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Happy Earth Day!

Photo: Happy Earth Day Calgary
Happy Earth Day Calgary!
Here are 23 tips from Parade Magazine to help curb climate change:

AT HOME

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 ain’t full, don’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
Don’t overheat rooms in cold weather and overcool them when it’s hot. Moving the thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° 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 120°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 you’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. You’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 government’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 you’re plugged in by unplugging
Many electronic devices continue to draw power even when they’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 doesn’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 you’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 R’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 Economy’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 you’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 everyone’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. Don’t sit idly by
Idling wastes gas. Turn off your car when you’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.

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  • Danna - These are some awesome tips 😀

    and that shot is so so cool!!

  • Carrie - ok…that shot is soooo cool looking! Thanks for the tips too!

  • Lisa - Great tips! And that shot is so precious–I especially like the little bit of belly. 🙂

    –L

  • Angela - Great tips and I looooove that photo!

  • Rudy - As someone who sells light bulbs for a living, I am less enthusiastic than most about compact fluorescent bulbs. This is due to the fact that the ones currently available contain significant amounts of mercury. If one of these bulbs should break inside of a person’s home, it could cause a challenging disposal situation. It is my belief that the technology should progress to a point at which the mercury levels are low or nonexistent before people changeover their entire homes. Another consideration is that as these bulbs burn out, they will most likely be thrown away as though they are normal rubbish and landfills will have incredibly high levels of mercury in their soil as a result.

  • Heather Gibb - Great post and tips and even COOLER image!!

  • Anna-Karin - Great tips. Thanks for the reminder to be more concious about our earth!

  • marie - great post…I am even doing this in my business…

  • Ruthi David - That is the COOLEST shot!

  • Meggan - What a great post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Tonia - I absolutely love that shot! Well done! And thanks for the tips. I hope more and more people try to help the environment! For the sake of all the children…and for their children!

  • Tara McGlinchey - Wonderful shot Brandy. I love it.

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