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In Your Home – Conserve Energy
- Clean or replace air filters on your air conditioning unit at least once a month.
- If you have central air conditioning, do not close vents in unused rooms.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120.
- Wrap your water heater in an insulated blanket.
- Turn down or shut off your water heater when you will be away for extended periods.
- Turn off unneeded lights even when leaving a room for a short time.
- Set your refrigerator temperature at 36 to 38 and your freezer at 0 to 5 .
- When using an oven, minimize door opening while it is in use; it reduces oven temperature by 25 to 30 every time you open the door.
- Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load so that it uses less energy.
- Unplug seldom used appliances.
- Use a microwave when- ever you can instead of a conventional oven or stove.
- Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.
- Reverse your indoor ceiling fans for summer and winter operations as recommended.
- Turn off lights, computers and other appliances when not in use.
- Purchase appliances and office equipment with the Energy Star Label; old refridgerators, for example, use up to 50 more electricity than newer models.
- Only use electric appliances when you need them.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.
- Keep your thermostat at 68 in winter and 78 in summer.
- Keep your thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter when you are away
- Insulate your home as best as you can.
- Install weather stripping around all doors and windows.
- Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.
- Plant trees to shade your home.
- Shade outside air conditioning units by trees or other means.
- Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
- Use cold water instead of warm or hot water when possible.
- Connect your outdoor lights to a timer.
- Buy green electricity – electricity produced by low – or even zero-pollution facilities (NC Greenpower for North Carolina – http://www.ncgreenpower.org). In your home-reduce toxicity.
||In Your Home – Reduce Toxicity
- Eliminate mercury from your home by purchasing items without mercury, and dispose of items containing mercury at an appropriate drop-off facility when necessary (e.g. old thermometers).
- Learn about alternatives to household cleaning items that do not use hazardous chemicals.
- Buy the right amount of paint for the job.
- Review labels of household cleaners you use. Consider alternatives like baking soda, scouring pads, water or a little more elbow grease.
- When no good alternatives exist to a toxic item, find the least amount required for an effective, sanitary result.
- If you have an older home, have paint in your home tested for lead. If you have lead-based paint, cover it with wall paper or other material instead of sanding it or burning it off.
- Use traps instead of rat and mouse poisons and insect killers.
- Have your home tested for radon.
- Use cedar chips or aromatic herbs instead of mothballs.
In Your Yard
- Avoid using leaf blowers and other dust-producing equipment.
- Use an electric lawn- mower instead of a gas-powered one.
- Leave grass clippings on the yard-they decompose and return nutrients to the soil.
- Use recycled wood chips as mulch to keep weeds down, retain moisture and prevent erosion.
- Use only the required amount of fertilizer.
- Minimize pesticide use.
- Create a wildlife habitat in your yard.
- Water grass early in the morning.
- Rent or borrow items like ladders, chain saws, party decorations and others that are seldom used.
- Take actions that use non hazardous components (e.g., to ward off pests, plant marigolds in a garden instead of using pesticide).
- Put leaves in a compost heap instead of burning them or throwing them away. Yard debris too large for your compost bin should be taken to a yard-debris recycler.
||In Your Office
- Copy and print on both sides of paper.
- Reuse items like envelopes, folders and paper clips.
- Use mailer sheets for interoffice mail instead of an envelope.Use mailer sheets for interoffice mail instead of an envelope.
- Set up a bulletin board for memos instead of sending a copy to each employee.
- Use e-mail instead of paper correspondence.
- Use recycled paper.
- Use discarded paper for scrap paper.
- Encourage your school and/or company to print documents with soy-based inks, which are less toxic.
- Use a ceramic coffee mug instead of a disposable cup.
Ways To Protect Our Air
- Ask your employer to consider flexible work schedules or telecommuting.
- Recycle printer cartridges.
- Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.
- Report smoking vehicles to your local air agency.
- Don’t use your wood stove or fireplace when air quality is poor.
- Avoid slow-burning, smoldering fires. They produce the largest amount of pollution.
- Burn seasoned wood – it burns cleaner than green wood.
- Use solar power for home and water heating.
- Use low-VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers.
- Purchase radial tires and keep them properly inflated for your vehicle.
- Paint with brushes or rollers instead of using spray paints to minimize harmful emissions.
- Ignite charcoal barbecues with an electric probe or other alternative to lighter fluid.
- If you use a wood stove, use one sold after 1990. They are required to meet federal emissions standards and are more efficient and cleaner burning.
- Walk or ride your bike instead of driving, whenever possible.
- Join a carpool or vanpool to get to work.
||Ways to Use Less Water
- Check and fix any water leaks.
- Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets.
- Don’t wash dishes with the water running continuously.
- Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.
- Follow your community’s water use restrictions or guidelines.
- Install a low-flow shower head.
- Replace old toilets with new ones that use a lot less water.
- Turn off washing machine’s water supply to prevent leaks.
Ways to Protect Our Water
- Revegetate or mulch disturbed soil as soon as possible.
- Never dump anything down a storm drain.
- Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.
- Check your car for oil or other leaks, and recycle motor oil.
- Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.
- Learn about your watershed.
Create Less Trash
- Buy items in bulk from loose bins when possible to reduce the packaging wasted.
- Avoid products with several layers of packaging when only one is sufficient. About 33 of what we throw away is packaging.
- Buy products that you can reuse.
- Maintain and repair durable products instead of buying new ones.
- Check reports for products that are easily repaired and have low breakdown rates.
- Reuse items like bags and containers when possible.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
- Use reusable plates and utensils instead of disposable ones.
- Use reusable containers to store food instead of aluminum foil and cling wrap.
- Shop with a canvas bag instead of using paper and plastic bags.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.
- Reuse packaging cartons and shipping materials. Old newspapers make great packaging material.
- Compost your vegetable scraps.
- Buy used furniture – there is a surplus of it, and it is much cheaper than new furniture.