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Small Steps Can Go a Long Way

2011 January 20

By Lina Younes

For many years, I’ve tried to encourage my family to save energy and save water. There are simple steps we all can take at home, in the workplace, or in our communities that can go a long way towards protecting our health and the environment.

For example, what’s one of the easiest ways to save energy at home? Turn off the lights when you leave the room! How many times do we leave the lights on in one room for hours unnecessarily? Perhaps more often than we think! Another way to save energy in lighting overall is to change incandescent light bulbs in your home to one of the newer compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). The traditional incandescent light was invented by Thomas Edison 125 years ago and produces 90% more heat than the energy-efficient CFLs. The newer CFLs use ¼ of the energy used by incandescent lights and also last up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. Furthermore, every CFL can prevent more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from going to the environment over the lifetime of the CFL. So, by changing one light bulb to a CFL can help you save money and energy.

Another area where a little effort can go a long way is water conservation in the home. More than 50 percent of water consumption in the home takes place in the bathroom. How can we save water without investing in any special equipment? Don’t leave the water running while you are brushing your teeth or shaving! Take short showers instead of taking tub baths.

Environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility. Have other environmental tips to share with us? We would love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as Acting Associate Director for Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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14 Responses leave one →
  1. John Patterosn permalink
    January 20, 2011

    Thank you, good message. We for get alot about our water usage.
    Another tip put a small bucket in the shower and when filled use to fill up the toilet tank right after you flush, a gal here and a gal there it does add up..

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    January 20, 2011

    Back To The Basic.
    Sometimes I am critics to my children, why they don’t be back something to its places. They are silent but not angry. All the thing born from the bases and god hope they back again to them. God doesn’t angry to us, but still doubt that we have done…..

  3. Sugarlips permalink
    January 20, 2011

    We all need to do our part, a little goes a long way :)

  4. Scott Osberg permalink
    January 21, 2011

    Hello – Regarding turning the lights off when you leave a room, I would be interested in a Greenversations piece on taking that approach in business. I live in downtown Washington, DC and there are offices all around us that leave the lights on all night, and even leave them on for months on end in vacant offices.

    Are there any EPA efforts to change this ridiculous behavior?

    Thanks.

  5. Linda permalink
    January 21, 2011

    Since we started composting our yard waste and kitchen scraps, as well as sorting out our recyclables, we’ve reduced the amount of trash we dispose of to about one small bag every week. Since there are no food scraps, it doesn’t smell, so there’s no need to take the contents out to the big can every day. It’s a win-win-win situation; I get nice, enriched media to feed my plants, our community gets paid for the recyclables, and there’s less waste going into our landfills.

  6. Stephen Thomas permalink
    January 22, 2011

    Take the screens of the windows. Screens block 20% of the sunlight. This allows for more solar gain and much needed winter sunlight.

  7. Siverek permalink
    March 13, 2011

    Thank you article and for sharing! Siverek

  8. Ft Lauderdale permalink
    May 7, 2011

    Fantastic post! I’m just starting out in community management/marketing media and looking to understand how to do it effectively – resources like this post are incredibly helpful. As our company is based inside the US, it?s all a bit new to us. The example above is something that I worry about as well, how you can show your own genuine enthusiasm and share the fact that your product is useful in that case

  9. Ft Lauderdale permalink
    May 7, 2011

    Fantastic post! I’m just starting out in community management/marketing media and looking to understand how to do it effectively – resources like this post are incredibly helpful. As our company is based inside the US, it?s all a bit new to us. The example above is something that I worry about as well, how you can show your own genuine enthusiasm and share the fact that your product is useful in that case.

  10. mariage permalink
    June 23, 2011

    Thanks,I think this is better topic for me. I get some benifit by this topic. You can’t go anywhere without some type of stimulus coming at you but it’s effective. To requried atopics, It is also so much important for us.

  11. Naples Dentist permalink
    July 9, 2011

    Thanks,I think this is better topic for me. I get some benifit by this topic. You can’t go anywhere without some type of stimulus coming at you but it’s effective. To requried atopics, It is also so much important for us.

  12. Simon permalink
    July 11, 2011

    Have you heard about the idea of using led lights to save energy and your electricity bills?

    This type of lighting technologies have been developing so fast at the moment and are expected to dominate the lighting market in the near future.

    LED lights can be up to 80% energy saving comparing with traditional lights like incandescents, fluorecents and halogens. They are equivalent to energy-saving lamps in terms of energy efficiency at the current stage. However, LED lights have much longer lifespan, expected to be >50000 hous, and unlike energy-saving lamps, they do not contain murcury, and furthermore, the efficiency of LED is still being improved…

    Regards,
    Simon

  13. Kris permalink
    February 7, 2012

    This year we replaced the last of our holiday lights with LED lights! When they were incandescent lights it made sense to have them on electric timers. I’m wondering if the timer uses more energy than the string of LED lights would if it was on all day. Where does one look for this information?

  14. Siverek permalink
    September 12, 2013

    Thanks for the excellent post.

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