It’s that time again—time to consider our habits and resolve to improve them in the New Year. With that in mind, we have compiled a few simple ideas to help Texans help the environment and save some money in 2009.
Remember, you can apply many of these tips to congregational life as well!
Use Less Electricity
Turn off lights and fans when you leave the room.
- Plug your electronic equipment into a power strip** & turn off the whole strip when not in use.
- Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs.**
- Set thermostats** to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. Slowly adjust by changing one degree at a time.
- Wash clothes in cold water only.
- Insulate your hot water heater.
- Take advantage of energy-efficient tax credits to buy Energy Star appliances in 2009!
Use Less Water
Scrape off those dishes instead of rinsing before running the dishwasher.
- Only wash full loads in the dishwasher and in the washing machine.
- Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth.
- Water your lawn in the morning or the evening only to reduce evaporation losses.
- Landscape with native Texas plants, trees, and grasses that require minimal watering.
- Don’t pour it down the drain! Pour that half-full glass of water onto a plant instead.
- Install low-flow shower heads** and faucet aerators,** and put “toilet tank banks”** in your older-model toilets.
Make Less Waste
Recycle! Go to earth911.com to find out where and how to recycle just about anything.
- Bring those re-usable grocery or canvass bags to stores with you—and not just to grocery stores. Keep a few in the car so you’ll always have them on hand.
- Compost your fruit, vegetable, and yard waste. It makes great mulch for your plants.
- Drink from re-usable water containers instead of plastic water bottles.
- Store leftovers and pack lunches with re-usable containers instead of plastic baggies.
- Rinse and re-use the plastic baggies that you do use.
- Become a conscious shopper: buy in bulk and avoid products with excessive packaging when possible.
Be Less Toxic
Recycle used batteries and compact fluorescent bulbs to prevent mercury pollution. Go to earth911.com to find out where to recycle in your neighborhood.
- Make your own environmentally- and health-friendly cleaning products with common household ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.
- Use laundry and dish soaps that are phosphate-free to help protect Texas waterways.
- Never dispose of paint or clean paint brushes in the street—that’ll go untreated into local waterways. Clean brushes with latex paint in your sink; clean oil paint in a container with solvent. Save leftover paint for later use, donate it, or recycle it.
- Buy locally-grown, organic foods when possible. It’s good for the environment and your local economy.
- Avoid using pesticides in your yard and garden, and switch to organic fertilizers.
- Instead of using pesticides in and around your home, try prevention first: trim tree limbs so they don’t touch your roof (many insects and critters get into homes this way); seal cracks around windows and doors; and keep piles of rocks, firewood, and brush away from the perimeter of your home.
For more information on ways to go green in Texas, visit the State Energy Conservation Office’s website for residential consumers and Resources for the Public from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. And feel free to call us here at Texas Interfaith Power and Light at 512-472-3903.
What are your environmental New Year's resolutions--for yourself and for your congregation? Tell us here!