More people more than ever before are now aware of how we directly impact the environment through our actions. The Green Movement is aimed at living a lifestyle that is as ecologically responsible and environmentally friendly as much as possible. In the 60s and 70s before we became fully aware of how much we were damaging our environment, we manufactured and used dangerous substances such as DDT for farm pesticides and CCF in fridges with reckless abandon. We produced non-biodegradable plastics by the thousands of tons without giving much thought to how we should dispose of the by-products. We burnt coal and fossil fuels freely with no idea that we were producing dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases. Back then few people imagined that our actions would contribute to life-threatening phenomena such as global warming on the scale that we are now witnessing.
All that has now changed. There’s every reason for us to go green. There’s just too much trash lying around, excessive levels of greenhouse gases, holes in the ozone layer courtesy of using ozone-depleting substances such as CCFs, rising ocean levels caused by rapid melting of ice in the Polar Regions and many other undesirable effects. Luckily for us, all is not lost and we can reverse the damage we have inflicted on the environment. We can reduce our carbon footprint and the amount of greenhouse gases we release into the environment by taking deliberate measures to lower our power consumption and cut down on energy wastage. For instance, we can replace our incandescent light bulbs at home with CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs. This move alone can save us an average of $40 for each bulb over its lifetime. Here are more examples of things we can do to go green:
- Turning down your thermostat by 2 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and up by 2 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. You probably won’t notice the difference but it will reduce your energy consumption considerably.
- Insulate your walls and ceiling.
- Replace your kitchen and bathroom faucets with lower-flow models.
- Use the correct window treatment on your windows to harness heat and light effectively.
Making Green Product Choices
Whenever you are out shopping, always try to buy the green alternatives to your usual products. If you are not used to doing this, you might find this a bit hard. But don’t get discouraged; in just a little time, you will become so good at it that you will no longer struggle at all. Visit the EPA’s website (Environment Protection Agency) and you will get a lot of helpful ideas on the kind of products you can purchase to make your contribution to the green movement.
The EPA has partnered with other companies to develop eco-labeling programs that help you identify safer, greener and less-environmentally-damaging products. The standards used to develop these labels are not just another green movement marketing puffery; they are backed up by real scientific research to establish their worth. Always look for the EPA label when buying products and you can be sure you are playing your part in keeping our planet healthy. Below are EPA program labels you should look for in your products:
- Energy Star – this is used for highly energy-efficient electronics and related appliances.
- WaterSense – this label is given to products that conserve water.
- ‘Design for the Environment’ (DfE) – used for safer household cleaners as well as for related products. DfE is the label given to products that have been tested and found to be safe for our health and the environment too.
- SmartWay Certified Vehicle – this label is used for cars and trucks that are cleaner and more fuel efficient.
Verify Green Labels on Products
The number of eco-friendly product offerings in the market has grown dramatically over the years fuelled by the high demand for these products by a more green-conscious populace. However the maxim that states that whenever there is good news there’s inevitably a little bad news rings true here. The phenomenon of ‘‘greenwashing’’ whereby marketers append unmerited eco-friendly labels to their products has got everybody concerned. Here are some tips to help you ascertain marketers’ green claims:
- Look for specifics such as ‘‘this product contains 80% recycled material’’ rather than just vague statements.
- Check to determine whether these claims are in relation to the product, packaging or both.
- Beware of third-party certification which is difficult to verify. Visit the Consumer Reports’ website to get more information on reliable environmental labels.
The Specialty Group is an Energy Conservation Company that advocates for efficient and sustainable use of energy. We offer energy conservation services to our residential and commercial clients in diverse areas including consulting and design, installation of energy efficient apparatus and project management and maintenance services. Call us today and we will help you go green and conserve our planet and its delicate ecosystems.