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Saving resources, like energy and water, not only helps to protect our planet, but it can also help protect your wallet! Following these simple tips in your home can help you save money on utility bills while also benefiting the Earth. Look at how you can make each room in your home a little greener.

Kitchen

  • Fix leaky faucets to help reduce water use and save money.
  • Unplug appliances (toaster, microwave, etc.) while not in use to reduce energy use.
  • Use smaller appliances when possible (toaster, microwave, slow cooker, etc.) to help reduce energy use. Small appliances use 75% less energy than a large electric oven. In the summertime, prepare cold meals. Using the oven can significantly heat up your house and lead to an increased need for air conditioning.
  • Avoid keeping the refrigerator door open to prevent the cool air from escaping. Set your refrigerator temperature at 36-38 F and your freezer at 0-5 F to keep foods at proper temperatures while also reducing energy use.
  • Run the dishwasher only with full loads to save on water and energy use. Allow dishes to air dry instead of using the dishwasher’s cycle to cut down on energy use.

Family and Living Room

  • Use of ceiling/floor fans can allow you to raise your thermostat setting by 4 degrees in the summer without reducing your comfort level. This will help you reduce the use of AC units and help save energy.
  • Unplug appliances (lamps, television, computers, phone charger) while not in use to reduce energy use. Or utilize power strips to plug in appliances and turn them off when not in use.
  • Charge your phone only when needed to reduce energy use.

Bathrooms

  • Fixing leaky faucets will reduce water use and save money
  • Reduce the water temperature when showering or bathing to help save energy. If possible, take a shower rather than a bath to reduce water use.
  • Take shorter showers. The average shower uses around 5 gallons of water per minute! By shortening your shower by just two minutes, you can save 10 gallons of water. You can utilize music to help you do this! Try to see if you can finish your shower in the time it takes two songs to play.
  • Toilets are responsible for about 40 percent of total indoor water use. If you have an older toilet, use a water-displacement device to reduce the amount of flow per flush. A plastic bottle filled with sand makes an easy DIY toilet modification.
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving  to reduce water use and save money.

Bedrooms

  • Use of ceiling/floor fans can allow you to raise your thermostat setting by 4 degrees in the summer without reducing your comfort level. This will help you reduce the use of AC units.
  • Unplug appliances (lamps, television, computers, phone charger) while not in use to reduce energy use.
  • Charge your phone only when needed to reduce energy use.

Laundry Room

  • Wash your clothes in cold water to reduce the energy used to heat the water. Did you know that washing clothes in cold water can save 80% of the energy needed to wash clothes?
  • Wash only full loads of laundry to save on water use.
  • Clean the lint out of the dryer after every use. Clogged lint screens can make your dryer use more energy and can also be a fire hazard!
  • If possible, hang your clothes up to air dry instead of using the dryer to help save energy.

The Whole House

  • Manage your thermostat to help save energy and money! Setting the temperature a few degrees warmer in the summer and a few degrees cooler in the winter can make a big difference.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 F to help reduce energy use, save money, and prevent injury from scalding hot water temperatures.
  • During the night, or when you leave the house, lower your thermostat in the winter (58-60 F) and raise your thermostat in the summer (78-80 F) to reduce energy use and utility bills.
  • Weather-stripping windows and doors is a cost-effective way to prevent air leaks into your home. This can help decrease the need to heat and cool your house, while also reducing utility bills.
  • Utilizing curtains or blinds to cover windows, especially at night, can reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.
  • Replacing lighting fixtures with LED bulbs can reduce energy use by around 80%.
  • When possible, utilize natural lighting from the sun. Turning on lights only when needed will save energy and money. Make sure that you always turn off the lights whenever you leave a room.
  • Keep the garage door closed to prevent the loss of heating/cooling in the house.

Garden

Gardens are a great way to bring beauty to your home, while also supporting local wildlife. Building a better home for wildlife can happen right in your own backyard, check out how!

Utilize the Rain

Invest in a rain barrel. This will allow you to collect water when it rains to later use to water your gardens.

Save on Water

Water your lawn or gardens during the early morning or late evening to prevent water evaporation during the warmer and sunnier parts of the day.

