Happy Earth Day Calgary!
Here are 23 tips from Parade Magazine to help curb climate change:
1. Buy better bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) require only 25% of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs. According to the federally backed Energy Star program, if every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent bulb, it would equal removing 1 million cars from the road. CFLs are more expensive initially, but because they last so long, they end up saving you money. Especially target the 60W to 100W bulbs you use several hours a day.
To learn more about CFLs and to find out where to purchase them, visit the Energy Star Web site.
2. If it ainâ€™t full, donâ€™t run it
Only run the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer when you have full loads. For further energy savings, wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
3. The two-degree solution
Donâ€™t overheat rooms in cold weather and overcool them when itâ€™s hot. Moving the thermostat down 2Â° in winter and up 2Â° in summer can save about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
4. Think balmy, not boiling
Keep your water-heater thermostat no higher than 120Â°F. This will not only save energy but also prevent you from scalding your hands! Also, if your water heater is more than five years old, wrapping it with an insulating jacket could further save energy (newer heaters are usually sufficiently insulated). If youâ€™re in the market for a new water heater, investigate switching to a tankless model that heats only when the hot water is turned on.
5. Double-up for cold weather
Switching to double-pane windows will trap more heat inside your home, so you use less energy in the winter.
6. A clean filter is an efficient filter
Clean or replace furnace, air-conditioner and heat-pump filters. Using clean filters ensures that these appliances run as efficiently as possible.
7. Time to upgrade
Inefficient appliances waste energy. Youâ€™ll save hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide and hundreds of dollars a year by updating everything from your refrigerator and dishwasher to your telephone and TV. When shopping, choose products with the governmentâ€™s Energy Star label.
8. Switch into energy-save mode
Start using energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers and other appliances.
9. Show youâ€™re plugged in by unplugging
Many electronic devices continue to draw power even when theyâ€™re turned off or fully charged. Cordless phones, cell phones, power tools and digital cameras are some of the major culprits. TVs, cable boxes and computer monitors also waste energy. Plug these devices into a power strip and turn the strip off when the devices are not in use (the strip doesnâ€™t draw power).
10. Take a power-shower
Showers account for two-thirds of all household water-heating costs. Cut down your shower time and youâ€™ll cut down on energy.
11. Go with the low-flow
Low-flow showerheads use less water; less water means less energy is needed to heat the water.
12. Push it
Ditch the gas-powered mower. Use a push mower and get a workout while you cut the lawn.
13. Plant a tree
Trees soak up carbon dioxide and produce clean air for us to breathe. Planting shade trees around your house also will help reduce your summer air-conditioning bills.
14. Buy local
Buying locally means less energy is required to drive your products to the market. Look for local fruits and vegetables, or even try growing your own. Try to buy clothes and other items that are manufactured close to home.
15. Practice the three Râ€™s: reduce, reuse, recycle
Production of recycled paper, glass and metal products requires much less carbon dioxide than making the same products from virgin materials.
16. Go green
Green-energy suppliers produce electricity from renewable sources like wind and hydroelectric power. Find out if a green-energy supplier services your area at Green-e.org.
Want to go solar? Check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).
IN YOUR CAR
17. Stop guzzling
Visit the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economyâ€™s GreenerCars.com site for in-depth information on automobile fuel efficiency. Also visit FuelEconomy.gov, which is run by the U.S. Department of Energy. Switching from a car that gets 20 miles per gallon to one that gets 30 miles per gallon will cut about two tons of carbon dioxide a year.
18. Stay in tune
Keeping the tires on your car adequately inflated means youâ€™ll burn less gas (check the air pressure monthly). Changing air filters and oil regularly also saves gas.
19. Combine your errands
Think ahead when running errands. Combine trips so that you are not using your car for single-purpose trips.
20. The more, the merrier
Organize carpools to get to work or to events. Every passenger in your carpool means one fewer car on the road. Rotate driving responsibilities to save on wear and tear to everyoneâ€™s cars.
21. Lighten up
Are you driving around with a trunk full of junk? An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle reduces fuel economy by up to 2%. When traveling, put luggage inside rather than on the roof to minimize drag and increase gas mileage.
22. Donâ€™t sit idly by
Idling wastes gas. Turn off your car when youâ€™re simply sitting in it.
23. Air-conditioning conditions
Using air-conditioning in stop-and-go traffic can decrease your fuel efficiency by as much as 12%, so consider opening the windows in those circumstances. At high speeds, however, driving with the windows open increases drag and can decrease fuel efficiency.