Monday, August 4, 2008

Saving Money AND the Environment

Well, it doesn't get much better than this, does it? Saving money and the environment. Since this blog is still in its infancy, I thought I would start with tips we may or may not be familiar with.

1. Take an empty 1 litre plastic bottle, fill it with water, cap it securely and place in the toilet tank. By doing this, you are displacing 1 litre of water that will not be used per flush. Most people don't realize (until it's pointed out to them) that the same quality of water you use in your toilet is the same quality water that you drink from your kitchen tap. Yup!! If it were not for the container it comes in, you could drink your toilet water.

So what does this mean for us consumers? It means that unless we change the way we handle some of our water delivery, we will literally be flushing good, drinkable water down the toilet.

Our water-processing plants have a finite limit on the amount of water they are able to process without building new plants. Unless we conserve water where we can, we could soon be experiencing the kind of water conservation problems that places like California are having.

Not only does this tip save the environment 1 litre a flush; but, it also helps to reduce the risk of the toilet overflowing as less water is being circulated. If you are living in a place that charges you for water, you'll save a little there too.

2. Start checking out water-saving shower heads immediately. Again, another incidence of water literally going down the drain. Water-saving shower heads work by mixing air in with the water. This allows for less water without having to extend shower time.

Some of these heads have managed to reduce the amount of water they use to 1.5 gallons per minute. This a water saving of at least 1 gpm. They can use up to 1/3 less water and 6% less energy. For a family of four these water and energy savings can be approx. $600.00 a year. WOW!!

3. Let's talk electricity for a moment. Our electric power is in somewhat the same position our water power is in. While we have all the water we need to make the electricity in most places, what is missing are the power plants to process it.

While we all know about turning off lights (and TV) when we leave a room, using lower wattage, energy-saving bulbs, etc.; how many of us have thought about the "ghost" electricity used by instant-on appliances. For every instant-on appliance we have uses electricity whether it is turned on or off. This is the "ghost" electricity used to keep it in an "instant-on" mode. Electricity we don't see being used.

The solution is as simple as a power bar. Plug these energy pigs into a power bar that you can turn off at night. You will have to wait a moment or two for these appliances to power up; but, the environment will thank you.

4. Save electricity when baking and/or cooking with these tips.
  • when using your oven, try to bake as many things as possible at one time. When roasting chicken and vegetables on the top rack, try baking the cherry pie for tomorrow's dessert on the bottom rack.
  • turn the oven off 15 mins. before the items are thoroughly cooked. Leave the oven closed for the next 1/2 hour. Do NOT open the door. This traps and allows the residue heat in the oven to finish the cooking without using any energy.
  • always cover pots - they boil much faster that way

5. Try to buy organic whenever possible. Much of our agricultural land is becoming unuseable due to overuse of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. The nutritional value in soil is becoming more and more depleted meaning fewer crops, less nutrient-rich food, and more land becoming worthless as farm land.

Organic farming treats our soil with more respect. No chemicals or pesticides are allowed anywhere on the property. Absolutely nothing that is not 100% natural and/or organic is used in crop production.

The result? Produce that is tasty; healthy; loaded with valuable vitamins, minerals and fibre; and, good for our bodies. The even better news is that organic produce costs approx. the same as that produce grown on artifical fertilizer and chemical-laden pesticides.


Kathimac said...

Philippa - A Naturopathic doctor frind, who went to Bastyr U. in Seattle, showed me a printed list comparing nutritional value of organic and regular produce. The difference was RADIACAL. As example, (not accurate, just indicative of type of difference) organic spinach had 20,000 units of Vitamin A compared to regular spinach with 50. This would be a great type of chart to post.

Love!!! The new site - I'm going to click every ad there is! Keep up the great work. :) kathi

Philippa said...

Thanks, Kathimac