Sunday, March 30, 2008

Green the Economy with Your Tax Rebate

Are you due to get a tax refund or an "economic stimulus rebate" this spring?

Why not spend it on energy-saving improvements or other steps to reduce your carbon footprint?

The Bush rebate of $1,200 for a working couple might not pay all the cost of a solar-powered hot water system but it would go a long way for less intensive, smaller-ticket items!

A few ideas for the typical Massachusetts home:

1. Purchase an energy-star appliance
2. Purchase a "kilowatt interrupter" that prevents the phantom energy consumption from electronic equipment that usually stays on night and day - or - quick tip: plug electronics into a power strip in an easy-to-reach location and just switch off the strip when you leave the room!
3. Purchase a share in a local Community Supported Agriculture farm - you will eat well all year and help keep farms and farmers in your town
4. Purchase a rain barrel and hook it up to drip irrigation equipment - contact Denise Zambrowski, Franklin's Recycling Coordinator at 508-520-4910 or come to Earth Day at Beaver Pond on April 19th to order!
5. Better yet, "Go Native!" Choose native, beautiful drought tolerant plants for your home (and dig up the ones that are NOT!) - Come to hear a presentation on "xeriscaping" at Earth Day on April 19th!
6. Purchase all Compact Flourescent Lights for your outdoor lights - or a solar outdoor system
7. Replace older indoor thermostats that do not have auto set backs with new ones to save on your heating costs
8. Purchase carbon offsets for family reunions, large parties such as weddings, and your organization's next event. When you travel on business or pleasure, support hotels that are reducing energy consumption and water use.
9. Buy re-usable water bottles and jugs for everyone in your family and break the plastic bottle habit! If you are asked whether you want bottled water or tap water when eating out, choose the local, filtered tap water. Plastic bottles are not only unnecessary but are filling landfills and littering our oceans.

Here are some more expensive projects that could save even more when you're making major household investments:

10. If you remodel your existing house, invest in solar heating for hot water and electricity! Sell your surplus power back to the grid!
11. When replacing older windows, invest in the best "low-e" insulating windows.
12. The next time you buy a new car, test drive a hybrid car! In addition to the Toyota Prius ...

... and the Honda Civic, shop the Hybrid Camry or the Hybrid Nissan Altima!

More ideas and how much you can save!

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