Compost your kitchen
vegetable leftovers (no meats) and use them as
Sealing air leaks in
your home results in quick paybacks from energy savings and
greater comfort indoors. Fringe benefits are less
dust, less noise, fewer bugs and pests.
Instead of an aerosol
air freshener, douse cotton balls with oils, such as lavender,
citrus and rosemary, and tuck them around the
Baking soda and lemon
are natural alternatives to chemical cleaners.
Avoid using non-native
plants that may be invasive in your area.
Plant bamboo. Bamboo
produces more oxygen and sequesters more carbon than
trees. Non-invasive types from Florida are
Consider cloth diapers
for less environmental impact than disposables.
Bamboo provides another
alternative to traditional clothing materials. It's 100
percent biodegradable, super-soft and antibacterial.
Another bamboo bonus: no dry-cleaning necessary.
It takes about 80
gallons to clean a patio with a hose. Instead, use a broom and get
some exercise at the same time.
Have your family
establish one day each week as Energy Savers Day. Turn off
TVs, computers, video games and any other electronic
gadgets. Use the time to read or play games.
Have your children
research ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Many
organizations feature Kids Pages on their
Have a family picnic to
avoid using the stove or microwave.
Bike to the park instead
Buying locally grown or
produced foods, whether organic or not, is a boost to
local farmers and it saves on gallons of transport
Cook in bulk. If you
have to heat up the oven, do it for more than one dinner and
freeze meal-sized portions. This saves energy and
frees up your time.
BYOB - Bring your own
bag to the store.
Upgrade to a low-flow
toilet. Old toilets use 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. New
ones use 1.6 gallons. Figuring that each person
flushes five times a day, that's a savings of 27 gallons per day,
Upgrade your washing
machine. Old washing machines use 50 gallons per cycle.
New ones cut it almost in half, to 27 gallons.
Upgrade your dishwasher.
Old dishwashers use about 16 to 20 gallons of water
per cycle. New ones use 11 gallons.
refrigerator. A bottom-freezer refrigerator, for instance, is not
only cheaper to operate (a refrigerator is a major
power eater for houses) but provides more interior room in a better
configuration than a side-by-side.
Put in a hood fan and
vent to avoid heating up the kitchen and making your AC
Redo the kitchen smartly
with alternative materials. New kitchen cabinetry, floors
and utensils are being made out of sustainable
products like cork and bamboo, or recycled old wood or scrap
Renovate your home with
recycled and reclaimed materials. Use reclaimed
flooring, vintage light fixtures and products from
Grow your own food in a
home garden. Even if you've only got a little space, you
can grow tomatoes or green beans.
Use a hose with an
on/off nozzle. One unattended hose can pour out 600 gallons
of water an hour. Twenty unattended hoses can spew
out enough water in an hour to fill a small swimming pool.
For a green lawn, try
applying iron sulfate or chelated iron before using a
full-spectrum fertilizer. Iron may be all that is
required to green-up your grass.
two-to-three inches thick greatly reduces plants' water
Redirect gutters to
spill water away from paved areas to where its needed, on
flower beds, trees and shrubs.
Avoid fertilizers that
contain weed killer or insecticide. Instead, diagnose the problem
and apply a targeted product, or simply pull weeds by
Try using half your
usual amount of fertilizer. Many plants will respond fine and
you'll be reducing the amount that runs off into
streams and the ocean.
Don't fertilize your
grass until the rainy season begins. A fertilized lawn grows
more vigorously, which requires more water. When you
do fertilize, use a slow-release, water insoluble fertilizer that
isn't washed away in rain or irrigation.
Ditch the heavy-duty bug
killing sprays in favor of insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils
and products containing Bt, a bacterium that deflects
food-prep techniques to reduce energy use. A hand-grater works
even better than the food processor for most
Instead of using storage
bags to keep opened cheese and cold-cut packages, re-use
firm sturdy plastic boxes with lids.
Skip pre-packaged items
for school lunches and cut up your own cheese, meats
and veggies to cut down on wasteful packaging.
Use "green paints" at
home. These are Low VOC (volatile organic compound) or
Zero VOC paints.
refurbishing old items from yard sales reduces
Use distilled white
vinegar in place of chlorine-based cleaners. Distilled white
vinegar contains about 5 percent acetic acid, which
makes it a great stain remover.
Hybrid chargers let you
enjoy your gadgets courtesy of the sun's power.
Install a rain switch on
your sprinkler system, which shuts off the system after a
certain amount of rain.
Reduce your junk mail
stream by joining a no-send list.
appliances. Electronics use 40% of their full running power when
left on standby. Annually, this translates into an
energy loss equivalent to the output of 26 power plants.
Use compact fluorescent
light (CFL) bulbs. They use 2/3 less energy than
standard incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10
times longer. If every household in the U.S. replaced one light
bulb with a CFL, it would prevent enough pollution equal to taking
more than 800,000 cars off the road for an entire year.
Use outdoor lights with
a photocell unit or a timer so they will turn off during the
Turn off the water while
you are brushing your teeth or shaving. This can conserve
150 gallons of water each month, which is 1,800
gallons in a year.
Opt for a shower over a
bath. Filling the tub for a bath can use as much as 50 gallons
showerheads. They save 350 lbs. in CO2 emissions and
$150/year. They also use less than 2.5 gallons of water per minute,
about half as much as traditional showerheads.
Trade your hose for a
watering can to conserve water.
Taking your thermostat
down 2◦ in the winter and up 2◦ in the summer saves
2,000 lbs. in CO2 emissions and $98/year.
Trees that lose their
leaves in the fall (i.e., deciduous) are the most effective at
reducing heating and cooling energy costs. When
placed around a house, they provide excellent protection from the
summer sun but permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your house.
If only 5% of the U.S. population planted a tree, there would be
about 15 million more trees.
Cover liquids and wrap
foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods
release moisture and make the compressor work
Use electric griddles or
toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove
or oven. A toaster oven uses 1/3 as much energy as a
Buy products in the
largest size you can use. A family of four can save $2,000/year in
the supermarket by choosing large sizes instead of
individual serving sizes. This also reduces production of plastic
wrappers and boxes.