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Are you living green?

By Amber Kruth

This article was published April 22, 2011 at 12:00 a.m.

source-energy-information-administration-2001-residential-energy-consumption-survey-applying-2007-average-utility-costs

Source: Energy Information Administration 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Survey Applying 2007 Average Utility Costs

While Kermit’s signature phrase likely didn’t have all the implications of today’s meaning of being green, his claim holds truth for some people attempting to live green.

However, many have worked hard to make that path more attainable, educating others about the easy ways to conserve and live with less, even if it starts with baby green steps.

“You do not have to sacrifice quality of life by consuming less energy,” said Fayetteville farmer’s market manager, Peggy Maringer. “Especially in Northwest Arkansas, you can get by with a lower energy profile. We can make the most of limitless resources, like the sun, and not be wasteful with the resources that are limited.”

Being green is often described with phrases like organic and energy efficient, but it is more than the regulations that define being green. Instead, it’s a mindset of wanting to care for the planet while adopt- ing a lifestyle that contributes to the conservation of natural resources.

Here are 10 basic activities that will contribute to natural resource conservation in your home. Take this little quiz to see how far you have already come in your efforts to live green. Give yourself 0 points for never, 1 point for sometimes, 2 points for mostly and 3 points for always.

1. Unplug electronics not in use

Small electronics left plugged in account for nearly half a house- holds energy use. Plug multiple devices into a power strip to easily turn on and off.

2. Set your computer to sleep mode

Turning off the computer when not in use is actually the most energy-efficient and best for your computer. It will use 80 percent less energy in sleep mode and turning off the computer when not in use will prolong its life.

3. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter

Using a programmable thermostat will help you conserve energy while you are not at home or are asleep. A 5-degree difference in temperature will save 5-15 percent energy.

4. Replace incandescent and halogen light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs

CFL light bulbs last on average 10 times longer and use 60-75 percent less energy. Using fewer, but higher wattage bulbs in multi-bulb fixtures can reduce energy of 20 percent.

5. Set the water heater to 130 degrees

A reduction of 10 degrees will reduce energy use by 3-5 percent. At 130 degrees bacteria is still effectively killed, mineral buildup in the coils will decrease and it is still considered "scalding" hot.

6. Use cold water to wash clothes

80-90 percent of energy used in washing laundry is in the heating of the water. Hand washing dishes typically uses more energy. Most clothing can be washed in cold water. Check the label.

7. Use the dishwasher

Hand washing dishes often uses more water and energy. The average faucet produces 2 gallons of water per minute, while the full dishwasher cycle uses 4-6 gallons total.

8. Use ceiling fans

Ceiling fans produce a wind chill or blow hot air downwards depending on which direction the fan is spinning. When the fan is off, switch the toggle switch to have the blades rotate counter-clockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. Turn the fan off when not in the room.

9. Use the microwave

It uses one-fifth the energy as a conventional oven and it does not heat the air. If using a stovetop, don’t use a burner that is bigger than the pan size.

10. Turn off the light when not in a room

Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. If you’re not using it, you’re either wasting or saving it.

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