Sunday is Earth Day. So, in preparation for that, I'm going to (try to) count down to Earth Day with a daily tip to help the environment. Because I'm feeling extremely uncreative, I'm going to borrow these from Stonyfield Yogurt.
CONSERVE AND RENEW YOUR HOME ENERGY
Read up on energy efficiency and renewable energy with fact sheets from the U..S. Department of Energy.
Conduct a do-it-yourself home energy audit, with information on how to make your home more energy efficient and the profitability of making energy upgrades.
Evaluate your home’s energy usage with the tools available in this Energy Department website.
Compare and contrast homes appliances and learn about home improvements at Energy Star, a government-backed program that can help you choose appliances and other home improvements based on their energy efficiency. In 2004, enough power was saved through Energy Star efforts to power 24 million homes, greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by the equivalent of 20 million cars, and saved $10 billion.
The things we have done include growing used to warmer temperatures. We slowly bumped up our thermostat until we had it as high as it would go (88F) for a good portion of the day. The programmable thermostat we have really helps, we can set it to be 84 during the evening when we're all home, eating supper and being active. Then gradually go up when it's time to go to bed. We are lucky that our climate is such that it gets much cooler at night, even in the hottest days of summer, so most nights we can turn the AC off completely and open the windows and use fans.
Of course, the clothesline makes the list. This did require getting used to stiffer clothes and planning ahead. It takes longer to do the laundry when you don't use a dryer (well, most of the time, on the hot windy days I find that the clothes on the clothesline dry in less than an hour - the amount of time they would take in the dryer).
We do buy energy star appliances, but most of our current appliances were in the house when we bought it. We'll replace them with energy star when we get the chance. We plan to replace our current water heater with an on-demand heater. We'll replace the stove with a gas stove when we replace it. For our anniversary, we plan to buy a solar oven, probably this one.