Better Plan(et)-Cheap Bush Dig

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Stephanie Rogers put together a list of “10 Green Things That Even George Bush could Do”, and as it is feeling like the weather is starting to turn, I thought now would be a good time to think energy efficiency, especially as we northerners tend to demand more energy in the winter. I augmented her list with numbers 11 and 12, which Bush could also easily do, but living in Texas, I would imagine they might not carry the same weight.

“For the eco novice who wants to do better but is sort of intimidated by the whole ‘green movement’, finding a good way to get started can be tough. It seems like there are so many ways in which you need to change, and you’re not sure where to start. Well, we’re here to tell you that getting onboard the green train is actually really easy, as long as you’ve got a nice list of simple green things you can accomplish on a daily basis. In fact, these 10 ways to green your life are so simple, even a nitwit like George W. Bush could do them.

1. Unplug it.
Even when you’ve got your electronics turned off, they’re still drawing power from the outlets. In fact, the Playstation 3 is such an energy hog that just leaving it plugged in uses five times more electricity in a year than the average mid-sized refrigerator. Phone chargers, televisions and stereo systems are other major culprits. An easy way to accomplish this is to plug these items into power strips, and simply turn off the power strip when the items aren’t in use. Pressing a button: so easy, even Dubya can do it.

2. Buy local food.
Think about this: the typical produce item from your grocery store travels up to 1,500 miles before it ends up in your refrigerator. Why buy food that came from so far away, when you likely have local farmers growing it right down the road? All that traveling wastes resources, and the trucks emit pollution into the air. Buying local means you’re supporting small farms and cutting back on pollution in one fell swoop.

3. Change a light bulb. There are half a dozen jokes out there about Bush changing a light bulb, but we think he can handle it, so long as someone puts the right replacement bulb in his hand. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which consume 75% less energy than conventional incandescents. CFLs convert most of the energy they draw into light rather than heat. They’ll save you money, too – they last much longer.

4. Do full loads of laundry and dishes, and use cold water. Every time you do a small load, you waste water and energy – why not wait another day or two until you’ve accumulated more dirty laundry or dishes? Plus, you can save a ton of energy by using cold water – most of the energy consumed by washers is used to heat the water. Choose short cycles when you’ve got anything less than a full load. Throwing a few more items into the washing machine – so easy, that if George W. Bush actually did his own laundry or washed dishes, he could do it.

5. Replace your air conditioning filter.
When the filter’s dirty, your A/C has to work a lot harder to cool down your home. So, if you keep it clean, it won’t have to run nearly as often – saving you a ton of money on your electric bill. As a nice bonus, a clean filter will also help remove smoke, pollen, moisture, airborne bacteria and other pollutants from the air in your home. Changing the filter is as easy as sliding the old one out and putting the new one in place. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Image via Reader’s Digest

6. Buy Energy Star® appliances. Appliances with the Energy Star® rating can save you about 30% in energy, water and sewer costs annually. They use 10-50% less water than conventional appliances, and they don’t cost too much more. Choosing energy efficient appliances is an incredibly easy way to go green, since you only have to think about it once, and after that they do all the work for you.

7. Get a tune-up. Just like Barack Obama said before the McCain camp mistakenly ridiculed him for it, tuning up your car and keeping your tires inflated can save you a ton of gas, helping both your wallet and the environment. A faulty energy sensor, worn spark plugs or dirty air filters can add up to a big reduction in miles per gallon. Plus, tune-ups can lengthen the life of your car, giving it that much longer before it makes its final journey to the scrap heap. The Republicans may have had a hard time grasping this one at first, but experts have all agreed: tune-ups and proper tire pressure are an easy way to go green.

8. Ride your bike. A moron, a monkey or a 4-year-old child could do it, which means George W. Bush can, too, as evidenced by the many photos of him cruising around his Texas ranch. Even just occasionally choosing to ride a bike instead of drive is a great step toward living a more environmentally responsible life. You’ll save gas money, get some exercise and fresh air and see your community up-close and personal.

9. Borrow, don’t buy. So, you’ve discovered that you’re temporarily in need of an item you don’t have around the house. Maybe it’s a gravy boat for that dinner you’re making for the in-laws, a feather boa for your friend’s themed bachelorette party or an obscure type of wrench for that damn IKEA bookcase. Don’t automatically run out to the store to buy it – you’re most likely only going to use it this once. What a waste of money, materials and packaging – and it’ll probably end up in the trash soon, too. See if a friend has one, or post a want ad in Craigslist or your local Freecycle.

10. Become tap conscious. Everyone knows by now to turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, but why not take it a few steps further? Turn on the tap only when the cup is under the spout. Don’t use hot water for small things like a quick hand rinse. Don’t leave the water running when it’s not needed and think about opening up the water just a bit- do you really need to blast your toothbrush with full-bore pressure every time? A little bit adds up to a whole lot if you can change your long-term habits.”

11. Lower hot water temperature. The cost of heating water for your home may amount to as much as 15 to 20 percent of your entire utility bill. Setting your water heater’s temperature in the 130-degree range instead of a higher one requires less energy to heat and to hold the water. Every 10 degrees you dial down the thermostat can knock 3 to 5 percent off your water-heating bill. In addition, a lower hot water temperature reduces the chance of scalding.

12. Lower thermostat, even a little. In the winter, turn your thermostats down to 68 degrees or below. For each 1 degree you turn down the thermostat in the winter, you’ll save up to 5% on your heating costs.


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