Everyone touts Earth Day, but what about the environment? Every June, awareness about the environment is raised by the United Nations Environment Programme by promoting the importance of protecting nature and the Earth. What positive environmental actions are you willing to take? As a home or business owner, there’s plenty you can do.
Replace Outdated HVAC Equipment
While replacing an aging air conditioner, heat pump or furnace requires your willingness to make an investment, it’s one of the best ways to help the environment. A new, Energy Star-approved air conditioner, heat pump or furnace consumes far less energy than a decade-old unit. Over their lifetime, Energy Star-labeled products lower energy use so significantly that they reduce greenhouse emissions by about 130,000 pounds, all while keeping your home or business comfortable.
Heat and Cool Wisely
Installing efficient heating and cooling equipment is just the beginning. You must also run this equipment wisely to reduce energy use. Here are some basic tips:
- Install a programmable thermostat. In the summer, set the temperature to 78 degrees F (26 degrees C) during the day and run a fan to make the interior feel like 74 degrees F (23 degrees C). Program a setback period each day for when you’re away at work to about 85 degrees F (30 degrees C) and save 10 to 20 percent on your cooling bills in the process. Program a recovery period each day timed for when you leave work so you can arrive at a comfortable home.
- Replace the air filter every one to three months to improve airflow and increase your HVAC system’s energy efficiency.
- Seal air leaks. This includes installing foam gaskets behind outlet covers and sealing leaky doors and windows with caulk and weatherstripping.
- Keep direct sunlight at bay during the summer with window coverings and strategically planted trees.
- In the summer, avoid running heat-generating appliances in the afternoon when your air conditioner is already working hard.
Reduce Energy Consumed by Lighting
Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). The investment will result in 2 percent energy savings for every 10 hours each bulb is on, and you can expect CFLs to last about 10 times longer. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are even better. They consume about half the energy of CFLs, last about five times longer and contain no mercury so you don’t have to worry about special recycling when they finally burn out.
Remember, no matter which type of light bulbs you choose, switch off the lights behind you when you leave a room. In business settings, it’s useful to install motion sensors in bathrooms and meetings rooms so the lights turn on and off automatically as needed.
Use Water Efficiently
Water conservation is about more than just using this precious resource wisely. It’s also about reducing the energy needed to pump, treat and heat water. Reducing your water use at home and work is easy with these tips:
- Fix leaky pipes and faucets promptly. You can check for hidden leaks by checking the water meter once, refraining from using water for two hours and then checking the meter again. If the numbers change, you have a leak somewhere.
- Check for and repair leaky toilets. The “phantom flush” is a sign that the seal between the toilet tank and bowl isn’t tight. Also, replace old toilets with low-flow models to conserve water with every flush.
- Dispose of garbage in the trash, not by flushing it down the toilet.
- Install aerated faucets and low-flow showerheads. Then shorten your showers to five minutes.
- Trade out your storage water heater for a tankless model to eliminate standby heat loss.
- Insulate hot water pipes to help prevent heat loss and speed up how quickly water gets hot at the tap.
- Water your lawn in the early morning to reduce evaporation.
Whether you employ these practices to help the environment, lower your bills, improve your PR or a little bit of each, there’s no better time to “go green” than the present. Learn more tips about reducing energy use and helping the environment by contacting Rainbow International® today.
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