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Guide To Saving Money While Saving The Environment
Two of today’s biggest social and political concerns are money and the environment. Not only do we face a recession-stricken world, but the earth is in crisis response mode, too. Money is scarce, unemployment is on the rise, and people are being forced to cut back on a large scale. Times are undoubtedly hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money and reduce your carbon footprint simultaneously. While governments are trying to address both concerns at once with the development of green industries, individuals can combine the two as well. The beauty is, doing good costs you less – a lot less. By changing little things in the way you live and making your home more eco-friendly, you can watch your bank account grow and play your part in healing Mother Earth. Here are 15 easy and effective ways you can massively cut expenses and help save the planet.
1) Take public transit, carpool/vanpool, or better yet, ride your bicycle.
According to the Canadian Automobile Association, Canadians spend an average of $9,000 per year driving their cars. Transportation is the largest expense for the average Canadian household, after housing. Moreover, a car produces five times its weight in CO2 emissions every year. Public transit users are also eligible for a tax break on the cost of taking public transit. The transit tax credit not only saves people money, but also helps to improve the environment.
2) Use cloth bags when you buy groceries, and choose whole foods over ready-made, packaged foods.
Not only is it healthier, it costs less and significantly reduces packaging waste. Buying locally grown food also helps fight against global warming. By buying local products, you help eliminate the need for fuel-guzzling transportation.
3) Bring a lunch to work.
Consider how much people spend eating out everyday. Even if you’re eating cheap, it will still cost you about $5-$9 per day. That can add up to over $200 per month. And just think about how much plastic and paper gets thrown away. Making your lunch costs you an average $2-$3 per day. You can bring your lunch in containers, which you can wash and reuse. Plus, you save over $100 every month.
It may sound old fashioned, but a handkerchief is another simple and easy way to reduce waste. Instead, of buying a box of tissues that can have anywhere from 100-500 sheets, buy a pack of cotton handkerchiefs. They’re washable, reusable and you never again have to buy a box of tissues. They’re small enough that you won’t end up using excess detergent – no load is too full for handkerchiefs!
5) Turn off unneeded lights.
Not only will your hydro bills go down, you will reduce the amount of energy used for lighting by up to 45%, in turn, reducing air pollution and global warming.
6) Turn the TV off when you’re not watching it.
Again, the less energy you use, the less you spend and waste.
7) Put your computer on sleep mode.
You can save $25 to $75 each year by using the system standby or hibernating feature on your computer.
8) Use rechargeable batteries instead of regular ones.
More than 80% of the mercury in the waste stream can be traced to discarded batteries.
9) Only have your cell-phone charger plugged in when you’re charging it.
Unplug it when you’re done.
10) Let the sun shine in!
On those cold winter days, open the blinds in the house. Solar heat raises interior temperature significantly. When the sun goes down, close the blinds to minimize heat loss and add an extra layer of insulation.
11) Switch from traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient ones.
Electricity usage is one of the biggest contributors to smog. Compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs run cool, fit in most fixtures, are 75%-90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer. You'll save at least $60 on your electric bill each year and by making the switch, you prevent carbon dioxide emissions and reduce sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury pollution.
12) Use the cold-water wash cycle when you do your laundry.
85% of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes towards water heating. Washing clothes accounts for 20% of a household's annual water use. By opting for a cold-water wash cycle, you save about $60 a year and significantly lower the amount of energy used.
13) Install a high-efficiency showerhead.
It reduces hot water use by up to 50%. The less energy being sucked into heating the water, the less energy wasted overall.
14) Get an energy meter.
Onzo is an up-and-coming company, with some of the most innovative energy meter designs. Their new smart energy kit can store up to 10 years worth of data on household energy. This information shows you how much you consume to help you control your energy costs, thereby reducing your carbon footprint.
15) Geothermal thermal heat pumps can lower annual heating costs by up to 70% by using the earth’s renewable energy to heat or cool your home.
Find out if you are eligible for a Residential Earth Power Loan to help with the cost of installation.