Plant native, low water-use, or drought resistant plants around your home to reduce the amount of water needed.

Plant an Herb Garden

Whether indoors or outdoors, an herb garden can provide you with fresh, local herbs all year round! This can help reduce the energy it takes to ship these products around the country, while also helping to save your wallet.

Bring in the Bees

Turn your backyard into a pollinator paradise by planting pollinator-friendly plants! Visit the Cincinnati Zoo website here to see the Zoo’s recommendations of pollinator plants.

Leave bare patches of soil around your garden. Around 70% of local bee species actually nest underground and leaving these spaces can help promote their populations.

Refrain from the use of pesticides, such as neonicotinoid, that are deadly to pollinators. Instead, consider more natural methods to rid your home and garden of pests.

Support Native Wildlife

Plant native species of fruit bearing shrubs and trees, such as serviceberry or bayberry, to attract local bird species.

Install feeders and houses around your yard to help support native wildlife. Check out the Zoo’s website for tips  on how to make feeders and homes for local wildlife! Doing this can help bring in natural pest controllers to help take care of your garden.

Compost

Consider creating a compost bin at your house to recycle your food and yard waste. Composting significantly reduces the amount of waste ends up in our landfills, while also returning valuable nutrients back to the soil and giving you great fertilizer for your garden! Check out how to get started here.

Family

They often say it takes a village… to go green! Work with you family about how you could go green together. Coming up with new and innovative ideas to achieve these goals could be a great way to bond and grow closer to each other. Check out some of the tips we have below to get you started.

Meatless Mondays

Reducing the amount of meat that you eat can greatly reduce your impact on the environment! Even if you are not ready to go completely vegetarian, consider skipping out on meat for just one meal or just for one day. Finding new meatless recipes and cooking with your family is not only fun, but also helps the environment!

Homemade over Packaged

Showing your kids how to eat in a eco friendly way can be fun and educational! Packaged snacks can be really convenient, but often create a lot of unnecessary garbage. Are there any snacks that you could make at home instead of buying packaged at the grocery store? Popsicles, granola bars, and fruit leather are all fun, low waste, recipes that you could make at home with your family.

Take a Hike

Nature is a great place for kids to explore and have fun with no need for electronics and toys! Finding a trail and exploring can be a great, inexpensive, way to bond as a family. Check out here for some family friendly places near Cincinnati to go and hike.

Use Chemical Free Cleaners

A lot of household cleaning products are actually quite toxic to our health. Indoor air pollution can be a great danger to our homes, and much of this pollution comes from cleaning products. Opt out of using conventional cleaning products, and invest in natural based ones. Many green cleaning products you can even make at home on your own with everyday pantry ingredients!

A Paperless Home

This is a simple change you can make to greatly help reduce waste and money spent. Cloth napkins and cloth cleaning towels are a great way to deal with messes around your house, without overflowing your garbage can. You can even cut up old T-shirts to use for this purpose! Simply throw them in the wash to use again.

Plant a Vegetable or Herb Garden

Whether indoors or outdoors, a garden can provide you with fresh, local produce all year round! This can help reduce the energy it takes to ship these products around the country, while also helping to save your wallet. Growing a small garden also provides kids a great opportunity to learn about plants and how they grow!

Compost

Consider creating a compost bin at your house to recycle your food and yard waste. Composting significantly reduces the amount of waste ends up in our landfills, while also returning valuable nutrients back to the soil and giving you great fertilizer for your garden! Check out how to get started here.

Work Life

Going green doesn’t have to be something that you do in just your personal life! Most of us spend a lot of time and energy at our workplace, which provides a great opportunity to practice some eco-friendly behaviors. Check out some of our tips below:

Pack and Snack

Pack a lunch from home in reusable containers and utensils to both reduce waste and money spent eating out. Make sure you always bring a reusable water bottle to help protect the environment, while also keeping you hydrated! If you enjoy a morning coffee or tea, purchase a reusable travel mug to bring to your favorite coffee shop or to use at home.

Print Less

Did you know that the average U.S office worker uses 10,000 pieces of copy paper a year!? To help reduce this number always print double sided, avoid printing in color, and think about using digital copies as opposed to physical ones.

