MARCH 24, 1997
Saving the planet around your home
by Zakir Parpia, president of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties
"Think Global, Act Local" is one of the leading environmental messages of the 1990s. One of the most localized ways to save the planet is to use energy and natural resources in your home wisely. Here is a list of simple, everyday activities that you can do in the home to help make our earth a healthier and happy place.
Recycling doesn't just help our planet, it helps make the earth a prettier and healthier place by saving trees. You can help by taking your used books to the library, magazines and comic books to a hospital, and your bundled newspapers to a recycling center. If each of us recycled just one newspaper a week, we could save 25 billion trees every year.
- Keep the refrigerator door shut. Only open it to take food in and out. Close the door while you're filling ice cube trays and while you're unpacking your groceries.
- Save energy in the bathroom. Turn off the water when you aren't using it! Take short showers instead of baths. Brush your teeth with the water off.
- Lower the heat. By turning the heat down just a few degrees, Americans could save more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day. If you're chilly, put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat.
- Fix leaky pipes and faucets. One tiny leak can waste up to 50 gallons of water a day. Start a tree-planting program. Trees provide energy-conserving shade, help clean our air and water, and provide habitat for wildlife.
- Reuse glass containers, paper bags, gift boxes, plastic bags, cloth diapers, and rechargeable batteries.
- Recycle newspapers, aluminum cans, one- and two-coded plastics, glass, and toys.
- When buying a new home, seek out models built using voluntary energy efficiency programs. These homes feature state-of-the-art elements that protect the environment, conserve energy, and in some cases, guarantee homebuyers a reduced utility bill or utility rebates. Some homebuilders and lenders even offer energy efficiency mortgages that qualify home buyers for a 15 to 20 percent larger mortgage.