The Green Stream

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By Kristen Wagner

Let’s face it; centering yourself towards efficiency isn’t easy. It may even seem to be somewhat of a catch-22 at times, being that the organic, natural, unrefined and recycled products always seem to be priced slightly higher than traditional items. Nevertheless, there has to be something beguiling about it; observably the momentum of the green movement is only getting stronger.

Being green and practicing environmentally friendly practices is a huge hit for those of us who feel we need to do our part to save the earth, but there are many more people who will jump on this bandwagon with us once they find out they could be saving money by doing so. By reading over a blog in Time, I discovered that people are able to apply for low-cost loans to finance home energy-efficiency improvements. There is an option of a free home energy audit, and the facts are stunning. It may take a bit of time, but updating your furnace and insulation can save you a lot of money in the long run.

There can be a fair amount of concern about going green large scale, though. According to www.usatoday.com, electricity from renewable resources remains significantly more expensive than from traditional sources. For instance, solar electricity costs an average of $175 per mega-watt hour, compared to an average of $64 per mega-watt hour with coal. This can be an extremely significant difference to a household, and imagine the difference to a large business! Hopefully the cost of being this energy efficient will decrease in time.

On National Geographic’s www.thegreenguide.com, there are several short quizzes you can take to test your knowledge on being green throughout everyday living. You can discover how fuel efficient your driving habits are, and how much you know about saving energy and money. It’s also interesting to see what inventive minds are coming up with to save the planet. Some fresh developments include using rice husks, mushrooms and agar to create single-use disposable items.

According to www.squidoo.com, we can help the earth by minimizing our wasted energy. They’ve compiled a list of 29 simple, straightforward tasks that we can all put into effect to do our share. Some of these tips include the following:

  • Change to fluorescent bulbs– If every house in the US changed all of the light bulbs in their house, it would be equivalent to taking 1 MILLION cars off of the streets.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth– You can save four gallons of water doing this alone.
  • Shorten your shower– Every minute you cut from your shower saves about five gallons of water.
  • Pay your bills online– If every household in the US did this we would save 18 MILLION trees per year.
  • Wrap presents creatively– (We can all use this tip for the upcoming holiday season) Without going out to get wrapping paper you can use things around the house like old newspapers and maps.
  • Plant a tree– It is good for the air, will keep you cool, and can increase your property value.

As the motivations to being green expand, we’re learning about more ways to be environmentally friendly that can also save us a lot of money over the course of our lives. There are several small things we can do that have a large impact on the world when combined with small actions of others. These decisions are growing in popularity, and going green is becoming more cost-effective every day.

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