By: Seth Leitman, Briarcliff Manor, NY
So my friend Stacey Geisinger from Stacy Knows who I met through Heather Flournoy at Katonah Green at a Westchester County GreenDrinks. wanted to know what the Green Living Guy thinks for this Earth Day. So I said how aout the top ten things. So here we go!!
1. Insulate. Over a year ago I wrote on Planet Green a story called: Adding or Upgrading Your Attic Insulation Will Save Energy and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint! Why You Need To Add Or Upgrade Your Insulation Now. If you were to go up in your roof and add or upgrade your attic insulation you would save money every year you live in that home! Yes, insulation is dirty and nasty; just wear a mask, pants, sweatshirt and hat. Bottom line, you need to add this insulation!! Even if you have a professional do the job, please do not forget to seal the attic with an attic stair cover!! Now, you might just be thinking about recouping the money you invested to buy the insulation. Here is the thing: Your energy savings will increase over time because utility rates go up and will continue to go up! Determine If You Have Enough Attic Insulation by clicking here to read more about insulation.
2. Air seal – Get a door sweep. Around the same time I wrote another story called: Why Door Sweeps and Adjustable Thresholds are Important for Energy Savings. I wrote the following: The bottom of the door gets the most wear and tear so they leak. Fix the bottom of the door, save some cash and green your home. When I did weather stripping on the doors in my house, it helped to reduce the draft. Yet, every time we still felt a breeze and I knew it was making the HVAC work harder. The air flow from the bottom of the door was still a problem. Now that I am getting door sweeps for myself, I will be saving a lot of money on my energy bills and won’t have that nasty draft. Hint: How do you weatherize the bottom of the door? Door bottoms (usually made in aluminum or wood) attach to the bottom of a door and can be adjusted to lightly graze the existing threshold as the door closes.
3. Get BPA free products and water bottles. Recently my kids were given recycled water bottles that were plastic and someone asked me are they BPA free? I said I hope so; meaning, I didn’t know. So I looked into it. BPA is serious toxic stuff you do NOT want in your water. Therefore, get a BPA free plastic bottle or a durable glass water bottle that you would probably find in a Mrs. Greens, Whole Foods type store. Also, one of my sponsors A Lot To Say uses recycled plastic bottles that are BPA free. They are also stripped of all the bad chemicals and made into a thread. No water used for the dyes, Made in the USA and also looks good.
4. Buy LED bulbs – This is the easiest. Bill Brinsky, Brian Clark Howard and I are writing the book in the Green Guru Guides series I am Editor on Green Lighting. It should be on bookshelves!!!. However, in the meantime and for this earth day do like one of my friends did when he moved into his new apartment, he changed all his bulbs to LED. Just go to the Home Depot, Lowes, local store that carries energy efficient LED bulbs. You will see them when they are ready for prime time. If you don’t see energy efficient lighting, do like I suggested in my blog talk radio interview with the marketing maven in New York City for the Home Depot Cate Franklin. Click here to listen Bottom line I said, “Go to the manager and ask for it!” Vote with your wallet. I guarantee you that the manager will get the product if you want it. You’ll probably get a better result than you can imagine. While you are at it, Change the lighting fixtures in your home too. Most people don’t even realize that the fixtures in your house are probably not as efficient as they could be. Remember, when you screw in a bulb, the watts listed on the bulb is NOT when you generate in energy alone. Yes, the fixture generates energy too. So if you change out the fixture you can save more money per light. For more information on this, reserve my book Green Lighting.
5. Get a hybrid, plugin hybrid or all electric car. Yes I know some people think it takes forever to get your money back. Hah. Wait till the price of gas goes up. When I get my hybrid soon enough I will. I am buying out my last car and will trade it in for a hybrid ASAP. Can’t WAIT!! Here is one great reason why you should also get a hybrid. Go to #6.
6. If you own a Toyota Prius 2nd generation, please consider making it a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) which will get you 100 miles per gallon or more. As my book Build Your Own Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle talks about: Build Your Own Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to hitting the road in a reliable, economical, and environmentally friendly ride. Inside, you’ll find complete details on the hybrid powertrain and all the required components, including the motor, battery, and chassis. The book covers the plug-in hybrids currently on the market as well as hybrid conversion companies, conversion kits, and related resources. Pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs illustrate each step along the way. With this how-to guide on hand, you’ll be behind the wheel of your own plug-in hybrid electric automobile in no time!
7. For women, please get paraben free products!! As a Planet Green article explains: Parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben), the most common class of preservatives used in underarm deodorants and cosmetics, provoke controversy because they are thought to mimic the hormone estrogen, which some studies show plays a role in the development breast cancer and urogenital abnormalities. In fact, a 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology found traces of five parabens were found in the breast-cancer tumors of 19 out of 20 women studied-admittedly too small a study to prove a causal relationship between parabens and breast cancer, but still notable because researchers detected the presence of intact parabens unaltered by the body’s metabolism, a key indication that the chemical can penetrate skin and persist in breast tissue.
8. Get “Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits: 140 Simple Solutions to Lower Energy Costs, Increase Your Home’s Efficiency and Save the Environment by David Findley.” book from the Green Guru Guides. This hands-on guide shows you how to access your home’s energy efficiency, and offers 140 energy- and money-saving solutions you can use right away. Inside, you’ll find simple, no- and low-cost measures to identify problems and increase your home’s livability and efficiency–as well as your expendable income–each and every year. Whether you’re moving into a brand new home, buying an existing property, or improving your current residence, you’ll find the practical tips and step-by-step projects inside Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits will dramatically reduce your energy usage and boost your savings in no time.
9. If you are interested in renewable energy, you must get the book, Renewable Energies for Your Home: Real-World Solutions for Green Conversions (Tab Green Guru Guides) (Paperback). It’s not always easy being green, and sometimes it costs more than you’d expect to get an eco-friendly home improvement project up and running. Renewable Energies for Your Home gives you sustainable home energy solutions that won’t drain your wallet or the power grid. Get details on generating heat with biomass fuels and other ways to use biodiesel and ethanol in your home. You’ll discover how to harness affordable wind power and soak up free solar energy. Filled with step-by-step instructions and helpful photos and illustrations, this hands-on guide will help you reduce your carbon footprint and increase your cash flow at the same time! One of my favorite ones to use is Geothermal Energy from Jay Egg at Egg Geothermal.
10. Get a low flow showerhead – As my buddy Dominic and I told him (we always fight about that one; just kidding Dominic). This simple addition can reduce your water usage by 60%.
Happy Earth month and may it teach you one small step every day is the best way to go green, save cash and create green jobs.