Go green, save money and save the environment

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Merry Christmas!  Are you up to it?

Let’s start going green so we could save enough for Christmas and save Mother Earth, too. Yes! The mantra for gong green and saving money and the world:  Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Here are some low-hanging fruits for home and office.

Do an audit. Go around your house or office and list down wastefulness and outdated systems, styles and models you might have. Check your entire real estate, and everything in it, including walls, ceilings, furniture, fixtures, equipment, wirings, pipes, technology, inside refrigerators, closets, drawers, and look out for gaps, cracks, leaks, usability, expiry dates, and others. I finally found my favorite dill pickles after my sister cleaned my kitchen. I also found a lot of pretty unused linen table napkins in one kitchen drawer that could be good for gift-giving.

We need to see where we are, set goals and measure our progress.

Use solar energy.  You might spend a little on solar panels and installation, but you will realize huge savings immediately and in the long run.

You know why you always have the sniffle all day? Because you set your room air-conditioning at 18 degrees Celsius and you go in and out of the bedroom or office.  Set you’re a/c to 24 or 25 degrees. Your body need not adjust to abrupt change in temperature and you save money on electric bill and cold medicines.

Buy only food you can eat for the day or week; don’t stock up on foods as if they will go out of style tomorrow.  Then, turn your refrigerator and freezer to the warmest setting. Savings!

Take a 5-minute shower every day and a relaxing bath once a week.

Close your heavy, lined curtains or blinds during hot days and open both curtains or blinds and windows at night for natural ventilation.  Be sure, though, that your widows have grills and screens. Curtains and blinds do a great job of keeping the heat out.

Downscale your house or office. The bigger the structure, the more resources it consumes. Also, it gives you the wrong idea to buy more things to fill up spaces.

Activate the “sleep” mode on your office equipment. Use laptops rather than desktops to save on space and electric bill. Laptops use less energy than desktop and occupy less space on your table. They are also very handy to bring to meetings or presentations. Tablets or notebooks are even better choices.

Turn off lights and unplug computers, other equipment and appliances when not in use. Use LED light bulbs—they use a third of the energy of standard bulbs and last up to twenty times longer.

Cut paper costs in half by setting your printer to double-sided printing. Switch to 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper.

Reset computers so that they go into sleep mode after five minutes of inactivity. Give your computer a complete rest at night or after office hours to reduce heat and mechanical stress.

Start a rideshare program.  Give special parking privileges to people who carpool.

Donate your working, but old, celphones, computers, monitors, printers, and other equipment, appliances and gadgets to public schools or nonprofit organizations.  Or you can sell them and make money.

Use water filtering system, instead of buying bottled water.  I drink filtered tap water at home, in restaurants or in the office.  Britta is my choice brand. J

Keep mailing list current to avoid duplicates. Recycle junk mails including envelopes with plastic windows.
Refilled and remanufactured ink cartridges will save you money. The cheapest option is to buy a kit and refill cartridges.

Establish a recycling program at home or in the office. List the common items in your home or office that are accepted by your local recycling facility or junk shop. Computer paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, batteries, light bulbs, computers and peripherals, glass bottles, telephone books, etc.

Use washable things, e.g. plates, spoons, forks, knives, cups, saucers, etc. Using disposable materials could create tons of trash that might not be biodegradable.

My grandmother and mother always require us to leave the dining table only when our plate, cup, bowl, glass are empty; leftovers, even just a drip of water, was no-no in our house. Avoiding an extra cup of coffee a day is not only good for the health, but also save us drinking water, electricity, soap and water to wash the cup and saucer, etc. Why use saucers when you can use small trivet that could be used several times before it is washed?

Tired of commuting in heavy traffic? Work from home.  With Internet, Viber, Facetime, Skype, Google Chat, Facebook and other innovative technologies, telecommuting is now viable. Studies have shown that telecommuting actually improves productivity. Alternative work means that employees can work anywhere in their house—kitchen, living room, bedroom, den, balcony and anytime (in between the time they wake up to the time they retire in the evening) as long as the job gets done.  Employees can attend to their personal, familial and professional lives. The company can save on expensive office spaces, utility bills and wear and tear of the office.  Also, there will be less car or commuters on the road, less rush-hour congestion and less air pollution. Companies can also set up satellite offices where their employees live nearby and don’t have to commute long distances.  Meetings could be held in places  like cafes, or big-enough barangay or church halls.

Great!  Let’s think up some more practical or even weird ideas. Write us at moje629@gmail.com.


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