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Seven tips for Living Green

April 2, 2009

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1. Replace, remove or adjust your refrigerator. Get rid of that old fridge in your basement. A 1975 fridge sucks up four times more electricity than a new Energy Star model. Set your refrigerator temperature at 2 to 5.5 C (38 to 42 F); your freezer should be set between minus-15 C and minus-17.5 C (0 and 5 F). Use the power-save switch if your fridge has one, and make sure the door seals tightly. You can check this by making sure a $5 bill closed between the door gaskets is difficult to pull out. If it slides easily between the gaskets, replace them.

2. Use a pre-set thermostat that allows you to program your heating use. Turn your thermostat down at night, when you are tucked into bed. A 4-degree Celsius difference at night will cut your gas bill by 10 per cent.

3. Take care of your trash. Composting all organic waste—and recycling paper, cardboard, cans and bottles—will help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfills. Adding organic compost to your garden helps nourish soil and plants.

4. Plant wisely in the garden. If you have a yard, consider planting a deciduous tree on the south side of your lawn to block the sun during the summer, and let in solar energy during the winter when it sheds its leaves. If there’s room, plant conifers on the north side to act as winter wind blocks.

5. If you have to fly, buy carbon offsets. Some people call them guilt money. But, at least by investing in projects that introduce green electricity elsewhere or that plant carbon-dioxide sucking trees, you’ll be helping to clean up the environment.

6. Wash your clothes in cold water. Since 80 per cent of the electricity in washing your clothes comes from heating the water, using cold rather than hot water will save you as much as 2,500 kilowatt-hours of power a year—more than twice the average household’s monthly energy bill.

7. Clean your windows with water and vinegar. Spring is on its way—that means it’s time to clean your winter-soiled windows. Try doing the chore in a greener way with a cup of white vinegar, a cup of water and, as an option, a half teaspoon of dish soap.

MORE www.sfu.ca/green

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