10 Ways to Go Green
You can view and info graphic of this article here.
“Going green” sounds easy enough. But when it comes to California communities, the diversity of options and available strategies can get a little overwhelming.
1. Waste reduction
Water conservation is important – especially for those who live in the West. Check the records and see how your community’s water usage has been trending over time. In 1993, the average household used about 125-150 gallons per day. Today, that has dropped to 45 to 75 gallons. By seeing where your community stacks up, you can know how aggressively you should pursue water efficiency plans like faucet and toilet repairs, or the replacement of traditional showerheads and flushers with more water-smart models. In your common areas, consider replacing turf with drought-tolerant plants, and be sure to check your irrigation system at least monthly. Replacing older, faulty spray heads will yield considerable savings.
Replacing lighting with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL’s) will help reduce energy use. Plus, these bulbs last a lot longer. On average, replacing five old-fashioned bulbs with CFL’s could save upwards of $100 annually.
Washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and air conditioners with Energy Star ratings will perform more efficiently. There’s a full list of Energy Star-rated items at www.energystar.gov.
You can reduce the amount of electricity you use in your offices and homes by placing workstations near windows, reducing the need for artificial light. Have your cleaning crew come during the day so they can take advantage of the natural sunlight...and be sure they’re turning lights off as they leave a room. You can even install a photo sensor like DaySwitch that controls your lighting automatically, increasing efficiency.
Unplug small household appliances when you’re not using them. If you have the option to use a laptop or a desktop computer, opt for the smaller one – it draws less power (up to 80% less). And when you’re cooking, choose the microwave instead of the oven whenever possible. Not only is it faster, but it reduces carbon dioxide emissions to the tune of about one pound for every meal.
Homes lose significant efficiency through the attic. Install insulation without covering vents. Knee walls – those that have attic space behind them – usually require additional insulation as well. You can also insulate around your water heater (if its specs allow) to maximize efficiency.
An optimal setting for your water heater is 120 degrees. At this heat, you can reduce carbon emissions by 1200 pounds annually for electric units, and 880 pounds a year for gas heaters.
For some communities, pursuing sources of alternative energy can yield considerable savings. A renewable source such as solar can be a welcomed augmentation to your energy mix. You’ll just want to make sure that the initial capital output is offset by enough savings over time, and that the installation of any equipment doesn’t violate your community standards.