Community Resources & Solutions for Green Living in Southern New Mexico

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Viva Verde Guide: Green Tips

Eating Locally: 10 Ways to Become a “Locavore”
Five Ways to Support the Green Economy and Do Your Share for Climate Protection
Money Saving Gas Tips
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Take advantage of low-income weatherization services  
Ten Actions to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home
Ten No-Cost to Low-Cost Actions for Saving Money and Energy at Home
Water Conservation

Eating Locally: 10 Ways to Become a “Locavore”
(Adapted from, Community and “Yes! I Want to Eat Locally Grown Food” by Susan Van Auken)

One fifth of all of the oil used in the US is used by the agricultural sector to produce food and to transport it to market and ultimately to our tables. By eating locally and organically and paying attention to how we prepare our food, we can eat more healthily, support our local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint of the food we consume. Incorporate these tips into your life to make the most of local food in your diet:

1. Know where your food comes from by reading labels and talking to your grocer.
2. Grow your own food by starting a kitchen garden, container garden, or seasonal garden or growing vegetables and greens in a cold frame during the winter.
3. Buy from your local farmer’s market
4. Buy food from a farmer at the farm or through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program
5. Buy food at the grocery store looking for “locally-produced” signs
6. Eat seasonally to take advantage of foods harvested locally.
7. Prepare your meals from basic ingredients that haven’t been highly processed and therefore haven’t used a lot of energy in their production.
8. Store fresh foods for long-term storage through cold storage, dehydration, canning, and freezing.
9. Raise your own animal protein by keeping laying hens or raising goats.
10. Accept the “Eat Local Challenge” by making a commitment to eating local year round.

Five Ways to Support the Green Economy and Do Your Share for Climate Protection

The Green Economy offers us new opportunities to fix our economic crisis, develop energy independence and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Investments in clean technologies, renewable energy and environmental restoration projects can create millions of new jobs, improve our infrastructure, enhance our environment, and contribute to sustainable communities.

Do your share to support the green economy by following these simple tips:

1. Buy local and choose green on your purchases over conventional products and services. Shop the local green businesses found in the Viva Verde Guide and help build the local green economy.
2. Buy green power. Purchase green power from your local utility and help support green power generation in New Mexico!
3. Invest responsibly with “socially responsible investments” that recognize corporate responsibility and social and environmental impacts.
4. Invest with local financial institutions. Open a bank account with a local bank or credit union and keep your money in your community.
5. Build community by supporting local organizations and efforts that help to make our communities more sustainable and protect our environment and quality of life.

Money Saving Gas Tips
(Adapted from Alliance to Save Energy at
How you choose to get from point A to point B affects your carbon footprint. If you drive a car, how you drive and maintain your vehicle can affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and gas costs. Consider these no-cost to low-cost tips and other transportation options to save money and energy!

No Cost:
Avoid rapid acceleration, speeding, and rapid breaking as these habits can reduce your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town. This translates to a savings of $60 - $190 in gas costs.
Turn down the air conditioning. Operating the air conditioner on “max” decreases your gas mileage by 25%.
Reduce your vehicle miles travelled by just 5% and save $65/year on gasoline. Walk, ride a bike, take public transit, or carpool instead.
Decrease your speed. Gas mileage decreases significantly above 60 mph. Each 5 miles per hour above 60 mph is like spending an additional 25 cents per gallon on gasoline. * Reduce drag from carrying items on the roof and extra weight in the trunk. A loaded roof rack or carrier increases weight and aerodynamic drag, which can cut mileage by 5%. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk cuts a typical vehicle‘s fuel economy by up to 2%. * Inflate Your Tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated is simple and improves gas mileage by around 3%, saving up to 20 gallons of gasoline, or up to $45. * Combine trips into one. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice the amount of gasoline as one multi-purpose trip taken when the vehicle is warmed up and running efficiently.

Low Cost

* Tune up your car regularly and improve your gas mileage by 4% * Check and replace your car’s air filters regularly

Other Transportation Options

* Share a ride. Set up a car pool or share a long-distance ride on * Get on the bus. Use public transit to get to work and save on gas costs. * Telecommute to work twice a week and save an average $250 on gasoline costs. * Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle. Consult EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide at to help you choose the right fuel-efficient vehicle for you.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Our “stuff” takes energy and water to produce, can create toxic by-products, and fill up our landfills with waste. Follow the three R’s to save money and help build a healthy environment.

1. Think before you buy and ask yourself if you really need that gadget.
2. Buy in bulk and reduce wasteful packaging.
3. Reuse, fix or repurpose your stuff before purchasing anything new.
4. Shop at thrift stores, yard sales, and consignment shops to turn someone’s unwanted stuff into your next treasure.
5. Reduce the amount of unsolicited mail in your mailbox and go paperless by eliminating unwanted catalogs at or junk mail at
6. Recycle half of your waste and save one ton of carbon annually.
7. Compost your household food waste and use the compost in your garden.
8. Use reusable shopping bags when you go to the grocery store rather than paper or plastic bags that create a litter problem and require billions of gallons of oil or millions of trees to produce.
9. Pack a waste-free lunch for your kids, saving 67 pounds of waste per child every school year! Use reusable carriers and containers, thermos for drinks, a cloth napkin to launder and reuse, and silverware to wash and reuse.
10. Recycle your cell phone and other e-waste. Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream at landfills around the world

Take advantage of low-income weatherization services

The Weatherization Assistance Program is a federal grant program that helps low income customers save energy and reduce their home energy costs. After completing an energy audit, the Weatherization Assistance Program will provide income-qualified customers with free installation of energy saving products, such as air leakage reduction measures, insulation, lighting, refrigerators, storm doors and windows, heating and cooling modifications and health and safety measures. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 raised the qualifying income threshold to 200% of the federal poverty level and the cap on weatherization expense to $6500. For Catron, Doña Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra, Socorro counties, contact the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico to fill out an application for weatherization assistance.

Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico
3880 Foothills Rd. Suite A,
Las Cruces, NM 88011
575.523.1639 ex.11; 866.789.2381

Ten Actions to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Energy, residential buildings account for 21 percent of primary energy use in the United States and 35 percent of the nation’s electricity use. A significant portion of this energy could be saved by increasing the energy efficiency of new and existing homes.

1. Seal air leaks by installing weather stripping and caulking around doors, windows and your home’s foundation. Consult the ENERGY STAR Home Sealing Guide for more information at
2. Seal and insulate ducts. Seal air duct leaks with duct sealant. In addition, insulating ducts that run through spaces that get hot in summer or cold in winter (like attics, garages, or crawlspaces) can save significant energy.
3. Insulate your attic, unfinished basement walls and crawlspaces. You can save up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs by insulating and air sealing.
4. Improve your appliances by purchasing ENERGY STAR-certified appliances. Visit to help you select the right appliance for you.
5. Replace single pane windows with low-e coated or ENERGY STAR windows. Alternatively, storm windows can reduce your winter heat loss by 25 – 50 percent.
6. Change your heating and cooling system air filters regularly so that your system runs efficiently.
7. Install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat and save about $180 per year on your energy bill by use pre-programmed settings.
8. Tune up your heating and cooling equipment annually so that it runs efficiently.
9. Plant trees around your home that shade in the summer and permit solar access in winter.
10. Upgrade your heating and cooling system to an ENERGY STAR qualified system to save up to $200 per year on your energy bill.

Ten No-Cost to Low-Cost Actions for Saving Money and Energy at Home
The largest use of electricity in the average U.S. household is for appliances (including refrigerators and lights), which consume approximately two thirds of all electricity used in the residential sector. Take these simple actions to save money and energy and reduce your carbon footprint at home (adapted from the Alliance to Save Energy).

1. Turn off the lights, computers, TVs and other appliances when not in use.
2. Wash your clothes in cold water. You won’t notice a difference in your clothes and you’ll save 90% of the energy used by washing in cold water rather than hot water.
3. Use the clothesline to dry your clothes rather than a dryer.
4. Use the microwave. A microwave uses one-third the energy of a conventional oven.
5. Switch out incandescent light bulbs to energy saving Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs) and save $68 per year.
6. Run your dishwasher only when full.
7. Adjust the thermostat. Raise it by a degree in the summer and lower it a degree in the winter saving $55 annually.
8. Turn down your gas hot water heater and wrap it with a water tank insulation blanket to save 25% on your energy bill every year. US households could save $32 billion per year.
9. Eliminate “phantom loads”. Because many appliances still use electricity in standby mode, you may be wasting as much as $200 per year by keeping these appliances plugged in. How to get rid of these energy vampires? Plug all electronic equipment into a power strip, and turn it off when not in use. Unplug cell phone and iPod chargers.
10. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying new appliances and consumer electronics to be sure that minimum energy efficiency specifications are met.

Water Conservation

According to the NM Office of the State Engineer, New Mexicans use more than 120 billion gallons of water per year for household use. Not only is water a scarce commodity here in the arid Southwest, but water also affects our energy use through water pumping, water treatment and heating for hot water. By reducing our water use, we can therefore also save energy and lower our carbon footprint. Fortunately, it has been demonstrated that residential water use can be reduced by 50% through simple efficiency measures.

How to save water indoors (adapted from the Rocky Mountain Institute at

No cost – low cost (under $10)

* limit shower time to 5 minutes or less
* Don’t let the water run when washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc.
* Displace water in your toilet tank with a half-gallon plastic bottle or a “toilet bag” designed to displace 0.8 gallons of water with every flush
* install an on/off valve between the shower arm and showerhead to save water while soaping up;
* put low-flow aerators on all faucets
* Fix toilet and faucet leaks
* Run your dishwasher only when fully loaded and scrape food residue rather than rinse

$10 - $50

* Install a low-flow showerhead (less than 2 gallons/minute)

Higher cost

* Replace your old toilet with a very low flow, dual flush, or composting toilet
* Buy energy and water efficient appliances – Look for the Energy Star and WaterSense labels. Consult and to help you purchase the most efficient appliances.

How to save water outdoors (Adapted from NM Office of the State Engineer)

Low Cost (under $10)

* Don’t overwater
* Water during the early morning or late evening
* Position sprinklers correctly so you don’t water the street or sidewalk
* Use a shut off nozzle when washing your car
* Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks
* Adjust your automatic irrigation controller every month as plants don’t need as much water during the monsoons as they might in June.

Higher Cost

* Convert your lawn to a less-thirsty native grass such as blue grama or buffalograss or xeriscape with drought-tolerant native plants.
* Install a water-efficient drip irrigation system





Viva Verde c/o Gila Resources Information Project
305A North Cooper Street • Silver City, NM 88061 • p/f 575.538.8078