Here are more greening tips from the book, The Earth Friendly Home, applicable to both homes and workplaces.
Switch to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, which would significantly reduce your electric consumption.
After use, unplug all electronics that have an “instant start” feature, such as your TV or DVD player.
Choose flooring products made from rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo, cork, and natural linoleum. Consider also flooring and paneling with reclaimed wood products salvaged from older structures, or certified wood harvested from sustainably managed forests.
• Increase natural lighting with additional windows, transoms and skylights.
• Use water-based pains, finishes and sealants or milk-based paints.
• Safely dispose of pain cans and other partially full containers whose contents could contaminate ground water.
• Use recycled rags for cleanups instead of paper towels, which add to the landfill.
• Reuse materials such as brick, stone, glass, tile and metal.
• Replace outdoor lighting with motion detectors that automatically turn off after a few minutes.
• Install awnings over exterior windows exposed to direct sunlight to lower cooling costs.
• Plant trees on your property. Trees can store between five and 400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, depending on their size and growth rate. Properly placed trees also shade homes and low-rise buildings, reducing air-conditioning needs by up to 20 percent.
• Hang laundry on an outdoor clothesline or an indoor drying rack, instead of using an electric dryer. Your clothes smell better and will last longer.
• Insulate and weatherize your home or building and install energy-efficient cooling systems.
• Don’t run window air-conditioning units unless the interior temperature reaches 26.66 degrees Celsius.
• Obtain electricity from a renewable energy source either by generating it directly—installing solar panels on your roof, for example.
• Conserve energy by purchasing major appliances that have an EnergyStar rating.
• Scrape plates instead of washing them immediately.
• Use larger appliances after 8 p.m. to reduce energy strain during peak hours.
• Instead of store-bought water, install water filters on your faucets or use a countertop filter system. I use Britta and I bought it from True Value.
• Check your refrigerator door seal by placing a lit flashlight inside. Turn off the room light, and see if any light is escaping through the door. A damaged seal should be adjusted or replaced.
• Clean your refrigerator condenser coils at least once a year.
• Keep the refrigerator door open as briefly as possible. Keep your refrigerator temperature at 3 to 4 degrees Celsius and your freezer at -16 to -17 degrees Celsius.
• Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones to prevent cutting of more trees.
• Turn on the oven only 10 minutes before you need it.
• Add timers and automated thermostats to control appliances usage.
• Select solid wood for furniture and cabinetry rather than pressed woods or composites that may contain formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals.
• Repair leaky fixtures and install low-flow showerheads and faucets. I just did this and my water bill came down from P2,000 to P500.
• Do not let the water run when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face or soaping the dishes, pots and pans.
• Buy toilet paper and paper products made from recycled material; they help protect forests and reduce air and water pollution. There is always the practical and reliable tabo (dip).
• Take five- to 10-minute showers instead of baths. Or use the timba: (pail) and tabo system.
• Install a tankless toilet.
• Use vinegar as an all-around cleaner. It’s safe to use around children and pets, and the sharp smell disappears in seconds.
There’s a lot more. Let’s continue this in the next columns. Please share with us your own green tips.
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