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Frugal Beginners Guide To GreenPosted 06/11/08 • Last updated 09/26/11 • 621 views • 0 comments
Go Green And Save Green: Beginner's Guide
In this guide, you’ll find out how to spend less than $1,200 to save over $8,000 over the course of 5 years. Here are suggestions of free and low cost things you can do to help you go green and save green.
Saves in 5 years…
ROI over 5 years
Love your car, love the planet
Keep up with car maintenance
Variable ($130 per 15,000 miles of driving with one air filter change, oil changes, and filling tires)
Clean air filters can improve your mileage by as much as 7%. Using the wrong grade of oil can reduce your mileage by 1-2%. Properly inflated tires will improve gas mileage by 3%. That means, if you’re driving a car that should get 25 MPG, and you’re not taking care of it, you’re really getting 22.25 MPG and therefore spending an extra $296.63 on gas (at $4/gallon) every 15,000 miles.
Rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gas mileage by 5% around town and 33% on the highway. You also get less mileage for your money – 23% less – if you drive over 60mph. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas.
$0 (but maybe a little more time)
In all, you can save up to $0.86/gallon or $447.20 per year (based on using 10 gallons of gas per week)
Use waterless car wash. The average driveway car wash uses 100 gallons
One bottle of Ecotouch costs $10 – washing your car twice a month, you need about 1.5 bottles (since you get about 8 washes per bottle)
$15 on water costs and car wash soap (if you wash your car twice a month)
Take extra weight in your car down (i.e. take off roof racks, bike racks, etc. when not in use). This saves 1-2% fuel efficiency per 100 lbs
$0.04-$0.07/gallon (or $31.20 per year if you use 10 gallons of gas a week)
It's getting hot in here
Lower your hot water heater thermostat to 120° F.
$36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses and more than $400 in demand losses
Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer.
$10-30 per month (5-15% a year)
Maximize your (time and resource) efficiency
Install aerators on your existing faucets
$3-30 per aerator
Faucets account for 15.7% of all indoor use. That means the average family of 4 uses about 44 gallons of water per day from their faucets. Up to 60% of this water consumption could be reduced with the use of low-flow aerators, which would result in yearly savings of over $44
Take short showers. A 5 minute shower uses an average of 10-25 gallons of water in comparison to 70 gallon baths.
Based on California water costs and bathing 6 times a week, showering for five minutes will save you $27 per year over taking baths.
Wash your clothes in cold water. This saves 80-90% of the energy used in washing.
10 to 20 cents per load which results in about $40 per year
Wash only full loads of clothes. More than 3,400 gallons can be saved.
Water and energy
$7 annually from your water bill, $2.25 annually from your energy bill = $9.25 in total per year
Fix leaky faucets. One drip can waste 250 gallons of water a month, which translates to 3,000 gallons of wasted water annually.
$0 if you do it yourself, $50 if you call someone
8% of your water bill (around $38 per year)
380% (if you call someone once in 5 years)
Clean the lint trap on your clothes dryer.
$34 per year
Don’t over dry your clothes.
A dryer operating an extra 15 minutes per load can cost you up to $34 annually.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs
$30-$60 over the life of the bulb (on average 10,000 life hours which is about 5.5 years if the light is on everyday for 5 hours)
$45 on average
Your health, your home
Assuming you spend $100 more on green cleaners than traditional cleaners every year…
Health care costs: The average person visits the doctor twice a year. In a household of 4, if even one of these visits can be avoided, you may save a co-pay of $25. Cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10 percent of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers in 2000, accounting for 206,636 calls. Of these, nearly two-thirds involved children under six, who can swallow or spill cleaners stored or left open inside the home.
Your health Zero VOC paints cost about $3.50 more per gallon. (Assuming you paint 5 rooms, your total extra cost is $60 for 20 gallons) Health care costs (plus money on air fresheners and purifiers). The average person visits the doctor twice a year. In a household of 4, if even one of these visits can be avoided, you may save a co-pay of $25. $125 208%
- ROI stands for “return on investment.” It is an assessment of whether the investment is justified by the savings it will create. In this case, we look at the ratio of savings during 5 years to the cost of the products (which are frequently one time expenditures).
- In the case that the change does not cost anything, you’ll find “N/A” in the ROI column. This stands for “not applicable” because you are investing only time and brain power. You could also think of the ROI as infinite in those cases.
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