Green your Commute

When possible, take public transportation, carpool with a coworker, bike, or walk to get to work. This will help greatly reduce the amount of gas and oil used in your commute.

Green Gatherings

Green your office parties! Utilize reusable plates, cups, and silverware, and recycle what can not be reused. You can even make some awesome decorations for the office out of recycled paper!

Keep it Clean

Help reduce indoor pollution in your work space by using non-toxic cleaning products. Placing potted plants around the office can also help to filter the air and create a healthier environment.

Save Energy

During the day, setting your computer to go to sleep during short breaks can cut energy use 70%.

Shut down your computer when you leave for the day and turn off your power strips. Computers in the business sector waste over $1 billion worth of electricity every year!

Turn off the lights to your office when you leave for the day. Motion sensors can also be installed to do this automatically

Let the Sun Shine

If possible, utilize natural lighting. Open windows and blinds to enjoy the sun’s rays as opposed to turning on artificial lighting.

Travel in (Green) Style

When traveling for work, seek out green alternatives, especially when it comes to booking hotels. Check out the Green Hotels Association here for more information.

Opt out of new sheets and towels every single day. Laundry accounts for around 16% of a hotel’s water use, which translates to millions of gallons of water every single year.

Consider taking public transportation to and from the airport, as well as the local public transport of the city you are staying in.

School

Whether you are a parent, teacher, or student, what are some ways that you could help your school go green? Help protect our planet, while also promoting kids to become conservation leaders in their community! Check out some of our tips below to get started:

Pack and Snack

Pack a lunch from home in reusable containers and utensils to reduce the amount of waste you create. Make sure you always bring a reusable water bottle to help protect the environment, while also keeping you hydrated!t

Get to School Green

If you are able to, riding your bike or walking to school is a great way to reduce the amount you drive your car. If these options are not available to you, consider taking the bus or finding other families in your neighborhood to carpool with. All of these actions will help to decrease the amount of gas we use and improve our air quality.

Forest Friendly School Supplies

Whether it’s for taking notes or drawing, throughout the school year we use a lot of paper! When shopping for new school supplies, try and purchase from companies that support sustainably sourced paper, or those that make their products from recycled materials.

Reuse School Supplies

Do you need a new backpack and lunch box every single school year? Probably not! School supplies can always be re-used from year to year. This will help you save a lot of money and reduce the amount of waste you create.

Recycled Art Projects

Instead of making art out of new supplies, challenge yourself to use items that you were already going to throw away! Creating art projects from recycled materials can be a great way to reuse what you already have and allow children the opportunity to think creatively and outside the box.

Visit a Resale Shop

Did you know that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to make one pair of blue jeans!? When it comes to back to school shopping, consider buying clothes, backpacks, and lunch boxes from a secondhand shop or thrift store rather than brand new. Not only will this help you save a lot of money, but it is a great way to go green and reduce natural resource use!

Build a Better Home for Wildlife

Turn your school yard into a pollinator paradise by planting pollinator-friendly plants! Talk with your principal or teachers about planting a pollinator garden around your school. Visit the Cincinnati Zoo website here to see the Zoo’s recommendations of pollinator plants.

Install feeders and houses around your school yard to help support native wildlife. Check out the Zoo’s website for tips  on how to make feeders and homes for local wildlife!

Start a Green Team

Are you passionate and excited about going green at school? Inspire others as well! Reach out to one of your teachers and see if you could start a Green Team at your school. Green Teams are great ways for students to become active participants in their school’s journey to becoming more environmentally friendly. Green Teams can help to identify ways that their school can become greener and help to educate their peers on how to live a more sustainable life.

Shopping

Side view of oranagutanAs consumers, we all have the power to protect wildlife and wild places through the products that we support. When we shop, we are essentially voting with our dollar. This means that when we buy a product that is produced in an unsustainable manner, we are voting for this practice to continue. By being more informed as consumers, we can make decisions that protect our planet, and keep it a healthy place for all living things.

Cut Back on the Plastic

Avoid purchases of items that are excessively packaged in plastics (toys, cosmetics, foods, etc.), the less packaging the better!

