Cleaner. Smarter. Better. Going green just sounds intimidating, right? We thought so, too. That is, until Kate L. Harrison, a green-living expert and founder of the greenbrideguide.com, walked in and told us how even tiny changes can make a big difference. And those small changes will save you money (go on, book that summer vacation!).
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#1 MAKE BRIGHTER CHOICES
Replace regular lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), which use a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last up to 15 times longer.
energy gained. For every 75-watt incandescent bulb you replace with a 20-watt CFL, you keep the equivalent of 500 pounds of coal from being burned.
money saved. Replacing four bulbs will save $30 per year and $205 over the lifetime of the bulbs. According to the Consumer Energy Center, if you replace 25 percent of your lights in high-use areas (think living rooms, family rooms, kitchens) with CFLs, you can cut your electric bill almost in half. (Wow!)
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Save more water #2 SAVE WATER
Install an aerator, a small gadget that's screwed onto the faucet head, which mixes air into the water as it comes out. An aerator actually cuts the water flow rate in half.
energy gained. For a family of four, installing an aerator on your kitchen sink can decrease your water use by as much as 280 gallons a month. (That's a lot of water!)
save even more water. Install low-flow showerheads, which can reduce the amount of water you use while showering by 30 percent.
energy gained. If 10,000 families installed low-flow showerheads, they would save 140 million gallons of water each year.
money saved. If you install four faucet aerators and two low-flow showerheads, you will save an average of $255 a year!
#3 CONTROL LIGHTING
Use only the lights you actually need. Sounds obvious, right? Think about all the times you leave a room and forget to turn off the lights. Save electricity by installing common types of light controls, such as motion sensors, dimmer switches, and timers.
energy gained. The more you dim, the more energy you save. Installing dimmers can save, at minimum, four to nine percent in electricity.
money saved. Each motion sensor saves the average household $35 a year in electricity costs.