February selection of Instant Green Changes is ready. Don't hesitate to make a little step daily to preserve our environment, improve your health and save money. It takes virtually no time, so enjoy and tell your friends!
Take a hybrid taxi! In 2009, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund launched a project to determine whether hybrid taxis are a way not only to cut CO2 emissions but also to save money for taxi companies. Guess What? Not only does a hybrid save one third of the total greenhouse gas emissions, it is also cheaper to operate! A regular taxi driver could save as much as $1,000 per month on gas with a hybrid. So don't be shy and next time you'll need a ride, ask for a hybrid.
Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov
Donate instead of dumping. North America has a reputation of a wasting, throwaway society in the rest of world, so don't live up to it! Tons of things like clothing, books, toys, durable goods or even canned foods end up in the garbage everyday. Think about donation first. Ask your friends and when they're not interested, the Salvation Army, one of their thrift stores or a Goodwill store might be interested. Many churches and charities will be also happy for your participation. You won't just put you "waste" into good use, but also help these organizations that care about the less lucky including over 5,000 homeless people in Toronto. You can start by putting reusable things you would have normally thrown out in a box in your garage and take them to your nearest donation place once in a while. You could even make a sweet family tradition out of it!
Photo by Rodrigo Galindez
Install motion sensor lighting. If you already switched to a CFL or even better, to a LED light, try to push it a little bit further. Having an outdoor light lit all night long is a very bad idea, both for your wallet and the environment. Installing a motion sensor won't cost you any comfort at all, on the contrary, you won't even have to touch the switch. You can install them indoors in areas of low traffic, like stairwells, laundry rooms or garages. There are even outdoor solar-powered kits, so you'll be saving money, helping the environment and improving security for an investment of about $100!
Photo by Dean Jarvey
Buy a laptop instead of a desktop. Next time you'll be looking for a new computer, consider buying a laptop instead of those bulky machines from the 90'. Desktops can consume up to 150 watts of energy while laptops use only 15 to 25 watts. And don't forget that the laptop's power adapter consumes energy even if your computer is off. Put it in a power strip with a switch, so you can easily cut it from consuming watts during the night alongside other appliances on your work desk, like speakers.
Photo by Danijel Zivkovic
Turn on your ceiling fan in reverse direction. Ceiling fans can save you energy even in the winter! Did you notice that nowadays, most of them are made with a little switch that can change the direction in which the blades rotate? It's there for a purpose. In the summer, counterclockwise rotation makes that cooling breeze which can also cut your air conditioning costs by as much as 40%. In the winter, warmer air from your heating always rises and tends to pool by the ceiling, where a fan switched to a clockwise rotation creates an updraft sending it back down to you. This little trick can save you up to 10% of your heating costs, so the colder the winter (and this one's pretty hard), the more you save!
Photo by Dane Kantner