Eco-Tips 2015 Q1

The Power of One

By making simple changes to the actions we take, each one of us can help turn the tide of climate change and protect Earth’s magnificent natural resources for generations to come. Here are a few things you can do to help.

Energy

Improve Fireplace Efficiency While a blazing fire is heavenly on a cold day, it also sends most of your home’s heat goes straight up the chimney. Reduce heat loss by opening a nearby window an inch and closing doors to the room. A well-swept chimney also improves efficiency. And make sure the damper is snug and closed when the fireplace is not in use and the embers are fully extinguished.

Check Your Heating Vents Double check to make sure that all of the vents for your central heating system are open. Contrary to popular belief, closing the vents in lesser- used areas of your home does not save energy. If they are all open, your system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home warm.

Lower the Water Heater Temp We rarely need tap and shower water to be turned up to its highest temperature, so why not turn down the hot water heater? The standard setting is about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but adjusting it to 120 degrees could save up to 10 percent in water heating costs.

Food

Cook at Home Preparing homemade soups, stews and other hearty winter meals is more economical and consumes fewer resources than dining out. And processed or pre-made food can generate unnecessary waste: it gets packaged in plastic and cardboard, then trucked to local supermarkets. Besides, what’s cozier than a home-cooked meal?

Rethink Your Heat Smaller versions of energy-hogging ovens are typically a faster, less expensive, more environmentally friendly way to cook foods. Opt for a toaster oven whenever possible, and use an electric teakettle rather than boiling water on the stovetop.

Use a Pressure Cooker You’d be surprised by the variety of dishes you can prepare in a pressure cooker: roasts and ribs, chili, whole chicken, risotto, soup – even corn bread and desserts. And you’ll save time, money and energy all at the same time!

Transportation

Carpool Riding with friends and co-workers means fewer carbon-emitting cars on the road and greater gas savings. Having someone else do the driving a couple of days each week let’s you relax rather than fight rush-hour traffic and road rage. Plus, it will keep you punctual both arriving as well as leaving the office.

Lighten Your Load Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds of weight could reduce your MPG by up to two percent.

Maintain Your Car Regular maintenance checks can avoid fuel economy problems due to worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, sagging belts, low transmission fluid, or transmission problems.

Building

Build a Better Home Advanced home framing—also known as optimal value engineering—reduces the amount of lumber used in new home construction. In addition to reducing construction waste, it also improves energy efficiency in wood-frame homes.

Install a Programmable Thermostat These thermostats automatically lower the temperature setting at night or during unoccupied periods throughout the day, raising them again in the morning or during times when you’re typically home. A ten-degree reduction at night will save approximately five to 15 percent on annual heating costs.

Choose Colors Carefully Paint the walls of your home a light color. Dark colors tend to absorb light, requiring your to use more energy from light bulbs to achieve the same effect.

Waste & Recycling

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Reduce the amount of packaging you buy, reuse what you can, and recycle the rest. Better yet, look for products without packaging—tools, fresh produce, dry goods.

Keep it Going Around Use wrapping paper and holiday cards made from recycled paper. And recycle the ones you receive in return!

Eliminate Unwanted Mail Roughly 35 million tress are cut down each year to produce mail that people don’t even want. To be removed from national mailing lists, call 1-212-768-7277. To stop unsolicited catalogues from clogging up your mailbox, go to

https://www.catalogchoice.org/

Natural Resources

Shorten Your Shower A long, hot shower may chase away winter’s chill, but doing so dries out your skin and wastes water. Reducing your shower time by just one minute each day will conserve nearly a thousand gallons of water every year on average – and reduce the energy and cost of heating that water.

Recycle Christmas Trees Christmas trees provide wonderful shelter for small animals. After the season is over and the ornaments have been put away, cut the evergreen branches from the trunk and place them in the woods or back edges of your property. Over time, the branches will reduce to a fine mulch

Buy e-Books Help the trees remain in the forest and out of the paper mill by purchasing e-books or secondhand print editions. Book shopping online also saves time money, but if you’re not finding the title you want or simply enjoy perusing shelves full of mysteries, poetry, historical fiction and biographies, there’s no better place than the Wilton Library.

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