There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we’ve experienced, we need to take action.
Green building is a great place to start, as buildings consume 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials, and 39% of energy in the United States alone (according to the US Green Building Council). That’s 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials each year! If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons to go green:
For The Environment
If we want to make the world a better place, then we will have to start implementing green practices into our home or office which can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
“Going Green” means practicing an environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible lifestyle as well as making decisions to help protect the environment and sustain natural resources. There are lots of reasons to consider going green—too much trash, greenhouse gases, air and water pollution, damage to the ozone layer, and saving money. For example, switching all the light bulbs in a home from conventional incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs could save about $40 over the life of the bulb. Other examples include:
- Turning your thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer.
- Making sure your walls and ceilings are well insulated.
- Replacing bathroom and kitchen faucets with low-flow models.
We Make Greener Product Choices
Buying only what we need is the first step to go green, but when you buy, looking for greener products and using products in ways that respect the environment can have a big impact — on the health of our family, pets and the planet.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a green products web portal to help us navigate the complex world of green products. We use this portal to find links and information related to greener products from EPA and other sources.
The EPA has a number of eco-labeling partnership programs to help you identify greener, safer, and more efficient products. The standards behind these labels are based on scientific expertise and use the best available data.
- EnergyStar – for energy efficient electronics and appliances
- WaterSense – water efficient products
- Design for the Environment (DfE) – safer household cleaners and other products. DfE allows products that have been determined to be safer for human health and the environment and effective to carry the DfE label.
- SmartWay Certified Vehicle – cleaner, more fuel efficient cars and trucks
By making greener product choices we are saving money on utilities and fuel, supporting companies that are driving change and most importantly — we are joining millions of people helping to protect public health and the environment.
We also choose to buy organic or locally produced food and eco-friendly clothing.
Reusing and Recycling
Along with buying greener products, we make a big impact by using the products we buy in ways that respect the environment by: using fewer products and following instructions for product use; conserving energy, water, and materials; recycling items made of materials such as glass, metal, plastic, or paper or disposing of products properly.