Ways to reduce your impact
Change to CFLs
. Compact fluorescents are a type of fluorescent lamp that uses less energy than a normal incandescent. They have a longer life than incandescent light bulbs, and in the United States, a CFL can save over US$30 in electricity costs over the lamp s lifetime. This is compared to an incandescent lamp and save 2000 times their own weight in Greenhouse Gases.
Up 2 degress in summer 2 down in winter
. Heating and cooling is responsible for a large percentage of a household s energy consumption. Turn up your thermometer in warm weather. An average thermostat temperature for warmer weather is at around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are not at home most of the day, you can turn the temperature up to reduce the cooling that your house makes during the day. The opposite goes for cooler weather. 68 degrees Fahrenheit is about average where you should have your temperature. Each degree below the 68 mark reduces 3% 5% more heating energy consumption. Just wear an extra sweater if you feel a little bit colder than usual.
Recycle your junk mail
. As a future college student, my brother, my sister, and I receive about 5 letters a day regarding colleges. We usually do not read most of them because most are either too far away, or we are interested in those colleges. Recycle those letters! Don t throw them away Contact your local recycling center, and ask them if they have any tips on recycling, and junk mail recycling. Ask them about electronics recycling days, or pickups. Throwing out old electronics is dangerous, and they would usually just end up in a landfill. Don t let that happen, ask your recycling center how to recycle them the right way.
Dont let your water continue running
. As you are brushing your teeth, washing your face, washing your hands, etc... turn the water off when you are not using it. Brushing takes two minutes. During that two minutes, valuable water is going to waste. Turn that faucet off, and turn it on to clean your tooth brush! It saves 4 gallons a minute. That s 200 gallons a week for a family of four. Turn the faucet off when you lather up to wash your hands...even when you are showering! Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 100 gallons a week. If you are letting the water heat up in your shower, you can collect the cold water and use it for plants, or other uses that you use water for around your house. The point here is, don t keep your water running when you are not using it. If it is running, do something useful with that water.
Make a Compost pile
. The use of compost for planting, adds water holding organic matter to the soil. it feeds the soil micro organisms that help the soil and the plants stay healthy. It also reduces your yard and kitchen scraps that you would normally throw away. I made a list of the Instructables that are how to build a compost pile
Unplug unused electronics
. Unplug your electronics when you are not using them. Believe it or not, your television uses energy when it is on standby. Unplug your television overnight, or when you are out at work and not using it. Plug it back in during prime time! Blenders, toasters, soldering irons, hair dryers, curlers, straighteners, chargers, etc... You can save a lot of money on energy if you just pull the plug on your electronic devices.
Plant a tree
. Plant a tree! What a novel idea! Especially because it absorbs a ton of carbon dioxide over it s lifetime! Trees also produce shade, which can lower your energy costs 10 15%. They absorb in the gas that is contributing to global warming. Trees release oxygen in to the atmosphere as well. Trees really are useful
. Buy locally grown and produced foods. The energy used to transport foods from all over the world is extremely high. By buying locally, you save fuel, as well as help out your community economically. Farming is not a wealthy occupation, but by buying local goods, you can jump start your community economically.
Use masstransit carpool walking biking
. Driving 10 percent less, by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transit, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.2 to 0.8 tonnes per year, depending on the vehicle. Individual driving can get expensive. If one person can reduce the amount they drive, their carbon footprint is extremely lower than one who drives everyday. Electric scooters are also a very good alternative.
Make sure your tires are inflated
. Driving with deflated tires reduces your gas mileage by up to 3%. You will get to your destination faster, and you will have less of a carbon footprint. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Use a line to dry your clothes
. Instead of using the energy of your clothes drier, use a clothes line to dry your clothes.
Turn off the pilot flame of your gas furnace in the summer
. Thanks to iwilltry s instructable on turning the pilot flame of your gas furnace, this is a good tip! From his instructable Most gas furnaces in operation today still have a continuous pilot flame. Turning off the pilot flame in the summer is easy to do and well worth the effort, but very few people do it, mostly because they don t know how and aren t aware that they should.
