Here are a few things that I failed to mention in the last Green post.
The one item that has probably saved the most energy (and therefore money) for us has been the programmable digital thermostat. Yes, we installed our own thermostat in our rental apartment. Shhh, don’t tell the landlord! If you are careful, you can do it without damaging anything, and just keep the original thermostat in a safe place, where you’ll be able to find it and re-install it when you move out. The beauty of the programmable thermostat is that you can have it drop the temperature after you’ve gone to bed and have it raise the temp right before you wake up.
So you’re not running to crank up the heat in your jammies and slippers while shivering first thing in the morning. You can also have it drop the temp while you’re at work, and raise it right before you get home. The same principle works with AC in the summer. No more walking into a sweltering apartment, and no need to let the AC run all day while you’re not there. If you get one with multi-day programming, you can have it on separate weekday & weekend schedules or even a different schedule every day. These will definitely regulate temperature better than you could ever do it yourself. And you never have to worry about accidentally leaving the heat or AC running while you’re at work, thinking of your gas or electric bill steadily going through the roof.
Another product that I failed to mention in my last post is the foaming soap dispenser. It uses soap (hand soap or dish soap or even shower gel and shampoo) diluted with water to create a foam. The benefit of this is that it creates thick foam that will cover your hands or dishes or whatever thoroughly and evenly, using less soap than you normally would pump out. When you pump soap into your hand, then add water to create suds, you end up washing a lot of extra soap down the drain. The foaming soap dispenser avoids this waste. It prevents some more flamboyant soap users from over-doing it. It also takes less water to rinse off, since it’s already diluted and evenly distributed (no gooey soap globs on the dishes that keep foaming up). And the great thing is, you can refill a foaming dispenser with any kind of liquid soap. Just be sure to properly dilute it with water. I bought a gallon of my favorite hand soap, and simply refill all the foaming dispensers with that. So I’m not throwing out lots of little bottles as they run out. The key is to find a foaming dispenser you like. I have ones that match the décor in each bathroom and the kitchen. I also have one for dish soap, which I refill from a giant bottle of Dawn that lives under my sink. I’ve used a foaming dispenser for shower gel as well, with good results. This nifty little product reduces waste of soap, and definitely reduces the amount of plastic bottles you toss in the trash.