BBB helps homeowners go green

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    Eight budget-friendly green tips for cost-conscious consumers

    With Earth Day just behind us, consumers are thinking of ways they can help improve the environment without breaking the bank. While big changes like buying a hybrid vehicle or installing solar panels on your roof can be costly, BBB says there are more realistic solutions that everyone can follow, regardless of their budget.

    “Consumers are constantly told to buy certain products because they are “green,” or “eco-friendly,” or “environmentally safe,” but some of those confusing claims can lead to costly purchases,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “That’s why BBB is helping budget-conscious homeowners and consumers make informed spending decisions on how best to incorporate a green mentality in their lives.”

    Here are some BBB tips for small, inexpensive changes everyone can make to help improve the environment:

    • Turn off and unplug appliances. Everyone knows to turn off lights to save energy, but did you know that many appliances use electricity even when they are turned off? Unplugging appliances when not in use can save on your utility bill. Most appliances don’t need constant power, with the exception of cable TV boxes and clocks.

    • Recycle more than paper and plastic. Recycling is good for the environment, but many items that can be recycled aren’t making it into the blue bins. Some surprising things that you can recycle include: aluminum foil, batteries, empty paint cans and milk cartons. Check with your municipality or commercial trash service to see what items can be recycled in your area.

    • Recycle electronics safely. Balance environmentalism with cyber security by knowing how to safely dispose of computers, tablets and smart phones. Make sure to “wipe” your system completely and to destroy or shred hard drives and other storage devices that could have sensitive data. Many recycling centers have special drop-off days for e-waste. Check with your locality to see what services are offered.

    • Walk or bike to your destination. You don’t have to purchase an eco-friendly car to do your part to reduce air pollution. Walking, biking, carpooling, or using public transportation, even part of the time, can have a big impact.

    • Understand “green marketing” terms. With so many eco-friendly products on the market, it can be difficult to know what helps and what is just hype. The more you know the better decisions you can make about the products you buy. Check out what “green” really means with these BBB tips here.

    • Use your air conditioner less. Air conditioners are among the biggest energy hogs most of us have in our homes. Use a set-back thermostat to raise temperatures when you are not at home, try ceiling fans to keep air circulating, or turn off the AC altogether and open some windows for an eco-friendly summer.

    • Ask your utility company for more information. Many electric and other utility companies offer energy-saving tips and even home energy audits. Contact your utility company to find out additional ways you can save energy.

    • Sign up for the Alberta Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program. Regardless of income or housing type, Albertans are eligible to receive a variety of energy efficient home products such as: LED light bulbs, high-efficiency shower heads, self-adjusting thermostats and other products to be professionally installed at no charge. For more information visit www.alberta.ca.

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