Use Tote bags when you shop
. Purchase a tote bag to take with you when you go shopping. Use these so you do not have to waste the paper or plastic bags. If you do use plastic bags, re use them. Use something like this plastic bag recycler, to reuse your plastic bags.
Install low flow sink and faucet aerators
. Install sink and faucet aerators to conserve water. Installation is easy, and the effects are great! You can reduce your home water consumption as much as 50%, and reduce your energy cost of heating the water also by as much as 50%.
Full loads of dish washing and clothes cleaning
. Fill your loads of dishes and clothes in their cleaners. They use a good amount of water, so use them to their fullest potential. Air dry your dishes, as well as your clothes. Dryers also consume a good amount of energy.
Get rid of excess weight in your car
. Excess weight in your car decreases the gas mileage your can achieve. If you have golf clubs, equipment, people... Anyway, extra, unnecessary weight decreases potential gas mileage. Get rid of that junk, and improve your gas mileage
Throw away bottle caps
. Removal of the cap allows for evaporation and prevents retention of residual liquid. Extra liquid causes a number of problems: it adds weight, which adds to the energy (and fossil fuel emissions) necessary to transport the recyclables; it creates a mess and causes injuries in the recycling plant.
Turn off the lights when you leave the room
. This is a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when people leave lights on when they are not using them. 30% of a home s energy usage comes from the lighting. Turning the lights off when you leave the room can dramatically reduce the amount of energy used for lighting.
. Purchase appliances that have the Energy Star logo (below) on the product. It means that the appliance meets or exceeds standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Air Seal your home
. Air sealing is when you close all potential gaps, where heating and cooling can escape. Doing this can stop drafts, reduce noise, but most importantly, it decreases the amount of energy lost through poor sealing. Once you are sealed efficiently, then you can properly insulate your home
Insulate your walls
. Insulating your walls can save you hundreds of dollars on heating and cooling costs each year. Insulating the attic will help people in both warm and cool climates save money because you will not be spending more money to heatcool that attic space as well.
. Maintain your air conditioning and heating systems by changing air filters and keeping your air conditioner coils clean. Energy is lost when air conditioners and hot air furnaces have to work harder to draw air through dirty filters. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5 percent of the energy used. That could save 175 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Cheap Insulation Rugs
. Do you have an old house? Use nice oriental rugs for inexpensive insulation.
. Use power strips for easy onoff switching of televisionsstereosDVD playerscable boxesetc... Their standby consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.
Computer sleep mode and hibernate mode
. Enable the sleep mode feature on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity. In Windows, the power management settings are found on your control panel. Mac users, look for energy saving settings under system preferences in the apple menu. Configure your computer to hibernate automatically after 30 minutes or so of inactivity. The hibernate mode turns the computer off in a way that doesn t require you to reload everything when you switch it back on. Allowing your computer to hibernate saves energy and is more time efficient than shutting down and restarting your computer from scratch.
Printing and Photocopying
. If allowed, print and photocopy on both sides of the paper. I hate it when I get a test at school that has just one side printed on. Save a few trees, print on both sides.
If you can use recycled paper
. Paper products are the most widely used products in society today. We cannot forget that paper is made from one of the most valuable resource on the planet. Several energy intensive steps must be performed to finally produce a paper sheet. GreenLine Paper Company is one of the leading recycled paper distributors in USA. You can buy their environmental friendly recycled paper products from their website.
Clean fridge or freezer coils
. Dusty coils (at the back of your refrigerator) make it work harder than necessary. If you just dust them off, or clean them, their efficiency will improve.
Brooms before Hoses
. Brooms before Hoses man! Using a broom to sweep sidewalks, driveways, and other walkways will save 150 gallons or more of water each time. If you do it once a week, that is close to 600 gallons a month. All for really, an unnecessary use.
