It really is possible to save money while helping save the planet.
Making your life a little greener doesn't have to hurt. In fact, there are some very simple steps you can take to reduce your impact on the planet…and the amount you spend on energy bills and elsewhere all year long. Here are some easy tips that make it easy to be green.
- As much as half of the energy your home uses is spent on heating and cooling1. So choosing high-efficiency air conditioning and furnace systems can make a big difference on your home's emissions and your utility bills. Installing an ENERGY STAR® qualified HVAC system can dramatically reduce your energy usage, saving up to 60% on your cooling bills2, and up to 40% on heating costs2.
- Reducing the number of catalogs that clog both your mailbox and the landfill is better for the environment – and for your pocketbook, if they tempt you to buy. Each American gets about 63 catalogs every year; production of those uses an estimated 53 million trees and enough water to fill 81,000 swimming pools every year3. There's an online service that can help you get off mailing lists free at www.catalogchoice.org, or you can find each catalog company's 800 number and ask to be removed from their mailing list.
- You hear a lot about "ozone"…but is it good or bad? Well, that depends on where it is. The ozone layer refers to the ozone within the earth's stratosphere, where more than 90% of the earth's ozone exists4. This ozone layer helps protect the earth by absorbing 97 to 99% of the sun's high-frequency ultraviolet light. However, ozone is an irritating, corrosive, colorless gas that you don't want in your home, because exposure to ground-level ozone can lead to shortness of breath and chest pain5. Many indoor air quality (IAQ) products such as electronic air cleaners and portable ionic air purifiers produce ozone. Choose an IAQ product that does not produce ozone, such as the Healthy Climate® IAQ products from Lennox. This is the industry's first comprehensive line.
- Our Get a Green Life Sweepstakes received lots of very easy ways to make your home greener, such as turning off your home and work computers every night, from a reader in Douglasville, Georgia; the suggestion from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to deputize your children as the "lights police"; a recommendation from a Tampa, Florida, reader to sign up for online billing; a Shawnee, Kansas, reader's idea to register for a free or low-cost energy audit by your local utility company; advice from Alberta, Canada, to leave the car behind and walk more; a proposal from Cincinnati, Ohio, to shop for local produce at the farmers' market, and a note from a reader in Punta Gorda, Florida, suggesting creating natural bug barriers using coffee grounds.
- Many energy utilities around the country are now offering "green energy" programs. Because green or renewable energy can be more expensive to develop than coal-based energy, these programs ask for voluntary contributions to offset the extra cost. You can generally buy "blocks" of green energy for a few dollars that your energy company will use to purchase the more expensive, renewable energy. These contributions allow you to offset part of your home's "carbon footprint," the measure of how much carbon dioxide is created each day by your use of fossil fuels.
- Insulating your attic helps keep your home's upper floors more comfortable in summer and winter, and keeps more of the comfort you paid for from escaping your home. Use insulation with at least a minimum R-30 value, or visit the U.S. Department of Energy's website to learn more about choosing the right level of insulation for your area of the country.
- Planting a garden instead of grass around your home will allow you to save water, reduce the energy spent mowing and help avoid spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Choose native wildflowers, a ground cover that requires little care or an organic herb garden and you'll save time and money all summer long.
Don't forget to visit www.Lennox.com to discover more energy-saving tips.
2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2005
4. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
5. American Lung Association