1. Change your non-dimmable light bulbs from incandescents to compact fluorescents (CFLs). CFLs come in all shapes and sizes and even many shades of the color spectrum.
2. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees F. or 50 degrees C. If your water heater is not insulated, wrap an insulating blanket around it. If your water heater is gas, and not insulated, be sure to leave room for the air vent. Do not cover any venting pipes with a blanket.
3. Arrange to have an energy audit for your home or apartment, which can be done through most utility companies or through an independent contractor. This audit will tell you where and how you are wasting energy.
4. Get a programmable thermostat for your furnace or home heating system.
If your home or apartment is vacant all day, setting the heat to turn down while you are gone will save you money and energy.
5. Teach your kids about turning off lights and the TV when they leave a room.
6. Involve everyone in the family in using power strips. Computers, printers, DVD players, TVs, I-pods, phone chargers, adding machines, coffee makers, microwaves and just about any modern device all draw power even when they are turned off. If you plug the devices into a power strip and turn it off when not in use, you can save up to 10% on your energy bill.
7. Try to minimize the carbon-producing transportation patterns of your family. Do you take public Transportation? Do you carpool? Do you ride bikes other than for recreation?
8. Food buying patterns use energy too. Most food travels 1500 miles from farm to fork. Buy from the farmers market or Community Supported Agriculture when you can. Always take your own bag to the market, plastic is a petroleum product.
9. Water is another source of energy use. Take shorter showers or put a shut-off valve on the shower to turn it off while soaping, shampooing or shaving. Put a water-saver nozzle on your showerhead and all faucets. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth, (a great way to teach kids about not wasting water) or while shaving.
10. Using potable water from the hose to water lawns and plants can deplete your water supply, especially if you are in a drought region of the country. If you live in a place where you could collect rainwater, catch it in a barrel and use it for watering plants and landscaping. If you are landscaping, plant drought resistant plants using a method called xeriscaping.
Go Green: How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community
Gibbs Smith, Publisher, Layton, Utah 2008
Copyright © 2008 Nancy H. Taylor