Actor Ed Begley Jr. doesn't just talk the talk when it comes to environmental activism.
Begley, the star of Plant Green network's "Living With Ed" and author of "Living Like Ed," is in the process of building a LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green home in California.
"What we're doing now is taking down the existing home on the site, a 1936 energy inefficient home that could never be made efficient," he says. He is working with Habitat for Humanity to salvage most of the home — 2-by-4s, boards, doors, windows and almost everything else will be reused — and the building is being disassembled, rather than bulldozed.
"We're going to divert 96 percent of the materials from the old home, divert them away from landfills."
Begley has been a leading voice in environmental and humanitarian causes for 30 years — his latest is 600million.org, an effort to curb the world's stray dog population — and is a go-to guy for anyone hoping to reduce their carbon footprint. We sat down with Begley and asked for five simple ways people can go greener. He had answers at the ready.
•"Lighting. Get energy-efficient light bulbs and put them in every fixture you can manage."
•"An energy-saving thermostat. Get a programmable thermostat — and actually program it!"
•"Bike riding, when weather and fitness permit. I ride not just for fun but for transportation. Many weeks I'll do 100 miles. That's a pretty average week, actually. (The bike) can be a junker. Just get a bike and get moving. Wear a helmet and obey the rules of the road. You can cancel your gym membership; the world is your gym."
•"Public transportation. I buy an annual pass for Los Angeles. In my travel bag, I'll have a CTA pass for when I come to Chicago. For Boston, I have a pass. In New York, I have a Metro card. In Washington, the Metro card. I was just in Portland, Ore., and I ride the MAX. Whatever city I'm in, I take public transportation."
•"Weather-stripping. Buy some weather-stripping at the hardware store and put it up around your doors and windows. You'll get that money back in a month or two, and you'll get savings for years and years."
Follow him on Twitter, @TheEdBegleyJr, and at edbegley.com; check out "Living With Ed" at pg.treehugger.com/tv/living-with-ed.