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Living Green on a Budget for the Socially Conscious Consumer

There are plenty of ways to become more energy efficient while pinching your pennies.  Going green is more than green consumerism; it’s a mentality, a lifestyle, a discipline.  Though the environmental impact of our lifestyles may appear to be lost in abstraction, there are real-life changes we can make to reorient our mindsets and actions to help our planet.

 

The easiest technique to begin this journey is to create new, environmentally-conscious habits.  According to the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, it takes an average of 66 days to normalize a repeated behavior, forming a new habit.  Make it a goal to turn off the lights every time you exit a room.  See if you can do this for two months- it’ll stick.   It’s far too easy to move around your place, flipping on the lights and wasting energy. 
 
Limit your driving by coming up with alternative modes of transportation.  Next time you’re headed somewhere in town, make it an activity.  Cruise on a bike or walk to your destination.  If you live in an urban area, make use of public transportation.  If you do need to drive, plan to knock out several errands at once, making your trips more gas efficient.  Do you live by your coworkers?  Get in the carpool lane and avoid traffic.
 
Consume local produce, which requires less fossil fuels used to transport the food.  Consider growing a garden, using kitchen and yard waste as organic compost.  Furthermore, you might want to think about reducing your consumption of meat, particularly beef.  Cattle rearing releases an obscene amount of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere (for more information, see this article).Pay your bills online and request direct deposit to save trees.
 
Landscape, or “naturescape,” your yard with plants that are native to your region.  Indigenous plants require little maintenance and support biodiversity.  Traditional landscaping uses exotic plants that are often invasive species, which muddle up the natural balance as they dominate their environment.  Ditch the fancy landscape and harmful fertilizer. 

Credits to Alex Koutzoukis, Landscape Architect

Hit up local thrift stores for clothes, furniture, and household items.  Yard sales are another eco-friendly alternative to the shopping mall.  And when you’re washing your clothes, use cold water and hang them on a clothesline to dry.

Reuse old products.  In the move towards green consumerism, there are plenty of companies that push the idea of green products.  Eco-friendly cleaning products and energy efficient appliances are fantastic.  Green household items, on the otherhand, are wonderful if you actually needto purchase new items.  Instead of buying a brand new product that’s made from recycled materials, simply continue to use an existing one.  If you’re trying to limit consumption, only replace items when they are broken beyond repair or require too much energy to operate.  

 
Replace energy-hogging appliances.  In the case of outdated household devices that require excessive amounts of energy, it often makes sense to invest in more energy efficient products.  A refrigerator from the 1980s, for example, can hoard over 3 kWh per day to run. The SunDanzer DCR165, a DC powered refrigerator of 5.8 cubic feet, can run on a one 75 Watt solar panel.

Get rid of those standard incandescent lights and swap them for LED Lighting like the 10W Central Lighting S2000. You can also replace your fluorescent tubes with the non-toxic, incredibly durable, and long-lasting DirectLED FL Series from EarthLED.
 
Effectively insulating your home can save on heating and cooling costs.  Reach Radiant Barrier insulation has radiant barrier technology that blocks up to 95% of the radiant heat. The Reach Radiant Barrier is great for your garage and attic.  Watch this video on the Reach Radiant Barrier:

 
 
Use your air conditioner less frequently- it’s another major energy hog.  When you undoubtedly need to run the AC, use it in conjunction with a Cool-n-Save unit, which can save you up to 30% on your AC costs.
 
For more ideas on energy efficiency, take a look at this GoGreenSolar customer’s home, or visit GoGreenSolar.com.
 
As we become more cognizant of our energy consumption, there are steps we can take to reduce our personal energy usage and incrementally move towards a sustainable future.  What other lifestyle changes can we make to reduce our carbon footprints?  Tell us how you are living green.

 

Author: Tom Jackson

I believe clean, renewable energy is key to the evolution of society as a whole. Solar powers our planet, why not harness it to power humanity? Let's power our homes, our work, and our vehicles with solar energy. It begins with raising awareness and encouraging those around us to go green.

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