Top 10 Ways to be Green

Being a Green Clean Institute Certified company, we want to spread the word on how people can be green in their everyday lives. You will be impressed with how simple it is just to do your part, here are some simple ways you can get started right today…

1: Unplug
Switching off the lights when you walk out of a room doesn’t only save energy but it also saves you money on your electrical bill; in a year you will see that you have more spending money than usual. Taking an extra second or two to turn off the computer and printer when they are not in use, will not only cut down on the energy usage but it will also prevent the computers from overheating. Unplugging TVs and fans before you head to work will also save on the amount of energy used in your household. When buying new appliances purchase the Energy Star and Greener Choices for efficiency ratings, and cut down on the extra appliances: an ice maker would be nice but is it really necessary?

2: Use Less Water
In the average home the water heater is second in energy usage next to the heating system.

This can be cut drastically just by doing simple things and risking a little. Turning down the water temperature to 120 degrees is a start, and a good start might I add. Wash full loads of laundry in cold water; if you must use hot then just rinse in cold. Don’t take a hot steamy bath, but instead a quick shower. Install low flow shower heads and faucet aerators, and turn the water off when you’re shaving or brushing your teeth.

If you want to plan for the future you can also get a solar powered water heating system, then you won’t have to be so worried about using hot water.

3: Switching to Fluorescent Bulbs
I know you have been avoiding fluorescent bulbs because you fear the annoying buzzing tubes of your grade school, or the strobe light affect they had. But fluorescent bulbs have come a long way, and I mean loooong way.

You want the ones with higher lumens (not watts) for brighter light, read carefully for a color rendering index (CRI) over 80, or cues like “warmer light” to get closer to incandescence while saving $30 in energy costs over the life of each bulb, and that is huge savings. You wouldn’t think about it at first, but since I got your attention with the savings I think you should consider the switch.

Not to mention the benefit to the planet: Energy Star has dozens of similarities to tell you how much pollution you avert by simply replacing your feverish incandescent bulbs with chill fluorescent ones; they all add up to a huge benefit for the earth.

4: Pick less Packaging
Do consumer products really need layers of packaging that must be planned carefully to open? Does it really have to be a struggle to open a package? The answer is simple: it doesn’t, it should be nice and easy to remove the product from the package. The precious cargo is placed inside a pouch inside a plastic exoskeleton inside a paper sleeve, then bagged for easy transport. Sounds cute and cuddly. But for a stick of gum or a fresh tooth brush, it’s frustrating, time-consuming, a waste of resources and a waste of time to struggle to open the package.

With so many similar products crowding store aisles, try choosing one that sports less packaging. You’ll find that companies that give careful thought to packaging waste are probably considerate of, say, pesticide-free agriculture or humane working conditions, too. Don’t have time to comparison-shop? Simply buying product refills can make you feel good about the purchase, and save a few cents.

5: Buy Local and Organic Food
Buying locally grown produce, whether it’s from a green market, a farm stand, or a conscientious supermarket, can conserve fuel, reduce pollution, and support your local economy … not to mention, produce grown nearby doesn’t require preservatives, waxing  and fancy packaging to keep it fresh.

Likewise, spending the extra money on organic produce will not only keep you from potentially ingesting toxic pesticides, but it’s good for the environment. Support organic farmers, and you’ll be helping to protect water from pollutants, cut down on soil erosion, and conserve the energy and expense it takes to produce synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. As well, there’s no doubt about it- organic and locally grown produce just tastes better.

6: Drive Less
A daily car commute of 32 km round trip can add up to more than $2,000 per year, parking not included. Look into car pooling in your local neighborhood, at work, train and bus routes see if they go near your destination. Biking is another great option, with cities adding bike lanes it becomes easier to get from point a to point b. Biking also will help you keep fit, and forces you to make more trips to the grocery store; therefore eating healthier and burning off those calories. Using any of these possible options not only save you money but will reduce gas emission in the environment.

Replacing even one or two car trips a week will trim your fuel bill (and probably your waistline), but driving smarter can also help. Combine multiple errands into one trip, frequent nearby shops, and try to group your family’s appointments together. Think about the most efficient route before heading out, and try to avoid busier traffic times.

7: Plant a Tree
No gardening project offers quite such instant gratification as planting your own tree. You get exercise, immediate visual stimulation, and some serious self-satisfaction. Your tree will convert nasty pollutants to pure oxygen and offer a welcome to wildlife — and tree roots can help sway erosion. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, helping to reduce global warming.

Depending on what kind of tree you choose, and where you plant it, the shade can gradually help to cool your home as well as offer a perfect spot for contemplation, meditation or recreation. Trees are charming planted for a child as a living growth chart, or in memory of a loved one.

8: Recycle More
Savvy shopping and a little creativity can keep your trash pile from mounting. Judge products by their recycled packaging, such as bottles, cans, paper wrappings, and cereal boxes. Choose stationery and other supplies made from recyclable materials that are better the second time around. Re-using as much product as you can will save you from buying new ones every time. Don’t buy bottled water, buy a glass water bottle and use and re-use it, it will cut down on the plastic bottles.

Take your used car batteries, antifreeze, and motor oil back to participating mechanics. Return plastic bags to the grocery store. Give old cell phones and cars to your favorite charity. Compost your leftovers and keep your lawn well fed by letting grass-mown clippings lie. Think outside that empty cardboard box: It’s a fairytale fort for a five-year-old. Finally, hang an old flat tire to a tree and make a swing for green-minded folks of all ages.

9: Buy Green Power
In many states and provinces, you can opt to purchase renewable energy from your local power company, and then rest easy knowing you just sent that email from your wind- or methane-powered computer. To find out if your local utility has a green power source, check the Green Power Network’s U.S. map and Energy Exchange in Canada. Austin Energy generated the most green power last year, followed by Portland General Electric. Xcel Energy (in Colorado and elsewhere) had the highest number of customers who purchased renewable energy (more than 49,354). Help nudge your local utility toward a deeper shade of green by opting into their renewable energy program.

10: Spread the Word
Want to shake some sense into people? Use the web as your own personal bullhorn to make the world a greener place. Inform your inner circle about good causes or upcoming legislation via e-mail. You can also direct friends to Live the Change to familiarize themselves with personal impact calculators, simple tips, activism options, and blogs of others in the community who are trying to make the planet a little greener.