Here are some additional tips for you, whether you have just started college or are in your last year:
- Smell better naturally – Avoid all those extra energy drains like plug-ins air freshers for freshening the air; use essential oils instead. And as long as you watch the open flame, beeswax candles can be used since they are natural air cleaners.
- Use daylight – The sun is on your side, so use it to your advantage. Daylight or task lights are more energy efficient and better for your tired eyes than those old overhead lights. And please upgrade your lighting technology. Don’t use that old technology from the 1890’s, the incandescent bulb, upgrade to LED’s or CFL’s. Also, forget halogens – they use lots of energy but even more importantly, they are a fire hazards.
- Green IT – The type of computer you use makes a big difference in the amount of energy you use. There are now greener, less toxic computers available. Check out EPEAT before you buy. Also use a laptop instead of a desktop to lower your carbon use comparing them the energy savings are from 50% to 80%. And turn it off when it is not in use.
- Clean Greener – Washers and dryers are big energy users so always run full loads. Washing in cold water for your clothes saves energy and your clothes. Because there are dust mites and more in your dorm room, wash your organic sheets in hot water. Don’t use the dryer if you can help it (a big energy user), use the drying rack – it adds humidity and you save energy – what could be better than solar and wind assisted drying.
- Eliminate Chemicals – Fewer chemicals in your life are healthier. There are over 10,000 chemicals around us each day that have never been tested. Check the ingredients in your personal and cleaning products; use less and go green. If you are using products with ingredients that you have to pass a chemistry course to pronounce; consider products your grandma used and check Green Seal and Environmental Working Group for more info.
- Reduce your waste – Because it makes a difference. Landfills offgas methane, a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. Don’t use paper/plastic throwaways – cheap reusable kitchenware is a great alternative. A stainless steel water bottle (BPA free) is much better than buying plastic bottles since plastics in the waterways are a big problem. Plus plastic leaches toxins into your body and are manufactured from fossil fuel.
- Green up – Plants have been proven to clean the air and reduce stress, so grow your favorites and maybe grow a little lettuce to add to your popularity.
- Sequester Carbon – If you can not find enough to compost (ie you only eat pizza) then suggest that your univerisity compost food and yard waste.
- Avoid tuition hikes – Advocate for sustainable practices from staff/faculty and the administration because there are better returns on any investment than ever before. Save your health and money while saving the planet.