Shorten your showers
. Long showers feel great, but long energy bills do not. Shorten up your showers, estimates show that even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
Dont use so much detergant
. Using more detergent = more rinsing water. Use as little detergent as you can. Just add a some more elbow grease
Lawn mower blades
. Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation. Saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month. As much as you like short grass, think about how many times you actually use your lawn. Not very often right? So make your blades of grass a little higher, and help the environment
Wash your car on the lawn
. If you choose to wash your car, do it on the lawn. Not only will your car be clean, it will water the grass. Your other alternative is to go to a car wash that recycles their water. (Which most do) Try not to wash your car on your driveway. The water does no good there.
Limit your play with the hose
. When you play with the hose for unnecessary reasons, you are wasting 10 gallons of water per minute.
Dont defrost food with running water
. Not defrosting your frozen foods with water saves 50 to 150 gallons a month. Defrost it on your counter, and take that time to read some new Instructables.
Cold water cycle
. Rinse and wash clothes using your clothes washer s cold water cycle. This reduces the energy needed to heat the water up.
. Dehumidifiers take the humidity out of the air, and give you fresh water! I use ours during the summer, and the amount of water we produce is amazing! But please note that this still uses energy, almost as much as an air conditioner. I added it because it is another way to receive water, without taking it from wellspublic water supplies.
. Keep the freezer full of something, such as loaves of bread or milk jugs filled with water, to keep the cold air from falling out when the door is opened.
Pressure cookers and microwaves
. Try to use pressure cookers and microwaves whenever possible. Pressure cookers cut time by 66%, while microwaves uses less than half the energy than a conventional oven. Though, microwaves sometimes make my bread soggy.
Cool down your spa when you are not using it
. Reduce the heat of your spas during the day when you are not using it. Raise the heat when you feeling like using the spa. Keeping it hot all day uses a good amount of energy.
Get Tested dont be afraid to ask
. Get your ducts tested, as well as your attic and insulation. An expert can probably do a better job than you, so just use an expert to get tips on how to improve your heating and cooling costs.
Low Wattage is good wattage
. Wherever you can, try to use low wattage light bulbs. Low wattage means low energy. Your energy company charges you for kilowattshour, so don t be caught using too many watts.
Your Chemical Non Romance
. Try to use non toxic products around your house. Toxic chemicals poured into the ground are harder to purify than non toxic ones. Try to use water based products. They are the safest.Use low phosphate or phosphate free detergents. Take unwanted household chemicals to hazardous waste collection centers; do not pour them down the drain. Pouring chemicals down the drain may disrupt your septic system or else contaminate treatment plant sludge.
Combine errands and trips
. Trips back and forth to soccer practice and dance recitals and lacrosse practice takes a toll not only on the car, but also on the carbon emissions. Limit the trips you take. Scheduling properly is key, so try not to get caught driving to and from a site multiple times.
Get regular engine tuneups
. Tuneups improve performance as well as gas mileage. Make sure you go to your scheduled maintenance dates. Some other ways to improve your gas mileage are: fix problems due to worn spark plugs,dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, or the transmission not going into high gear.
. To reduce the pollution that is caused from your vehicle, you should accelerate and decelerate smoothly. Anticipate stops and starts at traffic lights. We all can t avoid being in traffic, but if you are in standstill traffic, turn your car off. This is better for the environment than idling, and it is also better for your gas mileage
. After you mow, you usually have grass clippings sitting on top of the freshly mowed lawn. Leave those clippings on the grass, and let them decompose into the soil. The clippings return nutrients to your yard, and you do not have to worry about hauling them away or cleaning them up.
. You can make mulch from yard clippings, shredded wood, and old leaves. Mulching prevents weed growth, helps you retain water, and it adds nutrients back to the soil
Non Recyclable Water Jugs
. Instead of using plastic water bottles, you can use a Nalgene bottle, or any other reusable water bottle.
