Ten Tips for a Green 2008

It's that time of year again -- time to make New Year's resolutions for 2008.

For many Americans, dieting is the most popular New Year's resolution. This year, Green Mountain Energy Co. suggests a different kind of diet -- a "carbon diet." The company is encouraging people to make resolutions that help protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Top 10 Green Resolutions for 2008:

1. Sign up for cleaner electricity. Making electricity is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the United States. By purchasing 100 percent new renewable energy for a year, an American household using an average of 938 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month could help avoid contributing more than 15,600 pounds of carbon dioxide (C02) annually.

2. Go on a carbon diet. Reduce your carbon footprint or become carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets.For more information, visit: www.begreennow.com.

3. Give the gift of green. Plant a tree for a friend to offset carbon emissions.

4. Purchase a hybrid car. Hybrid gas/electric cars are becoming more affordable and accessible than ever. The Honda Insight and Toyota Prius are at the top of the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide and get roughly 45 miles per gallon (mpg) to 60 mpg in the city. Better fuel economy means lower CO2 emissions. In fact, a five-mpg difference equates to about 2,800 pounds of CO2 pollution a year.

5. Green your commute. Combine trips, share a ride, use mass transit, walk or bike whenever possible. Leaving your car at home just two days a week will save almost 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year! Keep your car well-maintained to maximize fuel efficiency, safety and reliability.

6. Drive smart. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of C02 out of the atmosphere. Keep your car tuned up, limit idling to 30 seconds, never "top off" the tank, drive less aggressively and maintain proper tire pressure. Keeping you tires inflated properly can improve gas mileage by more than 3 percent.

7. Upgrade to EPA's ENERGY STAR-certified products. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2005 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 23 million cars.

8. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). A CFL puts out the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb but uses two-thirds less electricity.

9. Recycle more. You can save 2,400 pounds of C02 per year by recycling just half of your household waste.

10. Say no to plastic bags. When shopping, bring a reusable bag to carry your purchases. A plastic bag can take an astonishing 500 years to decompose.

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