9 Ways to Go Green in the Kitchen

9 Ways to Go Green in the Kitchen

Going green doesn’t always have to involve a huge time and money investment. Here are 9 simple things you can start doing in your kitchen to save energy and help lower your utility bills:

  1. Start a garden. Whether you opt for a full-out vegetable garden or a small window of fresh herbs, the taste of freshness will be unmistakable!
  2. Shop locally! Visit local farmers markets or choose locally produced produce whenever possible.
  3. Bring your own bags when you visit the grocery store. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  4. Save time and energy by cooking a double portion and setting half aside in the freezer for a quick meal at a later date.
  5. Get energized and leave the appliances alone. Whenever possible, mix and beat ingredients by hand, cook multiple items at the same time, and avoid washing dishes unnecessarily. Use energy-efficient appliances such as the slow cooker or toaster oven, which can use up to 30% less energy. Be aware of energy wasters such as excessive pre-heating or simmering.
  6. Ditch the wraps (such as saran wrap or foil) and make the switch to reusable containers for lunches and leftovers.
  7. Put a lid on it! Did you know that cooking with lids could save up to three times the energy? Keep all that steam inside the pot for a more energy- efficient (and faster!) meal.
  8. Go fresh—say goodbye to excessively packaged foods, which are often produced using processes that are harmful to the environment. Cooking meals from scratch using fresh ingredients is not only healthier, it’s often less expensive and better for the environment.
  9. Decide what you are looking for before you open the fridge, and never keep the door open longer than absolutely necessary.

Got a green living tip of your own? Share it with everyone in the comments section below!

 

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Save on Cooling, Stay Cool

Save on Cooling, Stay Cool

As the summer months roll on through, we are faced with the dilemma of creating the perfect indoor environment. In some regions the sun blazes hot, while other areas of the country enjoy more temperate summer days and nights. Whatever the case, our cooling habits always change this time of year, and it’s important to consider the usage, impact and alternatives to summer cooling.

Did you know that according to EnergyStar, if just one in ten households used EnergyStar Certified cooling and heating equipment, we could prevent the equivalent of 1.1 million cars’ emissions? That’s a big difference. But if you’re not ready or willing to replace your cooling system just yet, here are some other ways to lighten your impact during the summer heat.

1. Replace the air filter. Forced-air heating and cooling systems really require you to swap the air filter every 3 months. Remember, if you’re working on a project at home, or doing some remodeling, it may need replacing more frequently until the dust settles. A dirty air filter can decrease the efficiency of your cooling system by two percent. That’s energy use you’re paying for without getting the benefit of the most efficient cooling to your home.

2. Install a programmable thermostat. This corner of the market is evolving very quickly. Keep an eye out for the system that’s right for your household. If you’re not one to take the time to set a program, consider a learning thermostat that uses smart technology to sense movement so the energy savings are abundant while you’re out of the house or resting. Another tip – setting the thermostat between 4 and 7 degrees higher at night can save you about $180 annually.

3. “Summerize” your home. We frequently talk about winterizing our homes by sealing cracks and air leaks. We check insulation before the winter months to make sure we’ll stay warm enough, but consider the opposite is also true. A tighter home not only keeps the cold winter air out, but also keeps the cool, conditioned air in! Grab a caulk gun and do a few simple tests to seal and sure up leaks around windows and door. According to the Energy Star site, sealing leaks in air ducts can improve your cooling system by 20 percent!

 

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Home Energy Use: Where does it go and how can I save?

Home Energy Use: Where does it go and how can I save?

Did you ever wonder where does your electric consumption go? And did you ever wonder how are you going to save on your electric bill? Well, you need not to ask these questions without getting the right answers anymore. This article will tell you the answers to these 2 questions.

The largest portion of your electric consumption goes to space heating, 47% to be exact. This is almost half of the cost of our electric bill. The other half is shared by lighting and appliance with 24%, water heating with 17%, air conditioning with 6%, and refrigeration with 5%.

With this information at hand, we can easily determine when to start our move to keep the our electric consumption low.

Since the largest part of our electric consumption goes to space heating, we will start here.

Insulating the parts of your home particularly the ceiling and walls save you as much as 30% on heating expenses that equates to 15% savings on total electric cost. Doing this will of course require you to invest on materials that will be placed around your home but it is worth the money. Imagine a $150 savings per year just by insulating your home.

Also, you can further save on heating expenses if you superinsulate your home if you are living in cooler environment.

Doing some changes around your home will certainly make a difference on your electric bill. If you live on warm climate, a shade of a deciduous tree will cool down your area that will save you on air conditioning. An appropriate roof and wall painting will further give you extra savings.

Covering your window with plastic coating will provide extra insulation. This will help to keep the heat from going outside as well as the cold air from going inside the house.

Sealing all the leaks around your home will ensure that the heat will stay inside. Leaks will often come from windows, doors, sills, joints and walls.

A regular maintenance check on the furnace will keep it running efficiently, thus, ensuring you get space heat equals the electricity consumed. A clean air filter will also ensure that you get efficient air recycling as well as clean air. Leaking ducts will make your heating system work 30% more, thus, you are using power and spending more on wasted energy.

A quarter of our electric bill goes to the lighting and appliances. Here, we would concentrate on the control and responsible use of lights and electronic devices.

Make sure that you turn the lights off when not in use. Turn off the lights when you leave the room even for a few minutes. Turn off the stereo and television if you are not using them.

Reduce the thermostat of your refrigerator. It constitutes 20% of your household electric consumption.

Wash your clothes with cold water. You can save as much as 90% on washing machineís electric consumption if you will not use the heating. You do not need warn water so kill the germs on your clothes. The detergent will do.

Only use the dishwasher if you intend a full load dishwashing. Dishwasher uses the same amount of power and water whether you full load them or not. Also, prefer air-drying your dishes instead of heating them inside the dishwasher.

Reducing the temperature of your water heater will also help you to further reduce the cost of your home energy bill. If the thermostat of your water heater is set on 140 degrees Fahrenheit, lower it down to 120. It will be enough to give you warn water. Invest on water heater jacket. It is cheap but will certainly yield to bigger savings.

If you are going to replace your appliance, make sure you select energy efficient ones. Energy guide details can be seen on the label of each new appliance.

Compact energy bulbs are cheaper and more energy efficient than incandescent lights. Compact lights also last 8-10 times longer than incandescent bulbs so you will also save yourself from buying incandescent bulbs 8-10 times.

Replace your regular showerheads with low-flow ones. This will reduce your water consumption by as much as 40%.

 

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