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This is sponsored content from BlogHer and GE.

What do you do to conserve energy?

Here’s what I do:

Cloth:

Why use something disposable when you can use cloth? (This goes for paper/plastic dishes, cups, and utensils too.)

  • Sure I have paper towels around, but I rarely use them. Instead of storing them prominently within easy reach, they’re tucked away so that I really think about if I need a PAPER towel before grabbing one. I have tons of dish towels and microfiber cloths, and use those for most “paper towel” purposes.
  • You already know I use cloth diapers and wipes. It really isn’t harder than disposable, I promise. Instead of going to the store to buy more, and taking out the trash, you just do a couple extra loads of laundry. Easy peasy.
  • We only use cloth napkins. It helps that they do a better job than paper napkins, too. They’re wrinkly because I’m lazy about ironing them, but who cares?

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Recycle, Reduce, Reuse:

  • Recycle – do it. Why wouldn’t you? If you can significantly reduce the amount of trash going out of your home, that’s huge. One fewer trash bag a week is 52 fewer trash bags a year, 520 fewer trash bags a decade. Can you imagine 520 bags stuffed with trash in one spot? Ew. See if you can do better.
  • Composting counts as recycling in my book too. I haven’t started doing it here, but we did in Mississippi and I felt great knowing that our organic waste (veggie peels, cores, coffee grounds, etc) were going back into the earth, and into the veggies we were growing. Here, I’ve been saving veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer, and then when I make stock, I dump in the veggie scraps. It really gives the stock a great depth of flavor, and it “uses up” what would’ve just been thrown away otherwise.
  • Reduce – using cloth, as above, will help a LOT. Another way to reduce is to be mindful about what you’re buying and bringing into your home. Obviously you can’t 100% avoid packaging. But you can buy a big tub of yogurt and put it into smaller reusable containers for lunch boxes, rather than buying individual servings.
  • Reuse – I have a few sweaters and things set aside because I love the fabric and want to make a little outfit for Anneliese out of them. I wash the jars that peanut butter, honey, and jam come in, and reuse them for storing chicken stock and beef stock in our freezer. After using them a few times, I recycle the jars.

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Save Energy:

  • When we bought our washer, dryer, and stand-alone freezer, we made sure to get energy-efficient models (energy star rated).
  • When I wash my clothes and diapers and things, I never use HOT water (unless for a specific “deep clean” cycle, very rare). I use warm for my diapers, and warm or cold for my clothes. Everything’s clean, I promise.
  • Turning off lights when you’re not using them (open the curtains if it’s sunny), and – I’m really bad at this one – unplugging things, or turning off power strips when you’re not using the things on that strip. Yeah, I don’t do that. But I think about it. And thinking about it saves 10% of the energy, right? No? Oh, sad.
  • NAS Lemoore base housing provides/uses energy-efficient light bulbs in all the rooms, and the bathrooms have some sort of solar-powered light (or something? It stays lit through the evening, slowly fading… and pretty sure it’s not a skylight). This is pretty neat, even if the different color of the light takes a little getting used to.
  • In the summer, use lined curtains to keep the heat out. In winter, use them to keep the heat in. In fall and spring, open the windows so you don’t have to rely on the air conditioner and heater.

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I’m not any sort of green diva or earth princess or anything, but I do a lot of little things to reduce my impact and waste… and I know they add up. So now it’s your turn to share YOUR story. You could win something to help you become even more energy-smart.

To WIN:

What’s the prize? Two $50 GE energy smart LED light bulb that lasts 20 years and saves you $85 in energy cost. One given away per week of contest length.

Share with me what your energy use challenges at home are, for a chance to win a $50 GE energy smart light bulbs that lives 20 years and saves you $85 in energy costs.

Rules:

  • No duplicate comments.
  • You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
    • a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
    • b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
    • c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
    • d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
  • This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
  • Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
  • You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • The Official Rules are available here.
  • For more chances to win, Visit the Exclusive Offers section.

Enter GE’s Ecomagination Challenge

If you have any HUGE ideas for energy-saving – beyond “the little things” you do in your household – like a way to make your entire town solar-powered (that would actually work really well where I live, and many neighborhoods have lots of houses with solar roofs), submit your ideas here. GE could help your idea become reality (they’re investing $200 million!) if yours is the best. You could make a HUGE impact.

Please consider:

  • Originality – GE is looking for innovative home energy solutions. Is your entry unique?
  • Feasibility – GE islooking for functional solutions that can enjoy success in the marketplace. Is your entry cost-effective, or can it be made so?
  • Impact – If successfully realized, will your entry help turn our current energy challenge into an opportunity?






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