1970 was the peak of the hippie and flower-child era in the United States. Saving the planet became a nationwide “bridge over troubled water”, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest efforts and putting environmental concerns front and center. So in honor of Earth Day, April 22, here are a few tips for saving money and energy all year long:
- Replace incandescent lights with compact florescent lights (CFLs). CFLs last up to 10 times longer and use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
- Turn off or unplug electric devices such as computers, power tools, cellphone chargers, digital cameras and small appliances when they are not in use. These items are often left on for extended periods of times but are used for a small percentage of that time. According to NRDC, a game console that is left on 24/7 will use approximately 10 times more annual energy than one that is turned off after use.
- Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible since heating accounts for up to 90 percent of a clothes washer’s energy use.
- Select the no-heat drying option when using your dishwasher and let dishes air dry.
- When making a new appliance purchase, consider the Energy Guide label. This label estimates energy usages for the appliance, compares it to the energy use of similar products, and shows you approximately how much it will cost to use (based on the national average cost of electricity).
- Swap plastic bags for reusable ones. Plastic bags take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose and only 1% of the bags are actually recycled.
Doing just one of these things can keep money in your pocket, and the environment clean. Just remember to wear green today, and have a happy Earth Day!