Earth mama

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Turn off the lights when you leave a room. My dad told me this all the time when I was younger. It turns out that turning off the lights can reduce your electric bill and your energy usage.

Turn off your computer at night. This is becoming policy in some corporations because research shows that turning off the computer can save $90 a year on your electric bill. What could you do with $90 extra bucks?

Turn down your water heater. I recently learned that my water company only charges for hot water used, not cold. That's because it takes a lot of energy (read: cost) to heat up the water. Lowering the temperature on your water heater from 140 to 120 degrees will reduce your water heating costs by 6-10 percent.

Unplug your chargers when you are not using them. Even when they are not charging anything, plugged in chargers are leaching energy out of the walls. It's estimated that 8 percent of your total electric bill usage is from plugged in chargers not in use. The solution is simple: Just unplug them, or plug them into a surge protector and flip the switch on when your device needs juice.

Install low-flow water fixtures. Decades ago, toilets used 5 gallons per flush, but these days more efficient models are readily available. So-called low-flow models use less than a gallon and work great. American Standard, Toto and Kohler are leaders in the field.

Also save water and money and still have ample water pressure, with a low-flow showerhead, which can slash bathing-water consumption 50 to 70 percent. The devices are simple to install and start at around $8. Low-flow faucets also are a great option.

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Written by Alexis Perrone and all-around green goddess