The true essence of Urban Conversion is about learning and exploring ways to live a “greener” or more sustainable lifestyle. As Rodman and Gina take you on their educational adventures, I hope that this can become your journey as well. It is my hope that you discover simple ways to make changes in your life that reduce your impact on our earth. Let’s learn together and make steps, small or big, and see what we can do collectively!
To help you get started, begin with one or two of these and then try some more. You will be amazed how simple it really is being green!
- Choose Energy-Efficient Lighting
- Follow Local Lawn Watering Guidelines
- Give Up Disposables
- Stop Filling Landfills – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Compost More
- Unplug It
- Green Your Transportation
- Eat Fresh, Local, Organic
- Clean Green
- Waste Less Food
- Turn Down The Thermostat
Choose Energy-Efficient Lighting
- Choose and switch to energy-efficient lighting. If every home in the U.S. replaced their FIVE most used light bulbs with Energy Star labeled LED or CFL bulbs, the reduction in carbon emissions would be equivalent to removing 10 million cars from the road.
Follow Local Lawn Watering Guidelines
- Your lawn isn’t as thirsty as you are. As much as 50% of the water we use OUTDOORS is wasted from inefficient methods and systems. Be efficient with your water use: check your local lawn watering guidelines, don’t water your sidewalks (talk about water down the drain), fix leaky irrigation systems and watch the weather, let Mother Nature water your lawn for you.
Give Up Disposables
- Give up disposables, yeah that includes your plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, paper towels & plates. You can live without your disposables. Trust me. Have you ever really thought about the amount of resources it took to create that paper plate for you to use it for less then 30 minutes?
Stop Filling Landfills – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Compost More
- By now the phrase “Recycle” is so 90’s, so let’s just get straight to the point, stop throwing valuable resources into holes in the ground that grow to become mountains of our discards. Do what you can to prevent waste from happening, reuse as much as possible, make sure you are recycling the right things in your community (check your local guidelines), then recycle more and if you haven’t started, learn how to compost your organic waste.
- Anything that is plugged in is still using power whether it is turned on or not. U.S. households spend approximately $100 per year to power devices not in use. That’s roughly 8% of household electricity costs. Start by unplugging the lamp and clock in the rarely used guest bedroom.
Green Your Transportation
- Walk, bike, carpool, use mass transit, or drive a best-in-class vehicle. Leaving your car at home twice a week can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1,600 pounds per year. Today, try taking public transportation or working from home instead of traveling to the office.
- Stop using cleaners with harmful chemicals. Make your own with simple ingredients like vinegar, water and essential oils. Make your own reusable cleaning towels from torn or worn-out clothing. Not a DIY (do-it-yourself) type? Educate yourself on what products are in your cleaner and decide if they are healthy for you, your family and the environment.
Waste Less Food
- Every year Americans throw away $165 billion worth of food waste. Do you find yourself buying fixings to eat healthy salads every day and then discover wilting lettuce and decomposing cucumbers in your fridge? Tossing food waste in landfills contribute to methane gas, a big contributor to climate change. Plan out your menus and shopping list at home and at the store, buy only what you are going to use.
Turn Down the Thermostat
- We all know that turning down the thermostat is a good thing but knowing and doing are two different things. You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
- In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lowering the thermostat setting to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Try it for a week and see what settings work for you then program them into your thermostat!
Eat Fresh, Local, Organic
- There are so many benefits to eating fresh, local and organic food. Buying locally-sourced food reduces our dependence on fossil fuels used to grow, process and transport food. Some statistics show that the average distance food travels in distribution is 1,500 miles. By buying local, you can conserve the large amount of energy used in both the packaging and shipping of food. Check out your local farmer’s market, join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) or ask your local grocer to source local and organic food.
Written by Urban Conversion contributor, Stacy Lambright. April 2015