Going Green and Saving Green

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Going Green is the new fad, but with the rising costs of food, and gas is it something you can afford to do right now? As it turns out, going green can actually save you some green in the process.

You could say green is Jack Marino's favorite color. He lives on acres of green fields, has an abundance of green trees, and as you might guess the inside of his house is.... green as well, but this time it's not the color.

"When you start looking at how much you have to spend with utilities and then fuel to get back and forth to work just every day, living expenses, I think I saw a need to do something," Marino said.

Nearly 12 years ago Jack decided it was time to take his favorite color to a new a level, and make the switch to go green, before he ended up in the red.

"I'm not using as much electricity, not using so much fuel. I thought that would be a good thing to start on," Marino said.

So Jack began his journey, by looking around the house for ways to save some money without spending some. Things like turning the lights off when you leave the room, and turning the T.V. off when you're done with it, and unplugging extra appliances from outlets made a big difference.

"The phantom power users, the cell phone chargers that people leave plugged into walls 24-7. Those are using power whether the phone is plugged into it or not," Alan Wood with Bryan Texas Utilities said.

Next up, Jack had to fork over a little cash so he could save some big bucks over time.

"Compact florescent lights are a great way for the common person, whether you live in a home or an apartment to do something of real substance that doesn't cost a lot of money," Wood said.

Now all the lights in and outside of Jack's house are CFL's, and he says they last about 10 times longer than other bulbs he's used in the past.

"I mark the bulbs every time I change them. I'll put with a marker the month and year I put it in, and I still have some in this house I put in in '96," Marino said.

"These bulbs are going to last, get this, 9,000 hours," Wood said. "To put that in comparison there are 8,760 hours in a calendar year."

Wood says that means if you left a CFL and a regular incandescent bulb on 24 hours a day throughout the year that incandescent would burn out by February. The CFL on the other hand, would last all the way into the next year.

In fact, if every home in America replaced just one of those old bulbs with these energy efficient ones, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than 3-million homes.

"Is there a savings difference? Yes. And it's immediate, and it's powerful," Wood said.

Other powerful ways Jack has made his house more energy efficient is by using a digital thermostat, and utilizing ceiling fans to circulate the air.

But that's just the beginning of his master plan..

"My plans for the immediate future are to go solar. That's my big thing I'm going to do now, even before I build a house. I plan to put solar in to accommodate utility usage at my barn, and from my RV, and my home," Marino said.

Proving the sky is the limit when it comes to finding new ways to go green.

"With energy conservation you have to look beyond the immediate, beyond the initial price tag," Wood said. "You've got to calculate your savings."

But the biggest payoff for Jack isn't the savings he can drive away with, it's the impact.

"The Earth we only have one of them, and we need to do our part to take care of it," Marino said.

Jack estimates his going green savings to be several thousands dollars.

So despite the fact the a standard incandescent bulb will only run you about a quarter, and a CFL bulb will cost you up to $2.50, overtime that CFL is estimated to save you $40.00.

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