionally, consider a smart thermostat, smart HVAC, and other smart, wi-fi enabled appliances that help you conserve energy in the home.

Conserve Water

Save water by running faucets only when you really use water. Install low flow toilets and faucets where you can in your residence. Consider a smart irrigation system for your garden.

Stamp Out Energy Vampires

Unplug any appliances that you’re not using; including electronic devices like computers. Don’t keep chargers plugged in, either. These all suck up energy even when they’re not in use. An eco-friendly option for plugging in electronics is using smart power strips.

Stay In For Dinner

From the gas your car uses to bring you to the restaurant to the trucks needed to deliver the food to the kitchen, dining out is a significant cause of environmental distress. This is true even if the restaurant only serves environmentally sustainable food; better to just cook at home more.

Buy Local

Go to a farmer’s market rather than the grocery store for your produce. It will taste fresher; and you’ll be supporting local farms rather than fossil fuel-intensive national ones.

Turn Out the Lights/ Use Eco-friendly Lights

Use energy efficient LED or CFL lights when you can. Turn off lights in rooms/ on patios when not needed. Once a month, perhaps try a controlled brownout where you pretend that the electricity has gone out and you must make do in the dark; light candles and use flashlights while you save money and energy. 

Natural fiber shopping tote

BYOB

Not bring your own beer, but rather bring your own bags to the grocery store to reduce the number of plastic bags floating around. If you do use those free bags at the grocery, recycle the plastic or brown grocery bags in designated bins at your grocery store, or save them up at home and recycle them at the appropriate mixed paper/ mixed plastic dumpsters at your local recycling center; do the same with phone books and junk mail. Ideally, use reusable shopping totes made of natural fibers or bamboo whenever possible.

Recycle

Order as many multicolored, separate recycle bins as available from your municipality. Also, locate your local recycling center, and visit it to see how many different categories of goods you can recycle. Yes, you’ve probably been recycling your soda cans and milk jugs for decades, but did you know (in many areas) you can recycle batteries, TVs and computers, cardboard, and even many metal goods?

Grow a Garden

The planet likes it when you grow things. It helps filter out bad air and is a great sustainable practice. Plus, you can’t beat home-grown tomatoes or herbs.

Start a Compost Pile or Donate Food

We create an incredible amount of natural waste through peels, shells, grounds, leftovers etc… Instead of tossing all of that potential useful food waste in the trash, start a compost pile and recycle it through you municipal compost facility, or separate compost trash bin (if available in your city), or in your own yard/ garden. Another good thing to do with potentially wasted food is to donate food to a local food bank, homeless shelter, non-profit, or church.

Go Solar

If you’re not ready for solar panels on your roof, try solar garden/ patio lights to get your feet wet. Also, depending on your location, you might have community solar available in your neighborhood or clean energy/ renewable power option available from your utility.

  • Please see the “Energy Saving Ideas” & “Ideas for a Greener Lifestyle” in the bottom section of this website>>> Other sustainable living ideas include buying food from local, organic markets, weatherizing your residence (where available), and using smart thermostats and home energy management systems (where available).

#13 (Honorary Mention) – For information on how switching from using toilet paper to bidets can help the environment, please see: bidetmate.com/how-eliminating-toilet-paper-helps-save-the-earth


Here is an infographic with some simple, effective, cost-efficient energy efficiency solutions:

FROM – rocketmortgage.com/green-smart-homes


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Categories
All Posts Energy Efficiency

Improving energy efficiency

The Pillars of Energy Efficiency


Energy Efficiency Foundations for Green Building: Energy Star, LED and CFL Lights, LEED technologies


When it comes to saving on your electricity bill, improving the energy efficiency in your home or building is certainly the way to do it. There are a few ways of achieving this through the various kinds of Energy Star major home appliances and Energy Star home water heatersenergy efficient HVAC systems, and LED & CFL lights that are available today. 

LEED standards in residences and buildings, when adopted and implemented by building developers, increase the energy efficiency of properties, lowering the carbon footprint of buildings. Energy Star appliances, and other smart appliances, save buildings on energy, and other resources. Energy efficiency technologies are saving property owners on their energy bills. Smart appliances also are beneficial for behavioral demand response and home energy management programs (see below).


Demand Response, Smart Meters, and Home Energy Management

One kind of system to improve the energy efficiency of a home or building is known as a demand response (DR) program, and is sometimes a part of today’s smart grid. Demand response is where utility companies are given (remote) control over the major electrical appliances (HVAC, water heaters, etc…) that are in energy customers’ properties.

A utility-operated smart meter helps the utility automatically reduce the power settings and temperature of the property (through an automated, digital response from the utility to the home or building where energy is monitored by a smart meter; with the major appliance, a smart meter, and the utility engaged in a digital sharing of energy statistics and optimal energy settings to maximize efficiency) during the day when there is less need for energy (i.e. when people are not at home).

Alternatively, there are behavioral demand response programs, which leave control in the hands of the homeowner/ building owner. A smart wi-fi energy monitoring device with the ability to be remotely managed and “told” what to do by the customer (a smart meter) is set up in the home, reads and records data from the home or building,. Examples of such data include power usage by various home appliances, external and internal temperature readings, and may also include recording the time people get home and wake up in the morning.

This data is then used in an app on a smart phone or smart tablet to tell consumers how much energy was saved and how this amount can be increased in the future by altering the settings of the smart appliance (such as a smart thermostat), HVAC system, or other smart electrical appliance. The settings of a smart appliance can also be optimized remotely, via an app on a smart tablet/ phone, based on the data provided by the behavioral demand response program. This is especially true with regard to home energy management systems (see below).

Communications from the smart meter are organized for the consumer in displays and read-outs that are including in mailings and apps. Charts in the read-outs show how much money for the electricity bill in that cycle was saved, other benefits of energy efficiency, and how the customer can better manage their energy use in the future. Data is also sent to, and recorded by, the utility, in order for the utility to better manage future energy production distributed to buildings via the power grid. So, energy customers and utilities can both optimally manage their respective energy outputs and uses.

The smart meter demand response method makes it much easier for the homeowner to determine how much energy to save, and the utility can also easily make optimal adjustments to their energy production and distribution in demand response programs. The use of the smart meter in behavioral demand response allows people access to the device from home, so changes can be made over one’s smartphone or tablet device.

Demand response programs often work hand-in hand with home energy management (HEM) systems, smart thermostats, smart wi-fi enabled LED and/ or CFL energy efficient lighting, and other smart electrical appliances that have been looped in to work with the HEM system.



Buildings represent a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions globally, in addition to the industry/ energy generation sectors, agriculture/ land-use/ food production sectors, and transportation/ shipping sectors. In order to lower the carbon footprint of buildings, property owners can increase the energy efficiency of their properties. Here are a few major items that are normally associated with increasing the energy efficiency of a home or commercial building, and a municipal energy grid, as well as general guides on increasing energy efficiency for a home or building:




Please also see Green City Times’

Plan for the Deployment of Smart Meters in all 50 States



To learn more about increasing the energy efficiency of the transportation sector specifically, please see:

Renewable energy in mass transit

Solutions to Fossil Fuels


To learn more about increasing the energy efficiency of the power generation sector specifically, please see:

CCS and IGCC

Gasification

and

Renewable Energy Overview

Energy Storage