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Tips for Greener Living

Tips for Greener Living:

1) Chargers and Electronics
Unplug chargers for cell phones, computers, and mp3 players when they are not being used. When left plugged in, they leak energy. Another solution is to use a power strip; turn it off if you are not using the items plugged into it. Setting your laptop into sleep mode reduces energy use up to 80%, even better: turn it off completely if it will not be in use for an hour or longer.

2) Lighting
Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They produce the same light level as regular bulbs, but use about a quarter of the energy and can last up to ten times longer.

Unlike ordinary light bulbs, CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury in the glass tubing, so special clean-up and disposal methods are needed. In case of breakage, have people and pets leave the room. Open the window and shut off the central air heating/conditioning system, allowing the room to air out for 15 minutes. Pick up the pieces of broken glass and put them in a jar with a metal lid or a plastic bag. Use sticky tape to pick up any remaining glass shards or powder, and then wipe the area with a wet paper towel. If a spill comes in contact with any absorbent surfaces, the items become contaminated and must be disposed of accordingly. For further information: http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/index.htm

You can also replace ordinary switches with dimmers or motion sensors. Whenever a dimmer is not turned all the way up, you are saving energy. Motion sensors will turn on a light and keep it on only if someone is in the room. Utilize natural light as much as possible; try reading a book or doing your work during the day.

3) Clothes
Instead of throwing away old clothes, recycle them! By donating textiles, you can help reduce the number of unwanted textiles that end up in landfills and incinerators. In New York City alone, over 193,000 tons of recoverable and recyclable textiles are disposed of every year. GrowNYCs Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (OROE) provides drop off locations at NYC Greenmarkets. Click here for locations.

4) Fans
We all know that turning on a fan during the summer will cool down a room. But turning one on in the winter can help improve heating efficiency. As your radiator heats the room, the warmer air rises to the ceiling. By turning on your ceiling fan to the lowest setting, the warm air is circulated around the room. A fan uses much less electricity than a heating system, reducing energy use.

5) Cleaning
Whether they are empty or full, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers use about the same amount of energy. It is more efficient and helps you save on your electric bill to wait until these appliances are full before use.

When buying a washing machine, look for front-loaders. These models use up to 25% less energy and water than a standard washer. You can save an additional 10 cents a load by washing with cold water whenever possible. Almost 90% of energy consumed by washing machines is used to heat the water. Keep the lint filter in the dryer clean, since a clogged filter can increase energy use up to 30%. During the spring and summer, another eco-friendly alternative is hanging your clothes up to dry!

6) Colors
If you are painting a room, consider using a lighter color. Dark colors absorb more light, requiring you to use more energy from light bulbs to achieve the same effect as a room with lighter walls.

7) Insulate
Whether during the summer or the winter, insulating your home is an effective way to save energy. An insulated home does not gain or lose heat as quickly as a non-insulated one, so it is easier to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Close your windows and seal drafts around the window and doorframes to keep the hot or cold air out. In the winter, you can also use clear plastic barrier film to cover window frames; the film traps cold air that might come into your house even if the windows are closed. Up to 16% of your heat can be lost through unprotected windows. Insulating lowers the demand on your air conditioner and heating system, reducing your electric bill and extending the life of the system.

8) Faucets
One way to conserve water is to seal leaks in plumbing fixtures. Repairing the plumbing with replacement washers can easily stop leaks. This is something that you can do on your own, though novices might ask a handy friend or a plumber. Fixing a leak from a hot-water faucet is doubly beneficial; the leak makes the water heater work harder and wastes energy. Another thing you could pick up at a hardware store is a faucet aerator. These aerators add air to the water coming out of the sink, reducing the amount of water used but maintaining water pressure.

9) Plastic
Try to cut down on how much trash you generate in a normal day. Instead of using disposable cups and utensils at delis and coffee shops, bring your own. Instead of grabbing plastic cutlery along with your lunch, eat with metal ones from home. Carry a reusable plastic or stainless steel mug with you for hot or cold drinks. At the end of the day, bring your cups and cutlery home to wash them and be ready for tomorrow. Bring cloth bags to the supermarket to carry groceries home in, and bring your own reusable plastic containers when you go to buy take-out. Reusable containers and utensils help keep plastic and Styrofoam out of the landfills.

10) Driving
You dont have to buy a new hybrid or electric car to be environment-friendly when you drive. Follow the speed limit, regularly clean your air and oil filters, keep your tires inflated, and carefully step on the gas and brakes. While pushing the pedal to the metal is fun, maintaining a cruising speed (e.g. 55 mph) uses less gas. These simple tips can improve your fuel efficiency up to 25% on highways.

11) Plant a Tree
The MillionTreesNYC program, one of the 127 initiatives of PlaNYC, intends to plant one million trees across the citys five boroughs within the next ten years. Not only do the trees beautify our urban landscape, they enrich our environment and the quality of city life. Trees capture atmospheric carbon dioxide in their tissue, alleviating the greenhouse effect. Trees also help filter out air and water pollution, and capture and retain stormwater. To make New York City a greener place, you can volunteer for MillionTreesNYC (http://www.milliontreesnyc.org/html/involved/get_involved.shtml) or plant a tree in your own back yard.

Programs:

ConEdison

The Power of Green A list of 100 facts about conserving energy.
o Visit http://www.coned.com/thepowerofgreen/100tips.asp for more information.
PowerMove Use PowerYourWay to shop for electricity and natural gas from a variety of suppliers and qualify for a 7% discount off the ConEd price of energy supply for two months.
o Green Power Purchase green power through ConEd. The service will cost a little extra, but you will help make New York a cleaner, greener city.
o PowerMove Use PowerYourWay to shop for electricity and natural gas from a variety of suppliers and qualify for a 7% discount off the ConEd price of energy supply for two months.
o Visit http://www.poweryourway.com/powermove_residential.asp for more information.
Green Power Purchase green power through ConEd. The service will cost a little extra, but you will help make New York a cleaner, greener city.
o Visit http://www.poweryourway.com/greenpower.asp for more information.

NYSERDA

BeCool Replace your old air conditioner with an ENEGY STAR qualified model to be to save money and conserve energy.
o Turn in your old, functional through-the-wall air conditioner to be eligible for a $100 BeCool incentive.
o Turn in your old, functional window air conditioner to be eligible for a $35 BeCool incentive.
o Contact GetEnergySmart.org or 1-877-NY-SMART for more information, and a list of locations to turn in old units and participating retailers.