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Green up your act and save some money

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day was celebrated Thursday, reminding us of how far we've come — and how far we have to go. What can you do to make things better? Start with simple changes in the home, in the garden and on the road. Take a look at these money savers for greening your home. — Karen Deer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

. Fix faucet leaks: A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons a year.

. Seal drafty windows and doors: A home can lose about 50 percent of its heat or cool air through drafty windows and doors.

. Avoid running water: Turn water off while you brush your teeth.

. Say no to plastic: According to data released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, about 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide annually, and it can take months to hundreds of years for these bags to break down. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

. Use energy-efficient appliances: The average household can save up to $400 annually by using energy-efficient appliances.

. Replace lightbulbs: One fluorescent bulb can save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in six months.

. Start a compost pile: According to the EPA, 23 percent of U.S. waste materials sent to landfills, such as yard trimmings and leftover food, could be used as compost.

. Slow it down: Sticking to the speed limit and keeping tires property inflated can help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

. Raise the thermostat: Households will save up to 3 percent per month in energy costs by raising the air conditioner thermostat for every degree above 72 degrees.

. Think before wrapping: Be creative and use newspaper, takeout menus, old calendars and wallpaper to wrap gifts.

. Make energy-efficient home improvements: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extends, expands and simplifies the federal income tax credits for homeowners who make energy-efficiency home improvements. The law extends the consumer tax benefits through this year. To learn more about the homeowners credits, visit and type "tax credits" in the search box.

Sources: Tina Pepe, director of merchandising for the Company Store; EPA statistics; Kohl's; Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert at; and the Alliance to Save Energy

Green up your act and save some money 04/23/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 5:25pm]
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