Tips for living green

Friday, April 19, 2013

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There are numerous low-cost ways to live a more eco-friendly life. In fact, being conscious about energy consumption can actually put money in the bank.

• If possible, carpool to the office. Although public transportation options are limited in Northwest Arkansas, it wouldn’t hurt to see if Ozark Regional Transit has a stop nearby. Those who live close enough to ride their bike to work can also save gas.

• LED lighting and the use of occupancy sensors can save a lot of electricity. Occupancy sensors automatically turn off the lights in a room where there has been no activity for a set amount of time. Not only do LED lights last far longer than traditional bulbs, creating less waste, they also use a lot less energy.

• For as little as $21, a programmable thermostat can save a lot of money on energy bills. The thermostat can be set to cool off or heat up when no one is home and to have the house at the right temperature when the occupants return.

• A little creativity can go far with gift-giving. Use the comic section of the local newspaper as gift wrap, or donate money to an eco-friendly charity in someone’s name instead of buying a material object. Everyone has received a gift they didn’t need or want. Instead of tossing it, donate it to charity. Giving locally grown food as a gift not only saves on wasteful packaging, but it also doesn’t require the energy output of shipping. Food gifts are a great choice for the person who has everything.

• Seek out a local repair shop before tossing a computer. Repairing a computer often costs far less than replacing it and helps limit landfill waste.

• Shredded paper has a surprising amount of uses. It can be used a mulch, in worm bins, as cat litter, animal bedding, kindling for wood stoves, in place of tissue in small gift bags, as packing material, party confetti and more.

• Instead of buying bottled water, consider that there are several inexpensive pitchers with replaceable filters on the market. Some companies like Walgreens even have house brands to reduce the cost of the filters.

• Landscape with the environment in mind. Native plants require less maintenance and water than exotic ones. Plant shade trees around the house to reduce cooling costs in the summer, use rain barrels to irrigate, and grow vegetables and fruits to save money at the grocery store.

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