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Published on August 28th, 2008 | by jessicahodkinson

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Low Impact Living: Spend $100 on Green Upgrades, Save $500

Money american currencyDon’t have $25,000 lying around for a new solar system, you say? Longing to go a darker shade of green but don’t have an extra $1000 for a tankless water heater? We know the feeling!

There are so many things you can do to make your home and life more eco-friendly that are FREE (for example recycling all you can, composting, taking shorter showers, walking to the store, using reusable grocery bags, dining by candlelight, saying no to bottled water and the list goes on and on and on…). There are also tons of things you can do that cost very little and SAVE YOU MONEY. Check out this list– spend only $100 and you will save over $500!

1) Get a low-flow showerhead for your home. A low-flow showerhead can save you up to 3,000 gallons of water per person per year! They cost about $30 and will save you ~$45/year in water and energy to heat your water. While you’re at it, get a $3 sink aerator attachment, and save $25 more each year.

2) Get a programmable thermostat. Most homes waste a great deal of energy and money by heating and cooling when people are not at home. With a programmable thermostat you can control your cooling and heating by day and time to maximize efficiency and money savings. These devices cost $50 and take 15 minutes to install. And it will save you close to $100 per year.

3) Turn down and insulate your water heater. First, turn the temperature down to at least 120 degrees. Most people run their water heater too hot. That act alone is free and will save you ~$100/year. Then get an insulation sweater to put around your water heater– it will reduce the amount of energy the heater needs to keep the water hot. (And it costs only $30 and will save you ~$45 per year.)

4) Wash your clothes in cold water. This is free and will save you ~$100 year. Today’s detergents work perfectly fine in cold water– really! Go a step further and air-dry your clothes on a drying rack– you just saved another $50.

5) Hopefully this one is old news by now: replace all of your lights with compact fluorescents and LEDs. Lighting is one of the largest uses of power in your home. If you spend $50 on new lights, you’ll save over $100 in power (and new bulbs) within the first year. And if you use LEDs– which are 10+ times more efficient than compact fluorescents– you’ll save any more. Check out CFLs and LED lighting options here.

For many more ideas for how you can go low-impact and save money, be sure to use our Household Environmental Impact Calculator. It will tell you your LILI (Low Impact Living Index) and also give you a robust list of green projects you can undertake to use less energy, water, reduce your trash load, and much more. Get the Low Down!



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  • Uncle B

    Prepare for the huge paradigm shift to come! When the wild-eyed sales commissioned propagandists of the so called “American Dream” are caught between their commercial nonsense and an Obama-greening yet to come, they will melt into the smelly ethers from whence they came! America will enter a new age of hybrids, and pluggable battery cars, “Earth Ark” based survival housing, amenable to the downturns we now know as cyclical and inevitable, and we will prepare our gardens, and compost, and greenhouses and maybe even some aquaculture and solar heating and wind power before their arrival! We will rail against planned obsolescence of our products, rebel against rusty cars, cars with piston slap built in, cars filled with epoxy hardeners to preset the aging of our so called quality purchases, and we will fight the pariah vulture capitalist and regulate his ass to a nub! The Chinese may offer better, less depreciable automotive products as the Japanese and Koreans have done, and they will take the market by honest value, not trickery and under-handed annual model changes to eat at our ego’s and suck our pocket books dry! We will bio-gas all sewage – by law! radiate the sludge to humanly safe levels and use it in our fields, no more petro based fertilizers needed! no longer to pollute our lakes, rivers, fisheries, and seashores! We will legislate the sewage and offal from “Factory Farms” to the bio-gassers, to make consumer gas for all Americans to enjoy, without destroying our economy by importing oil! It will start with email, then petitions, then government action to satisfy the majority of names, and Democracy will overcome the inhuman grip the current sick and sad lobbiests have on a strangled, cash controlled, bought out government! The horrid unregulated pariah, the vulture capitalist must be exorcised from our Democracy for the cancer he is – by adequate regulation and down -to -earth legislation! Obama is the “Law Professor” it is the task God intended him for! Support him, and petition him using the net and your legal representatives! Power to the People! Power from the net and the Democracy, to write petitions without fear! Do it for America! Start today! Pick a thing that needs changing, go on the net for support! Move to the Churches and public meeting places, organize, circulate a petition, many petitions! They listen to lobbiest because they can hear them -Give Americans a voice too! Shout it out! Start with email to a friend!

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