Author: Rachel Carter
Many people are looking for ways to consume lower quantities of energy and disposables. These efforts are meant to improve quality of life, but the choices must be made carefully to avoid increased costs. Some people are surprised to find that when they switch to a “greener” car, their green car insurance rates rise dramatically.
The reason for this is that the electric car industry is very new, and actual cost-related statistics have not been gathered. Every product choice must be evaluated against the costs of making the change, especially in the car insurance department. There are some easy steps that can be taken to embrace greener lifestyle practices.
Embrace Energy Efficiency in the Home
Every “green” decision must be evaluated to ensure that the best results will be achieved by making the change. Some energy-efficient choices are much more expensive. Costs over time must offset the price of new appliances and “green” products.
- As older appliances are replaced, select Energy-star appliances for the kitchen. Choose a tank-less water heater, which will consume much less energy and provide hot water on demand.
- Evaluate every sink and toilet for efficient use of water. Repair all broken or leaky seals. Whenever a fixture must be replaced, perform adequate research into the options that will save water and provide excellent results.
- A programmable thermostat can reduce energy use by as much as 30 percent when lifestyle patterns are supported by the program. If everyone will be gone from the house for certain hours of the day, lower the temperature during the cold months and raise the temperature during the hottest months of the year.
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with the compact fluorescent bulbs must be done with care. Most states have made it illegal to simple throw away the new bulbs because of the mercury they contain.
Support Local Businesses
Farmer’s markets and local companies provide excellent choices for the person who wishes to pursue a simpler approach to product consumption. Fresh food choices are an important part of a healthy diet that contains organically grown fruits and vegetables in their seasons. Dairy products and locally-produced preserved sauces, jellies and vegetables can provide most of the family diet throughout the colder months.
Many waste management companies are establishing single-stream recycling programs that allow the consumer to throw all recyclables into a single container. Everything from paper to aerosol cans is kept out of the landfills through the use of these programs. Efforts to resell unused items and eat fresh foods will reduce the amount of waste produced.
- Avoid bottled water because of the hundreds of plastic bottles that must be disposed of throughout the course of a year. Whenever possible, choose reusable containers for all drinks in an effort to reduce the environmental impact from disposable cups and bottles.
- Purchase foods in bulk to reduce the quantity of packaging that must be thrown away. Excess quantities can be frozen and used as needed. Full freezers are more economical to run than partially full ones.
Gasoline-powered vehicles can be made to run efficiently for many years. Certain habits can be improved to reduce the amount of gasoline consumed and the emissions generated.
- Carpool – Even a short commute can be costly because of the wear and tear on the car. Longer commute times can be used to read and prepare for the day and then to relax on the drive home. HOV lanes can be used when multiple people are in the car.
- Group errands – Careful planning will save time and gasoline when multiple errands are completed in a given day. Less gas is required when multiple stops can be combined, and the car is left in one place.
- Walk short distances – Instead of driving to the corner store to pick up a newspaper, consider walking to get some much-needed exercise and save the gasoline.
One of the best ways to reduce the amount of waste generated by a typical American family is to reduce consumption. Every purchase must be evaluated against the actual need for the item.
Used items have useful life left in them, and the purchase can be made with less effort than finding a comparable new item.The desire to live a “greener” lifestyle should be driven by the desire to consume less in every category. Simple lifestyle changes begin with curbing desires.
Summary of Ideas
“Green” lifestyles are focused on healthy living where every product choice provides excellent results and saves money over time. Some product choices are not wise because of the obvious increase in costs that are not repaid through use.
Every adjustment in the lifestyle must be gauged to determine if the final result is better. Products that are called “green” might require more energy to produce and should, therefore, be avoided. Careful research is required to determine which selections are wise and which have been marketed too well.