October, 2014 – Gentle Reminders on Being Green

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Living Green

Gentle Reminders on Being Green

By Bryan Hayes

Bryan Hayes

There is something I particularly enjoy about little tips, whatever those may be tips (as long as they are helpful in some way).   Today, it is my intention to provide you with some tips to help you stay living green.  Some are gentle reminders while others may be something new.  Either way, hope you enjoy.

Let’s start out rather simple.  It is something I have to remind myself all the time, because it seems almost everything is plugged into an electric outlet.  Take for example, a phone charger.   Did you know that some electronics use electricity even when they are not turned on?  A few examples are televisions, printers, fax machines, lamps, and computers just to name a few.   A straightforward solution is to unplug them when they are not in use.  It’s so easy to unplug a phone charger from the outlet. Just do it!

Simple acts like unplugging can do a world of good.
Simple acts like unplugging can do a world of good.

Turning off the lights when they are not needed should be a constant reminder, especially with parents and their children and sometimes that is vice versa.   There are exceptions to the rule, of course, too.   At night, it may be a beneficial safety precaution to leave a light on in the house.    If that is the case, then a timer may be a viable option.

Along with timers, there are many energy-saving as well as monitoring devices that are coming on the market all the time.  One such product is called the Wattson.  It is a product that monitors energy usage.  The device will read how much electricity an appliance takes to run, as well as the amount of money it takes to keep it running.   Pretty handy, huh?

While we are in the “keeping it simple” mode, how about using both sides of a piece of paper instead of just one side?   Instead of throwing it away, if you have very young children they can reuse the paper to color with crayons and markers.  If you get your bills in paper form, switch to online billing and that will save an estimated 18.5 million trees a year.

Sometimes the simplest solution is also quite effective.  Take for example, a few natural ways to rid yourself of pests and weeds.  For inside your house, if you have roaches, add some soap and water into a spray bottle and spray them directly.   For the outside, spraying vinegar onto weeds is a natural weed killer.

Staying outside, and because we live in South Florida where our temperatures are normally very hot, watering the lawn in the morning will keep the water from evaporating  instead of the mistake of watering in the hottest parts of the day.   Also, by watering when it is hot outside you don’t realize that the water inside the hose is also hot.  It may even be hot enough to scald your grass.  It is suggested that you water early in the morning.  Lastly, overwatering a lawn is not only wasteful but bad for the grass itself.  Overwatering can lead to fungus and disease. On a side note, see the Norm Gitzen GreenSpot AroundWellington.com video this month – and maybe you’ll consider getting rid of your lawn altogether and planting native species plants.

Now that we have covered both the inside and outside of the house, what about the food we eat?  Did you realize that by buying locally-grown products it not only helps local businesses, but it also eliminate a lot of pollution?   As is often the case, we do not stop to think about all the variables that go into getting a product from its source to the destination.   The further away a product has to be shipped the more taxing it is on resources such as oil and gas for transporting the products.

Even though we are getting into the cooler part of the year, locking the windows of your house can be helpful in preventing leaks.   Having the hot air seeping in and out of your window can cause your air conditioner to run more often, and letting the cold air escape outside is not advantageous.

Last but not least, are you thinking about getting new appliances?  Maybe a new television to expand your sports viewing pleasure is on your agenda?  The great news is that new televisions and a lot other items are more energy-efficient.   Oftentimes energy efficiency is labeled on the appliance, so if you are thinking of a good reason to get that new television, there you go.   Just remember to recycle your old one.   If it is in good working condition, there are a lot of organizations that will pick it up for you, so you do not have to throw it in the trash.

What tips do you have?   Feel free to post them to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/665875730094017/.  You can like “Living Green” on Facebook or join the “Living Green” group.

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Bryan Hayes is an actor, amateur photographer, business consultant and full-time lover of all things living.  To check out more from Bryan Hayes, please visit his blog at:http://outofthehaze.wordpress.com/