Here Are 10 Things You Can Do To Be More Environmentally Friendly Throughout Your Day

1. Turn off your engine if you are going to idle for more than ten seconds. Ten seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it, and every two minutes of idling uses approximately the same amount of fuel to go one mile. Also, when you start your engine, don't step down on the gas pedal, just turn the key.

2. Don’t bother using premium fuel instead of regular. Most modern engines are designed to operate on regular unleaded gasoline. Electronic knock sensors are now common and have nearly eliminated engine knocking (the old justification for using premium fuel). Furthermore, premium gasoline has the exact same energy content as regular (about 111,400 BTUs).

3. Take a shower instead of a bath... probably. An average bath requires 40 gallons of water. A pre-1992 shower head will use five gallons of water per minute and a modern low flow head will use two and a half. So if you are going to take more than an eight minute shower with an old shower head or a 16 minute shower with a new one, you might as well take a bath. Of course, the most accurate method to test your own situation is to take a shower with the drain plugged and see if it fills up before you finish.

4. Unplug devices instead of just turning them off. As you have probably heard, even when you turn off a device it still consumes electricity from the outlet. "Vampire" or "Standby" power is responsible for 5-10% of residential electricity use in developed countries and 1% of all global CO2 emissions. The best way to halt this drain is to unplug a device when it is not in use. One way this can be made easier is by hooking up many devices to a single power ***** and then turning off that ***** when the devices are not in use. A really cool chart summarizing the amount of vampire power consumed by different devices can be found here.

5. Don’t worry about dimming traditional incandescent bulbs. This will only return marginal savings because as the voltage drops, the filament cools and the bulb becomes more and more inefficient.

5.5. However, turning off incandescent bulbs anytime they are not needed is, of course, a great idea. Incandescent bulbs require very little energy to power-up and are very inexpensive to replace when they burn out. Therefore, they should be turned off whenever they are not needed.

6. Unlike incandescents, dimming fluorescent bulbs to save power does return meaningful savings. Dimming fluorescent bulbs provides linear energy savings, therefore making it a meaningful energy savings strategy.

6.5. However, fluorescent bulbs should not necessarily be turned off every time you leave a room. This is because fluorescent lights are more expensive to buy, and their operating life is more affected by the number of times they are switched on and off, relative to incandescent lights. While turning off fluorescent lights for more than five seconds will save energy, the monetary and environmental costs of replacing the bulb more frequently because of the damage incurred by the frequent on/off is a real issue. Therefore, the government recommends leaving fluorescents turned on if you are leaving the room for less than 15 minutes.

7. Turn off your thermostat completely when you leave the house. It is not true that leaving your air conditioner or heater on while you are out is more efficient than having to cool or heat your home from scratch every time you return. This is because the rate of heat transfer from inside your home to the outside is dependent on the temperature difference between your house and outside. More heat is transferred when the difference is greater, so it takes more energy to keep your house at 72°F when it is 40°F outside than to heat your house back up to 72°F after you return.

8. In public restrooms, use the hand dryer rather than paper towels. A typical air dryer uses around 2,200 watts of power when switched on, plus about 2 watts while in standby mode. Studies have found that about 0.123 pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions are produced per paper-towel "drying session." The range for hand dryers, by contrast, was between 0.02 pounds and 0.088 pounds. Therefore, hand dryers are less impactful choice.

9. Paper or plastic? Neither are very good options, but as long as you reuse and recycle, plastic is the slightly better option. Plastic bags can generally be reused more times than paper and they require less energy and water to recycle. Of course, the best option is to bring your own cloth bag, but if that is not an option, plastic is the lesser of the two evils.

10. Don’t worry about washing your glass bottles or cans before throwing them in the recycling bin. Most recycling centers will clean the products themselves before they are recycled. If you are in a municipality that does ask that you wash the containers first, you only need to give them a quick rinse, not a thorough scrubbing.

I hope you find some gems in here that you can use!

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geminiable24 geminiable24
Feb 22, 2010