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Renewable Energy from simple sources, saving money and your future

Updated on April 3, 2016

What can we do to lower bills and stay green?

I am not an expert on going green. In fact,I sometimes forget and use the easy way out. But in this day and age of poor economy, few jobs, and going green for the future, who can afford it. Because of this, I have come up with a few ways that will help us go green that won't break the bank, can help with the environment, and are easy to do.

This is a good example of the type of blinds I am talking about.

Let's begin with a few easy ones:

Open your curtains during the day to let in the sun. The sun will light your way (no lights needed) and will heat your home all day long. Of course, during the summer, the sun will be extra hot so use blinds that can be pulled down and then opened slightly. This will let the light in but will keep out much of the heat.

***Use heavy curtains on your windows to keep out the cold and keep in the heat (in winter) and to keep in the cold and keep out the heat (in the summer).

***Put small bags of rice in the seams to keep them from flaring when heaters are on; pin up the curtains (or use shorter ones) over window air conditioners so that they can be closed when needed but do not block the cool air flow.

***Leave them open during the day and close them at night using blinds to let in light and less heat as described above. Open and close them as the sun moves for maximum effect.

***Seal all of your windows to keep in the heat or cool air. Use rubber seals for best effect.

***Clean your air conditioner filter so it works more efficiently. Be sure to vacuum inside the conditioner as well.

***Clean your furnace filters so it works more efficiently. Also be sure to get your furnace serviced once a year for peak performance. That way it will use less fuel.

Do you forget to winterize your home for the winter?

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Here are some more tips for saving energy.

***Keep your car trunk as empty as possible to save gas and reduce emissions. The harder your car has to work, the more gas it uses. Also, keep your tires at the manufacturers specified pressure (see manual or look it up on line) and be sure you have the correct size. By getting a bigger or smaller sized tire for your car you will drastically affect your gas consumption and your speedometer which will read incorrectly.

***Turn the thermostat down in the winter (use a sweater and slippers to stay warm) and up in the summer (open windows and fresh air are much better than air conditioning). A fan on high can cool you off nicely even if the temp has risen into the 80's or 90's.

***Reduce what you have in your home so the heat and cool air can circulate better. This means less energy to keep your home at peak temperature.

***In the summer or winter, close off rooms you don't use often. Close the curtains and shut off the heat and/or air conditioning vents. This will save you money in heating/cooling costs. You can close a dividing door or put up a heavy curtain to keep the room closed off until needed.

Dance in the rain

Move a bit, you will feel energized!

***Play catch with your kids so they get off their kiesters and get some excercise (and so do you) and the video games get put up. In other words, unplug your family!

***Dance in the rain. I don't really think it will save energy, but it might build your energy! Imagine standing in a downpour and not caring if you get wet. Just let go for a moment and don't care what the world thinks. It is a wonderful experience. Of course, you shouldn't do it in the winter unless you have a very strong constitution!

***When there is a little light but not enough to see clearly, use a candle rather than a light. Candles are cheaper and save electricity. They also make a great environment for inside camping for the kids. Drape a sheet over a couple of chairs, pop up some popcorn, and tell stories. Or, if the kids are in bed, think romance.....

***Dance to your favorite music. Not only will this increase your energy level, it will put you in a better mood. Try dancing to your favorite music without actually listening to any, it will not only help your mood and your body, but will exercise your mind as well and save electricity-no radio, no video games, no TV.

***Ride a bike to work in the summer. If you have a short distance to travel to work you could walk. Of course if it gets too hot, you might not want to show up to work all sweaty so this might not be a good idea at that point; but public transportation, if available, would be a great way to save money and the environment.

Build a snowman

***Go out in the winter snow and build a snowman (whether you have kids or not), this will give you great exercise and help you fight those winter colds. **Fill squirt bottles with water tinted with food coloring and make colorful designs in the snow. **Make a snow angel. **Walk through a 'Winter Wonderland'. ** Take a sleigh ride. You would be surprised what such things will do for your spirits.

Do you recycle?

