As uncontrollable budget cuts ensue and civilian furloughs begin to set in, it is up to us as workers and stewards of our environment to save money at every opportunity possible, while conserving energy and recycling. Reducing the amount of unnecessary energy you use is a simple way to cut back on energy consumption and to save money.
So on this Earth Day we have provided you some of our energy saving tips for 2013! Some tips may not be applicable to you, but take the time to pick out the ones that do apply and adjust accordingly; any little difference made is still a difference made. Let the following tips be a helpful guide for you and your family, your home and your neighbor.
Tip: Shorten your shower – use less hot water – conserve energy and water.
Tip: Conserve water. Don’t run water to clean veggies & fruits; use bowl of water for washing; reuse to water plants when done.
Tip: Running toilets, dripping faucets, and other leaks waste >10,000 gallons of water per year. Time to Fix-a-Leak. http://ow.ly/9ErYG
Tip: Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
Tip: On average, 10 gallons per day of your water footprint (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Repair leaky faucets and toilets.
Tips: Be mindful of turning off water while brushing your teeth. Most of us tend to leave the water running while we are actually brushing are teeth, when in actuality we only need to use water to wet the brush and to rinse our mouth.
Tip: Use solar control window film instead of new energy efficient windows. Cheaper, easy to apply, reduces energy bill, blocks harmful UV.
Tip: Make sure to have efficient shading to protect your home from the sun – dark curtains, patio and window screens, patio covers and more will help keep your home cooler.
Tip: Dishwashers use 80% of its energy just to heat the water. Run the dishwasher only with full loads and use the air-dry cycle.
Tip: However, a dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand with the water continuously flowing. Just be sure to stop the dishwasher in time to let dishes air dry.
Tip: Try to only run dishwasher with full loads.
Tip: A good old-fashioned clothes line is still the most energy efficient way to dry clothes.
Tip: When doing laundry remember to use the warm or cold water settings accordingly. Use cold water as much as possible, especially when rinsing clothes. Air dry clothes on clothing line to save on your energy bills.
Tip: Wash and dry as many clothes in full loads as possible. Be sure to clean out the dryer lint trap after every use.
Air & Heating system:
Tip: Install programmable thermostats that automatically adjust temperature settings based on the time of day and day of the week.
Tip: Make sure your home is properly insulated. The more insulation the more energy and money you’ll save.
Tip: If you’re wondering why your rooms aren’t cooling down like they use to, it may be time to replace the air filters – dirty air filters can diminish airflow and result in your air conditioning system having to work harder and longer, using more energy.
Tip: If replacing air filters doesn’t work, it may be time for a new air-conditioning system. The investment in a new unit may be more beneficial and cost-effective than sticking with insufficient unit with high energy bills.
Tip: Set your thermostat to 75 degrees when you are home and up to 80 degrees or off when you are not. Also use all ceiling fans a measure to maintain air circulation, which will help keep rooms cooler. .
Tip: Consider installing a house fan in the attic or on the upper levels of your home, which will draw cooler air throughout the house and sending the hotter air through the vents to outside. This can also help reduce your air conditioning use.
Tip: Use the oven light to check on food. When you open the oven door while cooking, you lose 25° – 50° F, wasting more electricity or gas.
Tip: Keep your freezer full so it runs more efficiently. Freeze in-season fruits/veggies for later use. Make extra meals; freeze for later.
Tip: Microwave over Stove – A microwave uses two-thirds less energy than a stove. http://ow.ly/k7q2w
Tip: Keep your refrigerator full because having lots of food in it keeps it from warming up as fast, when the door is open. This way your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to keep cool.
Tip: Replace clogged car air filters; improve gas mileage by up to 10%; protect your engine.
Tip: Use the grade of motor oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Using different motor oil can lower your gasoline mileage by 1%-2%.
Tip: Combine errands into one trip. Several short trips can use 2X as much fuel as one trip of same distance when the car engine is warm.
Tip: Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving wastes gasoline. The U.S. uses 21,250 gallons of gas each second of each day.
