Living Green

This page is dedicated to providing information on how you can lead a healthy, happy and environmentally friendly life. Below is a list of tips sorted into categories based on aspects of our day to day life.

Quick Links:
General
Office
Kitchen
Food
Bathroom
Cleaning
Shopping
Driving
Outdoors
Helpful Tips
Resources

General Back to top

  • Lights out policy: when you leave a room, shut off the light. When you are the last one out of the office or the house, shut off the light
  • Get a house plant. Having plants around your house can cut indoor air pollution by more than half. Good options are English Ivy and Peace Lilies because they absorb toxic gases such as formaldehyde and benzene

Office Back to top

  • Do you have a power bar at your desk? Make sure you shut down the entire bar when not in use. Having hardware plugged in, even when turned off, still uses energy. This is known as ‘phantom energy’
  • If you have a computer with an Energy Star rating, you still must activate the power management feature to fully utilize the energy savings
  • Try changing your light bulbs to CFL or LED bulbs to save up to as much as 80-90% of the energy you use to light your room.
  • Print double sided when possible and try lowering the print quality on draft documents
  • Re-use paper that has only been used on one side. Scratch a line through the notes on the used side to avoid confusion
  • Get rid of your screen Saver. Screen savers do not save energy, turning off your monitor when it is not in use does
  • Conduct a Sustainability Audit of your office to find ways to improve

Kitchen Back to top

  • Use your microwave more often because it uses 75% less energy than an oven
  • Use an electric kettle rather than a stove top kettle to reduce the energy required for the water to boil by half
  • Make sure you only run the dishwasher when it is full for more energy and water efficiency and for cleaner dishes! For extra energy savings skip the dry cycle and let them air dry.

Food Back to top

  • Buy organic if you can because the farming of organic produce does not use harmful pesticides that cause environmental degradation
  • Buy local to reduce the effects of transportation and to support local business and economy
  • Consider becoming a vegetarian, even part-time. It takes up to 5,000 gallons of water to raise one pound of meat, and only 25 gallons to raise one pound of wheat
  • Compost your food waste to decrease the amount of waste being transported to the landfill and to support the production of organic matter than can be re-used
  • Pack a lunch, and preferably in reusable containers. You will save money and probably packaging by not purchasing food away from home. You may also be more prone to plan healthy choices and portion sizes leading to healthy eating habits

Bathroom Back to top

  • Do not flush expired or unused medications. Most pharmacies and/or municipalities will take your old medications and properly dispose of them
  • Take a shower that is less than 10 minutes rather than a bath. A bath uses more than 80 litres of water, a shower uses less than 38 litres every 5 minutes
  • Use low-flow showerheads and faucets to save about 50% of the water you use
  • Newer toilets use about 6 litres of water, about 2/3 less than older models. Instead of buying a new toilet, take a one-litre pop bottle, filled with water and capped and place it in the tank to displace some of water so that less is used during each flush
  • Shut off the tap when you are not using it. Running faucets use seven to 11 litres of water every minute

Cleaning Back to top

  • Use cold water to wash your clothes. Detergents today are efficient enough that your clothes will come out just as clean
  • Make sure you clean out your dryers lint filter before each load to increase the dryers efficiency by up to 30%
  • Vinegar mixed with water cleans glass just as well as stuff you would buy from the store. Use yesterday’s news paper to polish for a streak free shine

Shopping Back to top

  • Choose products that use less packaging. This will also help you gauge the level of importance the company places on environmental stewardship
  • If you find that your favorite product uses lots of packaging, call or email the Customer Service centre to let them know that you like the product, but are unhappy with the packaging
  • Bring re-usable shopping bags

Driving Back to top

  • Take an alternative mode whenever possible. everyone knows the environmental and health impacts of this one
  • Don't idle. If you must drive, turn off your car if you are stopped for longer than 10 seconds
  • Drive as if you have a mug of coffee in the cup holder. Aggressive driving uses more fuel and will cause more wear and tear on your car. If you have it, use cruise control when driving long distances or on the highway.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. You will save money and the environment with the increase in fuel economy that your properly maintained vehicle provides
  • Decrease your speed from 100 to 90 km/hr to improve your fuel economy by 10%

Outdoors Back to top

  • Disconnect your downspout if you live in the city. This will decrease the amount of water flowing into the sewer all at once during heavy rainfall and will allow the water to infiltrate into soil which takes time
  • Use a rain barrel. Purchase one with a mosquito screen to protect against West Nile or empty the barrel twice each week. You can use the water for your garden, lowering your utility bill
  • Try Companion Planting. planting chives among roses will help keep aphids off the roses

Helpful Tips Back to top

Find out how to how you can help conserve water with these helpful tips from GreenPlumbers:


Resources Back to top

Tips from Canadian Living (web)

GreenPlumbers U.S.A (web)

 

December 19, 2011