If the COVID-19 pandemic has a silver lining, it’s that those of us who no longer need to commute to an office are helping the environment. In Connecticut, state employees reduced average emissions by 60 percent—the equivalent of 27,461 gallons of gasoline consumed, or 41.3 homes’ electricity use for one year. Feeling extra motivated to continue the trend? We have tips, courtesy of GreenerGovCT.
What is GreenerGovCT?
GreenerGovCT is a state initiative that challenges state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, curb wasteful water use, and reduce the amount of waste disposed at state facilities over the next decade.
Cynthia Petruzzello, Connecticut Innovations’ vice president of compliance and senior sustainability officer, and Sara Donofrio, CI’s marketing technology manager, are part of the initiative, which Donofrio said she joined because it affected her on a personal level. “I was trying out methods to save on plastic use at home and became very aware of the waste I (and everyone else) produces daily,” she said. “Concerned, I made small changes and encouraged my family to follow my lead. Since I had cut my hair short, I knew I could easily switch over to shampoo and conditioner bars. I also switched to toothpaste tabs and began reusing the soap dispensers in the kitchen and bathroom. Being in that mindset made me more aware of the overuse and waste that takes place outside the home. The GreenerGov initiative offered a way for me to continue to make changes beyond my own household. I’m excited to take part.”
After becoming involved with GreenerGovCT, Donofrio said she was surprised to learn how little can be recycled. “I didn’t know coffee cups and pizza boxes couldn’t be recycled, or that textiles are difficult to break down. One of our portfolio companies, Shop Tomorrows, gives more life to children’s clothing by consigning it. It’s exciting to see how just one change can help save energy and limit waste.”
Energy Saving Tips
GreenerGovCT offers five tips to help Connecticut residents lower your carbon footprint and save money. Give one—or all—a try.
Use the dishwasher. If marital spats are any indication, there is a right and a wrong way to load a dishwasher, but what’s not in dispute is the fact you can save $1,300 worth of energy by using the machine vs. washing your dishes by hand. Save even more energy—and water—by turning on your dishwasher’s eco setting if it has one.
Compost. Cut down on food waste—the number one material sent to incinerators and landfills in America—by turning your food scraps into nutrient-rich compost. (You could also stop buying vegetables you never end up using, like Brussels sprouts. And if you figure out how, let us know).
Make an energy savings plan. Whether you’re a UI customer or an Eversource customer, you can get a free energy analysis that will help you take control of your energy use. Try it—you’ve got nothing to lose, except for, you know, bigger bills.
Boost your bulbs. Make the switch from traditional lightbulbs to ENERGY STAR-certified LED lightbulbs, and you’ll enjoy efficient light that lasts 10 to 25 times longer. (Traditional incandescent bulbs release 90 percent of the energy they use as heat.)
Lower your energy bills. For a limited time, homeowners and renters can receive a no-cost home energy assessment and service with up to 100 percent off the cost of qualified insulation projects. Call 1-877-WISE-Use or sign up online at EnergizeCT.com.
Looking for some quick and easy at home waste-saving hacks?
- Use coffee grounds at home for gardening (CI’s new coffee machine recycles pods and we send the remaining grounds for composting.)
- Switch to reusable bags
- Don’t buy bottled water
- Avoid paper cups and other paper liquid-holding containers as they have plastic linings and can’t be recycled
- Change to paperless billing
- Purchase food items using Imperfect Foods/Misfits Market
- Buy second-hand clothes