You Don’t have to be Irish to Be Green: 5 Keys to a Green/Eco Friendly Lifestyle

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Is your lifestyle environmentally-friendly? If so, you’re setting a great example. The 2011 Harris Poll® comparing 2010 and 2009 surveys revealed that fewer Americans are now “going green,” though it’s more important than ever before. We hope these 5 Keys will offer fresh inspiration to all:

Recycle, Reuse, Renew, Refuse

Do you know the 4 big “Rs” to living green? While you may be recycling and reusing, renewing is important too. For example, instead of buying a new desk, consider refinishing an old one. What about refusing? When you see items with eco-poor packaging, you can just say no. Buying in bulk is ideal when possiblethink grains, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs and spicesand delivers huge savings too.

Go Vegetarian (at least part time)

The United Nations has stated that animal farming presents a “major threat to the environment” with such “deep and wide-ranging” impacts that it should rank as a leading focus for environmental policy. According to the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan, a mere 2.5 lbs. of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home! If you eat meat, try to incorporate at least a few plant-based meals weekly.

Rethink Appliances

Did you know that by changing to ENERGY STAR-approved appliances, you could save $80 a year in energy costs? ENERGY STARa joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energyhelps Americans save money and protect the environment with energy efficient products/practices. In 2009 alone, participating Americans saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars—all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.

Conserve Electricity

Want to reduce your energy bills? Try setting your thermostat a bit lower in winter and a bit higher in summer, installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, and unplugging appliances when not in use to minimize “vampire” energy loss. Use the cold cycle when doing laundry too, as up to 85% of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating water. Also, a cheap insulation blanket can reduce heat losses by up to 45%, saving you up to 9% a year in water heating costs.

Treasure Water

Water conservation is vital. A recent government survey indicated that at least 36 states anticipate local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. Efficient water usage will help you preserve water supplies for future generations, save money, and protect the environment. Consider shorter showers, installing a low-flow showerhead, and using faucet aerators, which conserve both heat and water.

Landscape Smart

Do you have a sustainable landscape? Replacing part of your lawn with native, drought-resistant plantswhich are low maintenance once established and don’t require fertilizers, pesticides or wateringgets an eco A+. Planting shade trees to help cool your house during the summer months is another clever tactic.

While there’s more you can do, these 5 keys go a long way to helping both the planet and your bank account. Now that’s really living green.

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