Most Americans are aware of those quick and easy things they can do around the home to save money and energy. While it is simple to switch to CFL bulbs and check our tire pressure, being really green over the New Year is a bit more of a challenge. The following list of New Year's Green Resolutions may not be easy, but following each of them will help the planet, save money, and make you feel just that much better about yourself at the end of the day.
GREEN NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
- Install Solar Panels: If you live in a location that gets plenty of sunlight, installing solar panels on your roof will help you use less energy. Though the average savings on energy-usage varies depending on peak sun intensity and how large of a solar panel you install, many home owners discover that a few solar panels on the roof both helps the planet and uses less electricity every month.
- Drive a more fuel-efficient car: According to the World Resources Institute, the average CO2 emission rates for a compact or subcompact car are roughly half that of larger SUVs and pickups. Buying a new or used car is always a big decision, but one that could help to save the planet in the long-run. Trading in that truck, SUV, or other gas-guzzler for a compact 4-door won't only help you save money at the pump, but also dumps fewer emissions into the air.
- Purchase a dual flush toilet: The American Water Works association claims that a single flush toilet uses roughly 20 gallons of water every day for each person in a household. This year rather than pouring money down the toilet with each flush, try installing a dual flush toilet or even an aftermarket dual-flush system. Your water usage will decrease (on average) from 3.5 gallons per flush to as low as 1.6 gallons per flush, a savings of over 50% each year.
- Ride your bike: One of the most earth-friendly methods of transportation is the human body. If you live within riding distance of the office, the store, or down town, leave the car in the garage and take your bike. Riding the bike is great exercise for the body, uses 100% less gas, and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
- Choose green energy: Many cities offer alternative energy sources for home and business owners. While most electricity in the United States is derived from coal-fired power plants, many other local providers offer wind and solar energy for anyone willing to sign up. Contact your local energy provider this year and find out of a green energy source is available in your area.
- Get an Energy Audit: A majority of cities provide energy audits for home owners, either free of charge or for a reasonable fee. A great way to start your year out right is with a professional energy assessment that helps you to determine how much electricity you might be wasting and what areas of your home can be improved to lower your bills and conserve electricity.
- Make your lawn organic: Instead of dumping potentially harmful chemical fertilizers on your lawn every spring and fall, green up your lawn with natural compost made from leaves, table scraps, or even horse manure. Additionally, you can use less water and burn less gas in your mower if you water the lawn about half as much and mow your lawn every other week.
- Hypermile your car: One of the biggest enemies of the planet isn't the car on the road but the individual behind the steering wheel. This year instead of driving the car like you are a leading out in the Indy 500, try a more relaxed and reserved approach to the road: be easy on the accelerator instead of laying into the gas. Avoid idling your car (even during the cold months) in order to save on gas and lower emissions. Try not to speed up hills and let yourself go a bit faster on downhill parts of the road. Coast the car when it is safe, and avoid using the breaks as much as possible. All of these methods combined with a more fuel-efficient car add up to fewer stops at the gas station each month.
- Use cloth or canvas bags for shopping : A majority of retailers encourage their shoppers to bring their own bags to the store. Do the planet a bit of good and bring in your own cloth or canvas bags for shopping this year. Make sure you buy the bags with extra sturdy handles and double-stitching for those heavy grocery items.