Environmentally and Economically Friendly Household Tips for Earth Day

April 20, 2015

Homeowners can reduce their energy usage and costs by conservation, using energy saving technology and by remembering some simple tips, according to Mark Murphy, director of sustainability at The University of Scranton. 

“Two household changes can greatly reduce water usage and cost,” said Murphy.  Changing toilets from 3 gallons per flush (gpf) to 1.2 gpf will reduce water usage from the toilet by 60 percent. He also noted that investing in a water saving washing machine will reduce water usage from 26 gallons to 13 gallons per load, a 50 percent decrease. No cost tips for conserving water include turning off the water while brushing your teeth, only running fully loaded washer and dishwashers, and always repair leaking faucets and toilets promptly.

When it comes to heating your home, the cost of electricity is 4.5 times that of natural gas, according to Murphy.

“Heating energy can be saved by lowering thermostat settings, using programmable thermostats, lower settings while you sleep, shutting off heat in un-used parts of your home, and making sure your heating system is serviced each year. Opening window shades to let the sun in will naturally warm your home during the day, and closing drapes on windows or large patio doors will keep the cold out at night,” said Murphy.

According to Murphy, another substantial part of household energy cost is electricity. Electric energy for the most part is produced by burning fossil fuels. This process creates pollution. Conserving electric energy is really reducing pollution by reducing the amount of fossil fuel that need to be burned. He suggested a simple start to saving – turn off lights, television sets and computers in the house when they are not in use. He also suggested replacing old light bulbs with LED (light emitting diode) lamps that can reduce electricity usage from to 50 to 80 percent. LED lights also do not require frequent replacement.

“Use LED lighting for Christmas and other holiday decorations. The University’s Christmas tree this past year used LEDs and reduced its energy usage by 99 percent,” said Murphy.

Although some of these tips require spending some money initially, many do not and are easy to incorporate into daily life.

“The environmental and financial savings gained by reducing our energy usage point to the merits of a Sustainable lifestyle,” said Murphy.

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