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Recycle-it does work

I'm not talking about putting things in the recycle bin each week. I'm talking about:

  • painting that coffee can and using it to store your buttons
  • remove the labels from the mayo jar and clean it well, then use it to store leftovers
  • use the grocery bags you get when you shop at your local store to wrap delicate items when you pack them away
  • use boxes to create Halloween costumes
  • use plastic kitty litter containers to store things like extra shoes or hats in the bottom of your closets
  • Use newspapers and paper wrapping paper to start your grills or your fireplace. Be sure they are crumpled and then placed beneath small twigs or kindling of some kind so they won't rise and cause a fire.
  • Use less items that require batteries. Batteries are very bad for the environment and are hard to dispose of properly. If you need to use batteries, try using rechargeable ones so you buy less and clog up the environment less.
  • Use reconditioned, recycled, or second-hand items whenever possible. Second-hand clothing is a wonderful way to recycle and to save money

  • cut a water bottle and make a vase-decorate as you wish
  • cut the top off a soda can and tape the top to avoid injury-decorate and use as you wish
  • fill an old sock with empty store bags or used parchment paper and sew it closed-the cats will love it (and so will the little ones)
  • use the cardboard boxes you get cereal in as a magazine holder; use other cardboard boxes like you would baskets on shelves, paint them or cover them with colorful paper to hide the fact they are boxes
  • use newspapers as unique wrapping paper
  • use old magazines to make paper decorations (you can paint them, color with marker, or leave them as is).
  • make wrapping paper out of old cards just tape together and wrap

I recommend small containers that you can hang in your kitchen for your herbs.

Use nature

***Grow your own food. Not only does it help with the environment, but it saves your wallet as well. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow your own food. Put pots of tomatoes on the floor in front of a sliding glass door. Put a strawberry plant on a sprawling table (so they can spread). Put herb plants on your window sill. Of course, be sure to put your plants outside once they blossom so the bees can pollinate them. You can pollinate yourself by taking a Q-tip and gently moving it from one blossom to another to collect and distribute the pollen, but I prefer to let the bees do the work. Also, remember, you can grow food in the winter, just keep the plants away from the cold windows. Place them on tables where they will get sun for several hours a day away from the window, say on your kitchen table or the coffee table.

***Use autumn leaves to insulate plants that need to be covered during the winter. Straw or hay also works well for this but leaves are cheaper. Also, if you can use the leaves to insulate your basement windows, just pile them against the windows. To keep the leaves from blowing away, I always used an old screen and a stone. (Be sure the leaves are dry when you put them against the window.)

***Avoid buying items that have a lot of plastic or cardboard wrappings. The more you have to unwrap something, the more you are adding to the environment that has to be broken down and absorbed (plastic doesn't break down too well either).

***Go to bed early and get a good nights sleep. Not only will the extra sleep benefit you in several different ways, but you will save electricity by shutting everything off early.

***Dry your clothes outside if possible, it saves electricity and makes them smell wonderful (most times). The dryer does make the clothes smell sweet and makes them soft. If you feel that is important, you can put them into the dryer just before they are completely dry (or put in a dryer sheet and a damp towel) for a few minutes.

***Use vinegar and baking soda to keep your drains clean without using harsh chemicals. You can also use baking soda in your laundry to 'bleach' out those stains and heavy dirt spots. It will take out most odors as well, even male cat urine (you might have to wash more than once without drying).

Cat hair is bad for appliances.
Cat hair is bad for appliances. | Source

Here are some general ideas:

***Vacuum out the bottom and back of your appliances to help them run more efficiently. This should be done at least once a year, more often if you have animals because the appliances will pull the fur in when they 'breathe'. Your refrigerator is affected the most by pet fur.

***Clothes torn, worn out, seams letting go, clips, zippers and hooks broken? Then cut the items up for various uses. Cut in strips for braiding a rug. Cut in squares to make a quilt. Cut out patterns for mittens (or linings for mittens), hats, boot liners, belts, decorative patches, etc. Use the socks to make puppets or fill with crinkly items for the kitties to play with, or you can fill them with other socks for the dogs to play with. Make little clothes out of big clothes. Make doilies or runners for your tables and bureaus. Let your imagination go with this one and you'll be surprised what pops up.

***Use a broom to sweep your rugs daily instead of vacuuming them. This will remove the majority of the dirt and keep them clean without electricity. If you remove your rugs and use only tile floors, they will hold the dirt less and be easier to clean without using a vacuum (this idea might be useful for people with allergies but use a dust mop sprayed with a dust control spray).

Before I go-----

Hug your kids, your spouse, and your pets. This will not use any electricity, but will give you great peace of mind and comfort which will lower your blood pressure, your stress levels, and your anger without the use of drugs! You will feel better, need to see the doctor less often and you will smile more. I'd say it is worth a try--wouldn't you?

© 2012 Cheryl Simonds


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