Reuse Computer Paper
. Did you mess up on your document, or picture for workschool? Reuse that paper as scrap. Use it as note paper, make it a check list, practice math problems, review for a test. Don t throw that paper out, reuse it.
. Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, don t pollute and save you money. Most are found in your kitchen cupboards. Mix and match with well chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non toxic and healthy haven. Non toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification in knowing that your family s health is protected, and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than promote harm.
. Use washcloths instead of paper towels to clean up spills and other messes. They are reusable and can easily be washed over and over again. Paper towels are a use once and throw out product.
Handkerchiefs instead of tissues
. Instead of wasting all the tissues that are at school, bring a handkerchief to school. You just throw away the tissues, and they are often wasted. So, instead of tissues, move to handkerchiefs.
. Rebuying is when you buy items that have already been used, but are still useful. What is the need in purchasing something brand new, when you can get it for a cheaper price, and it does not have to go to a landfill. Also, through buying heavily packaged foods, you reduce in the waste the comes from them. The wrappers are not recyclable, and they are not good for the environment. Plus, the foods not wrapped heavily, are sometimes more healthy for your body.
Energy Efficiency Rebates
. Contact your energy provider, and inquire about rebates for being energy efficient. PECO is selling CFLs to their customers for a half off price. Just inquire, and you never know. Pass this on to your friends. One person cannot make a big change, we need thousands. And to do this, we need to raise the awareness of being energy efficient, and the astounding effects it can have on a community. Thank you so much for reading about how to become more energy efficient.
Materials on the holidays are so before this instructable
. Instead of purchasing items that will sit in closets after the holidays, donate to different organizations in your receiver s name. Or, Make your own gift! This year, my mom donated money to Heifer International, which donates female cows, chickens, and other livestock to developing nations. They are female that have already been impregnated. That way they can share the animal s offspring with others.
Go Digital with books
. Purchase E books if you can, or attend a Used Book Sale to find books that are well...used. If you see a book that is in print that is used, buy it. You will read it once, and sometimes throw it away. Buy ebooks to reduce the printing of the books. Well, you can t actually reduce the printing, but the shipping of the books will be reduced, as well as price.
Kill A Watt
. You can use this to find out what appliances are actually worth keeping plugged in. Simply connect these appliances to the Kill A Watt and it will assess how efficient they really are. Large LCD display will count consumption by the Killowatt hour, same as your local utility. You can calculate your electrical expenses by the day, week, month, even an entire year. Also check the quality of your power by monitoring Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor. Now you ll know if it is time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is still saving you money. With the amazing Kill A Watt you ll know
Use a Rain Barrel
. Purchase a Rain Barrel to collect rain water in substantial amounts. A good amount of water does not reach your wellsreservoirspublic water lines, so harvest some of the extra rain water with a rain barrel.
. Make gifts for your family and friends that are homemade. Lord nows that you have unwanted supplies lurking in your drawers. Use them! Think of something creative
How to Recycle Your Phone Books
. Phone books are 100% recyclable, and they are often used to make new books. Many, however are mixed in with other materials to make the pages stronger.
If it s Yellow let it mello if it s brown flush it down
. It may be a little unsanitary, but if you go pee, leave it be. If you go flush that floater down. It just reduces the amount of water being used in your toilet.
Refill Your Mugs no Styrofoam
. Try not to use Styrofoam cups very often. They are often thrown out, and they sit in landfills for a long period of time. Bring a coffee mug to work or an place that you can refill your drinks. Just limit your use of Styrofoam.
Purchase recyclable toys
. Instead of buying those plastic pieces of junk, buy recyclable toys, often homemade with wood or other recycled materials. They are just as fun to play with, and are better for the environment.
Dont use bad chemicals on your garden
. These include chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides on your lawn or garden. The runoff from these toxic chemicals can enter streams, ponds, or our drinking water. Pesticides don t just kill bad insects, it also kills beneficial insects and wildlife, and creates health problems for humans.
