Last week I wrote about green habits that are good for the bathroom. This week I'm going to look at ways to green your habits in the living room.
But before that, I received a going green bathroom tip from reader T. Brown after last week's column.
T. Brown suggests using only 100-percent recycled toilet paper, because “it may keep more trees alive and make for cleaner air.”
I think this is great advice. There are a few different companies that make recycled toilet paper. My husband and I actually use fully recycled toilet paper, tissues and paper towels from a company called Seventh Generation. More info about Seventh Generation can be found at www.seventhgeneration.com.
By using these recycled products, we are reducing the need to cut down and transport trees and reducing our carbon footprint.
Now, on to the living room.
One of the most important things you can do to conserve energy in all rooms of your home is avoid vampires.
No, not the kind that suck your blood; the kind that suck electricity from your sockets.
Vampire power is the creepy name for power that some electronics pull when they are not being used.
One of the easiest ways you can tell if an item is using power is if it has a light on. However, even if it doesn't have a light on, it still might be using power.
The best thing to do is unplug electronics if you aren't using them. Some common things that need to be unplugged include chargers, fans, heaters, toasters, blenders and printers.
If you don't want to go around plugging and unplugging all of your small appliances, chargers and other electronics, there are plug adapters and power strips that will turn off after an appliance hasn't been used for a certain amount of time. These cost a little more money, but make dodging vampire power more convenient.
Here are some other ways to green your living room:
- Turning your heat down by two degrees or turning your air conditioning up by two degrees can save lots of energy and money without causing any discomfort.
- Open doors and windows and turn off the air conditioner when the weather is pleasant. By doing this, you get fresh air and save energy.
- Use compact florescent lightbulbs instead of standard lightbulbs because they last longer and use less energy. CFL's have improved greatly since they first hit the market. Many don't take a long time to come on and can have the same color as regular light bulbs. LED lightbulbs are also showing up. LEDs are expensive, but they use even less energy, last even longer and can have a nice color to them as well.
- Instead of keeping your ceiling lights on all the time, use lamp light when you don't need to light an entire room. Also, use sunlight as much as possible throughout the day, because it's free.
- As the weather gets cooler, use a small electric space heater to heat the rooms you are using and turn down your central heating.
If you have any going green tidbits of your own, please share them with me at email@example.com and I'll share them in my next column.
Amanda's Animal Fact of the Week
Common vampire bats land near their prey and approach it on all fours. As they feed, the bats' saliva actually prevents their prey's blood from clotting.