“Living Green” coverage:

  • A laptop uses just a quarter of the power required by a desktop computer.
  • Contaminants are tracked into homes on the soles of shoes. Consider becoming a shoe-free household. Clever designs for shoe storage near the front door can keep entries clutter-free and indoor air cleaner at the same time.
  • Generating enough electricity to cook for an hour in a standard electric oven creates 2.7 pounds of carbon dioxide. Here’s a list of what can do it for less: toaster oven, 1.3 pounds over 50 minutes; slow cooker, 0.9 pounds over seven hours; and microwave, 0.5 pounds over 15 minutes.
  • If a vehicle’s tires have less than recommended air pressure, gas mileage will suffer. Determine the correct pressure level from the small plaque likely found just inside the driver’s-side door, but possibly on a rear doorpost, in the trunk/latch area, the glove box, or even on the sun visor.
  • Wrapping a water heater with insulation can keep as many as 1,000 pounds of global-warming CO2 a year out of the upper atmosphere.
  • Using cold water can save up to 80 percent of the energy required to wash clothes.
  • Some commercial air fresheners use chemicals that can be harmful to a baby’s development. Instead, lightly spritz the place with vinegar.
  • Vinegar will clean out deposits clogging a steam iron or coffeemaker.
  • A cup of vinegar will clean a washing machine. Run it through a regular cycle — but not with clothes.
  • If using vinegar as a cleaning agent, pick the white variety. Brown will stain porous surfaces.
  • To create a tub-scum cleaner, mix baking soda and a “green” liquid soap to a honey-thick consistency. Apply it with a little elbow grease and perhaps a splash of white vinegar.
  • Save an average of $90 a year by shutting down a home computer every night. Also, shut it down if you don’t expect to use it for the next two hours. Turn off the monitor if the lag is going to be at least 20 minutes.

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