Save the green — save the planet

Sunday , March 12, 2017 - 12:00 AM

TX. Correspondent

If there’s one thing we all like, it is the planet we live on. If I could venture a guess at another thing we all like, it would be money. 

So how would you feel if I told you that there were free and low-cost solutions to save money and the planet’s resources? Here are a few easy ways to save money and energy in your home.

Free ideas

• Unplug devices when you are not using them. Things like phone chargers, televisions and computers use energy even when they are turned off.

• Adjust your thermostat according to the season. In winter, leave the temperature a little lower than usual and bundle up with layers of clothes.

• Check that your wall insulation is thick enough and properly installed.

• Keep an eye out for leaky faucets.

• Take showers, not baths. A five-minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of hot water, while filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.

• Turn off unnecessary lights.

• Use ceiling fans to help circulate air throughout the house.

• Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.

• Don't leave the refrigerator door open. Every time it is opened, up to 30 percent of the cooled air can escape. The same goes for the oven, too.

• Keep the garage door closed, especially during the winter.

• Use smaller kitchen appliances when possible. Microwaves, toaster ovens and slow-cookers can use 75 percent less energy than a large electric oven.

• Open curtains and blinds during the day to let the sun warm the room.

• When you're going on vacation, lower the thermostat to 55 degrees. This is the ideal temperature to stop water pipes from freezing while also saving energy.

• If you have a second fridge or freezer, turn it on only when you need it. Refrigerators are some of the biggest drains on power in a household.

Low-cost ideas

• If you have hardwood or tile floors, add rugs to keep your feet warm.

• Check the seal on your refrigerator door. You can do this by closing the door on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, you need to replace the gaskets to prevent cold air from leaking out.

• Install a water-saving showerhead.

• If air sneaks in under exterior doors, replace the threshold. If that's not within budget, block the threshold with a rolled-up towel or blanket.

• Replace old incandescent and halogen light bulbs with energy-efficient ones. Energy-efficient light bulbs save power and last longer.

• Put in a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one already. Programmable thermostats can be set to adjust the temperature of a home according to the owner’s schedule (based on whether or not the home is occupied, whether residents are sleeping, etc.).

Remember that it pays to invest in energy efficiency. The money you save in energy costs can pay back the purchase price of conservation devices in a few years or less.

Be a superhero —save the planet while you’re saving your money.

Annika Hinman is a senior at Venture High School. She enjoys reading, writing and listening to music. Email her at

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