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Solar Panels & Green Living

While solar panels aren’t actually green—most of them have more of a bluish cast to them—they contribute to green living by providing clean energy. The “solar revolution” many have been hoping for, for decades, maybe coming soon.

Calculators aren’t the only items taking the hint; many applications, such as street lights, are going green. Individual homeowners are learning to get on board, as well. With tax incentives for initial equipment and the money you’ll save monthly on your electric bill, the cost of converting your residence into a solar-powered home will eventually pay off.

While you explore the pros and cons of installing solar panels in your home, there are other ways to live a little greener, too.

1. Reduce.

Many Americans have fallen prey to the luring of throw-away consumerism. In order to be kinder to our earth, we need to realize, first of all, that we buy more than we really need. Instead of buying yet another storage bin or building another garage, we should ask ourselves if we really need all the stuff that we keep buying. Instead of overloading on paper products, consider re-usable replacements, such as rags (which might be re-purposed old T-shirts), cloth diapers, and handkerchiefs.

2. Reuse and Recycle.

Once we become committed to reducing the excess, we need to consider how we dispose of what we no longer need. When it’s often less expensive to replace an item than have it repaired, the typical knee-jerk reaction of tossing everything from dated electronics to worn-out shoes. However, many items can be re-used by you or others or be able to be recycled. A little creativity and effort can go a long way, here. While re-purposing, donating and sorting your unwanted items may mean extra work, it’s time that you’re investing in the world of tomorrow.

3. Compost.

Instead of retaining your kitchen scraps and yard waste in plastic bags, you can let them create fertile nutrients that can be used in your garden next year. (If you don’t garden, you can donate your “black gold” to a community garden in your area.) The three basic types of composting include cold, hot, and worm. The kind you choose depends on how much time and effort and space you have available to invest. By promoting the biodegrading of your veggies and other organic materials, you’ll be saving landfills and nurturing your green thumb, later in the year.

4. Buy Wisely.

Especially when you’re in the market for new furniture, flooring, or vehicles, consider some environmentally friendly options. Wood and other organic materials clearly require less manufacturing, but some alternatives like cork and bamboo are extremely renewable. Hybrid or electric cars are obviously greener than those requiring gas, and smaller, newer cars are better than big old diesel-powered trucks

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