A Bright Idea

May 18, 2010

Just how much money will you save if you change all your conventional light bulbs to energy efficient compact fluorescents, aka CFLs?

Watch Sustainable Flatbush‘s entry in NYSERDA’s Shining Example Video Contest to find out.

And by the way, switching to CFLs isn’t just a brilliant idea for your budget.  It’s great for the environment, too.

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Jocelyn’s Top 10 Greening Your Life List

January 5, 2009

Here is my little list, much of it you probably know about.  But hey, why repeat what others of done so well?  Explore TreeHugger.com’s Back to Basics Guides for everything you need to know about going green.

1. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent light bulbs.
Lighting is one of the biggest guzzlers of energy in our homes.  CFL’s use much, much less energy than traditional lightbulbs.  Please clean up and dispose of CFLs properly if they break and when they burn out.  Yes, they have mercury in them, but that’s no reason not to use them (why). 

2.  Or even go with super efficient LED lights!
LEDs are the lights of the future.  They are just now coming out so they are expensive, but–and this is something that consumers rarely consider–you’ll save loads on your electric bill.  They make up their cost in energy savings in a short time, and they last much longer than the cheap light bulbs you buy at the super market.

3.  Replace your appliances with more energy efficient ones.
Big appliances like refrigerators are also major energy-hungry culprits.  Again, high-efficiency appliances cost more than what we’re used to paying, but as a rule investments in energy efficiency pay off in savings, sometimes even in the short-term.

4.  Insulate your home.
Seal heat leaks around windows and doors, and install insulation if necessary.  There is so much you can do around the house to save energy–and lower your heating bill.  Here is TreeHuggers.com in-depth guide to greening your heat.

5.  Beware of vampire loads!
You know those little indicator lights and clocks that stay on even when you’re not using your DVD player or TV?  Those are called “vampire loads,” sucking up energy you don’t need and aren’t even using.  When I did an an energy audit of my home a few years ago, I found that vampire loads accounted for almost 10% of my energy usage!
     The solution?  Plug everything in to a power strip, and turn off the whole thing when not in use.  For example, my computer, printer, cable modem, router, and a few other things are all plugged in to a power strip now.  Same thing with my TV, VCR and DVD player.  Same thing with my amp, CD, turntable (yeah, I still have one of those), etc.  I just turn off the power strips when I’m done.

5. Install sensors that turn lights off when not in use.

6. Turn down the air conditioner a bit in the summer.

7. Eat locally and sustainably grown food.
This gets us into the concept of embedded energy.  It takes a lot more energy to get an apple to you from New Zealand than it does from your local farmers’ market.  And your farmer’s apple tastes much better.

8.  Ride your bike, use public transit or choose a high-efficiency, electric or hybrid car if you’re buying.
For more in-depth insights about your transportation choices, check out TreeHugger.com’s green transportation section.  But for quick and dirty (or clean, as the case may be) tips, try “how to green your car.”

9.  Invest in clean energy and carbon off-sets.
Reduce your carbon footprint buy investing in renewable energy projects or purchasing your electricity from renewable energy sources.  Check with your utility company for options.  Here’s ConEd’s “green energy” alternative.

10.  Encourage your workplace, schools, businesses, congregations and other groups you’re involved in to commit to sustainable practices.