7 Sneaky Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly

If you're an eco-freak, a tree-hugger, or a going green machine, you may already follow these tips. But if saving the earth hasn't been your top priority, here are a few easy ways to green up your lifestyle.

1. Don't press the button (unless you have to)

According to a Stanford Psychology Department study, 73% of people who use the handicap door button are not physically disabled. When a handicap button is pressed, the door opens and closes more slowly than it would does when people open it themselves. Some doors stay open for as long as 20 seconds. This lets air in and out, wasting energy from the building’s heat or air conditioning. Northern Kentucky University paid an engineering firm to monetize the cost of the energy loss resulting from, and they estimated that 2 cents of energy is lost that each time the button is pushed. So if you're not physically disabled, and opening the door yourself won't cause you to drop all your groceries, don't press that button.

    2.  Keep your fridge full

    If it's empty, unplug it. If there are just a few items in there, fill up a water bottle and store it inside. Then be sure to drink from it when you're in your room and thirsty so you don't waste water. Refrigerators use more energy to stay cool when there are fewer items in them.

    3. Dry your hands in your room

    If you use the restroom on your hall, wash your hands, but don't use paper towels to dry them! Remember, these come from trees! Instead, walk back to your room and use your own hand or shower towel.

    4. Take the stairs

    If you have the capacity to climb the stairs, it's a good way to save energy. According to this informal study, going up 5 floors in an elevator uses about 500 kilowatt seconds and costs about $0.03 in energy usage. That doesn't seem like a lot, but it adds up!

    Also worth noting:

    • Going up uses almost 40 times as much power as going down.
    • It takes more power to lift an elevator that has been sitting idle for a while than one that is “warm”

    5. Make a few meatless meals every week. 

    Meat production uses a lot of resources and creates a lot of waste. So make some noodles! Eat some avocado toast! Have a PB&J or a grilled cheese instead of a turkey club!

    6. Choose the cold water cycle.

    The majority of energy used by a washing machine is for heating water. Most washers do a great job cleaning clothes with cold water anyway, so there's no need to get heated up about this one.

    7. Keep it in .pdf form

    If you're allowed to use your laptop in class, don't print out all of your readings! Adobe Acrobat lets you annotate .pdfs, so you can still highlight and make notes in the margins. If you must print it out, make sure you print double-sided (collate).

     

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