Long post...sorry. But I think it is important - and I hope you all respond with lots of other things for me to do as well!
I have seen a lot of posts lately about going green...and have definitely been making an effort to go green myself - however, I do draw the line at biodegradable waste bags given their cost and the amount of you know what I clean up after you know who...
So....I am interested in knowing...what have all you out there done to become more green? Here is a list of some of the things I have done...
1) Programmable thermostat - easy as pie. Warm/cool when you are home, consistent use of HVAC. Program it once and forget about it - all you have to do is flip the switch from hot to cold based on the season. Bottom line can be seen in utility bills.
2) Reduce bottled water consumption - Not to say I don't have any bottles in my house, but I purchased a few rubbermaid bottles and have been using those. They work great - they fit in my lunchbox (barely) and I keep 2 in my refrigerator so I always have cold water. In addition to helping the environment, it also helps the wallet.
3) Recycle - Unfortunately, Columbus has not yet reached the "green" phase yet. I pay for my own recycling and recycle everything I can. Boxes of all kind (mostly of granola bars, cereal, frozen meals) cans, glass, all the junk mail after I shred anything with my name on it...you get it. I pay something like $20 every three months, so it is not too bad. Makes a big difference in the amount of garbage I have, no doubt about that!!
4) Installing irrigation system - now, this may be stretching it...however, keeping the curb appeal of my house at top notch requires watering. The irrigation system is on a timer, and comes on literally in the middle of the night, when it is best for the grass. Less water is wasted than before I had it installed because they are positioned to more effectively water the grass and not the sidewalk - seems like a "duh", but I always felt bad about how much water was being wasted to get to certain spots in the yard. A luxury, I know, but there is definitely less water on the sidewalk than there was before. I gotta do what I gotta do to keep my property value as high as possible...
5) Light timers - I have set the light timer on the microwave so I do not have to leave lights on for Chelsie all day now that it gets dark at 5PM. It is set to come on at 5PM and go off at 11. Additionally, I have installed a timer switch for my porch light to have it come on at 5PM and go off at 7AM, for safety reasons. I intend to install the same switch for the back deck light as well.
6) Solar light - installed on in my guest bath, it has no window. The solar light lights not only the bathroom, but the entire hallway - it lets in so much light that it is not necessary to turn the light on while in there during the day. In the spring, I will be treating myself to another one in the pantry - it is pitch black back there because I have poor lighting in the kitchen, so I am hoping this will help with the light in the kitchen as well.
7) Turning off lights when I leave a room - just more aware and making a better effort to be better about it.
8) Insulated garage/insulation in general - makes a big difference, esp in the winter. Helps keep the rest of the house warm as well. I also discovered in the whole termite mess that the insulation in the basement was not great, so being as there is already 6 feet of drywall missing from the office, I will rip down the remaining drywall in my office that covers walls to the outside and properly insulate it. I also replaced the basement windows, which has made a big difference as well (and is another safety thing - anyone that tries to kick one in will only succeed in breaking a limb)
Also, with the cool weather coming in, I keep all the blinds closed so as not to let too much air in from the outside. Replacing the sliding door has made a huge difference as well - the doors that were there when I bought the house allowed a serious draft to come in. Not this thing...this is a custom made, double paned door - custom made not my choice, but because a std door is 6 feet and my other door was 5 1/2 feet. Go figure. I will spare you all the heartache of what that translated into from a $$ perspective. Anyone who tries to kick this in will also end up with a broken limb. The orchid room has one more little insulating factor - one of those things you put by a door to stop the draft on the window in that room. The blinds have to stay open for light, so that long, sausage-y looking thing is on the window in front of them to soak up the cold.
9) Funky light bulbs - not crazy about the light they emit all the time, but I am sure technology will help with that eventually. Not ready to put those in my ceiling fans yet. :)
10) Running Errands - so I do have a big SUV (Pilot) and love it. I did not love $70 to fill it up over the past few mos, so I have worked on being much more efficient with my schedule/errand running. For example, our night at Dodd typically coincides with agility because we are already halfway there by going to OSU and then on to agility. During the summer, Wed night soccer was the same way - it was halfway to Gahanna, so we just did it all in one night. A lot in one night, but it saved about 45 miles round trip - a lot of miles when you get about 350 to the tank.
I am sure I can do lots more little things...so help me out. Hopefully, I have helped you out with some easy ideas to be nicer to mother earth!