Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is a magical appliance. During the summer, it creates a wind chill effect and can keep a hot room cool. In the winter, it redistributes warm air that has risen up back down to where the room’s occupants are. Ideally, ceiling fans work best with their blades 7–9 feet above the floor and 10–12 inches below the ceiling. Larger blades will move air better, too. And always look for the Energy Star seal on the appliance—it will definitely save you money over time.

Energystar TV

It is important to be a mindful energy consumer with your television. As with all appliances, look for the Energy Star label. These models are, on average, over 40 percent more energy efficient than standard models, and they include everything from standard to the largest flatscreen LCD and plasma models.

Believe you me, the energy savings make a difference, especially when 39 million televisions shipped to the United States in 2011, and 19 million of these were 40 inches or larger.

Wood stove

Burning wood involves some compromises. Modern woodstoves produce much, much less air pollution than older models but they still emit as much as 100 times more pollution than oil or gas furnaces, inside and outside your home. Many people do prefer this type of heat for many reasons including cost and availability of fuel. It does contribute less to global warming than burning fossil fuels. The SW Clean Air Agency has some great information about using your woodstove more efficiently.

Even better, though, is the pellet stove, which is much cleaner than any woodstove. And because pellets are made from renewable resources (like wood chips and corn husks, and other timber and agricultural waste), they’re usually considered a good environmental choice.

LED/Halogen Bulbs

Wherever possible, replace your incandescent lightbulbs with low wattage compact flourescent (CFL) bulbs or, even better, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

The energy savings are incomparable: A standard 60 watt incandescent bulb provides 13 to 14 lumens per watt, whereas an equivalent CFL provides 55 to 70 lumens per watt and an LED provides 60 to 100 lumens per watt. What’s more is that an LED bulb will last you a long time, some models lasting 25 years. Lighting accounts for 6% of a house’s energy use—CFL and LED bulbs will get you your money’s worth.

New bulb standards are changing the way you’ll shop for lightbulbs. You used to buy for watts, but now you’ll shop for lumens, which tell us how bright a bulb burns.

  • 100 watt bulbs are about 1600 lumens
  • 75 watt bulbs are about 1100 lumens
  • 60 watt bulbs are about 800 lumens
  • 40 watt bulbs are about 450 lumens

Thermostat

Keep your thermostat set to the lowest setting to which you are comfortable. If possible, keep your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the heating season. Space heating accounts for 45% of your home’s energy use, so even minor adjustments can go a long way.

If you think your heating isn’t doing what it should, look around your home to see what may be causing the situation:

  • Insufficient insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Uninsulated, loose, or leaking furnace ductwork
  • Dirty furnace filters
  • Open fireplaces (more heat is lost up the chimney than into the room)
  • Air leaks around windows, doors, and walls

Couch

The three R’s of sustainable furniture—recondition, reuse, and recycle. Look to redo your furniture, buy secondhand, or get creative before buying new.

Understandably, decor is a little tough when only working with old materials. Fortunately, there are ways to lower the negative impact of the furniture on the environment and your health. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council’s seal, which certifies timber that is cut in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Greenguard also certifies safe, low-emission products and materials for indoor use, including furniture.

In general, look for the following sustainable marks of furniture:

  • Paints, stains, and finishes that contain low or no volatile organic compounds
  • Reduced use of glues, sealants, and formaldehyde
  • Natural fabrics, organic cotton, recycled fabric content, and toxin-free upholstery
  • 100% natural latex foam
  • Use of materials that have been and can be recycled
  • Minimal packaging
  • Locally manufactured

Lightswitch

Lighting accounts for 6% of a house’s energy use, so it’s simple: turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. You already know that, though. This just Green Neighbors nudging you off that comfy couch to turn off the kitchen light.

Books

Like to read? Consider using your local library or used bookstore before purchasing new books. If you haven’t been to the library in awhile, you might be surprised at all the new things they have to offer.

