Conserving energy at home
-Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action.
-Set your water heater no higher than 120°F. That can save another 550 lbs CO2 per year.
-Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s). A 15-watt CFL produces as much light as a standard 60-watt bulb. Though CFL’s are more expensive than regular bulbs, but they last up to ten times longer so they are cheaper in the long run.
CFL’s also save energy because they produce much less heat than standard bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are only 10% efficient – that means that only 10% of the electricity they burn produces light – the other 90% produces only heat. CFL’s convert 50% to 60% of the electricity they use into light. So switching to CFL’s will also mean your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep the house cool. If every household in the US replaced one standard light bulb with a CFL, it would reduce CO2 emissions as much as removing one million cars from the road.
4. --Don’t leave lights burning in rooms you are not in – get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room for more than ten minutes.
-Install motion sensing switches that will turn off lights in a room that is unoccupied for more than a specified amount of time.
-Control bathroom fans with timers.
7. --Replace your old refrigerator. New energy-efficient refrigerators will save enough electricity to completely pay for themselves in less than two years.
When you buy new appliances, choose models with the EnergyStar label. They consume much less energy and water than standard appliances.
-Reduce standby power waste. Many appliances, including your television, DVD player, stereo, cell phone charger, and computer consume as much as 25% of their energy when they aren’t even turned on. In fact, the energy used just to keep display clocks lit and memory chips working accounts for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption and spews 18 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year. You can conserve this electricity by plugging them into power strips that can be switched off when you’re not using them.
Improve your home’s insulation.
-Check for air leaks around windows and electrical switches and outlets and seal the leaks with caulk. Numerous small air leaks around your house can loose as much heat as leaving a window open.
Set your thermostats two degrees lower in the winter. If you feel cold, put on a sweater rather than turning up the heat.
Use programmable thermostats to turn down the heat by at least five degrees at night and while you are at work or school.
Use less air conditioning in the summer. Open the windows and use an electric fan if needed. Try to use the AC only on extremely hot days, and set the thermostat a couple of degrees higher than usual.
Water your lawn at dawn instead of in the middle of the day. Less of the water will evaporate before it gets down to the roots, so you won't need to water as often.
Use a timer to shut off sprinklers, and avoid over-watering - since the excess water doesn’t provide any value to the grass. In fact, too much water is worse for the lawn than not enough.
Take showers instead of baths – the average shower uses much less water than filling a tub.
Switch to Low-flow shower heads – they use half the water and the newer models provide ample pressure. And the less water you use, the less energy your water heater will use. For a family of four, this can add up to hundreds of dollars per year in energy savings in addition to saving thousands of gallons of water.
Make sure your toilet isn’t leaking – if it doesn’t shut off completely after flushing, a single leaky toilet can waste 30,000 gallons of water per year.
Turn the water off while you brush your teeth. You’ll save nearly 2,000 gallons of water a year.
Indoor Air Quality
When you paint the inside of your house, use low-VOC or zero-VOC paints. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. VOC’s are what gives paint and other materials their odor. Exposure to VOC’s can cause allergic reactions and a variety of other health problems.
Reduce or eliminate other sources of VOC’s such as plastics, synthetic fabrics and carpets. New synthetic carpets, for example, have such a strong odor because they of-gas large amounts of VOC's.
Control indoor humidity. Check to see if your basement is damp. Make sure there are no leaks in the roof or around windows or doors. Keep your rain gutters clean and make sure they direct the water away from the foundation. High humidity promotes the growth of mold and mildew, both of which are major causes of allergies and asthma – especially in children.
Replace the air filters on your heating and cooling systems regularly for maximum efficiency.
Upgrade to 5” thick pleated air filters or electrostatic air cleaners for improved indoor air quality.
26. Contact your local utility and ask for a free home energy audit.
Conserving energy on the Road
27. Drive less. You can eliminate 1,000 lbs of carbon emissions per year by driving 20 miles less per week. Walk more. Shop online. Carpool.
Avoid commuting in rush hour. All that idling and stop-and-go driving wastes a lot of gas. It doesn’t do your blood pressure much good, either.
Drive slower. You can increase your gas mileage dramatically just by lightening up your foot.
30. Drive more gently; accelerate and brake more gradually. Aggressive driving can lower your fuel efficiency by up to 37%.
Keep your car tuned up and your tires properly inflated.
32. Next time you buy a car, choose one with higher fuel efficiency than the one you currently drive. Does anyone really need a Hummer?
Fly less. Trains are twice as energy efficient as airplanes, and usually much more comfortable.
More ways to protect the environment and stop global warming
Buy less stuff.
Avoid buying disposable products.
37. Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store. It takes more than 10 million barrels of oil and 15 million trees per year to produce all of the paper and plastic grocery bags that end up our landfills.
Buy locally produced food.
Plant a vegetable garden.
Plant trees and give trees as gifts (http://www.arborday.org)
Mow your lawn with a push-mower. Gas lawn mowers spew all sorts of pollutants into the air and into your lungs. You’ll breathe easier, pollute less, save money, and get some exercise in the bargain.
42. Use a gas barbecue instead of a charcoal grill. It’s healthier, much less polluting, and saves rainforest trees that are cut down to produce charcoal.
Eat less meat. Beef production is highly water and energy-intensive. And livestock produces 20% of the methane (the second most common greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere.
Buy re-usable mesh coffee filters instead of disposable paper filters.
Wash your clothes in cold or warm water. Avoid the hot-water setting on your washing machine.
Air-dry some of your laundry. Clothes dryers consume huge amounts of energy.
Run your dishwasher only when full and don’t bother rinsing dishes in the sink. The dishwasher will work just as well and you’ll save thousands of gallons of water per year.
48. Generate some of your own electricity with photovoltaic panels. Many states, including Connecticut, will pay for up to half the cost of residential solar-electric systems. Federal tax rebates further reduce the cost.
Buy the rest of your electricity from clean energy sources. Go to www.gocleanenergy.com where for pennies per day you can sign up to buy either 50% or 100% of your electricity from clean energy providers who generate electricity with wind power, small scale hydro-electric plants, and landfill gas – all renewable resources.
50. If you’re in the market f or a new computer, consider a laptop. Laptop computers use only 10% as much the electricity as desktop models.
Turn off the television and read a book.
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