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Let's face it. You probably aren't quite ready to install solar panels on the roof, or dump your suburban in favor of an electric car. Still you want to do your part to make your home a little more eco-friendly but just aren't sure where to start? Here are a few suggestions that can help you make your environment a little greener that are both simple and inexpensive.

Replace your old incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent lamps (CFLs)

While incandescent bulbs are much less expensive than their fluorescent counterparts, the cost of the energy needed to keep them lit is nearly four times as much. Based on national averages, incandescent bulbs cost about $85 per 10,000 hours of use. The same 10,000 hours on a CFL would cost less than $27. Try replacing a few each month, as needed to spread the initial cost of the bulbs (about $4) out over time.

Unplug appliances that aren't at use.

Most people aren't aware that even when sitting unused, electronics plugged into outlets can constantly use energy. The main culprits are cell phone outlet chargers, laptops, and personal computers. Adding a simple power strip between electronics and the wall outlet supplies a simple way to quickly cut power to these devices, saving both time and energy.

Trade filtered tap water for bottles.

Bottled water was once the epitome of a healthy lifestyle. However, in recent years the popularity of bottled water has declined sharply. For one, many studies have indicated that bottled water is not always necessarily cleaner or safer than regular tap water. Secondly, the amount of waste produced by packaging, along with carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing and transportation on packaged water makes it a very poor choice for green conscious consumers. Whether you choose inline, faucet based, or pitcher type, tap filters are an excellent way to reduce waste and still provide your family with great tasting water.

Say goodbye to your paper bills.

Check with your utilities providers, credit card companies and banking institutions to see if they offer paperless billing or statement options. The cost of printing and mailing paper statements can be staggering, so choose to receive electronic or email correspondence as often as possible. If security is a concern, remember that consumer groups still agree that it is MUCH easier for a thief to steal mail from your mailbox than it is from your inbox.

Stop soaking in the shower.

While is a great idea to install low output capacity (low-flow) shower heads in order to reduce the amount of water wasted during your morning showers, simply cutting the amount of time you spend lathering up can have the same effect. The EPA estimates that if every American shortened their shower by just one minute, the yearly savings would be over one hundred million gallons.

The great thing about these simple suggestions is that they not only are easy to do and can actually save you money, they also leave you feeling good about the fact that you are doing your part to make the world a little better, and at the end of the day, that can be worth it all. Go Green!

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