  • Ceiling Fan

    A ceiling fan is a magical appliance. During the summer, it creates a wind chill effect and can keep a hot room cool. In the winter, it redistributes warm air that has risen up back down to where the room’s occupants are. Ideally, ceiling fans work best with their blades 7–9 feet above the floor and 10–12 inches below the ceiling. Larger blades will move air better, too. And always look for the Energy Star seal on the appliance—it will definitely save you money over time.

  • Energystar TV

    It is important to be a mindful energy consumer with your television. As with all appliances, look for the Energy Star label. These models are, on average, over 40 percent more energy efficient than standard models, and they include everything from standard to the largest flatscreen LCD and plasma models.

    Believe you me, the energy savings make a difference, especially when 39 million televisions shipped to the United States in 2011, and 19 million of these were 40 inches or larger.

  • Wood stove

    Burning wood involves some compromises. Modern woodstoves produce much, much less air pollution than older models but they still emit as much as 100 times more pollution than oil or gas furnaces, inside and outside your home. Many people do prefer this type of heat for many reasons including cost and availability of fuel. It does contribute less to global warming than burning fossil fuels. The SW Clean Air Agency has some great information about using your woodstove more efficiently.

    Even better, though, is the pellet stove, which is much cleaner than any woodstove. And because pellets are made from renewable resources (like wood chips and corn husks, and other timber and agricultural waste), they’re usually considered a good environmental choice.

  • LED/Halogen Bulbs

    Wherever possible, replace your incandescent lightbulbs with low wattage compact flourescent (CFL) bulbs or, even better, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

    The energy savings are incomparable: A standard 60 watt incandescent bulb provides 13 to 14 lumens per watt, whereas an equivalent CFL provides 55 to 70 lumens per watt and an LED provides 60 to 100 lumens per watt. What’s more is that an LED bulb will last you a long time, some models lasting 25 years. Lighting accounts for 6% of a house’s energy use—CFL and LED bulbs will get you your money’s worth.

    New bulb standards are changing the way you’ll shop for lightbulbs. You used to buy for watts, but now you’ll shop for lumens, which tell us how bright a bulb burns.

    • 100 watt bulbs are about 1600 lumens
    • 75 watt bulbs are about 1100 lumens
    • 60 watt bulbs are about 800 lumens
    • 40 watt bulbs are about 450 lumens
  • Thermostat

    Keep your thermostat set to the lowest setting to which you are comfortable. If possible, keep your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the heating season. Space heating accounts for 45% of your home’s energy use, so even minor adjustments can go a long way.

    If you think your heating isn’t doing what it should, look around your home to see what may be causing the situation:

    • Insufficient insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors
    • Uninsulated, loose, or leaking furnace ductwork
    • Dirty furnace filters
    • Open fireplaces (more heat is lost up the chimney than into the room)
    • Air leaks around windows, doors, and walls
  • Couch

    The three R’s of sustainable furniture—recondition, reuse, and recycle. Look to redo your furniture, buy secondhand, or get creative before buying new.

    Understandably, decor is a little tough when only working with old materials. Fortunately, there are ways to lower the negative impact of the furniture on the environment and your health. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council’s seal, which certifies timber that is cut in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Greenguard also certifies safe, low-emission products and materials for indoor use, including furniture.

    In general, look for the following sustainable marks of furniture:

    • Paints, stains, and finishes that contain low or no volatile organic compounds
    • Reduced use of glues, sealants, and formaldehyde
    • Natural fabrics, organic cotton, recycled fabric content, and toxin-free upholstery
    • 100% natural latex foam
    • Use of materials that have been and can be recycled
    • Minimal packaging
    • Locally manufactured
  • Lightswitch

    Lighting accounts for 6% of a house’s energy use, so it’s simple: turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. You already know that, though. This just Green Neighbors nudging you off that comfy couch to turn off the kitchen light.

  • Books

    Like to read? Consider using your local library or used bookstore before purchasing new books. If you haven’t been to the library in awhile, you might be surprised at all the new things they have to offer.