Many Georgians already recycle, compost and use energy-efficient light bulbs. Even these families can further reduce their impact on the environment. For households looking to become even greener in 2014, here are a few simple changes from University of Georgia Extension that can help cut carbon footprints and natural resource consumption.
• Take a look at your old habits. You don’t have to be uncomfortable to
- Do not leave your car running with the air conditioning on.
- Install light sensors in your home to make sure the lights go out when you leave the room.
- Turn ceiling fans off when you leave the room. Fans cool people not rooms.
- Hang up your keys and use public transportation or carpool whenever possible.
- Install solar panels or a wind turbine.The ultimate goal of anyone wanting to be as energy efficient as possible would be to go Net-Zero, or in best case Net-Positive (using less power than produced, pumping power back onto the grid even after total consumption).
- Practice the “zero-sum” principal. Zero-sum means that for each new item coming into your home, something old goes out of your home. It is important to note that you are not throwing the removed item in the trash, but rather recycling or repurposing it. Give away unwanted items such as furniture, but recycle items like old appliances and electronics.
- Build, purchase, or lease a LEED certified or Energy Star qualified home or apartment. If this is not an option, purchase a pre-owned home/apartment as opposed to building a new home with new materials.
- Have a blower door and duct blaster test conducted on your home’s cooling and heating system. You may be losing more conditioned air than you think.
For more information on saving energy go to www.fcs.uga.edu/ext/housing or contact your county UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.