Three reasons to go green
When I am asked why someone would want to green their home or business, the answers always fall into one or more of these three reasons:
- To save money by reducing utility bills.
- To ensure a material is healthier for your family and the planet.
- To feel good about your choice because it is better for the environment than the alternative.
In any case, it's important to always understand your main goal and prioritizing against that. Do you care mostly about saving money on your utility bills? Do you want to reduce trash? Do you want to ensure your home is healthy? Many of the other experts on this blog have recommended things like installing a low-flow faucet aerator or updating appliances, so I have come up with a few additional tips:
- Buy glass containers for common bulk foods you normally buy in packages, and then buy those in bulk. This not only helps reduce trash, glass containers filled with grains and other staples actually look pretty on the kitchen shelf.
- Make your own household cleaner (recipes can be found here) or buy non-toxic cleaners. You don't want toxic chemicals in or around your food, and if you make your own, you know exactly what's in the cleaners. Making your own cleaners also helps reduce trash, because you can reuse your spray bottle.
- Use old T-shirts for dishrags instead of paper towels. While you're at it, use cloth napkins for mealtime instead of using paper napkins — another great way to reduce trash.
- Replace your old refrigerator. If your refrigerator is not Energy Star qualified or is fairly old, this is the single best thing you can do to save money and electricity — and a new refrigerator can often pay for itself in lower utility bills in just a few years. Check out the online calculator on the Energy Star website.
- Install an induction cook top. These cook tops are the most efficient way to heat food with the least amount of wasted heat (visualize gas stoves, with flames going out and around the pot — that's wasted heat). Induction cook tops boil water faster than any other stove top, and they can heat at such a low temperature that you can melt chocolate in a single pot. And more efficient cooking means lower utility bills.
Melissa Rappaport Schifman Melissa provides sustainability consulting services for businesses in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Melissa is also the founder of Green Intention LLC, where she writes and blogs about her experience in getting her own home LEED Gold certified--and then trying to live more sustainably in the home. She chairs her congregations Task Force for Sustainability, has her MBA, Master's in Public Policy, and is a LEED AP for Homes. www