40 Easy Green Living Habits That Make A Big Difference

YOU can do a little and change a lot! For instance, data recently released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) indicates that Americans can reduce U.S. carbon pollution by 15 percent – or one billion tons – through personal actions that require little to no cost. CertainTeed compiled 40 tips for a greener lifestyle, at home and at work, one habit at a time. Try adding one new habit a week and see what a difference you can make.

1.     Replace plastic water bottles and paper coffee cups with reusable cups and mugs.

2.     Ride a bike or walk when you’re only going a short distance.

3.     Don’t heat or cool your home when no one is home. Instead, use a programmable thermostat.

4.     Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

5.     Add fiberglass insulation to your home to save on home energy bills with a sustainable product like InsulSafe(R) SP from CertainTeed that is environmentally sustainable and GREENGUARD(R) certified.

6.     At the office, purchase paper containing recycled content or consider using tree-free paper alternatives. At home, use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.

7.     If a train or other barrier will block your vehicle for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine.

8.     Pay bills online, eliminating paper statements, invoices and promotional material.

9.     Use rags instead of paper towels.

10. Turn off the sink while you’re brushing your teeth to save water.

11. Buy reusable coffee filters.

12. Utilize reusable containers instead of paper or plastic bags.

13. Install a low-flow shower head.

14. Use organic material you would normally throw out to provide nutrients to enhance soil in your garden.

15. Use public transportation more often to take one more car off the road and save carbon emissions and gasoline.

16. Recycle plastic and paper at home and at work.

17. Use a sink full of water to wash and rinse dishes – rather than letting the faucet run.

18. Turn off the water in the shower while you are soaping up and use it only to rinse. You’ll see a difference in your water bill.

19. Upgrade your home appliances to energy-efficient appliances. Find out more at www.energystar.gov.

20. Dry line clothes instead of putting them in the dryer.

21. Consider a laptop, which uses just a quarter of the power compared to a desktop computer.

22. Cook using less electricity with a toaster oven, slow cooker or microwave.

23. Determine the correct tire pressure for your tires to get the most out of your gas mileage.

24. Save up to 80 percent of the energy required to wash clothes by using cold water.

25. Conduct a home energy audit to locate obvious air leaks around baseboards or electrical box outlets and learn where you are losing energy in your home. Find out how at www.energysavers.gov.

26. Use a smart power strip to shut down all stand-by power in electronics and appliances because many still use energy even when switched off.

27. Refrigerators and freezers account for one-sixth of a home’s energy use, so select energy-efficient models when buying replacements.

28. Go solar with roof enhancements. Options such as EnerGen(TM) photovoltaic solar roofing panels and Landmark Solaris(TM) solar reflective asphalt shingles, by CertainTeed make it easy to brighten your roof with solar technology without sacrificing curb appeal.

29. Reduce energy loss with new windows. Consider more energy-efficient options like casement or double pane windows or install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.

30. Insulating pipes will help prevent frozen pipes in winter. And when properly installed, the pipes will hold hot-water heat for up to an hour after the tap was last used, stretching your energy dollar and saving water.

31. When buying a home, or researching a rental, look for a smaller residence. Larger homes require more resources to heat and maintain.

32. When evaluating a home for purchase, look for green features, such as LEED(R) and ENERGY STAR(R) certification. Ask to see the last year’s utility bills to get a sense of the home’s current efficiency.

33. Look for a house close to work and shopping, minimizing the need for auto transport and reducing your ecological footprint.

34. Situating your water heater as close as possible to the point of highest use will save both water and energy by reducing the time it takes for hot water to reach the tap or shower.

35. Choose low-toxic paints that also are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for a healthy indoor air quality.

36. Hold off on doing laundry until you can put together a full load to eliminate running the machines for only a few articles of clothing. Laundry activities are the second-biggest water user in a home.

37. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council label on wood products certifying the wood was responsibly grown and harvested. Or find salvaged wood products at local used-building materials retailers.

38. Use a reusable bag to carry your groceries home, instead of using paper or plastic.

39. Plant a tree in your backyard. One tree can offset tons of carbon over its lifetime.

40. Get involved in local Earth Day activities. To find events in your area visit earthday.org.