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Green-ify Your Home With This Easy Checklist

I think we humans can feel overwhelmed by the planet.

We aren’t really taught how to care for the environment as children. It’s not very sexy.

Well, after learning more about it, I’ve discovered that conserving energy isn’t all that hard. And I believe that it is sexy, because caring for the planet is as close to being a superhero as it gets.

Below are a few guidelines from the National Wildlife Foundation. We’ve re-organized their suggestions by level of difficulty. If you manage to get to the bottom of the list, you’re a living goddess by nature!

Basic Tips (So Easy, A Child Can Should Do It)

Goddess Level: Responsibly Human

Turn off the lights that you are not using.

Buy compact fluorescent bulbs, which reduce energy use by up to 75 percent.

Set a goal of at least replacing the bulbs that are most often on in your home.

Do not place lamps near a thermostat. The thermostat senses the heat produced from the lamp which can change how often your furnace or air conditioner will run.

Consider safer, more efficient Energy Star torchiere lamps over popular halogen torchiere lamps. The halogen lamps can cause fires, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Use dimmers, timers, and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.


Washing Your Dishes (Just Barely Harder)

Goddess Level: Enchantress In Training

Set your water heater to a lower setting (or just call a service person to adjust it for you).

Run your dishwasher without the “drying cycle” and just let your dishes drip dry.

Wash a full load, rather than just a few dishes at a time.

To reduce the amount of dishes to wash, label the bottom of cups and mugs with family member’s names.

Choose cold or warm cycles over hot cycles, since heating the water for dishes consumes most of the energy of the washing process.

Refrigerators and Freezers (May Require 1-2 Hours)

Goddess Level: Priestess of the Pantry

Keep condenser coils clean on the back of your refrigerator. Gently wipe and vacuum them once a year. Many fridges have a removable panel around the coils. Keep the back of the fridge at least four inches from the wall.

Make sure the fridge door gasket seals tight. Test it by putting a piece of paper in a closed door. Pull on the paper and if it comes out too easily, you need to replace your gasket. Test at several places along the door.

Check the temperature of your fridge and freezer by putting a thermometer in a glass of water. Put the glass of water on the center shelf in the center of the fridge. It should read 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer should read 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The fuller the freezer, the more energy efficient it is.

Let hot food cool down a bit before you put it in the fridge.

Install your fridge away from direct sun or your range top or oven.

Try not to use a second refrigerator.


Drying Your Clothes (Perhaps A Bit More Work)

Goddess Level: Certified Siren

Hang your clothes to dry either on a clothesline or a clothes tree, at least some of the time.

In the winter, this is a natural humidifier in a dry room.

Reduce ironing time by taking clothes out when they are slightly damp and hanging them up, or right away when the clothes are dry. If you get to the dryer too late, you can throw in a damp towel and run the dryer for a few minutes to get the same effect.

Empty the lint trap after each use of the dryer.

Dry light and heavy clothing separately for maximum efficiency.

To make room for drying clothes, buy an expandable shower curtain rod and put it in the shower. Hang clothes on hangers.

Install a dryer vent hood where your dryer discharges to the outside to reduce the amount of heat escaping from this hole.

goddessLarge Purchasing Decisions (Long-term Investment)

Goddess Level: Gisele Bundchen, Kimberly Elise, Cate Blanchet – or whichever Earth-conscious celebrity you admire

Contact your utility company to see if they have a “check meter” which you plug into an appliance and get the exact voltage. This will help you decide whether it is worthwhile to replace an appliance.

When shopping for home appliances and electronics, look for the “Energy Star” label. For more information, go to www.energystar.gov.

Choose an energy-efficient front-loading washing machine.

If buying a new dryer, find one with a moisture sensor that turns off when the clothes are dry.

Avoid automatic ice makers which use substantial energy.

Side-by-side refrigerator freezers use more energy than a typical model.

When buying a new stove, the induction cook tops are the most energy-efficient. These look like a ceramic cooking surface or like a countertop.

If available, buy “green power” that comes from non-polluting sources of electricity, such as solar cells and windmills. For more information on green power availability, visit www.green-e.org.

Replace very old windows with more energy-efficient ones.

Choose a natural gas furnace over an oil furnace, which produces more carbon dioxide.

Since dark colors absorb heat, choose a light-color roof shingle if you have a choice.

You can apply a reflective coating to your existing roof. Two standard roofing coatings are available at your local home improvement store. They have both waterproofing and reflective properties and are marketed primarily for mobile homes and recreational vehicles. One coating is white latex that you can apply over many common roofing materials, such as asphalt and fiberglass shingles, tar paper, and metal. Most manufacturers offer a five-year warranty.

Take these suggestions one step at a time. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. But once you’ve begun to make these simple changes, you might notice a drop in your energy bill!

By the time you’ve reached the end of the list, you will be a bonified environmental goddess!

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