Spring has arrived and it’s the time of year when many of us start to put together our spring break and summer vacation plans. Did you know you can go green while traveling? That’s right! You can enjoy the sights and be kind to the environment at the same time.
Choosing a destination
There’s something to be said for choosing the right destinations. While it’s typically more eco-friendly to travel to nearby countries (versus those on the opposite side of the globe), you don’t have to limit yourself to what’s in your backyard. You might take into consideration your mode of transportation when selecting that perfect vacation spot.
Before you leave
While you’re away, you can save energy and money at home with a few simple steps:
Turn down your water heater – because water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in the home. Since a large percentage of the cost of running a water heater is due to the “stand by” losses, this is probably the easiest and most cost-effective money and energy saving tip for a home when it is vacant. Just remember to leave yourself a note to turn it back on when you return home.
Turn up your thermostat to a warmer temperature – but be careful to consider any pets still in the home. If you have a programmable thermostat, you may already have it set to a warmer temperature while you are away or asleep. Simply adjust it to that setting for the duration of your trip.
Unplug your “energy vampires” – electronic appliances that even when turned off utilize a small amount of electricity. These phantom loads can include items such as a coffee maker, headset chargers, laptop computer, TV, cable box, rechargeable toothbrush, and printer. If left plugged in all the time, consumers can waste up to one month’s electricity bill each year on vampire energy.
Close the drapes – keeping window shades drawn to help keep the house cool from the afternoon sun.
Turn off the lights – be sure all unnecessary lights are turned off. For lights on a security timer, use LED bulbs.
When it comes to actual travel, you have options. If you’re going more than 2,500 miles, a bus is the most eco-friendly option. Since buses cannot travel between continents, airplanes are the second most efficient way to go. On the other end of the spectrum, driving an SUV is the least efficient method of travel.
While commercial jets are ideal, don’t immediately write off private jet charters. Both commercial and private airlines are now actively working to offset the carbon footprint and according to Airlines for America®, some even offer carbon offset programs to neutralize carbon emissions by supporting eco-friendly initiatives.
Also, try to book non-stop flights whenever you can: It’s the takeoffs and landings that create most of an airplane’s carbon emissions. And if you decide to drive to your destination and your car isn’t eco-friendly, consider renting a hybrid or electric vehicle, which use less fuel and produce less carbon emissions than traditional vehicles.
Did you know it’s possible to select an eco-friendly hotel? When traveling in the United States, you can stay in hotels that have been awarded LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, based on sustainable site development, water efficiency, material selection, indoor environmental quality and design innovation.
While you’re there
You can still practice the three R’s while on vacation: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. One example is to carry a reusable water bottle with you to help reduce waste and keep you hydrated. Buy and shop locally and bring your own re-usable bag.
Consider walking, bike riding, or using public transportation to get around whenever possible. These options cut down on gas usage and save you money. You can also engage in energy-efficient activities such as cycling, horse riding, scuba diving or trekking, rather than helicopter flights or driving tours. If driving tours is your thing, try to do them in a group.
You can feel good knowing that you are doing good for the environment while traveling, but most importantly, be safe and have fun!
Would you like to explore green opportunities for your home? Check out AEP Energy’s renewable energy plans or take a virtual stroll through Reward Store where you can find a variety of connected home and energy and water saving products.
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