Celebrate Earth Day Every Day at Home
Judie Docs, Executive Officer – CSP, MCSP, CGP, CMP, MIRM
North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA) ncbia.com
Every year, April 22 marks the worldwide celebration of Earth Day. The Earth Day Network hopes to have thousands of marches, parades, lectures, and cleanup projects around the globe. You can find a list of events in your area at www.earthday.net.
You don’t have to wait until April 22 to incorporate the concepts of Earth Day in your own home, however. These simple environmentally friendly household suggestions can make you an Earth Day advocate all year long.
Conserve Water — and Your Pocketbook
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average family of four uses 400 gallons of water every day. To combat this, the agency suggests that you:
- Don’t let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
- Take short showers instead of tub baths.
- Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
- Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher; wash only full loads.
- Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
- Repair all leaks (a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons a day).
- Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best).
- Group plants according to their water use so you don’t overwater. Check with your local extension service or nurseries for advice.
- Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only — not the street or sidewalk.
- Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation systems for trees and shrubs.
- Keep your yard healthy — remove dead grass from your lawn, use mulch, and set your mower on a high setting to encourage grass growth and eliminate weeds naturally.
- Sweep the driveway and walkways outside instead of using a hose to spray it down.
A few behavioral changes in your water usage can make a significant difference to the environment, and to your pocketbook.
Incorporate Energy-Efficient Appliances into Your Home
When the time comes, replace appliances with energy-efficient models. Tankless water heaters, for example, are comparable in cost to traditional gas water heaters but are 30 percent more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Another easy option is to replace your old thermostat with a programmable one. These types of automatic thermostats will lower the heat when homeowners are at work but will automatically raise it to make the home comfortable again when they return home.
As an added bonus, some home energy-efficient upgrades may provide tax credits. Find out what qualifies at www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/home-energy-tax-credits
The North Coast Building Industry Association is your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic. So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our website at www.ncbia.com or call 440-934-1090. We also have a job posting board (under the industry tab).
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