Most common green living myths

Who doesn’t want to reduce their carbon footprint? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go green!

How do you get a handle on what is really green and what isn’t when everything seems to be “green”? Hopefully, I can help sort through some of the green clutter.


(Habitat for Humanity International/Toni Manfredi)

Myth no. 1: If I turn everything off, it stops drawing power.

False.

Some things draw power even when they are turned off or not being used for their primary function. Sure, when we’re not making popcorn, our microwave is a great clock, but you might be shocked to know how much power these things use. In the energy industry, they call this stand-by, or vampire, power. This sort of stand-by power typically represents 5-10 percent of residential electricity used and is roughly responsible for 1 percent of global CO2 emissions.

We all have these vampires in our homes, and unfortunately they are not the sparkly ones. So how do we get rid of them – especially when our neighborhood werewolf is not around? Unplug!

Some things need to stay on. If you are on pins and needles waiting for the next episode of New Girl to record (and who isn’t?), then you need to keep that DVR plugged in, but you can always unplug it when you go on vacation or when your favorite shows are on hiatus.

Personally, I like to have my appliances, or anything else that needs to be plugged in, plugged into power strips. That way I can turn off a bunch at once without crawling around furniture to unplug them. Not only can I ensure the vampires are at bay, but this way they also are safe from power surges and lightning.

Myth no. 2: Older homes are less energy-efficient than new homes.

Once again, false.

Let’s take a look at homes built in the last decade. Homes are now averaging bigger square footages, which uses way more energy to maintain. They are also chock-full of energy sucking electronics, so what we can do is make sure we are using every available resource to make our appliances run as efficiently as possible.

Another thing we can do is have an energy audit, then act on recommendations to save money and energy usage. Some energy companies do this as a free service for their customers. According to the Home Performance with Energy Star program, improving energy efficiency can produce a utility bill savings of 20 percent or more.

Myth no. 3: Green cleaning products are substandard and too costly.

False.

The rule of supply and demand has kicked in and what was once very costly and hard to find has become reasonable and even competitively priced. Plus, the ingredients that are used in green cleaners are just as effective.

DIY cleaners, like the ones your Grandma used, can be some of the best around. Check out YouTube for how-to videos or Pinterest for instructions on making eco-friendly cleaners, then run to your local hardware store for the supplies.

Comments

Pat wrote:

This post is so timely for my family. I have been convincing my elderly parents that appliances use power when they are off, yet still plugged in. Now I have a great name for it..Vampire power! Thank you so much!

Ben Drake wrote:

A fantastic article Tianne with some very powerful points about conservation. keep up the wonderful job. Ben :-)

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