. Use cloth diapers on your babies. These can be reused, and you don t have to continue throwing away those plastic diapers and spending your money on them.
Snip 6 pack rings
. Snip the plastic rings of the 6 packs of sodas, including the inner diamond. The rings can often get wrapped around the necks of wildlife.
Clean the lint screen
. Clean the lint screen in your dryer after every load, or every other load. This will increase efficiency.
Use refillable container
. Use refillable containers for hand soap, dish soap, sanitizer, and other household products. Of course if you do not use refillable containers, it is imperative that you recycle the containers when you are finished with them.
Close your refridgerator door
. Close your refrigerator door promptly once you are finished with it. It just uses more energy to re cool, and the cold air is released if you leave the door open too long. Especially in the summertime when it is really hot outside. We are searching for the iced tea, but don t look too long or your fridge will be wasting energy
Use rechargeable batteries
. Batteries contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment when disposed of. Non rechargeable batteries must be disposed of often. Using rechargeable batteries saves money on batteries, and doesn t pollute the earth.
Donate old clothes to charity
. Do not throw out your old clothes. Donate them to Goodwill, or to a local mission. They can easily use them for their own needs even if you have no use.
Environmental Friendly Home Colors
. Paint your home with climate friendly colors. The color of your home can have a large affect on the cost to heat and cool your home. Light colors reflect the sun s rays, while dark colors absorb them. For cold climates, paint with dark colors, and hot climates, use light colors.
Use a whiteboard chalk board
. You can use a white board or a chalk board for phone messages, notes, homework, and any other note type of writing. It just limits your use of paper.
Toilet paper rolls
. Recycle the card board tubes from the toilet paper rolls. Just think about it, there are billions of people who use it every day, and the rolls can really tally up quickly.
. Buy organic foods, because the processed foods are well...processed. Organic foods do not go through the energy consuming processes and they are healthier for your body. The non organic foods have pesticides and other potentially harmful preservatives. So, eat organic, be healthy, and save energy.
Buy eggs in cardboard flats
. When you go to purchase eggs, purchase the eggs that are in the cardboard flats. They are made from recycled newspaper, and they are quick to biodegrade. Unlike Styrofoam, which takes an incredibly long time to biodegrade. The cardboard flats do not produce harmful byproducts, another benefit over Styrofoam.
Chop by hand
. Instead of using expensive, loud, energy consuming choppers, use a knife to chop your fruits and vegetables. The machines used to chop take up space, as well as energy that could be used elsewhere.
Recycle used deoderant containers
. Contrary to popular belief, your deodorant containers can be recycled. Use them to the bit, and recycle them.
Reuse Your Chopsticks
. Chinese Japanese Vietnamese restaurants give out chop sticks for free, and they are used to be disposable. Reuse these chopsticks by a simple cleaning. That way you don t waste trees by taking chopsticks.
Reusable Coffee Filters
. Use reusable coffee filters instead of the paper ones. You can buy mesh filters that last quite a long time, rather than throwing out paper filters each day. Also, the French Press and theromos are great ways to limit the use of a coffee filter! French press is absolutely delicious.
Refill Your Lighters
. Try not purchase refillable lighters. Zippos are refillable with Butane, and instead of throwing your empty lighters out, refill them. There are usually some stores in the mall that can refill your lighters. Zippo does not only use butane(They only use butane in Zippo Blu s), the more known Zippo uses Synthetic Isoparaffinic Hydrocarbon Fuel. Thanks CVJX for that tip.
Rent an environment friendly car
. Rent yourself an environmental friendly vehicle. Actually, don t rent one, buy one! Companies are coming out with more and more environment friendly vehicles, that hopefully will make the combustion engine vehicles obsolete.
Recycle AC coolent
. When your car goes in for service, recycle your air conditioner coolant. Recycling is the environmentally friendly alternative because it keeps ethylene glycol and all the nasty stuff it picks up inside the cooling system out of the environment.
