Lauri Ward, president and founder of Use What You Have Interiors®, recommends using cloth napkins instead of paper, and dishes and glassware instead of plates and cups made of plastic, paper or Styrofoam. Using silverware instead of plastic flatware and dishtowels rather than paper towels are other eco-friendly steps you can easily implement as soon as today.
CertainTeed, the largest brand of building products in North America, suggests turning off lights when they aren't being used or using smart occupying sensors. To take this effort a step further, CertainTeed encourages you to make sure those lights are energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Ward offers some additional advice, "Keep blinds and curtains open to allow as much natural light into your home as possible. Not only is it more cheerful, especially during winter months, it also saves energy."
Many electronics and appliances use energy even when they are switched off, according to CertainTeed. To prevent this, CertainTeed says you should use a smart power strip to shut down all stand-by power in electronics and appliances.
"Change out furnace filters regularly," says Eric Wells, a contractor in Springfield, Missouri. "The furnace doesn't have to work nearly as hard and thus saves a ton of electricity."
To use less water more efficiently, Wells suggests replacing your current toilet with one that is low-water usage or dual-flush. "Thousands of gallons of water a year can be saved by doing this," he explains.
Ward suggests waiting to run a load of laundry until the washer is full. She says the same concept applies to running the dishwasher. And, before you stock that dishwasher, don't bother pre-rinsing plates. According to Ward, "It's not necessary except for dishes used for oatmeal or eggs."
Based on information obtained from ENERGY STAR, CertainTeed says that improperly installed insulation can waste 20 percent or more of the energy you pay to heat and cool your home—that's the equivalent of leaving a window open all winter and summer. To prevent these leaks, re-insulate your home. CertainTeed offers Sustainable Insulation™, which has 35 percent recycled glass content.
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