Avoid personal care products (ex. Toothpastes and face washes) that contain microbeads. These little beads are small pieces of plastic that drain from our sinks into our waterways.

Skip the bottled water, instead invest in a durable reusable water bottle (you can even get one that filters the water before you drink it) that can be filled up again and again. Not only will this save you money, but this will help cut back on millions of disposable water bottles ending up in our landfills and oceans.

Bulk is Best

Shop for food from the bulk sections of your grocery store with re-usable bulk bags to eliminate any type of food packaging. You can get items like rice, beans, nuts, and even some snack food without creating any type of waste!

It is always better to buy the bigger option of a product (chip bags, juice, etc), rather than the smaller snack sizes. Doing this helps to reduce the amount of waste you create, while also giving you more food for your dollar. You can then portion these out into smaller servings using reusable containers when you pack lunch for work or school.

Reduce your Waste

Bring your own reusable shopping bags and produce bags when out shopping. Always keep a few in your car so you always have them on hand.

When grocery shopping, really look at how your food is packaged. Try and purchase food with as little packaging as possible, or food that is in packaging that could be reused or returned for reuse (ex. Glass milk jugs, egg and berry cartons).

Make it at Home

Consider trying some homemade recipes for certain foods instead of purchasing the packaged versions at the store (bread, yogurt, pickles, salsa, salad dressing, etc.) This is a lot healthier, fun to make, and often cheaper!

Shop Local and Seasonal

Support fresh and local food by checking out your neighborhood farmers market. Shopping local helps to support the economy and small businesses while also reducing the energy used to transport food across the country, or even the world.

Try and buy produce when it is in season, meaning around the time it is harvested. Food in season is often cheaper, higher in nutrients, and more environmentally friendly (less transport, refrigeration, etc.). Check out when certain fruits and vegetables are in season here.

Buy Organic

If you are able to, purchasing organic fruits, vegetables, and meats helps to reduce pesticide use, water contamination, antibiotic use, and increases the health outcomes of the farmers.

Pay Attention to Labels

Often times it can be really overwhelming when it comes to choosing a product at the grocery store, we have so many choices! However, there are a few ways to identify companies that are dedicated to sustainably produced goods and paying workers fair wages. One to be on the look out for is the Fair Trade Certified label. Products with the Fair Trade label are made according to very rigorous social, economic, and environmental standards, that put people, communities, and the planet first.

Sustainable Seafood

Overfishing of Earth’s waters is quickly leading to the decline of many ocean species. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch provides a great resource to help you make the best decisions when it comes to sustainable seafood.

Sustainable Palm Oil

Palm oil is an ingredient that can typically be found in about 50% of all grocery items. Some of these products include peanut butter, ice-cream, candy, detergents, soaps, and cosmetics.Unfortunately, to produce this oil, millions of acres of rainforest throughout Borneo and Sumatra are cut down each year to create large plantations of oil palm trees. This is greatly affecting animals like orangutans.

To shop responsibly, DOWNLOAD the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Sustainable Palm Oil App  on your phone to identify RSPO certified products and companies while you are shopping. This app is free, easy to use, and updates new RSPO members on a regular basis. With this app, you can support the companies who have committed to help protect species and their habitats.

Travel

Transportation is the world’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, making up 28.5% of all emissions. But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel! The ways we travel can have a huge impact whether it’s in our everyday lives or on vacation. And when traveling abroad there can much more to take into consideration not just environmental sustainability but social and economic sustainability as well.

The Low Car Diet

Using your car less is a great way to help reduce fossil fuel use. When possible, carpool, walk, bike, or take public transportation to your destinations. This is a great way to get outside and exercise at the same time. Even just a small walk to public transportation has been shown to be beneficial to our health.

Purchases

While the newest technology and electric cars are appealing, try to use your current vehicle as long as you can before buying a new one.

Eating on the Road

If you enjoy a morning coffee or tea, purchase a reusable travel mug to bring to your favorite coffee shop or to use at home.When eating out, refuse single use plastics like straws, utensils, and take out containers. Bring your own reusable ones instead!