Work at home
. When you can, work from home. If you have a day off, but you need to get something done, work from home. Take client calls from home, do computer work at home, and all that jazz. Take home your materials the day before, and plan ahead. But don t take home a laptop with your clients personal information....that usually turns out bad.
Limit the cars you own
. Try to become a 1 car household. Of course this is hard with multiple children and working parents. But for a couple that may be living near the jobs. Trade off with the car a couple days of the week. Have the other walk to school or work.
Recycle Your Ink Jet Cartridges
. Recycle your ink jet cartridges when you are finished using them. Throwing them out increases the risk of water pollution, and they are definitely not biodegradable if they sit in a landfall for a large amount of years. Take them to a recycling center, or any other office supply store.
Hotel linens towels
. Are you staying in a hotel for a week or so? Request that your towels and linens be washed every other day. If they are going to be used twice a day, why should they be cleaned every single day? You certainly don t do the same at home, so why have the housemaids do it at a hotel? It wastes lots of water and electricity to power the washer machines, so request your linens to be washed every other day. Better yet, every three days.
Clean up after your pets
. When you go out walking with your pet, clean up after them. First of all, it is disgusting for a passerby, and second, it can contaminate the local water supply. Try not to let your pets urinate or poop in streams or rivers either. This is even more unsanitary. Especially during the summers where children might be swimming.
Cremation instead of a burial
. As hard as it may be to cremate your loved relatives, and pets, cremation uses less energy than a burial. Burials use backhoes, and digger trucks, and gasoline. Modern cremation utilizes air filtration and produces little in terms of air pollution as compared with excavation equipment.
Pick up Litter
. For your own feeling of satisfaction, as well as the environment s approval, pick up litter and dispose of it properly. Who knows, maybe if you pick up litter candid camera will pay you $50. (I saw an episode where they did that)
. Teach your acquaintances about environmental friendly ways. Make sure they fix their mistakes if you see them litter, or if they don t recycle. Tell them the impact that they can make by simple changes, and ways to help the environment. Encourage them to share the same tips to their acquaintances.
Join a club
. Join an environmental friendly club, such as Habitat for Humanity, or your school s Earth Club. Sign up for your area s Freecycle, which organizes people in your area, and they trade items that they have no use for, but others do. It limits the amount of waste that people produce from home devices, furniture, electronics, etc.
Support local environment legislation
. If you care a lot about the environment, vote YES in your community s environment votes. Encourage others to do the same. Support local, state, as well as national voting junctures that are about helping the environment.
Contact elected officials
. If you have an opinion on an issue in your community...contact your local representative. They have lots of power over your community, and voice your opinions to them.
Dont have recycling
. Do you not have curbside recycling? Lobby for it in your community. Recycling is one of the single most important duties of a community, and if your community does not have it, encourage a program to do so.
. You can t spread information if you do not know it. Research renewable energy sources in your library, read books about solar, wind, geothermal, and all forms of energy. Your local library is bound to have numerous articles, magazines, and books on suggested topics about environmental sciences.
Upgrade your computer
. Upgrade your current computer, instead of going all out and purchasing a completely new one. Load it with new software and anti virus, graphic cards, and sound cards, and you are on your way. However, this should be used for the computer savvy people. Unless you want to take your computer to a shop and have them upgrade it for you. It will be less expensive than having to purchase a whole new system. Including a monitor and mouse and keyboard.
Email instead of snail mail
. Try to use your email as often as possible, and reduce the amount of snail mail you use. Letters which are already on the computer should be sent via email, rather than printing them out and sending them. Obviously it reduces the amount of paper, and the amount of mail that your mail carrier has to carry.
. Instead of using pencils that are used in a week to two weeks, use a mechanical pencil. Thats way, you can refill your mechanical pencils, and not have to continually waste wooden pencils.