Environment and You
A home or building designed and constructed around energy efficiency can realize enormous savings. Everything from the positioning of the house, use of daylight and natural ventilation, lighting and appliances, and renewable energy system can push a building closer and closer to net zero energy consumption. If you are considering building a home, do serious renovations, or an addition, make sure that energy efficiency is a key design criterion.
Green Building tips:
- Having an environmentally friendly site selection or "footprint." Some factors involved are orientation of the house to maximize natural sunlight and light, as well as shade for cooling. Another goal is taking down only the trees and bushes that would interfere with construction. The remaining trees can help cool the house or fruit bearing trees can be replanted.
- Using energy efficient designs and materials. Shade from trees can help keep house cool.
- Reduce water consumption. Repair leaking taps to reduce cost and wastage. You can also check your toilets for leaks by putting a little food colouring into the toilet tank. If without flushing the colour appears in the bowl there is a leak that should be repaired. This is usually inexpensive.
Tips for Eco-Friendly Living
- Purchase products with the least amount of packaging to avoid creating trash.
- Find another use or donate old and unwanted items. Such as: books, furniture, toys, appliances.
- Save and reuse old items instead of purchasing new ones. Example: paper bags, rubber bands, twisties, boxes etc.
- Store food in eco-friendly food containers or reusable snack bags and wraps instead of Styrofoam containers and foil paper.
- Use home-made low toxin cleaners and detergents as compared to regular cleaners containing high toxin chemicals.
- Create kitchen gardens and grow vegetables. This produces healthier food, costs less and is more organic.
- Recycle banana peels and grass clippings to create a compost pile. This works as manure for plants as well as reduces the amount of fertilizers needed.
- Write on both sides of paper when taking notes or doing documentations as well as borrow books from the library instead of purchasing. Less paper being used allows tree and forest preservation.
- Use cloth diapers for babies instead of store bought plastic diapers. Cloth diapers can be washed and reused.
- Purchase only what is needed when shopping and the exact quantities. This will reduce wastage and pollution.
- Reuse old shopping bags as much as possible or purchase cloth bags for shopping.
- Replace disposable products with reusable ones. Example: food storage etc.
- Use fans or open windows instead of air conditioning when trying to cool off in hot or humid weather. This is cost wise and energy conserving.
- Use solar energy to dry clothing instead of electrical dryers. It may take longer but it saves energy and money.
- Carpool instead of using a large number of vehicles to commute to one destination. This reduces traffic and harmful gas emissions from polluting the environment.
- Switch incandescent light bulbs to ultra efficient compact fluorescent bulbs in order to conserve energy.
- Fill your yard with native plants as these will limit the water requirement needed for its survival as well as provide food and shelter for wildlife.
- Fix leaky faucets and pipes as well as turn on the water on the lowest pressure when using it.
- Turn on water on when it is absolutely needed and use buckets, pitchers or cups instead of the faucet in order to conserve water.
- Always run full loads of laundry and set the washing machine for single rinse only. This helps to conserve water.
- Never release balloons into the air. They find their way into open water and harm or kill marine life.
- Switch to low pressure shower heads. This reduces the pressure of the water coming out of the shower thus enabling water conservation.
- Set up barrels and tanks which collect and store rain water. This can be used to water plants and as drinking water for animals.
- Recycle all plastic and glass bottles and purchase low grade green paper. Green paper is made from recycled paper.
Some Interesting Facts
- 1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
- 1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
- 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.
- 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials.
- Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled.
- The unreleased energy contained in the average dustbin each year could power a television for 5,000 hours.
- On average, 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as rubbish.
- As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted.
- Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
- 9 out of 10 people would recycle more if it were made easier.
- Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.