Socially Responsible Summer
By Maryann Khinda
Summer is everyone’s favorite time of year! It’s hot and sunny – bring on the air conditioners, sprinklers, pools, barbeques and the large utility bills.
Want to prevent yourself from declaring bankruptcy? Or increasing the size of the hole in the ozone? You can still get your act together before Labor Day – but how you ask? Here at Socially Responsible Investing we made it simple for you – we put together a short list of everyday things you can do around the house to reduce your carbon footprint and keep a few dollars in your pocket!
How to Reduce Your …
- Water Usage
- Watch Your Pressure
- Use water efficient shower heads, toilet devices and hose heads
- Sprinklers should be put on a timer and coordinated sparingly with the weather schedule. Maximize rain days to prevent overwatering or wasting water. Why water the plants or the lawn yourself when Mother Nature will do it for you?
Chemicals Usage = Hemisphere Damage
- Aerosol Cans are not necessary. Find alternatives when purchasing Bug Sprays or Sunblock – most brands offer the “pump” version.
- Gasoline Dependencies
- Like Long Trips? Find greener transportation alternatives. It is usually faster and cheaper to take a train, as you avoid traffic.
- Car Pooling is a great option too, as you share costs, driving responsibilities and gas tank costs.
- Overheating Cars
- Use the air conditioner sparingly. Roll down your windows and enjoy the fresh air. This is great when driving over 55MPH, as speed creates a greater wind current.
- Use the car’s heater for 5 minutes every other hour of a long trip to prevent your car from overheating. Its acts as an exhaust and cools off your cooling system.
- Use your sails when it is windy or alternate days using the motor, by using your oars for a great workout.
- Dirty Air Conditioner Filters
- Having a dirty filter obstructs the air flow in the air conditioner. Maximize its impact by cleaning or replacing the filter regularly. This will also help you lower your bills.
- Cracks within your housing structure let in warm air (and conversely cold air in the winter)
- Seal up your Home – windows, attics, garages – with sealant to keep the outside air out.
How to Maximize…
1.Staying Cool Naturally
- Windows are Nature’s Way to Stay Cool
- Utilize Cross Ventilation by keeping all windows open to capture that free breeze Mother Nature wants you to enjoy.
- Fans as a Supplement
- Fans move air at a fraction of the electricity usage, saving you money and the environment from further plundering.
- Fans in Windows
- This builds on the ideas of the first two bullets, using nature’s breeze and cross ventilation. This is a terrific room coolant! You might also want to try utilizing a fan as an exhaust in hot-spots like the Kitchen.
- Water & Moisture
- Keep Floors cool by daily mopping. This is a common practice in warmer countries, such as India.
- Place large bowls of water in front of fans to evaporate the water and naturally cool the room. This method along with the ones above can get a room as cool as using an air conditioner!
Source: Prevention Magazine
2. Using the Heat to Your Advantage
- Dry Clothes Outside Naturally
- This is a very simple and old-fashioned task, but will reduce your electric bill and keep the house cooler, as you are not using the dryer and your clothes will smell like the summer’s sun.
- Gardening is a wonderful hobby that can yield delicious fruits and vegetables, if you get good at it! It also enriches the soil and cleans the air.
- Shading & Sunlight
- Lowering your shades indoors can keep your rooms cooler by preventing the bright sun warming the room temperature.
- Plant trees. They add shade, color, lower the air temperature, clean the air and increase your home’s value. After doing all the above, we suggest adding a hommack for a well-deserved rest!
We hope these ideas can help you. If you have any feedback or other helpful hints to share, write us.