The major issues with today's populace is one of mis-information. So many people believe that it costs a bundle to go green, and it pays itself off over 20 years. While it is true that it does hold a long term value and payoff, it doesnt have to cost you an arm and a leg up front. Let's take a look at some lagistics...
The Average home in the United States is about 1500 to 2000 square feet in size, generally with 3 or 4 bedrooms and 1 or 2 bathrooms. These homes will consume an average of 1200-2000kWh (kilo watt hours) in a months time. Check your electric bill for your particular houses usage. Now while these numbers aren't to bad, if your like most people I've talked to, that puts your electric bill at around $200 a month... so that's $200 a month you are putting into someone else's pocket instead of taking the family out to dinner, or saving for that new car, or a vacation.
Green living seeks to do two things; The first is to decrease your dependency on corporations who use factory's that pollute to produce your electricity, therefore decreasing the amount of pollution your responsible for, and the second is to help you save more money, so you can work less, and enjoy life more.
I know what your asking yourself, "Ive already cut corners, how can I save even more?" Well I take it that means your like I used to be... You turned down the thermostat in the house to save on heat, you turn off the A/C and open windows with fans on nice days, you carpool whenever possible, etc. Did you ever stop to consider replacing things?
Let's take a look at the simplest energy expense, "light." A standard 75w Incandescent bulb will run you about $0.80 and needs to be changed every 2 months. That's 6 light bulbs over the course of the year for that one socket. That's $4.80 just to keep a light bulb that works in the socket, not to mention the electricity it uses. All in all that one little socket will cost you about $14.00 of the course of a year, with standard incandescent bulbs.
If you were to switch to a compact florescent bulb with a 75w comparable output, it may cost you $2.00 at most (I get mine at wal-mart for $0.92). While this is initially higher in price (only slightly) it will last you for 3-5 years without needing to be changed, and will only use about 20w of actual power.
Heres the recap... Not counting electricity usage, over a 5 year span, a 75w incandescent will cost you $23.00 just to keep a working bulb, and a compact will cost you no more then $2.00... If you have 10 light sockets in your house, 5 years worth of standard light bulbs will run you $230.00 where compact florescent will run you $20.00. To me, its a no brainer.
Then you add in that over the span of its 5 year lifetime, you will use just over 1/4 of the power to light your home as you would with standard light bulbs, and the savings really pile up. The average statistic is that 20% of your electric bill is from lights. so if you pay $200 a month, that's $40 a month, or $480 a year on lighting your home. Now if you only have to pay one 4th of that amount, its $10 a month or $120 a year. so in electric bill costs, your saving $360 a year! times that by the 5 year lifespan, and by the time you need to replace those 10 bulbs, you'll have saved $1800.00 on your bill and $210.00 on bulbs... bring your grand total to $2010.00!!! That's the kind of saving that will let you take those kids on a Disney cruise!