Go Green Home

Energy Conservation: How to Live Green at Home

We could keep using up fossil fuels to produce energy without restraint or thought as to the impact on our environment. But by now most of us know that to do that would be the wasteful foolishness. Not only are fossil fuels bad for the planet, but they aren’t going to last forever. Unless we switch over to renewable energy sources and make an effort to conserve the resources we have, we will be leaving all of our children and grandchildren with nothing at all when our fossil fuels run out in 50 years or so.

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for newer, more sustainable energy sources to become available. There are things that anyone can do to practice conserving energy, and save money at the same time. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic like buying a bulky solar panel system for the roof and going off grid. But it would be wise to be more mindful of energy usage and develop small habits to conserve. If everyone took just a few of these suggestions, it could make a substantial impact for a cleaner environment.

One of the easiest things to do is unplug appliances when you aren’t using them. Many appliances can be unplugged before you retire for the night, including TVs, VCRs, computers, and chargers. Even when off, on “stand by,” or sleep mode, these appliances are still consuming energy if plugged in. Many have LEDs that use energy continuously. Keeping these machines unplugged at night can save more electricity than you might think.

Another easy thing to do would be to invest in a programmable thermostat. By programming your thermostat so that it stays off when no one is home and kicks on a half hour or so before someone is due to arrive, you can save a great deal. Why waste heating and cooling on rooms that no one is using?

Manage the functioning and maintenance of your major appliances to save more energy. Keep your refrigerator set at no less than 38 and no more than 42 degrees Fahrenheit. And keep your freezer set to at least zero and no more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t turn your oven on before you need it, even to preheat. If you use your dishwasher, never run it unless it is full.

When you use your washing machine, use cold water when possible. Keep your clothes dryer running efficiently by cleaning out the lint filter regularly. Since the clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy consumers in most homes, line or air dry clothes whenever possible to save vast amounts of energy. If you are ever in the market to replace or buy a new appliance, seriously consider purchasing one that is energy efficient. The energy bill savings will justify any higher cost over the lifetime of the appliance.

Practicing good energy saving habits is a great way to ensure a better future. There is never a good reason for waste. Hopefully these suggestions to cut back on energy consumption in your home can get you started on living a green lifestyle that benefits both the environment and your bank account.

Green Ideas for Your Finances

If you are anything like me, thinking about the space where you work on your family’s finances doesn’t bring up any images of a clean environment. It’s hard to stay organized with all of the account paperwork, statements, records, and receipts. It all adds up to a lot of stressful energy and clutter.

Fortunately, there are helpful hints to streamline family finances while also lessening the impact you have on the environment. Even bill-paying and budgeting can be eco-friendly and simpler by implementing some or all of the following tips.

The first thing you need to do is to contact your bank and ask that they stop mailing you account statements. Instead, they can send you online statements through email or through your account on the bank’s website. They will be more than happy to do this because it saves them postage. Online statements are usually available for about six months. You can always print the ones you need. This eliminates waste.

You can do the same with all of the merchants that you do business with. More and more companies are offering paperless billing because it benefits everyone. Sometimes when you receive bills by email there is even an option to click and pay. You can always keep your emails filed in folders just like you would paper copies, but without the paper waste.

The best thing about electronic billing is that you don’t ever have to send another check or run to the post office for a stamp. Bills can be paid by phone, online, or even by having funds deducted directly from your bank account once a month.

If you do pay bills or make purchases online, it’s tempting to print all of those confirmations and receipts. However, did you know that you can capture the screen image? Your computer has a control-alt-printscreen function. You just have to save a .jpg file of the image by utilizing a photo editor. Then all you have to do is file it where you’ll be able to find it. This eco-friendly system can help you keep track of all your receipts. You can also enter dollar amounts onto a spreadsheet for easy reference.

Another great investment for green home office space is a scanner. You can scan all paper receipts to file on your computer. Even better, Neat Receipts is a great newer product which scans, organizes, and analyzes receipts, invoices, and other papers. Then it transmits all that you need to a computer database for easy access.

Financial software can help you to budget and manage money from the comfort of your home computer. The best part is that it is green and paper free. Quickbooks and Quicken are two popular programs that can guide you through all of the details of small business or personal accounting. Microsoft Money can actually be linked directly to online bank accounts. Upon your request, it can download transaction data from your bank to your personal records. This makes it very easy to see your real-time financial situation a glance whenever you need to.

Using some of these tips can definitely lead to a cleaner environment, at least in your home office space. Money matters are stressful enough without wasteful clutter. Go green with your family’s finances today.