Does preserving the environment seem overwhelming? The statistics are staggering: Each American generates an average of 4.6 pounds of garbage per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And a typical single family home’s energy use for a year is more than 22,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the CO2 auto emissions from about 1,200 gallons of gas.
Even small steps at home can make a big difference. Here are some ideas:
- Take showers rather than baths. Baths use 15 to 25 gallons of hot water compared with less than 10 gallons for a five-minute shower.
- Run your dishwasher only when full. This can save more energy than washing dishes by hand several times a day.
- Unplug appliances such as coffeemakers and cell phone chargers when not in use. Many electric appliances continue to consume a small number of watt-hours of power even when switched to “off.”
- Keep your car well-tuned, with tires properly inflated, and change your air filter regularly. You’ll cut greenhouse gases, your car will be safer and you’ll improve fuel economy by up to 17 percent.
- Adjust your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day, and you’ll save about 10 percent on your heating and cooling bills. Make it simple by installing a programmable thermostat that will set the nighttime temperature lower in winter and higher in summer.
In addition, visit www.energystar.gov to learn how much energy you can save with ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling systems. To learn about more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, visit www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/reduce.htm .
Conserving resources can also save you money by lowering energy and gas bills. Here are some ways:
- Save water. A dripping faucet wastes up to 20 gallons a day, while a running toilet squanders up to 200 gallons a day. A low-flow showerhead generally will pay for itself in energy saved within four months.
- Save fuel. Aggressive driving—such as speeding, hard braking or taking off like a bullet—costs an extra 12 to 82 cents a gallon.
- Save energy. Washing clothes in warm water takes half the energy of washing in hot, and cold water takes up to 90 percent less energy.
Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy
This information brought to you by Liberty Mutual and the AIA Trust. Liberty Mutual offers competitive rates and superior service to AIA members. For more information, or to request a quote, call toll-free 1-800-281-1329 or visit www.libertymutual.com/lm/aiatrust .