Making your house weather proof is an easy way to help the planet AND save on utility bills. Energy Impact Illinois is distributing grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to help fund energy efficiency improvement in the Chicago area. Grants are awarded based on energy savings, so larger homes qualify. The organization will do a full audit of your home, including blower-door testing, for $99 and suggest a weatherization plan and qualified contractors. For more information, see http://energyimpactillinois.org/residential/
Half the junk mail delivered in the US is thrown away. We pay $320 million each year to dispose of this unwanted advertising. Transporting junk mail costs $550 million dollars a year and produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars. Click here for 7 easy ways to opt out
Cold water is kind to your clothes and saves energy. Today’s washing machines and detergents are more than up to the task of cleaning your clothes with cold water. Since 90% of the energy used for washing is heating the water, the average home can save about 350 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions annually by opting for cold. Take the heat out of your wash! More discussion here.
Zoos, aquariums, national parks, wildlife refuges and nature centers are all homes to wild animals. You can learn about these animals and how people can help them by visiting these places.
One of the best ways to make a difference is to tell someone else how they can help. Ask family members and friends to think about being “green” when they make choices. Together we can make a big difference!
Some of the foods that we throw away could be composted instead, enriching the soil in our gardens. Keeping a compost bin or worm bin (with a lid) to compost grass clippings, leaves, and fruit and vegetable peels is a great family activity! Over time, this organic mix turns into great fertilizer.
When eating at home or on vacation, bring reusable plates and napkins. Check to see if there is a way to wash plates and napkins when you get back home, instead of buying paper and plastic that gets thrown away after one use.
Most of us use toys and games that have batteries. Buy rechargeable batteries so that the same batteries can be used to power the toys again and again.
Litter makes parks and roads look bad, and it can be harmful to wildlife. Animals may eat plastic or paper that smells like food, and get sick as a result. Trash can also end up in rivers and streams, which is bad for fish and other animals that live in the water.
If you are not using something, turn it off. Lights, CD players, computers, TV sets, and other electronics use a lot of energy. Make sure you are conserving by shutting off lights and turning off stuff that needs electricity when you are not in the room.