At Home and On the Road
“Living green means living well, using what you create with minimal waste,” says Mike Bond, an ecologist and bestselling activist author in Winthrop, Maine. Here, he and other savvy sources share tips to go ever greener in ways that are painless and affordable.
• Choose the best bulb for the job. Light bulbs can confuse even informed shoppers. Incandescent bulbs last more than 750 hours, but aren’t energy-efficient. Fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent and last 10 to 15 times longer. A 20-watt compact fluorescent light (CFL) uses 550 fewer kilowatt-hours than a 75-watt incandescent bulb. For additional information, checkTinyurl.com/EnergyInfoLightBulbs. For a free app showing the best buy, visit LightBulbFinder.net.
• Use appliance thermometers. Widely available, this useful tool will confirm a correct operating temperature of 37 to 40 degrees in the refrigerator and zero degrees in the freezer. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a warmer fridge allows bacteria to grow, while 10 degrees cooler than the ideal range increases energy use 25 percent. Chiller units work harder if the room temperature exceeds 70 degrees, so keep appliances out of direct sunlight and away from the stove.
• Find the right seeds and plants. Then get quick advice on how many to buy and how and when to plant using the SmartGardener.com step-by-step app. It encompasses more than 3,000 organic, GMO-free, edible varieties.
• No dishpan hands. A full load of dishes in a water-efficient dishwasher uses four gallons of water versus 24 gallons for handwashing them, according to Seametrics, which manufactures flow meters.
• Test the toilet. If a few drops of food coloring added to the toilet tank colors water in the bowl, replace the flap. It’s an easy and inexpensive DIY task. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that one in 10 homes leaks a cumulative 90 gallons a day.
• Fix the faucet. One drip per second equals 3,000 gallons a year wasted, Seametrics calculates.
• Reset the hot water heater to 120 degrees. This safe and efficient setting also reduces corrosion and mineral buildup. READ MORE