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Going Green Tips

Going green can seem like a daunting task when you consider how already busy your life is - it can all seem overwhelming. The best approach is by taking baby steps. You choose something that is important to you and simply take it for a test drive. You might find that you’ve had fun, saved some money and possibly inspired others to join and you will definitely find that doing your part to protect our environment for future generations is worth the extra effort. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Around The House

  • Shop local. Whether it is for food from your local farmer's market or outdoor gear from a local store. Buying local supports our local economy and reduces carbon emissions by reducing the distance the goods must travel. Roanoke is blessed with many incredible farmer's markets and local farms.
  • When you go grocery shopping use a reusable bag to limit the amount of plastic bags
  • No more bottled water.  Every HOUR American's throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles. Buy a reusable water bottle
  • When a lightbulb goes bad, replace it with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL).  If every household in America installed just ONE 60-watt equivalent CFL, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people, or enough to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island, or equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads
  • Always turn off anything and everything that is not in use
  • Lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees
  • Set your thermostat to 78 or warmer for cooling, 68 or cooler for heating
  • Hang your clothes to dry outside (you'll love the smell), or indoors on inexpensive drying racks
  • Check for air leaks around doors, windows, vents and other openings; caulk, weatherstrip as needed
  • Avoid using coffee makers that have a continuous “ON” heating element, or turn them off after serving
  • Cold water wash is suitable for nearly every laundry need
  • Put electronics (computer gear, entertainment center) on switchable power strips and turn the strips off when not in use, so that they don't use energy while in “standby”
  • Turn off your computer when not in use; use “power management” settings to turn off monitor and hard drive after brief period of inactivity. Many computers can be set to “hibernate” after inactivity, and recovery from hibernation is much faster than startup
  • Install blinds on south facing windows to provide passive solar heating in winter
  • Low-flow shower heads will reduce your hot water expense and also your water use.
  • Install a programmable thermostat for your heating/cooling system so that it runs less while you are away or asleep
  • A pressure cooker will reduce cooking time and energy use by 2/3 on stews, beans, pot roast, etc
  • Install and use ceiling fans or portable fans for cooling
  • If your outdoor A/C unit is in the sun, you will enhance it's efficiency by providing shade
  • Plant native shade trees. While you won't see the result for awhile, deciduous trees will provide cooling shade in the summer and let the sun shine through in the winter

Going Green logo

Getting Around

  • Consolidate your trips
  • Keep your car tires properly inflated
  • Avoid rapid acceleration or braking
  • Reduce your speed by 5 mph (or 10)
  • If you commute a considerable distance to work, contact RIDE Solutions to explore car pooling opportunities, public transportation options (including the SMARTway bus between Blacksburg and Roanoke), and other alternative transportation options
  • For short commute or shopping trips (< 2 miles), try biking or walking, especially if you're near one of the area's greeways or urban trails.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • RECYCLE everything that can be recycled in your community, including both curbside and drop-off service; it uses so much less energy to reprocess recycled materials than make new from raw materials.
  • REDUCE your use of water; this reduces the energy used to supply your water and to treat wastewater.
  • REUSE cloth bags when you shop. When asked, “Paper or plastic,” reply, “Neither, thanks!”
  • REDUCE your waste by choosing products wisely; consider the bulk and recyclability of the packaging (e.g. Choose aluminum cans over colored glass bottles, which can't be recycled in many areas).
  • Learn what you can and cannot recycle and find locations in your neighborhood from the Clean Valley Council.

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