The Five Easiest Things You Can Do This Summer to Be More Green

July 28, 2011
Category: Wellness

If living green were easy, everyone would do it. (Reminds me of that old ad Cher did for some gym chain – saying something like “if a good body came in a bottle, everyone would have one.” Could that have been a catalyst for the steroidal Gay ‘90s? Hmm. I digress...) Yes, living green can be difficult and not always pleasant. But if there were some easy things you could do that didn’t cost much, offered a significant reduction in your carbon impact, and didn’t impinge on your comfort… Wouldn’t you? Shouldn’t you? Here’s my list of five this summer:

1. Use solar power to dry your clothes.
It’s summer. The sun is shining. In huge parts of the US, it’s been like an oven outside. And while it may be amusing to cook an egg on the sidewalk, it’s not going to replace your stove. But a simple clothesline can replace your dryer. There’s video of me hanging laundry on mine at BillyKnowsBest (slightly more interesting than watching paint dry).

2. Get a programmable thermostat.
Personally, I don’t really like air conditioning, and I avoid it as much as possible. And I’m not going to judge you for how low you set your thermostat. But there’s an easy way to save while you’re at work (or a sleep over) and still have your home cool when you get home. Buy a programmable thermostat and you reduce your a/c bill two ways: Preset times to raise and lower your home’s temperature every day of the week (if you’re chronologically regular), or get a WiFi-enabled Programmable thermostat and you can also control your HVAC your smart phone, turning on the A/C just 30 minutes before you arrive home.

3. Use a Slow Cooker.
Using a Slow Cooker is an easy way to prepare home cooked meals, and eat more affordably and healthily. It’s also an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, since it uses less energy than your oven, and releases less residual heat in your kitchen. It’s a great alternative for almost anything you’d bake or stew. If you don’t have one, you can buy a great one for less than $40. Here are a few recommendations if you are so inclined .

4. Replace some of your incandescent lightbulbs.
Yes, we design-conscious gays hate the harsh glare of fluorescent lights. But incandescents only use 90% of their power consumption for light – the rest creates heat, which your air conditioner then needs to suck out. Halogens are a little bit better, but they’re still making heat. You might be very surprised by the quality of light that comes from the newest compact florescent bulbs (which, btw, you can easily recycle at the Home Depot and other locations – so don’t use their small mercury content as an excuse). And here’s the thing – you don’t have to replace all of your incandescent bulbs. Start with one per room, or one room where mood lighting isn’t needed – I’d say like the laundry room, but I have an unusual laundry fetish.

5. Kill the vampires!
No, not the ones on True Blood. The electronics and even the idle phone chargers that suck a small trickle of power even when they’re plugged in. They consume 5-22% of America’s total electricity usage! One easy way cut that down is by using power strips that allow you to selectively and fully power down the items in your computer/peripherals set up or media center, while leaving some things (like the precious DVR) always powered on. Some even have a remote so you don’t even have to crouch down to flip the switch. Again, you’ll save on electricity and you’ll produce less residual heat, reducing the need for air conditioning too!

So what do you think? Do-able? Have you already done some/most/all of these? Have others to suggest? Do you also have a laundry fetish? Share your thoughts below.

Tags: Living Green
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Post written by Billy Kolber (View Author Profile)
About this author: Billy Kolber is a writer, consultant and entrepreneur, living and loving in New York City. Billy blogs about Shopping, Sex, Food and Travel at BillyKnowsBest.com.
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Comments

Fluorescent is okay for the most part for lighting but many people will still pop in those incandescent bulbs just long enough to take pictures with the warm glow and then put the bulbs away again.

Speaking of vampires there are some folks who engage in certain ceremonies without realizing how it can look to people of a different social persuasion who will have fun going Hollywood with the drama.

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Just let it go Manti. He's harmless. ;-)