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Going green, easier than you think!

June 27 2011

Guest contributor Deb Rabin from HomeFinder.com says:

green leavesThe term “go green” seems to be used everywhere. We continually hear how important it is to “go green” within our homes but other than the easy recycling of paper or plastic, it can be intimidating, and exhausting concerning ourselves with yet another thing to worry about. It is hard enough to decorate our homes, keep them clean and manage a household. Now we have to keep them “green” as well?

Yes, we do, or at least we should try because it’s actually a lot easier and less expensive than most of us might realize. Here are five eco-friendly and thrifty ideas on how you can not only make a difference in our “green” world but also save you some money.

1. If your appliance is 15 years or older, consider replacing it with an energy efficient model. “Green” appliances offer you the chance to save money on utility bills and help the environment. Green appliances might cost a little more up front, but they will save you long term dollars, as well as peace of mind over time.

2. Try to remember to unplug some of your appliances and electrical items when you are not using them. Keeping items plugged in unnecessarily uses energy and contributes to your electrical bills. Toaster ovens, coffee machines, even your cell phone plug, can all be unplugged when not in use. The average consumer can save between 10-20% on monthly utility bills by following this practice.

3. On average, heating and cooling your home accounts for up to 43 percent of your utility bill. The US Department of Energy states that our temperature systems emit up to 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, generating about 12% of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and 4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.

The temperature you control in your house is an easy thing to adjust, especially if you install a programmable thermostat. Turn down the air in the summer and opt for ceiling fans. Turn down the heat in the winter and cozy up in your favorite pj’s and an extra blanket. Check out more ideas on how to save energy by controlling the temp in your house, here. here.

4. Water is another element we can use less of to help our environment as well as our pockets. Using cold instead of hot water when doing laundry will lower the energy used for each load. Consider investing in a front-loader machine which uses less water and energy to reduce drying times. Instead of a hose, use a broom to sweep out your garage, driveway and deck.  Use a watering can to water your flowers and plants, limiting the amount of water used specifically to what you need.

5. Cleaning your home has never been so eco-friendly or cheap! There are many all natural based house cleaners available now which are affordable and chemical free affordable and chemical free. Rather expend some of your own energy and do it yourself? Baking soda is an inexpensive option that can keep your sinks and counter tops bright and shiny.  Cornstarch can be used to clean your windows or even polish furniture. Toothpaste shines silver, and vinegar to clean nearly anything in the house. Check out other ideas ideas of how to use inexpensive, natural products which are also safe for the environment.

Going green does not have to be an overwhelming lifestyle change. Like any change in your life, start small with big intentions. These five ideas are easy, affordable, and go a long way in helping our environment.

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