I’ve had lots of people ask me in the last couple of weeks how they can start being more green, start being more energy efficient, in the new year.
It seemed logical to not only answer them, but to share those answers with you all. As it turns out, making your house and your lifestyle more energy efficient is actually pretty easy. It takes some changing of lightbulbs, and a few changing of habits, but it’s not nearly as hard as foregoing sugar and wheat, as one of my friends is doing this year, bless her heart. I might actually waste away to nothing without my two major food groups.
But back to energy efficiency:
1. Change those light bulbs – but no need to take out perfectly good incandescent bulbs, just change them when they burn out and change them to CFL (compact fluorescent) or LED (light emitting diode) bulbs.
2. Weather-proof your doors and windows, or replace old double-hung windows with new double-pane versions. There are manufacturers of new, up-to-code double-hung, double-pane windows out there, including Ocean Sash and Door of San Francisco, who’ve been around since 1880. Weatherproofing is easier and weatherstripping can be purchased at your local hardware store. We bought enough to do our 1,000 square-foot apartment for under $50.
3. Turn off lights when you leave the room. I know, this sounds like such old news, but it’s easy to leave lights on all over the place.
4. Hang-dry your clothes. I have to admit, I thought this was the biggest pain in the neck when I first moved to the tropics and didn’t have a washing machine, much less a dryer (and there were no laundromats – we didn’t even have electricity on Tuesdays and Thursdays). But, once I had a dedicated clothes line, I found stepping outside and seeing the day (cloudy, brilliantly clear, windy, still as holding your breath), taking time to breathe and stretch as I hung each piece, was a welcome 10-minute respite from bench-work and the computer. One of my most favorite things was hanging clothes in the moonlight. There is nothing like rustling palms, a warm breeze, gazillions of stars, music from far off in the distance and only the light of the moon to see by. For one night (and I was lucky to have many) of that experience I would hang-dry my clothes for a lifetime.