Five Green Myths

July 21, 2008

Myth: Screen savers save energy

Maybe. Screen savers were developed to prevent images from being burned into old CRT monitors (hence the name “screen saver”). LCD monitors are the most commonly used monitors these days and do not run the risk of images burning in. If your screen saver is blank – i.e. - black, yes, you will save some energy.

A better choice: Hibernate or sleep mode will save the most energy after actually turning your computer off.

Myth: Earth friendly groceries cost more and are always better for the environment

It depends. If you are buying organic vegetables grown on another continent or across the country, chances are they will indeed cost more than conventionally grown vegetables. And if you take into account the fuel used in transporting the vegetables to you, not much good is being done for the environment. On the other hand, if you visited a farmer’s market and purchased locally grown vegetables, the prices may be even lower than conventional vegetable grocery store prices. And with no added transportation, local vegetables are definitely better for the environment.

Another choice: Grow your own vegetables. Even an apartment balcony can hold a container or two of tomatoes or herbs.

Myth: Save gas by not using your car’s air conditioning

No, drag from open windows makes your car less aerodynamic and thus less efficient. If you are driving slowly in town, you may save a little by not using your air conditioning.

Other choices: Save gas by keeping your car properly tuned up, carpool, walk, bike or use public transportation.

Myth: It doesn’t matter what I do. I can’t save the planet alone

Small steps add up. One ream of 100 % recycled uncoated copy paper will save 40,000 BTU’s of energy, 5.3 pounds of greenhouse gases, 21.3 gallons of water and .6 trees. There are approximately 24 million businesses in the US. If each firm used only one ream of 100% recycled copy paper a year  - 960 billion BTU’s would be saved, 1.272 billion pounds of greenhouses gases saved, 5.112 billion gallons of water and 1.44 million trees.

Myth: There is only one way to Greenify

Nope. There are definitely better choices than others; but the number of ways to Greenify is only limited by our imagination. While it is true that corn and soybeans are not very efficient crops to turn into biodiesel, canola, hemp, flax and algae are. And that is only one example of looking for alternatives. I have been watching a new Wal-Greens being built in my neighborhood and cringe every time I look inside. I’d love to see some solar tubes being utilized to capture some daylight rather the fluorescent lights I see being installed.

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