I intend to learn from nature and live in a natural way. If we respect nature and keep the environment healthy and clean, more generations will be able to enjoy living on earth.
Rain barrels save the summer water bill if you have a garden and plants like rain water. A thunderstorm could fill up a barrel in minutes and I never ran out of rain water during the summer. Rain barrels could be expensive. I got mine for less than $90 at Sams Club by using my friend’s membership card. You may find DIY rain barrel instruction at YouTube. Some cities including Rockville and Gaithersburg in Maryland reimburse rain barrel, so check out your local government’s policy.
I use dehumidifier’s water to water the plants, soak pots and pans, and clean toilets.
I collect the water from rinsing grains, cleaning tea cups, milk glass, and yogurt containers which do not contain salt or oil. Then I use the rinsing water to water the plants. Believe it or not, plants like caffeine and milk, including rotten milk. If you have a dying orchid, soak it in the rice rinsing water a couple of hours per day. A friend’s orchid came back.
Office paper without confidentiality: Some office printers have setting for printing a cover page with names only. It’s really wasteful to throw it away. By recycling office paper, I haven’t bought any A4 paper for my home printer for at least a decade.
I noticed that some people use three sheets of paper to dry their hands after washing their hands. I use one and feel it’s enough. Maybe two sheets of paper can do a pretty good job?
Before traveling, remember to lower the hot water heater temperature and adjust room temperature for the heating/cooling system. I lower the hot water heater temperature in the summer too because I don’t need very hot water for taking a shower.
When boiling the water for making tea in the cold days, I store extra hot water in thermos bottles. Thermos bottle can hold the temperature for at least 8 hours, and you don’t need to keep boiling the water for making tea. I got a travel briefcase thermos at Wal-Mart for $10.
Want to make ice tea in the summer without heating up the water? Put tea bags and water in a glass pitcher with cover, and put the pitcher under the sun. The sun will heat up the water and make the tea for you at no cost.
Thermos Shuttle Chef is a slow cooker and can save lots of energy especially if the dish requires long hour cooking. It does not heat up the house when cooking. Mine cost about $230 on sale and comes with a 6 liter stainless pot and two 3 liter stainless pots which can be stacked on top of each other and cook two dishes at the same time. Usually in the morning I place all ingredients into the pot, bring it to boil and let it simmer in low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Then I move it into the thermal outer pot which uses zero energy. When I come home the dinner is ready (one pot of rice, one pot of stew or soup). I’ve had them for more than thirteen years and they still work fine.
If you have western or southern rooms which are extremely hot in the summer afternoon, consider using solar mesh blinds. They block the UV and heat, but let the light in. The room does get cooler. Thick and dark curtains with backing are pretty good too. JC Penny has a good price for window treatments, especially the clearance.
US Postal Service provide postage discount on many shipping options if you pay and print the mailing label online. For example, I got $1 off from about $7 online for a Priority Mail compared to what I would have gotten if I went to the post office to mail it. Then I handed the package to my postman. No driving needed.
Pepco, my electricity provider, provides Maryland residents with rebates on Energy Star appliances up to $150, appliance recycle rebates, and energy efficiency check-up program including installing free tank and pipe wraps for electric water heater, free light bulbs at no cost. I missed the deadline to submit a $150 rebate for washer by ignoring the flyer. It bites. Please read your energy provider’s flyer before recycling the paper.
Pepco also installed a free programmable thermostat in my house and gave me $40 credit for participated in an energy savings program. The program controls my air conditioner to run less frequently on energy high demanding days, and they give me $8 credit a month. In the very hot summer of 2012, the program kicked in for about 5 or 6 afternoons, including one Saturday. If nobody is in your house during the week, why not join the program?
You may wonder where the utility companies get the money from. We pay for it! There is an EmPower MD Charge at 0.0018700 per KWH every month in the electric bill. Why not use it?
Considering these energy incentive programs, however, electricity and gas companies charge at a lower rate by a tier system if you use more energy. The more energy you use, the less you pay after a certain amount. It is odd because they actually encourage more energy consumption. On the other hand, the water company charges higher rate for all usage if you use more water which makes sense to me.
Continue to Save the Earth, Save the Money 2.