Workshop suggests simple, green savings

Friday, November 2, 2007

Just in time for the winter bills, a free Southeast Missouri State University workshop will offer money saving tips.

Eric Redinger, assistant director of recreation services at Southeast Missouri State University, said the hour long workshop is aimed at "aimed at anyone interested in saving a buck or two or going green, especially with heating and how much gas costs now."

Tips include "these little things you can do," Redinger said, and some reflect immediate savings.

Some date back to "your grandparents who lived through the Depression," he said, such as turning out lights as you leave a room and not leaving water running.

Other tips suggest more modern methods, such as using rechargeable batteries.

The lists are grouped in categories ranging from free habits that can be used immediately to various levels of investments (small, moderate or large) that pay for themselves over time. A programmable thermostat can pay for itself over a few months, Redinger said, while the break-even point of replacing an old appliance with an energy efficient one takes longer.

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, most household devices that use electricity, from kitchen appliances to televisions and computers, consume 75 percent of a home's electric power while turned off. Most assume a "stand-by" mode that continues to draw power. Redinger said using a power strip to switch off multiple machines simultaneously can save a surprising amount of money. The Department of Energy estimates an annual $200 drop in utility bills.

Redinger said he'll also review ways that landscaping can help reduce energy dependency.

"Landscaping can help your house be more efficient and improve the value of your home," he said.

Next semester, Redinger plans to offer a workshop with tips on how to reduce carbon footprints. He said that class will include tips that may cost consumers more money.

"But some people are willing to pay extra per month to go green," he said.

The Convenient Reality workshop is 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Southeast's Student Recreation Center. For details, call Southeast's Recreation office at 651-2105.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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