Green Tips

GARNA GREEN TIPS contain practical ideas aimed at supporting and improving the health of our environment and community. The focus of the TIPS will be to provide both seasonal and local information. As an added benefit, many of the TIPS can also save money. The GREEN TIPS committee welcomes suggestions from the public for additional TIPS. Ideas should be submitted via email to info@garna.org with ‘Green Tip’ in the subject line.

Green Tip
Feeling chilly? Increase your comfort and save money by caulking gaps around windows, doors, pipes and wires entering your home. Button up your home with caulk. Small spaces and gaps around windows and pipes and wires entering the home create energy wasting drafts that can cut the efficiency of your heating system. Most caulking products cost under $10; rope caulk one of the easiest types to apply, sells for about $4 for 40 or 50 feet. Visit www.earthshare.org.
Are your outlets leaking? Easily install foam plates behind light switches and electrical outlets to reduce drafts and energy bills. Winterize your home by blocking drafts. Draft blockers are foam plates that fit behind light switches and electrical outlets to reduce drafts that enter through those spaces. You can get a packet of 10 for about $3 and they’re easy to install with just a screwdriver. More ideas at www.earthshare.org.
Invest for a better return. A programmable thermostat gives you heat when you need it and saves when you’re gone or sleeping. By upgrading your thermostat to a programmable you will be able to control the temperature in your home at different times of the day without being at home. Keep the heat off when you are out of the house and set it to turn back up before you get home. Some programmable thermostats also have a second set of settings for weekends, when people usually spend more time at home. The thermostats range from $90 to $175, but can save 12% or more on your energy bill and pay for itself within three years. More energy saving ideas at www.earthshare.org.
Save money and fuel. Installing heat reflectors behind radiators sends heat into the room instead of the wall. Heat reflectors are thin sheets that fit behind radiators, to reflect heat away from the wall and into the room, thereby maximizing each radiator’s energy efficiency. More energy saving ideas at www.earthshare.org.
What’s worth doing? Check out www.homeenergysaver.lbl.gov for suggestions of specific changes for energy and environmental savings. On the Home Energy Saver website you are able to enter information about your home and compute what specific changes would result in energy and environmental savings. Visit www.homeenergysaver.lbl.gov.
Lower your energy costs. You can seal ductwork yourself with a paintbrush and mastic. Ductwork is one of the first places you should look if you are trying to lower your energy costs. Leaky ductwork will make your HVAC system work harder, driving up your electric bills and wearing out HVAC equipment more quickly. Sometimes ducts aren’t properly joined so sealing them improves your home’s energy efficiency. If your ductwork is exposed, you can seal it yourself with a paintbrush and mastic which can be purchased at any home improvement store. If not, hire a professional HVAC contractor.Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association magazine article, December 2013
Looking for lighting options to save money and energy? Check out www.energysavers.gov/lighting Traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy to produce light.

  • 90% of the energy is given off as heat
  • That lost energy is money we are throwing away

The new lights are also much more efficient — so they save you money.

Light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Upgrading 15 of the inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your home could save you about $50 per year. New lighting standards took effect in 2012, and money-saving options such as energy-saving incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs are available today. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR. In addition, Newer energy-saving light bulbs provide the choices in colors and light levels you’ve come to expect. Learn more at www.energysavers.gov/lighting.

 
Choose glass over plastic. Glass bottles and jars are 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without waste. Check out other interesting facts about glass recycling at:http://www.gpi.org/recycle-glass/environment/glass-recycling-fast-facts.htmland more at:www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/glass.htm
More light for your money. LED bulbs last forty times longer and are great for hard to reach places. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)LEDs help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and lower electric bills. A 60 watt incandescent light bulb produces 800 lumens of light. For 6-8 watts one gets the same amount of light from an LED bulb. Using coal derived electricity the bulb produces 15 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That compares with 150 pounds for the 60 watt incandescent bulb. The LED bulb lasts an average of 50,000 service hours compared to 1,200 service hours for the incandescent bulb.See: http://www.designrecycleinc.com/led%20comp%20chart.html, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/will-led-light-bulbs-best-cfls-and-incandescents .”Operating cost of LED vs. incandescent and florescent bulbs”

Light Quantity

LEDs

Incandescent

Florescent

Lumens

Watts

Watts

Watts

450

4-5

40

9-13

800

6-8

60

13-15

1,100

9-13

75

18-25

1,600

16-20

100

23-30

2,600

25-28

150

30-55

Source: http://www.designrecycleinc.com/led%20comp%20chart.html

Additional reference: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/will-led-light-bulbs-best-cfls-and-incandescents

