Save Green As You Go Green!

Going Green: Money-Savers CBS/iStockphoto

It's no secret "going green" is good for the planet, and it's becoming clear it can be good for your bottom line, too.

Once considered a novelty, there are now many affordable and money-saving ways to conserve resources around the home.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine contributor Libby Langdon shared "greening" tips on The Early Show Saturday.

LED LIGHTING

The next big thing in energy-efficient lighting — the LED (light-emitting diode) bulb:

LEDs are brighter and less expensive than ever, and way more efficient than even compact fluorescents (CFLs) and, certainly, ordinary light bulbs.

LEDs last about 60,000 hours, compared to 10,000 for CFLs, and 1,500 for old-school incandescents (making LEDs especially great for ceilings, since you almost never have to change them).

LEDs use less energy than incandescents (about 1/10th) and CFLs (about half), since they produce comparatively little heat — all their energy is used for light.

Although LEDs are currently a lot more expensive than CFLs or regular bulbs, replacing an incandescent (regular) bulb with a LED can save you more than $700 over its lifetime.

Even if the mercury CFLs contain is minimal, LEDs are even better, with none at all.

The Lemnis Pharox LCD bulb retails for $39.80

SOLAR OUTDOOR LIGHTING

Outdoor solar lights are easy to install and virtually maintenance-free. Best of all, they provide free electricity.

Outdoor solar lighting systems use solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity is stored in batteries for use at night.

The "nightly run time" listings on most "off-the-shelf" products are based on specific sunlight conditions. Outdoor solar lights located in places that receive less sunlight than solar cells need will operate for fewer hours per night than expected. Nightly run times may also vary depending on how clear the sky is on any given day. Operating times in the winter months may vary as much as 30-50 percent.

Some solar lighting systems are self-contained units. You only need to place the lights in a sunny location. Others have the lights separate from a solar cell panel; only the panel needs to be placed in a sunny location. Units vary in size from small eight-inch, red-glowing pathway markers to pole-mounted patio and high-beam security lights.

Home outdoor solar lighting systems are often available in hardware, lighting, and discount stores, as well as through environmentally-oriented mail order companies.

LAUNDRY FRESHENERS

The average price of a load of laundry at home is $1.50 — that certainly adds up.

Save water and energy by simply washing your garments less frequently. You can also keep your clothes looking better with less laundry wear-and-tear.

Tips: Hang already-worn items near a window to air out, or in the bathroom to steam out the wrinkles. Try natural fabric fresheners such as Laundress or sachets of potpourri in your drawers

GREENER CLEANERS

The products we use to clean our homes can be loaded with poisonous chemicals and irritants. Green and natural packaged cleaners used to be much pricier than their conventional counterparts, but you'd be surprised to see how many affordable options are now available.

THE BEST WAY TO SAVE MONEY: Make your own cleaners at home and save hundreds of dollars a year. For about $20, you can replace every cleaning product in your house with safer, non-toxic biodegradable homemade versions using common ingredients such as baking soda, club vinegar, lemon juice and salt.

As an example, a window and mirror cleaner: White vinegar, water, and a crumpled newspaper.

Fill spray bottle with 1/4 cup of white vinegar, then fill to the top with water. Shake bottle to combine. Spray on the surface. Rub with a lint-free rag or a torn and wadded up newspaper page — not with a paper towel, which can attract lint.

REUSABLE LUNCH CONTAINERS

Landfills are overflowing with takeout containers — over 1.8 billion tons a year.

Bring your own lunch and save money, too: If you spend on average $50 a week on lunch, that's about $2,600 a year.

There are fun ways to pack your own: reusable containers, bags, etc.

Also, bring your own mug and you can get a discount on coffee in some places.
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