Tip: Recycle steel & aluminum cans & foil. Cans made from recycled aluminum use 90% less energy than aluminum made from raw materials.
Tip: Recycle paper products. Paper is: used > any other material; accounts for > 1/4 of landfill waste; recycle 1/2 of use save 221 trees.
Tip: Bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store. You could drive your car a mile with the petroleum it takes to make 14 plastic bags.
Tip: Say no to plastic bags for groceries. <1% of plastic bags are recycled each year. 1 Ton recycling costs = $4,000; product sale = $32.
Tip: Borrow from the library & trade CDs, DVDs and video games with your friends. The materials they are made from are difficult to recycle.
Tip: Every ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees and keeps 7,000 gallons of water free from chemicals.
Tip: The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for 4 hours.
Tip: Every year, Americans use ~ 1 billion shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste. Use cloth/reusable bags for shopping.
Tip: Recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to watch TV for 3 hours and is equivalent to a half gallon of gasoline.
Tip: Recycle newspapers. Paper made from recycled paper uses about 1/3 less energy than paper made from raw materials.
Tip: Producing recycled glass uses 21% less energy than using new materials.
Tip: Reuse ribbons on gifts throughout the year — 38,000 miles of ribbon are thrown away each year, enough to tie a bow around the Earth.
Tip: If buying presents online, save your package boxes so you can use them again.
Tip: Don’t throw out your old dishes, bring them to work. Mugs and plates can be used to avoid using paper cups and plates.
Tip: Start composting. Americans throw out ~90,000 pounds of organic garbage in their lifetime, yet spend thousands on chemical fertilizers.
Tip: More than 20,000,000 Hershey’s kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable.
Tip: Avoid single-serve containers. Buy juice/water in large recyclable bottles/cans & divide into reusable, washable containers as needed.
Tip: If you happen to have a spare refrigerator or freezer that you aren’t using or don’t really need – unplug it or recycle it to save more money and give you more storage space.
Tip: Conserve energy & reduce internal heat gain – turn off computers, monitors, printers & copiers during non-business hours.
Tip: Be a star. Look for products with the Energy Star label when you shop for new appliances.
Tip: Using a power strip, shutting it off and unplugging chargers when not in use can save ~ 5% of electricity use in most U.S. homes.
Tip: Take the stairs. Elevators use 350 watts of electricity per floor. Same energy could light 100-watt light bulb for 3.5 hours.
Tip: Americans throw away about 2.5 billion disposable razors every year. Use an electric shaver or quality razor with replaceable blades.
Tip: Instead of going out make dinner yourself using locally grown ingredients – reduce transportation costs and energy resources.
Tip: Buy a lunch box and use it all year instead of bringing lunches every day in paper or plastic bags.
Tip: Take along washable cups or travel mugs instead of disposables; many restaurants & stores will be glad to fill or refill your mug.
Tip: When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
Tip: Decorate with pale colors on walls, ceilings and floors. You will need less light; use less energy.
Tip: Send e-greetings. The estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high.
Tip: Read your morning paper online. 300 million gallons of water are needed to produce a single day’s supply of U.S. newsprint.
Tip: Plant native plants and grasses that thrive on natural rainfall. Choose outdoor landscaping appropriate for your climate.
Tip: Know your soil. Clay soil can only absorb ¼ – ½ inches water/hour. Sandy soil needs water more often for shorter periods. Don’t waste.
Tip: Mulch your planting areas. Mulch covers open areas, keeps ground from overheating, holds moisture and discourages weeds.
Tip: If you’re planting, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
Tip: Use a spade/trowel to check the root zone of your lawn/garden before watering. If moist 2″ under surface, you still have enough water.
Tip: Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
Did we miss any tips? Share your energy saving ideas with us the comments section below. Remember, Army Green is Army Strong!
For additional information about how the Army is becoming “greener, be sure to visit Army Environmental Command‘s website.
Blog post submitted by Nicole Woods, Department of the Army Public Affairs Intern, Online and Social Media Division