Recycle cans. It takes 20 times more energy to produce an aluminum can from virgin ore than from recycled cans. It almost always takes less energy to make a product from recycled materials than it does to make it from new materials. Using recycled aluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans, for example, uses 95% less energy than making aluminum cans from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum.http://pages.uoregon.edu/recycle/TRIVIA.htmMore info at:http://earth911.com/news/2007/04/02/facts-about-aluminum-recycling/  and http://www.lehighcounty.org/Departments/SolidWasteManagement/RecyclingFacts/Aluminum/tabid/520/Default.aspx
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Be safe and test your home. RADON (radon, Rn, 86) is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, the EPA estimates. Test for radon with a test kit available at a low cost and sometimes free. The following links give you more information about radon and how to mitigate your exposure.http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html  — “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon”.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radon#testing_and_mitigation – link on testing and mitigation of radon.
Help hands and our river. Use environmentally-friendly Borax instead of corrosive chemicals to clean toilet stains. As an alternative to corrosive toilet bowl cleaners, try cleaning by scrubbing with baking soda and/or liquid soap, or non-chlorine scouring powder. For stains, use ¼ C. borax and let sit for 30 minutes.  Scrub well and flush.Source: The Nontoxic Home & Office by Debra Lynn Dadd
For a cheap, safe furniture polish, mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice with 2 cups mineral oil. Apply with a soft cloth. Most commercial furniture polishes are flammable and toxic. Instead mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice with 2 cups mineral oil and apply with a soft cloth.Source: The Nontoxic Home & Office by Debra Lynn Dadd
Cursing the wind? Plant evergreens for a windbreak and year round shade. Use deciduous trees to the south and west for winter sun and summer cooling. More information at your local nursery.Specific tree information at www.arborday.org
Make riches instead of garbage. Make or buy a compost bin and turn kitchen scraps into fertile soil. www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20346968,00.htmlCompost piles can divert much of your non-recyclable household waste from the landfill or wastewater treatment plant and is a great source of highly nutritious material to add to your soil.  Contrary to what you may think, composting is not synonymous with a sticky pile of waste attracting flies into your yard.  The trick is to have a good balance of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ but NO meat or dairy scraps. Chopping materials into smaller pieces will help speed the break-down process.+ Browns (carbon sources) – dried leaves, straw, woody materials+ Greens (nitrogen sources) – grass, fruit and vegetable scraps

Compost is one of natures’ best mulches and you can use it instead of commercial fertilizers. Best of all, compost costs nothing. It improves soil structure, texture, and aeration and increases soil’s capacity for retaining water.  By adding compost to soil, you improve its fertility and stimulate healthy root development in plants. The organic matter provided in compost provides food for microorganisms, keeping soil in a healthy, balanced condition. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus will be produced naturally by the feeding of microorganisms so few. If any, soil amendments will need to be added. Both carbon and nitrogen sources are needed for the growth of microorganism to break down the raw ingredients in your compost pile. Keep the pile damp and tuned regularly to aerate.

Source: The Nontoxic Home & Office by Debra Lynn Dadd

More ideas at www.earthshare.org.

Avoid facial scrubs, soaps and toothpaste with micro-plastics (polyethylene and polypropylene) that are hazardous to marine life. Micro-plastic (micro-beads) particles are found in all oceanic gyres, bays, gulfs and seas worldwide. Micro-plastics are pervasive in the environment. They absorb persistent organic pollutants, and are consumed by a variety of marine life, including the fish we harvest for food. There are natural alternative such as apricot shells and cocoa beans that can be used as a sustainable alternative to plastic. Micro-plastics travel through the sewage system and many municipal waste treatment plants will occasionally divert wastewater directly into local rivers during heavy rains, which puts micro-plastics directly into the environment. There is also scientific evidence that micro-plastics are escaping through sewage treatment as well. Find our more at:  http://5gyres.org/how_to_get_involved/campaigns/
Stumped for a birthday gift? Honor people with a donation in their name to one of our local nonprofits.
Make someone’s day and create memories. Give tickets to a concert, play or special event. Our creative community also benefits.

Find ‘gems’ in local consignment shops. Not only will you save money; less production of stuff saves precious resources.

Traveling out of state? Take the bus to the airport. You’ll save money on gas and parking; it‘s less stressful. Plus you reduce carbon emissions. You can make reservations ahead of time for a $4 service fee. Information at: http://www.blackhillsstagelines.com/stations.asp?state=CO
Support service businesses. Contribute to the well being of people, air and water with a certificate for a massage, art, music or dance lesson.
Encourage local sustainability. Use and give plants and seeds that will enhance homes and gardens. Ask local garden centers for ideas.
Check it out. Pure beeswax candles burn longer, are dripless, and better for your health. Support our bee keepers. Pure Beeswax Candles Are Naturally ScentedBeeswax candles contain no artificial scents and perfumed chemicals. Burn a beeswax candle, and all you’ll smell is the pleasant, natural aroma of honey. This is a major advantage to asthmatics, as well as to anyone who is allergic or sensitive to scents.Beeswax Candles Don’t Produce Soot As They BurnPure beeswax candles give off little, if any, smoke as they burn. They don’t emit any soot whatsoever. Have you ever lit a paraffin candle and noticed a wispy black substance coming off the flame? The black you see is soot, the same thing that builds up on the walls inside a chimney. If you burn these candles in drafty areas, the amount of soot they emit will be higher yet. Besides accumulating on the walls, ceilings, and other surfaces in your home, the soot can irritate your respiratory system.

Beeswax Candles Have Longer Burn Times and Drip Less

Since beeswax candles have a high melting point- approximately 145 degrees Fahrenheit, they burn slower. That means, beeswax candles last much longer. They cost more than ordinary candles. But, the added cost is offset by the amount of extra burn time.

Besides that, pure beeswax candles burn with little, or no wax drip. Just another advantage of burning these candles in your home.

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-advantages-burning-pure-beeswax-candles-in-2540938.html?cat=7

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/brilliant-beeswax-candles.html

Hike, bike, snowshoe or ski with children. Young people who learn to love nature, become good stewards of our natural resources.
Save gas, money and hassle and rid the bus to Monarch on Fridays and Saturdays. 9am from pool. Leaves Monarch 3:30pm. $5 roundtrip. 539-6738. Information at:  http://salidarec.com/ski/