Green Living: What is it?

“Green” is a word that is working its way into almost all aspects of our lives. Advertisers are picking up that ball and running with it. The colors of advertisements are even often centered on a green theme. But what does it really mean to “go green” or “live green?”

It basically refers to reducing your environmental impact, by how much energy you use and the type of energy you use. This is accomplished by becoming more energy efficient and choosing clean energy supplies.

What does it mean to be more energy efficient? To be energy efficient, it means something delivers the same (or more) services for less energy. When we use less energy, the power plants don’t have to generate so much, which improves air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What is clean energy? Clean energy refers to supplies that include clean distributed generation, such as combined heat and power, and renewable energy. Many businesses are now installing renewable energy and combined heat and power at their buildings to save them money, provide greater control of their energy use, and reduce their environmental impact. The same can be done at your home.

So how can you “go green?” Here are steps to reduce energy use in your home:

  • Buy Energy Star products when it is time to replace a TV, appliance, or heating and air system. And be sure the “stand-by mode” function is activated if it has one.
  • Use Energy Star qualified lighting to replace your five most frequently used bulbs or light fixtures. If every household in the U.S. did this, it could save close to eight billion dollars a year in energy costs! Working together, we could prevent the greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.
  • Use an Energy Star qualified programmable thermostat to replace your standard thermostat. Connected to your central heat and air conditioning system, these types of thermostats have features that can automatically adjust the temperature of your home when you are away.
  • Don’t forget to find out if our local utility companies in and around Poughkeepsie, NY are offering rebates or incentives for the purchase of Energy Star qualified light, appliances, or HVAC systems.
  • Insulate and seal your home to improve comfort and reduce energy costs from your air conditioning, furnace, and/or heat pump system.
  • Choose an Energy Star labeled product if you are considering replacing the windows in your home.

Now what about “green living” in terms of using clean energy supply? Here are two web tools provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency that can help you make a difference by using clean energy supplies:

  • The Power Profiler tool developed by the EPA can help you determine the specific air emissions impacts associated with your home’s electricity use.
  • To find out how to you can purchase green power for your home, visit the Green Power Locator.

Are you ready for “green living?” Making sustainable choices about how you travel, what you buy, how you use and dispose of what you buy, and what you eat, you can make a difference and live “green.” Following the simple steps above can the make your home more energy efficient, as well as contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.

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