Go Green and Save Green Help the Earth and the Club Piggy Bank For decades, the Dupont Lions in Pennsylvania brightened their community every holiday season with a light display along the city’s roadsides. The Lions loved providing this service, but the electricity bill could run up to a hefty $2,500 each year. In 2010, they began discussing ways to cut costs and discovered that switching to energy-conserving LED lights could mean big savings. The Lions’ power bill is now just a few hundred dollars for a whole season of festive lights, and they’re conserving about 75 percent in energy. The new LED lights look a little different, but Lion Mark Kowalczyk explains, “Ninety-five percent of the feedback we’ve received has been compliments. Even for those who didn’t like them at first, when you explain about the cost savings, they understand and now they’re happy.” Whether it’s a big switch like the Dupont Lions made or a simple change like recycling, there are many ways Lions can—and already do—go green and save money. Nationally recognized environmental expert and author Diane MacEachern (www.biggreenpurse.com) recommends starting small: “Since we all use energy every day, it's the easiest place to start. Make it simple: change a light bulb to a compact fluorescent, turn down the heat a bit, carpool.” Opportunities can arise as club projects develop. When the Sasquatch Lions in British Columbia, Canada, embarked on remodeling their 60-year-old community hall, they seized the chance to make some smart updates—one was installing on-demand water heaters. “The cost was about double over a traditional water heater, but with 60 to75 percent savings in annual water heating costs, we’ll break even in about three years and be able to put money into our pockets—or more rightly the pockets of the charities we donate to!” says Lion Al Stobbart. To make the biggest bang for your club’s buck, look at the big picture. Any change will require some research, planning and possibly new ways of thinking. “Look at your whole budget and figure out where the biggest opportunities for savings are given the way you currently operate. Sometimes, savings in one area can offset increased expense in another,” MacEachern stresses. Even with the seemingly smallest changes Lions can make a big impact on the earth. “And don’t forget the “ripple” effect you’ll have, as the example you set for your community begins to catch on. You could truly change the world!” says MacEachern. –Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt Money-Saving Green Tips: • Save on paper costs by distributing club documents electronically. The United States uses about 27 pounds of paper per person annually. • Keep your vehicle’s tires properly inflated. Americans could save 2.8 billion gallons of gas a year if everyone had properly inflated tires. • Use reusable coffee filters. You’ll save about $15 a year based on a daily pot of coffee. • Use cloth towels and napkins. Many United States households spend more than $260 annually on paper towels and napkins. • Lower your clubhouse thermostat in the winter. For every degree lowered, you’ll save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill. Do the reverse with air conditioning for the same result. Statistics from Earth911.com and thedailygreen.com.
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