80 Go Green Tips with MrSteam (Part 1)
We know, you’re doing your best to help preserve the planet—putting out that recycling bin every week or so. But there’s so much more we all can do. In this two-part series, MrSteam offers 80 tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint for the good of future generations. And bonus—many of them save you money, too!
This week, we focus on conserving energy and water. Next week, we’ll talk about reusing/reducing/recycling, and ways to better understand and advocate for the environment.
Energy—in the form of natural gas to oil—accounts for 21.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually and is responsible for more than 90% of greenhouse gasses. You actually may be using energy when you think you’re not—because many electronics create “phantom” power even when they’re not switched on.
Consider the following tips to reduce your personal consumption of power:
1. Is your refrigerator in a sunny spot? It uses up to 2.5% more energy for every degree above 70. By moving it, you’ll conserve power.
2. Speaking of the weather, don’t crank up the heat in the winter. Wear sweaters and toss on some cozy throw blankets for when you’re sitting and reading or watching TV.
3. Check the house for drafts every autumn—and winterize or replace doors and windows as needed.
4. You're not the only one that needs to wrap up. An installation blanket around your water heater will lower running costs as much as 9%.
5. Consider investing in a solar heater. White it may be expensive, solar power is renewable!
6. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater from the standard of 140 degrees to 120. This also prolongs the life of your tank by slowing mineral buildup and corrosion.
7. While you’re in the basement, clean those furnace filters in forced-air systems monthly to save up to 5% of your heating costs.
8. Install dimmer switches in rooms where you don’t need as much light. Not only will you save about $37 per year on electricity, but it’s a great way to evoke a romantic mood!
9. Use natural sunlight instead of electricity whenever you can. Throw open the window shades and enjoy both the light and warmth those sun beams provide. During the winter, you can reduce your heating bills by 10% this way.
10. In the summer, shut the shades to keep your house cooler, reducing cooling costs by 33%.
11. Invest in an old-fashioned clothes line and hang your clothes outside to dry. Not only does this conserve power, but your clothes will last longer—and smell fresher, too!
12. Wash your clothes in cold water rather than hot. As much as 85% of the energy consumed by machine washing is utilized in heating the water.
13. Turn everything all the way off! When you’re not using your appliances and electronics, turn them off and unplug them. This includes your computer, TV, DVD player, game systems, even your kitchen appliances, power tools, and more. If you don’t want to yank the cord, use a “smart” power strip that senses when your appliances are off and cuts that “phantom” power energy use.
14. Turn off the lights! This is Energy Conservation 101. Teach the kids (and even the grownups) to reach for the switch whenever they leave a room.
15. Use energy efficient light bulbs, such as Energy Star-rated CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs. These use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than standard bulbs. And you’ll knock $30 off your electric bill for each bulb over its lifetime.
16. Homeowners may be surprised to learn that energy usage for a MrSteam steam shower is typically less than $1 for an average steam shower session. To produce the steam needed for one session, a home steam generator only needs to heat two gallons of water—much less water than you use in a bath or shower!
17. Make sure your steam generator is the right size for your personal steam shower. See our online Virtual Spa to select the appropriate generator. Too large, and you’ll be wasting power. Too small, and it will need to work harder to heat the steam.
18. All MrSteam controls come with the ability to specifically set the temperature. Make sure to select the right setting for your personal comfort.
19. The AirTempo remote control automatically turns off the generator when you don’t return the control to its dock within five minutes. So an unexpected, unavoidable delays won’t end up resulting in wasted energy.
Here are some ways you can conserve water:
20. Collect rainwater to water your houseplants and garden—and water in the early morning or evenings to avoid evaporation.
21. Your toilet may be silently leaking. Add some food coloring to the tank and check back in two hours. If there’s color in the bowl, your tank’s flapper needs to be replaced.
22. Use a timer to take shorter showers. Low-flow shower heads also help. Since 1992, all new shower heads must have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or lower, so switch out your older one for a newer model.
23. Use a cup of warm water to shave, rather than letting the tap run.
24. Train the kids to turn off the water when brushing their teeth. Letting the water run during the recommended two minutes of brushing wastes up to five gallons of water a day.
25. Believe it or not, it’s more efficient (and uses less water) to run a full dishwasher load than washing the same number of dishes by hand, particularly if you have an Energy Star dishwasher. Compare four gallons by machine versus 24 gallons in the sink!
26. Make sure both the dishwasher and washing machine are full before starting either one. And don’t waste water by pre-rinsing the dishes—today’s dishwashers should remove the worst stains.
27. Leaky faucet keeping you up at night? It’s a nightmare for the planet, too. One drip per second wastes up to five gallons of water a day, or 1,800 gallons a year. Get it fixed right away.
28. Love to bathe? A steam shower conserves much more water than a soaking tub. A 20-minute bath in a traditional whirlpool or soaking tub requires 80 gallons of water, whereas a steam bath only takes two gallons. If you bathe every other day, this adds up to about 320 gallons of water per week—a rate of water consumption for just one family member.
29. Comparing a steam shower to a regular shower is even more dramatic. With a jetted shower system that features two 2.2 gallon-per-minute (gpm) shower heads along with three 1.1 gpm body sprays, one 20-minute shower session would use up to 160 gallons of water. Showering every other day, one person uses up to 640 gallons of water in a single week. Contrast this with a steam bath, which requires only two gallons of water for a typical 20-minute session. A week’s worth of steam sessions uses only 14 gallons of water.
It’s clear that steam proves to be the best option for homeowners to responsibly reduce their water and energy footprint!
Join us next week as we continue to explore many more Go Green Tips with MrSteam.