Buy Local

Whether at home or abroad, eat local and buy local products. This will help you know the culture and you’ll know the food will be locally grown and produced.

Away From Home

Before leaving for vacations, make sure that you’ve switched off all lights and unplugged all appliances as they can draw power even when they are off. You can also set your thermostat to a lower or higher temperature (depending on the season) so that you are using less energy to heat and cool your house while you are away.

Ethical Eco-tourism

In the planning stages of a trip carefully research attractions or volunteer projects you plan on visiting to make sure they match your values. Some attractions could be unethical for human or animals. Many travelers, for example, may choose to avoid elephant rides or lion and tiger encounters. It is important to educate yourself on tourist attractions, their social and ecological impacts, and avoid supporting those you deem unethical. Check out the website Ethical Traveler for up-to-date information!

Choose a green tour company that supports ethical practices, contributes to the community, and respects local plant and wildlife.Do your homework on tours involving people or animals.

Respect Wildlife and Wildplaces

Use smart judgement with wildlife while traveling. Wild animal selfies can be dangerous to both humans and animals. Avoid littering and practice leave-no-trace practices in natural areas.

Utilize Public Transportation

Take public transportation! In big tourist cities public transportation is often the easiest way to get around as well as being pretty affordable. Whether it’s the subway, train, rickshaw, or ferrie traveling how the locals do can create a more enriching experience.

At Your Hotel

Staying in smaller, locally run hotels, B&Bs, or AirBnBs is often the greenest method around, making your stay environmentally and socially responsible as well as being a more direct boost to the local economy.

Look for hotels that are in LEED Certified buildings, use renewable energy, recycle, or use environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Reuse your towel and ask that your sheets not be changed every day. Washing these takes up 40% energy consumed in hotels.

Turn off all lights and tv and lower the thermostat before leaving the room.

Bring your own toiletries. If you are unsure whether the hotel will throw them away even if they are unopened, ask them not to be provided before hand.

Recycle your waste by knowing your hotel’s recycling program. If your hotel doesn’t recycle, consider taking away plastic bottles with you and dispose them at recycle bin. Leave the hotel recommendations to implement more sustainable practice and praise the ones that do!

Health and Wellness

Going green not only helps the planet, but it can also help improve your health! There are many actions that we can take towards a healthier and happier lifestyle for all. Check out our tips below:

Green Sunscreens

Come summer time, protect your skin and the planet! Many sunscreens contain ingredients such as oxybenzone or octinoxate (also sometimes labeled as benzophenone-3 and octyl methoxycinnamate) that causes damage to coral reefs and other marine life when washed into the water. Choosing more natural based sunscreens can be a great action step to help protect our oceans!

Microplastics

Watch Out for Microplastics! Microbeads are a common add in to many toothpastes, lotions, fash washes, and cosmetics. These beads are actually small pieces of plastic that end up in our water, contributing to the huge issue of aquatic plastic pollution. When shopping, avoid purchasing products containing microbeads.

Make it Yourself

Many products that we use for our own personal care such as soaps, tooth pastes, detergents, and cosmetics can easily be made at home. Not only is this healthier for the environment, but it is also healthier for your skin! Consider trying to make your own products at home with natural ingredients.

Organic

When possible, opt for organic cosmetics, skin care, and hair products. Often these types of products contain synthetic chemicals that are not good for our bodies or the environment. Choosing natural based products is a great way to go green!

Exercise Outside

Get outside and enjoy the sun! Hiking, yoga, kayaking, walking, and running are all great activities that get you outside and moving. Spending more time outdoors is can help improve your mental and physical health!

The Low Car Diet

Using your car less is a great way to help reduce fossil fuel use. When possible, walk or bike to your destinations. This is a great way to get outside and exercise at the same time. Even just a small walk to public transportation has been shown to be beneficial to our health.

Meatless Mondays

Reducing the amount of meat that you eat can greatly reduce your impact on the environment and help improve your own health! Even if you are not ready to go completely vegetarian, consider skipping out on meat for just one meal or just for one day.

Keep it Clean

Help reduce indoor pollution in your home space by using non-toxic cleaning products. Placing potted plants around your home can also help to filter the air and create a healthier environment.

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