Simple ways to Save Money While Saving the World

Last night my husband and I watched An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s documentary about global warming. I didn’t care for the cut-aways to Al Gore talking about his family, but otherwise I rather liked the film. What surprised me most was that the documentary didn’t discuss the actions an individual can take to reduce their Co2 emissions.

In fact, in the documentary a young Chinese woman in one of Global Warming seminars asks, for suggestions on what everyone can do right now. In typical, politician banter Al Gore completely ignores the question saying, Separating the truth from the fiction and the accurate connections from the misunderstandings, is part of what you learn here. But when the warnings are accurate and based on sound science, then we as human beings, whatever country we live in, have to find a way to make sure the warnings are heard and responded to. However, at the end of the documentary viewers are asked to visit for more information.

There you will find a list of actions you can take to help reduce Co2 emissions. Interestingly, most of the actions will also save you money.

Here is the list:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with a compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 60% less energy. They say if every family in the U.S. made the switch, we’d reduce Co2 by 90 billion pounds.
    • We changed just about every lightbulb in our house.
  • Move your thermostat down 2° in the winter and up 2° in the summer. (2,000 lbs of Co2 saved)
    • We keep the heat down at 67° in the winter
  • Clean or replace filters on your furnace & air conditioner (350 lbs Co2 saved)
  • Install a programmable thermostat. (Saving you $100 a year)
    • We have thought about this one, but my work from home schedule makes it difficult to predict ‘on/off’ times
  • Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases. (If every U.S. home replaced existing appliances we’d save 175 million tons of Co2 emissions)
    • We just bought an energy efficient washing machine & dishwasher
  • Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. (1000 lbs of Co2 saved). Set the thermostat no higher than 120° (550 lbs of Co2 saved)
  • Use less hot water
    • low flow shower head (350 lbs of Co2 saved)
    • wash clothes in cold water (500 lbs of Co2 saved)
  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer (700 lbs of Co2 saved)
    • We almost never run the dryer, we hang the clothes on a bar in the laundry room.
  • Turn off electronic devices you’re not using (1000s of lbs of Co2 saved)
    • We just started doing this after learning how much energy these devices use
  • Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them
  • Only run your dishwasher when it’s full (100 lbs of Co2 saved)
    • We only run loads when the dishwasher is completely jammed with dishes.
  • Insulate & weatherize your home (save 25% on your heating bill and 2,000 lbs of Co2)
  • Recycle (2,400 lbs of Co2 each year)
    • We’re lucky enough to have a recycling center very close to our home for large items like cardboard boxes.
  • Buy recycled paper products (takes 70 – 90% less energy to make recycled paper & saves trees)
  • Plant a tree (Can reduce air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%)
  • Get a home energy audit (Save 30% off your energy bill & 1,000 lbs of Co2)
    • I’m going to call our electric company on Monday about this.
  • Buy locally grown & produced foods
    • click here to find farmers markets in your area
  • Buy fresh instead of frozen (frozen takes 10x more energy to produce)
    • This one might cost more. I prefer the taste of fresh so I’ve never done a price comparison.
  • Seek out & support local farmers markets
    • click here to find farmers markets in your area
  • Buy organic foods
    • alright this one will cost you more
  • Avoid heavily packaged products (cuts down on garbage) (Save 1,200 lbs of Co2)
  • Eat less meat (cows emit a lot of gas)
    • Definitely saves you money. My husband and I almost never eat meat anymore.
  • Reduce the number of miles you drive (saves 500 lbs of Co2)
    • It helps that I telecommute a few days a week.
  • Start a carpool
  • Keep your car tuned up (when 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion lbs of Co2 are kept out of the atmosphere)
    • This definitely extends the life of your vehicle
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated
    • Improves gas mileage by more than 3%
    • Saves 20 lbs of C02
  • When you purchase a new car, choose a fuel efficient one
    • Saves 3,000 lbs of Co2 if the car gets 3 more miles per gallon than your current car
    • Obviously, saving gas saves you money.
  • Try car sharing
    • Not practical for most of us
  • Try telecommuting
    • Luckily my employer allows me to do this a few days a week.
  • Fly less

3 thoughts on “Simple ways to Save Money While Saving the World”

  1. Turn off the water heater from the breaker box when you go on vacation. I have gone away for up to 2 weeks and when I get back, it only takes about an hour to warm up the water.

  2. The hard one is the flourescent bulbs. I can’t stand them. I’m afraid I’m going to have to be a bad person and stay incadescent.

    But then neither my boyfriend or I have a car so maybe that’ll even it out.

  3. The better (i.e. unfortunately more expensive fluorescents) are great. You kind of need to try them to find out what you can stand – my husband has moved the older, cheaper, poorer ones we have to the basement, or into closets. I’ve never tried to return one, but I’m guessing you could – or ask to try them at a Home Depot or Lowe’s.

    Try the programmable thermostat in spite of your work-from-home situation. You can let the temp drop further at night in the winter, and still wake up to reasonable warmth. We let ours drop to 64 at night. In the daytime you can always adjust it yourself if need be.


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