Tips for living a greener lifestyle on campus and beyond.
- Set computers to energy-saving settings. Shut down when you leave for the day. By plugging hardware into a power strip with an on/off switch, the whole desktop setup can be turned off at once. Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they are needed. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/12/cut_back_on_pha.php
- Wash your clothes in cool water instead of hot, and save up to launder a few big loads instead of many small ones. Use the most efficient machine you can find – newer ones can use as little as one-fourth the energy of older machines. Dry your clothes by hanging them on a line. Altogether you can reduce the CO2 created by your laundry up to 90%.
- North Carolina’s power comes mainly from fossil fuels. More than 60% of energy supplied to North Carolina’s homes comes from coal. Around 30% comes from nuclear power, with a small remainder coming from hydroelectric and petroleum sources. Explore renewable energy options through http://www.ncgreenpower.org
- The average American receives 41 lbs of junk mail a year, plus what you receive in the office. Taking time to remove yourself from junk mail, fax, phone and e-mail lists will save trees, water, and transport fuel. See how here:http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Junk-Mail, http://www.ecofuture.org/jnkmail.html
- A dripping tap can waste up to 90 liters per week. Turn your faucets off completely. If you have a leak on the Meredith campus, contact Facility Services, x 8560.
- Reduce meat consumption. 18% of greenhouse gases comes from animal production. Source: Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the IPCC, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
- Meredith is working on improving its recycling system. You can help by sending the location of the nearest set of three recycling bins to email@example.com, as we work to create a log of where recycling bins are located on campus.
- There are many ways to trim those electric bills. Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot, line dry your clothes, and use a toaster oven for small heating needs instead of a bigger electric stove. Open windows to let light in, turnoff unneeded lights and appliances, and unplug unused electronics to counter the ‘energy vampire’ effect.
- Recycle your glass on campus! Glass recycling containers are available outside the library and behind the Cate Center. See the Sustainability News web site for October’s recycling numbers. http://meredith.edu/sustainability/news.htm
- Eat local for Thanksgiving. The average American meal travels 1500 miles from farm to fork, spending fossil fuel resources on transport. This year, purchase Thanksgiving meal ingredients from local farmers, locally owned grocery stores and/or the farmer’s market. Keep your dollars in the area and keep NC green by preserving farmland. http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/
- MAKE YOUR OWN WRAPPING PAPER! Most mass produced wrapping paper you find in stores is not recyclable and ends up in landfills. Instead, here’s a great chance to get creative. Wrap presents with old maps, the comic strips, or a child’s artwork. If every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. From http://www.sierraclub.org/holidays/
- Clean or replace furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Clogged filters force the blower to work longer, raising your electric bills.
- Skip pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, when possible. You’ll save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year.
- Keep car tires properly inflated. In tests of a Toyota Camry, fuel efficiency dropped 1.3 mpg when the tires were deflated by 10 psi.
- Change the Margins is a web site and movement dedicated to reducing paper waste by reducing the margins used when printing. It's a simple concept , but it can make a big difference. Consider:
- Penn State University research showed that the University could save 72 acres of forest and over $120,000/year by reducing the default margin settings across campus.
- "Each person in an office on average uses 2.5 pounds of paper each week. In the U.S., a ton equals 2000 pounds, so that means every 2 years and 70 days, each person in an office on average uses a ton of paper."
- "Americans discard 4 million tons of office paper every year – enough to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from New York to California."
- Paper production is one of the top five water consuming industries. Change the Margins is working to eliminate some of this waste.
- Visit changethemargins.com to learn more and sign a petition to Microsoft asking them to reduce the default margins.
Before you print your next document, try the following:
- Send an email instead. Do you really need a hard copy or will a digital version do?
- Use the back of preprinted paper for drafts.
- Change the margins to .75 inches. This leaves plenty of room for hole punchers, staples, etc. Don't forget to reduce the top and bottom margins too.
Single space or 1.5 space rather than double space the document.
Choose a smaller font. Times is much smaller than Courier or Bookman.
Reduce the font size. Do you really need 12 point or will 10 or 11 point suffice?
You'll save paper and save money. It's a small step, but it's a start.
- Plant a deciduous shade tree on the west and southwest sides of a house to save energy.
- Don’t overload the dryer. Clothes will take longer to dry, they’ll come out wrinkled, and your electricity bill will be high. Now that the weather is warm, line-dry.
- Environmental North Carolina brings to light a clean air and clean water issue in our backyard: Jordan Lake. Providing green space for recreation, healthy outdoor living, a home to central NC species, Jordan Lake is also a resource for cleaning air and water. Learn more and include your comments here:http://www.environmentnorthcarolina.org/action/clean-water/
- Weather-strip old windows and doors. It’s the best way to close gaps around openings, reducing heating and cooling cost by 15 to 30 percent.
- Check out non-profit organizations Beyond Pesticides and Toxic Free NC to explore ways to reduce toxics in your daily life.
- As you begin your spring and summer lawn routine, consider a management scheme that is less resource intensive. Can you use less petroleum while managing your green space? Consider mowing less often or allowing an un-mowed natural area to grow. Can you conserve water? Consider drought tolerant species. Can you minimize or eliminate chemical usage? Consider mowing in decomposed leaves or compost for lasting vitality.
- In addition to water saving measures around the house, install a high-efficiency showerhead. It will reduce hot water use up to 50%
- When considering evaluations and feedback mechanisms, consider using an electronic version in lieu of paper. This will save printing costs and reduce waste.