The word “Green” is working its way into almost all aspects of our lives. Advertising is picking up that ball and running with it. Even the colors of advertisements are often centered on a green theme. But just what is “green living” or “going green”?
Basically, it refers to reducing your environmental impact, by the type of and how much energy you use. This can be done by making good decisions to try to become more energy-efficient and choosing clean energy supplies.
More energy efficient? Something that is energy efficient means it delivers the same (or more) services for less energy. By using less energy the power plants don’t have to generate so much, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality.
Clean energy? This refers to supplies that include renewable energy and clean distributed generation, such as combined heat and power. Many businesses are installing renewable energy and combined heat and power at their buildings to save them money, reduce their environmental impact, and provide greater control of their energy use. And the same can be done at your home.
So how can you “go green”? Here are some steps to reduce energy use in your home.
- When it is time to replace an appliance, TV, or heating and air system, buy Energy Star products. And if it has a “standby mode” function be sure it is activated.
- Replace your 5 most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified lighting. If every household in America did this, it could save close to $8 billion a year in energy costs! Altogether we could prevent the greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.
- Replace your standard thermostat with an Energy Star qualified programmable thermostat. These types of thermostats, connected to your central heat and air conditioning system, have features that can automatically adjust the temperature of your home when you are away.
- Don’t forget to find out if our local utility companies in and around Fredericksburg, VA are offering incentives or rebates for the purchase of Energy Star qualified appliances, lighting, or HVAC systems.
- Seal and insulate your home to improve comfort and reduce energy costs from your furnace, air conditioning, and/or heat pump system. We recommend reading our detailed 10-part series on how to make your home more energy-efficient.
- If you are considering replacing the windows in your home, choose an Energy Star labeled product.
So what about “green living” in terms of using a clean energy supply? Here are two web tools provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency that can help you make a difference by using clean energy supplies:
- Use the Power Profiler tool developed by the EPA. It can help you determine the specific air emissions impacts associated with your home’s electricity use.
- Visit the Green Power Locator to find out how you can purchase green power for your home.
So are you ready for “Green living”? You can do it by making sustainable choices about what you eat, how you travel, what you buy, and then how you use and dispose of it. Following the simple steps above can make your home more energy-efficient, and contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.
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