Five money-saving tips that protect the environment

MADISON — Doing your part to protect Wisconsin’s environment this Earth Day need not be a costly endeavor; in fact, there are many actions you can take that can help restore the environment as well as your bank account balance.

“Doing the right thing for the environment doesn’t require large amounts of disposable income,” said Mark Redsten, executive director of Clean Wisconsin the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “Often the same things that help preserve the environment help save money.”

Here are 5 easy ways to save money while protecting Wisconsin’s clean air and water this Earth Day:

  1. Make Your Home more Energy Efficient: An efficiency audit is a great way to find inexpensive ways to reduce your monthly electricity bills, saving you money in the long run. By making simple changes like switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, Wisconsin residents saved an estimated $10 million dollars on electricity bills and prevented thousands of tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere last year alone.
  2. Take Advantage of Tax Credits to Weatherize Your Home: If you have been thinking about weatherizing your home, now is a great time to do it. The recently-passed federal stimulus package allows consumers to receive a tax credit to cover 30 percent of energy efficient improvement costs, up to $1500. This will not only save you money on a one-time purchase of an energy efficient water heater, furnace, air conditioner, or biomass stove but also each month on your electricity bill.
  3. Ride a Bike or Walk: Americans now spend a sizable portion of their take-home income on gasoline. Occasionally riding a bike to work or walking to the store are simple, great ways to protect the environment, get fit, and save some cash.
  4. Eat more Plants: Foods lower on the food chain are less expensive and require less carbon dioxide to produce. Eating more plants and less meat is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. The environment, your body, and your pocketbook will all thank you.
  5. Install a Low-Flow Shower head: This relatively inexpensive change will save not only water, but also the electricity or gas required to heat the water. Installing a low-flow shower head will reduce the toll your shower takes on the environment as well as the drain it takes on your pocketbook.

“It’s easy to save green by living green,” Redsten said. “By making small changes to your home and routine this Earth Day, you will help preserve the environment and save money year-round.”