Go Green

How do you save energy, save resources, limit emissions, help the environment? Read information on the Sustainable section of the city website.

Submit Your Ideas

Have an idea? send it in! Employee Center contact form - please include your name. Thanks for all the great suggestions! Keep them coming.

Energy-Saving Tips

  • Replace your out-dated water heater with a tankless water heater. Most of the energy used in a 50- or 80-gallon water heater is in the reheating process. In addition the water that sits idle in your tank can lead to corrosion of your heating element. Tip by Wendell Hardin
  • Give Up the Clothes Dryer Cost: $0. The second biggest household energy user, after the refrigerator, is the clothes dryer. Overdrying your clothes can end up costing you money as well. (As much as $70,000 over your lifetime, according to the Green Cheapskate.) An electric dryer operating an extra 15 minutes a load can cost you up to $34 a year in wasted energy; a gas dryer, $21 a year. When using the dryer, clear the lint filter after each load and dry only full loads of clothes. Dry heavy fabrics separately from lighter ones, and don't add wet clothing in the middle of the drying cycle. And remember that hanging clothing outside in the sun and air to dry is the most energy-efficient method - or use a folding indoor rack all year long. Tip by Randy Rogers.
  • Check for Leaks in Your Toilet Cost: $0. Most of us would be surprised to find out that one in every five toilets leak, and since the leaks are usually silent, you probably have no idea if your toilet is leaking. A leaking toilet can waste anywhere between 30 and 500 gallons of water every day, so any leak should be repaired. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which can be replaced by any amateur DIY-er! Tip by Randy Rogers.
  • Lower the Temp in Your Fridge Cost: $0. As one of the biggest appliances in your kitchen, the refrigerator is also one of the most power hungry, accounting for 10 to 15% of the average home energy bill each month. Get your fridge running in tip-top shape. First, set the refrigerator thermostat to maintain a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees (F). This temperature will protect your food from spoiling while saving electricity. Twice a year, clean the condenser coil at the back of your fridge. Condenser coils tend to get dusty, making them less efficient. Tip by Randy Rogers

Additional Tips

  • Save money and resources by sending the cityscene to employees electronically (PDF document via email). This will reduce printing and paper costs and will reduce waste. Todd Kneller (what do you all think?) [Editor's Note that cityscene is already available as a PDF here on the Employee Center.]
  • Buy rain barrels to collect rain and water that runs out of your gutters, and then use that water for watering plants, garden, etc. You can buy them from Home Depot or other lawn and garden stores or make your own!  Tip by Rebekah Ricardo.
  • When you are waiting to pick you child up from school (or waiting in any other situation), do not let your engine idle. By stopping your engine, you are saving emissions (twice as much emissions when stopped as when the car is moving), saving gasoline, and saving on oil.
  • Install a water heater timer (such as Intermatic) to save energy. They cost less than $50, and pay for themselves quickly! Tip by Carol Brooks.
  • I got a small convection/toaster oven to use for smaller things to greatly cut down on the need to heat up and use my full size oven. It saves time as well as energy, because it takes much less time to preheat, and it does a great job for things that don't work well in the microwave!  Tip by Gail Johnson.
  • I have been hanging my towels, sheets, blankets, jeans and any other heavyweight wash items to dry outside in the sun. It has reduced my electric bill substantially and also is good for the environment. Except for rain; I have been able to do this all year round! Big savings; good for the environment!  Tip by Nancy Zwick.
  • Put a mulching blade on your lawnmower and mulch your leaves and clippings to help your yard's soil all year 'round.  Tip by Gail Tuttle.
  • Change the lights in your home to Flourescent bulbs. They cost more but in the long run you will save. The key difference between Fluorescent and Incandescent is how they "create" light. Fluorescent bulbs outlast up to 13 incandescent or halogen bulbs.
  • Check the Facts! A compact fluorescent may cost more to purchase than an incandescent, but that's where the story ends. Compacts can typically save 8 to 12 times their cost. Tip by Wade Geouge.
  • If you do not have curbside leaf or yard-waste pickup and want to avoid using plastic bags to hold the leaves or clippings, Home Depot sells 30-gallon paper bags. Tip by Diane Godfrey.
  • Stop using plastic trash bags in areas where only dry trash is generated. It takes the same amount of oil and energy to produce 14 plastic bags as to drive a car 1 mile. Tip by Monica Hayes.
  • Plant a Tree(s)!! Tip by Jennifer Ann John.
  • People can take the stairs instead of the elevator. It is convenient to hop on the elevator, but the stairs do not require electricity to operate. I'm guilty of this as well, but from here on out I'll be taking the stairs. Tip by Jack M. Fitzgerald.
  • We wear sweaters or sweatshirts in our home, turn the thermostat down several degrees, and use small space heaters in the bathrooms for a short time when showering to keep from being too chilly. We also turn off our plasma TV and other electronics at the power strip or light switch when not in use. Tip by Gail Johnson
  • Energy savings - Fill a half-gallon jug with water, and place it in your toilet tank. It will save you 1/2 gallon of water with each flush! Tip by Carol Brooks.
  • Take mass transit to work (and around town) by using the Winston-Salem Transit Authority (WSTA) busses or the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) Express routes. There is a new route between Yadkinville and Winston-Salem. Check it out at the PART website. Tip by Amy Mason.
  • My wife and I bought a water-efficient washing machine. We got a pleasant surprise in that it not only uses less water, but it spins much faster and removes more water out of the laundry. It now takes much less time to dry them, lowering our electricity bill significantly. It won't take long for the washing machine to pay for itself with savings in water and electricity!! Tip by Randy Rogers.
  • I have collected recycled paper (printed on 1 side) here at work, having IKON cut it in half and then glue cardboard on it for notepads. Tip by Tina S. Chappell.
  • We collect once-used full sheets of paper and send them to IKON to bind and quarter. This replaces legal pads and scratch paper. Tip by Ed McNeal.
  • Rather than throw away items that could be used for crafts, I donate them to an elementary school (quantities of large-size paper, craft sticks, glitter and glue, acrylic paints). Tip by Lynette Shaull.
  • Recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles, use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) instead of lightbulbs, use canvas bags to carry groceries. Tip by Diane H. Williford.
  • Print 2-sided (go to the printer properties to set "print both sides")
  • Turn off your workstation when you go home
  • Walk to lunch instead of driving out to eat or bring your lunch