Anyone can learn to conserve energy. If you already take action to preserve our resources, review this list for other “green” strategies to incorporate into your life. Try a couple of ideas first, then expand to others. If you need motivation, research your personal carbon footprint and think of ways to reduce it.
Appliances and Power
Unplug appliances when they aren’t being used. Televisions, DVD players, toasters, kitchen appliances and other equipment all use small amounts of power even when they aren’t turned on. This usage is called “standby power” or “vampire power” and can account for as much as 20 percent of a household’s energy bill.
Combine appliance outlets into one main power strip to use less power. To prevent the strip from leeching electricity, switch it off or unplug it when the appliances aren’t in use.
Upgrade major appliances to more energy-efficient models. There’s an increased cost up front, but the savings over the years on your energy bill should easily surpass the sum.
Install storm windows and caulk window frames so less heat escapes during cold weather. Even small holes or cracks can result in a big loss of energy and produce a heating bill that’s more than 10 percent higher than it would be otherwise.
Put electric space heaters in rooms that aren’t frequently used. Turning down the thermostat in those areas will cut energy costs.
Turning down the thermostat during the day while you’re at work can save as much as 10 percent on your monthly heating bills. You can save even more by bundling up under blankets when you go to sleep and keeping the house cooler.
Bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store and use them to carry your goods. About 100 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year; using cloth bags saves on the petroleum needed to make the plastic.
Bicycle or walk instead of driving whenever possible. Even fuel-efficient cars emit carbon on a short trip–up to 20 pounds of carbon per gallon of gas. If you begin walking or biking to places near your house to which you usually drive, you can reduce carbon emissions by 50 pounds per week.
If your destination is far away, take the bus or another form of public transportation. These larger vehicles are more efficient per gallon of gas used since they carry more passengers.