Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Going Green by Green Yatra

The phrase "going green"  leaves many people to believe they must drastically change their lifestyle and become completely independent from fossil fuels and other pollutants which harm the environment. While this is the ideal solution that we should be working toward someday, going green today involves making a few simple changes in life that people can adjust to over time. Eventually, as people begin making more and more changes, they’ll notice they actually consume and waste less, which has the added benefit of saving money. So what steps can we take to go green?
1. Use canvas bags
Use canvas bags instead of the plastic or paper bags offered by local grocers and supermarkets. By refusing the paper and plastic sacks, trees are not only saved, but getting groceries in the house will actually be easier, since canvas is a much sturdier material than most plastic bags used in grocery.   
2. Reduce water usage
Minimize water usage by making small changes, like not washing several small loads of clothing, or running the water as you brush your teeth. By conserving water in this manner, we don’t have to worry about our supply of clean water running out as quickly. In addition, homes which have old toilets and shower heads might want to consider installing low-flow toilets and shower heads. This can not only save money, but also many gallons of water each time someone showers or flushes. 
3. Get rid of gas-powered lawnmowers
Gas-powered lawnmowers are on their way out. With more and more of our devices being supplied by electricity and the electricity we use is being generated by alternative renewable sources, like wind and water, we’re reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. If your family uses a gas-powered lawnmower to mow the lawn, consider trading it for an electric mower. Since these mowers run from battery power which has been charged in a wall outlet, keeping gas on hand to mow the yard will never be a problem again. 
4. Choose a laptop over a desktop
If possible, using a laptop over a desktop will also save a ton on energy bills. Because of the nature of a laptop, many people turn them off before they will a desktop. This leads to around a 75% reduction in energy usage, as often times, people leave their desktops running for days at a time.   
5. Use insulation blankets
Using an insulation blanket with a hot water heater can save around 750 pounds of CO2 emissions a year. In addition, any pipes which are exposed should be insulated, so the water heater doesn’t have to do any unnecessary work in order to keep water flowing hot. 
6. Turn down the heat
In the winter, turning down the heat just a few degrees can save up to 15% on electric costs. In fact, changing the thermostat just a few degrees from what it would normally be placed on can save around 1,800 pounds of CO2 a year, and that’s just a few degrees of change, which likely won’t even be noticed. 
7. Switch to cold water washing
Many Americans don’t realize it, but up to 75% of the energy that is used during washing clothes, is used when heating the water for washing in warm water. By switching to cold water washing and using a cold water washing detergent, you could save nearly 1,000 pounds in CO2 emissions each year. In addition, hanging clothes out to dry on a clothes line instead of using a dryer will cut back significantly on your electric usage, especially in a family of four. 
8. Keep your tires inflated
Keeping tires inflated at the recommended pressure can work by saving nearly 3 miles per gallon of gasoline. This amount may not seem like a lot, but considering that many gas tanks in modern cars hold 20 gallons of gas, this averages out to be around 60 miles worth of savings as long as the tires on your car are inflated properly.   
9. Buy products that are made from recycled materials
Buying products which clearly state that they’ve been made from 100% recycled material means no new resources have been destroyed in the process of making the product. Nearly all products which we purchase today use recyclable materials, from milk cartons to shaving cream cans. Check and see if your favorite products are doing their part to help reduce emissions and if not, consider switching to a different product which does use recycled materials.
10. Change the light bulbs
Switch all of the lightning in the home to compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. These types of lighting use nearly 60% less energy than the traditional incandescent bulbs, while lasting around 10 times longer. This simple little switch can save you 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year, if all the bulbs in your home are switched.   
Of course, these are just a few small steps which we can take to make sure we’re running our lives as green as possible. There are other, more drastic measures we can take, such as buying a hybrid car, or even replacing the windows and siding on our houses for more efficient insulation. However, these simple steps are steps that anyone can take and proudly call themselves a green supporter. In fact, many of the changes listed above can work in our favor by saving us money on our electric and gas bills, which means we’re not consuming near as much as we were beforehand. This is yet another way changes can be considered going green, as we reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

visit www.greenyatra.org for more notes and information

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