Going green often means paying more or doing more work for inferior results. Organic vegetables cost more than conventionally grown ones and even recycling requires separating trash and, often, paying an extra fee for pickup. When it comes to saving fuel, however, being environmentally responsible actually saves you money. This is great news, because using less fuel is one of the best ways to prevent pollution and protect the environment. Here are three tips to use less energy that will have a positive effect on the planet and on your wallet.
Make efficient lighting choices
A simple way to reduce lighting costs is to replace conventional bulbs with led or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Newer options include soft white compact fluorescent bulbs that mimic the light from conventional bulbs. These choices produce the same amount of light as conventional incandescent light bulbs but use much less energy to do it. Most fixtures will accept these energy-saving options. Another good idea is to light only the areas that need light. Use lamps, book lights and night-lights to light small areas the way you would use space heaters to warm a smaller area. A night light is much cheaper to burn than a bathroom or range hood light, and provides enough light to find a switch safely in the dark. Lamps and book lights emit enough light to converse or read without forcing you to light up the entire room.
Leaks around doors and windows let costly heated or cooled air escape from your home. Outlets and holes for wiring and pipes are also common culprits. Check weather-stripping around doors and windows and replace it if it is inadequate or missing. Foam seals are available for outlets and switches. Foam insulation or silicone caulk can be used to seal holes in walls. Do not forget to check the seals around window air conditioning units, refrigerator doors and ovens.
It takes less energy to bake a potato in a microwave oven than in a conventional oven. A pressure cooker cooks foods on low heat for a much shorter period than an open pot over medium heat. Slow cookers, microwave ovens and toaster ovens are all energy efficient alternatives to cooking in your oven. Whenever possible, cover pots and reduce the temperature to save fuel. Try one-pot recipes for energy-efficient meals. If you must use your oven, use it for more than one purpose or make an extra-large batch and save half for other meals.
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