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Green Your Lifestyle

Save money while reducing your carbon footprint

Did you know the activities of the average American emit more than 20 tons of greenhouse gases each year?1, 2 Greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, contribute to global warming and the environmental challenges of climate change.

Your contribution to greenhouse gases is referred to as your "carbon footprint." Making small changes, you can easily reduce your emissions; a move that�s good for the environment, your health and your wallet.

Your Car3, 4

Save time and money, help prolong the life of your vehicle and reduce harmful emissions when you:
  • Plan your route to minimize time on the road
  • Get tune-ups and properly inflate tires
  • Avoid excessive speeding and braking
  • Avoid overusing the air conditioner
  • Avoid extra weight
  • Don't idle
Live down the road.

Living near your office, school, favorite stores and businesses and/or friends saves cash by reducing wear and tear and the amount of money you spend on gas. It may also provide greater opportunities to walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation.

Your Home

In 2010, with the help of ENERGY STAR, Americans saved nearly $18 billion on their utility bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars.5 Minimize your heating, cooling and electrical expenses, and your carbon footprint, when you:
  • Shorten your shower time
  • Install a low-flow showerhead
  • Turn off lights not in use
  • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs*
  • Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use and/or plug into a power strip designed to cut energy use when appliances/electronics are switched off
  • Use ENERGY STAR* approved heating and cooling equipment, appliances, electronics and light fixtures
  • Use a programmable thermostat to avoid unnecessary heating and cooling
  • Appropriately seal and insulate your home
  • Compost* food and yard waste, including autumn leaves!
  • Take advantage of federal tax credits6 for consumer energy efficiency
Green your power.

Are you replacing your home�s current systems or building new? Solar, wind and geothermal systems are more affordable and attractive than ever before. And if you produce more power than you need, you can earn cash selling back to local utility companies.

Your purchases

Reduce waste*, greenhouse gases and spending when you:
  • Use reusable grocery bags
  • Use an at-home water filtration product (a pitcher or faucet attachment) and a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water
  • Buy in bulk
  • Share books and magazines with friends, borrow them from the library or view them online
  • Sell or donate your unwanted, slightly used clothes, furniture and other household items
  • Buy ENERGY STAR approved products
Think outside the box.

Repurpose packaging (e.g., cardboard, plastic lids, jars) for arts and crafts projects.

Cut Paper7

Considerable energy is required to harvest trees, produce and distribute paper. Help protect forests and reduce demand by:

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1Shulman, Seth. "Publications/Catalyst." Union of Concerned Scientists: Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions. N.p., Spring 2012. Web. 21 Aug 2012.

2Rogers, Chris Dinesen Rogers. "How to Reduce Your Home's Carbon Footprint Living with a Skeptic." N.p., 8/01/2012. Web. 21 Aug 2012.

3"Action No. 173 - Drive the car, don't let the car drive you." Brighter Planet. N.p unknown., n.d. Web. 21 Aug 2012.

4"How to Increase Fuel Mileage on a Car." wikiHow. N.p. unknown, n.d. Web. 21 Aug 2012.

5"About ENERGY STAR." ENERGY STAR. N.p. unknown, n.d. Web. 21 Aug 2012.*

6For more information about tax credits, please contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)* or a professional tax advisor.

7"Paper Recycling Frequent Questions." United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). N.p., unknown. Web. 21 Aug 2012.*

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This article is based on information available in August 2012. It is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting, or other advice and should not be acted or relied upon without the advice of a professional advisor. A professional advisor will recommend action based on your personal circumstances and the most recent information available.