Thursday, April 25, 2013

20 Tips for adding value to our lives

Our last SURVEY asked the question, "Were you raised green?" It was a close race but the winner was "Yes".

The comments were interesting. In most cases people shared that they grew up in families where common-sense principles were taught ... things like conserving resources, planting food, and avoiding waste. I had the sense that regardless of when they officially began living green, their early lives paved the way.

One comment suggested that green living is cultural. After a little research, I was surprised to learn that green-living is a middle-class trend. So could it be that green living and frugal living are one and the same? Perhaps what we call it is simply a reflection of how we see our place in society.

So what if we removed the labels?

In my opinion, all people have one thing in common ... we want value. Whether it is the fair exchange of money for services or the cost of clean air ... we want the best we can have for a fair price. Perhaps instead of living green or frugal, we simply strive for value. To get started, here are some activities which will save money, help the earth and add value to our lives:

  1. Use LED or CFL light bulbs and turn them off when not in use.
  2. If an item has an on/off switch, turn it off ... if it has a clock or lit panel, unplug it from the wall.
  3. Unplug phones, cameras, iPods, etc. from the charger when they have finished charging.
  4. Adjust your thermostat.
    • Winter: no warmer than 68°F (20°C) during the day and 55°F (approx. 13°C) at night
    • Summer: no cooler than 78°F (approx. 26°C) when you're home and 85°F (approx. 29°C) when the home is unoccupied
  5. Lower the temperature on your water heater.
  6. Only wash full loads of clothes and use cold water.
  7. Dry clothing outside. If you must use a dryer don't let it cool completely between loads.
  8. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  9. Take short showers (5 minutes or less) or military showers (turn off the water while lathering up & shampooing, turn it on only to rinse).
  10. Use low-flow shower heads and flow restrictor aerators on faucets.
  11. Rather than toss water down the drain, use it to water plants.
  12. Use a professional car wash instead of washing at home.
  13. Eat at home more often than eating out.
  14. Plan meals and only cook the amount of food that your family can consume.
  15. Bring a shopping list to the grocery store.
  16. Buy in bulk ... but only for items you use regularly and only amounts that can be used before spoiling.
  17. Go on a No-Spending diet.
  18. Ban single use items in lieu of reusable bottles, bags, dinnerware, etc.
  19. Walk instead of drive, take public transportation and/or carpool.
  20. Conserve paper.
    • Use both sides of the paper when printing.
    • Ban paper towels and napkins.
    • Sign up for electronic billing.
    • Remove your name from junk mail lists.
    • Save files electronically instead of printing them out.

Value can mean a great many things. In the end, it's all about living the best life we can live with the resources we have available.

How do you add value to your life in an Eco-friendly way?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /