Watt, Why & How e-Newsletter

Sustainable Lifestyles: How the Greener Half Lives


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With climate change and other environmental issues getting greater attention, households around the country have found ways to alter their lifestyle and live more sustainably. How are they doing it? The following are some of the secrets of sustainable living that can help you save energy and reduce your impact on the environment.


Reduce, reuse and recycle. This is rule number one in sustainable living. After all, if you just throw something away, it is not only wasteful, but it will probably end up in a landfill where it will contribute to a host of environmental problems. Learn how you can reduce, reuse and recycle materials to decrease household waste. Do not stop at your doorstep. Get involved in community recycling programs or identify opportunities to start a new resource conservation initiative. Also, be a green consumer. Select products and packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials.

Save energy. The production and use of energy to fuel households and vehicles results in emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that lead to a host of environmental problems, including climate change. Green households limit their environmental impact by conserving energy. Simple conservation strategies can yield big savings. Turn off lights and home electronics when they are not in use. Adjust your thermostat at night or when you are not at home. Small retrofits such as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and air sealing also make a big difference. See Money Saving Quick Tips for more energy-saving ideas.

Travel smart. Automobiles use tremendous amounts of fossil fuels and are a major source of emissions that contribute to global warming. Instead of driving, walk, bike or use public transportation whenever possible. Car pools are a great way to cut down on driving miles to work. When shopping for a vehicle, it is important to consider fuel efficiency and emissions ratings in your purchasing decision. For more information, see the Green Vehicle Guide from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Eat smart. Green households eat foods that are organic and locally-grown because they are not only good for the environment, but good for their health as well. Organic foods are produced using sustainable practices and local foods reduce transportation and storage, which can also have an impact on the environment. Look for organic food at your local grocery or food cooperative and visit your local farmers market. The organization Local Harvest and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Search are useful resources.


Source: www.epa.gov
water drop
Use water wisely. Fresh, clean water is not an infinite resource and providing it to our growing population comes at a cost to the environment. A green household is a drier household. Take shorter showers and only use the dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load. Fix leaks as quickly as possible. Consider installing aerator faucets and low-flow showerheads. Use water-efficient irrigation practices for your lawn and garden. See Simple Steps to Save Water from the EPA for more ideas on how you can conserve water.


Green on a budget. Think that sustainable living is not financially sustainable? Think again. While some items—such as organic produce or high-efficiency automobiles—may cost more, many of the sustainable practices outlined above cost little or nothing and may even save you money. So going green will not necessarily leave you in the red. For more budget-friendly sustainable living ideas, see Sustainable Living: Going Green on the Cheap.

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