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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Personal impact
How the movement to protect the planet affects you.
Personal impact
5 worst excuses not to go green

Going green is a lot like losing weight. Many of us talk about doing it but when it comes right down to it we come up with myriad excuses.

5 favorite excuses
1. It's too expensive.
2. I can't make a difference.
3. It doesn't fit my lifestyle.
4. Green products don't work.
5. I don't know where to start.

Surveys show most Americans recognize the environmental crisis and they're concerned about global warming. But to actually do something about it? Excuses abound.

Following are the five most prevalent excuses for not going green, why they're cop-outs and simple steps for shedding them.

Excuse No. 1: 'It's too expensive.'
Some people think greening their home means installing "fancy-schmancy" things like solar panels, but it's simpler than that, says Jenny Powers, spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

For example, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs cost more upfront (an estimated $2 to $15, for specialty bulbs), but they last 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs, she notes. CFL bulbs use 75 percent less energy, resulting in savings of $30 or more in electricity costs during the life of each bulb, according to data from the federal government's Energy Star program.

"So you'll be paying a lot less on your energy bill, and over time you'll more than make up for your cost," Powers says.

Seeing the potential savings in the long run is a way to get beyond this excuse, says Edwin Stafford, associate professor of marketing at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, who studies green marketing.

Powers says you can look for products with the Energy Star seal because they are more energy-efficient and will result in savings on your electric bill.

Almost 10 percent of the waste at dump sites consists of telephone books.

"It doesn't mean switching to solar power or putting up a wind turbine in your yard," she says. "Those are great things to do, but it's not necessary."

Thomas Kostigen, co-author of "The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time," notes that even turning down the thermostat a degree lower for the heat and a degree higher for air conditioning can save approximately $100 a year on your utility bill.

Excuse No. 2: 'My individual effort won't make a difference.'
Just look at the statistics. Americans saved enough energy in 2006 to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million cars, according to Energy Star data. These efforts also saved $14 billion on their utility bills.

-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007
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