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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fifty Shades of Green: Big & Small Ways That You Can ‘Go Green’

[Published Jan. 12, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section. An abbreviated version also appeared in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers.]

If, like the EcoBrokers of Golden Real Estate, you want to “go green” but don’t know where to start, here’s a menu of things, big and small, that you can decide to do, if you’re not already doing them. I’m happy to elaborate on any of them — just ask!

1) Recycle! With today’s “single stream” recycling, it’s not tedious to recycle instead of sending everything to the landfill.  Paper, glass, plastics, cardboard — throw it all together. If your condo building doesn’t offer recycling, go to the next board meeting and demand it!

2) Bring your clean, white polystyrene (aka “Styrofoam”) to the Styrofoam Corral behind Golden Real Estate’s office on South Golden Road. (No food containers or packing peanuts, please! Remove tape and other attachments, too.)

3) Be water wise. Turn off the water while soaping up, then turn it on to rinse.

4) Get an energy audit for as little as $120, so you can find out where you can reduce your home’s energy consumption. Ask me or Xcel for authorized vendors.

5) Ask your plumber to install a hot water recirculation line. You’ll get quicker hot water at each faucet and pay less for it.
6) Install solar panels or buy into  a solar community garden. This can cost little or nothing out of pocket.
7) Change the filter on your forced air furnace regularly to make it more efficient.  Use a console humidifier.
8) Install LED light bulbs throughout your house. A 12-Watt LED emits as much light as 60-Watt incandescent bulb. And, unlike CFL’s, LED bulbs are instantly bright, too!
9) Replace your Kentucky Bluegrass with buffalo grass or Bella Bluegrass.  You will save hundreds of dollars per year on water and also on lawn mowing!
10) Buy an electric car while you can still earn $13,500 in tax credits. The Chevy Volt is as big and comfortable as a Camry and costs less after those tax credits. My Volt is averaging 235 miles per gallon!
11) Visit the solar & sustainable homes which are on the Golden Solar Tour the first Saturday each October and learn from each of them! You can tour many of previous years’ homes, including my own, at
12) Buy locally grown produce at famers’ markets and organic supermarkets.
13) Caulk around your window frames — that’s where most of the cold air was entering my house.
14) Install sun tunnels (“Solatubes”) where practical. It will brighten the dark areas of your home and reduce lighting costs. (~$500 each)
15) When your TV needs replacing, get an LED model. Their electric consumption is about $10 per year.
16) When any appliance needs replacing, look for “Energy Star” models. You’ll save on electricity!
17) Turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater.     
 (To be continued)


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