Small Steps Can Go a Long Way

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.