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Your guide to a green summer

Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Sa...

Sizzling sustainability

Whether you're going on vacation or staying close to home this summer, we tend to use a lot of extra energy in the warmer months. Balance your carbon footprint with these tips on staying green this summer.
Green women at farmer's market

While you're blasting your air conditioning or driving cross-country, think about ways that you can lessen your ecological footprint. Here are just a few ideas for ways to save energy, money and the environment.

water bottleUse reusable bottles

Come summertime, it's more important than ever to stay hydrated. But instead of buying disposable water bottles, invest in an inexpensive but durable reusable water bottle. Preferably, opt for a BPA-free aluminum variety. It won't only save the environment; it will save you money, too.

Energy-saver

When you're blasting your air conditioner this summer, you may not think about the impact until you get that shocker of an electric bill. Before that even happens, think about ways to stay cool while keeping your energy usage down. Get familiar with the energy-saver option on your air conditioner, which will automatically turn it down or off when it reaches a certain preset temperature. And, of course, don't forget to turn it off when you're not home!

Learn more about the risks of BPA in plastic containers >>

Carbon footprint

If you are really concerned about your carbon footprint, you can offset the impact through organizations like CarbonFund.org. Carbon offsets work by funding projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, like reforestation efforts. Purchase an individual annual offset for $240 or simply offset your summer vacation with an $11 payment to offset the emissions of a 6,000 mile flight.

Think fuel efficiency

Whether you're looking to buy a new car or are renting one for a summer trip, consider how fuel-efficient it is before investing. Consider a hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle. As with many summer energy-savers, this is another one that will save you money while helping out the environment!

Read more about the benefits of hybrid vehicles >>

Save water

Summer tends to be the time when droughts hit, but it's also when we use the most water — for pools and sprinklers, watering our plants and taking cold showers. So be conscious of how much water you use in a day and try to curb it. Take shorter or military-style showers, and turn off the water in between washing dishes and brushing your teeth.

Eat local

Eating local not only often tastes better, but it's better for the environment since the food doesn't have to come from such distances. Summer is a perfect time to eat local with farmers markets and farm stands popping up all over the place. Better yet, head to a local farm and pick your own! It's a fun trip for the kids, too.

More tips for going green

The ABCs of eco-friendly eating
How to spot an eco-friendly hotel
Top 5 ways to green your bathroom

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