Developing energy efficient lifestyles are the first step in reducing the environmental impact that humans have on this earth. I made this Instructable to detail many different ways to reduce your impact. The reader's implementation of the tips I provide is extremely important in reducing our impact on the environment as humans.
If a large amount of people practice small "ways" to decrease the environmental impact, then we have accomplished a great deed. One person utilizing the energy efficient practices is great, but one thousand is even better.
Please share the following tips with your friends, family, and peers. Utilizing energy efficient practices on a large scale is the most important reason I made this Instructable.
I attached a PDF file, it has the gist of the tip, just not all the information. Enjoy!
Step 1: Change to CFLs
Here is a good site to help you save electricity.
However, some may argue that CFLs do not last longer, and the recycling of them is a pain. Based on my usage of CFLs, we have only replace one. It seems as if sometimes they are a hit or miss. Sometimes they work great, and other times they are absolutely terrible.
My CFL Instructable will help you out if you have any other questions.
Steps for Purchasing:
1.Well first you have to decide where you will use them. A recommended fixture, is one that is left on 3 or more hours per day. You want to replace the bulbs that you use the most frequently first.
2.Make sure it will fit in your fixture. You wouldn't want to spend money on a CFL, and not have it fit into your fixture!
3.Check to make sure that the CFL is energy star compliant. What is Energy Star Compliant? It is a government that regulates programs and products that help save the environment and save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design or construction.
4.Circline or 2D styles are usually best for most table lamps. These also tend to be the brightest options.
5.Choose the Color Temperature, if listed, that's right for you; for example:
Approx. 2700K = Warm White (looks just like incandescent!)
Approx. 5000K = Cool White (White/Blue, often higher CRI)
6.Does your chosen fixture have a dimmer switch? If so, be sure your CFL choice is labeled to be Dimmable.
7.Avoid using CFL's with photocells unless the control is specifically labeled that is it compatible with CFLs. Timers are an easier option.
- Many furnishing stores/hardware stores have boxes to place your broken CFLs to recycle.
- My energy provider gives half off deals for CFLs. Check if yours does! (I have PECO)
Step 2: Up 2 degress in summer, 2 down in winter
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.
Don't worry, my mother does not turn on the heat until half way through the winter. And even then, the temperature is still low. The temperature in my house is currently 63 degrees. I got used to it, and I feel great!
Step 3: Recycle your junk mail
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.
Here is another Instructable of mine on how to reduce your junk mail from advertisers.
Reduce Your Junk Mail!
Reducing your impact can start with reducing your junk mail!
Step 4: Don't let your water continue running
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.
Step 5: Make a Compost pile!
I made a list of the Instructables that are how to build a compost pile:
Step 6: Unplug unused electronics
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.
Step 7: Plant a tree!
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!
Arbor Day Foundation
Step 8: Buy local!
Farming is not a wealthy occupation, but by buying local goods, you can jump start your community economically.
My family gets a shipment of locally grown goods each week, and they are great!
Step 9: Use masstransit, carpool, walking, biking
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.
Step 10: Make sure your tires are inflated
Step 11: Use a line to dry your clothes
A great clothes line recommended from Tim O'Reilly and Saul Griffith on Twitter, is:http://www.clotheslineshop.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=C&Product_Code=01500
It is more efficient...obviously.
Step 12: Turn off the pilot flame of your gas furnace in the summer
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.
Materials required: None
Time required: about 2 minutes per year
Savings: $30-$60 per year (depending on your furnace, your location, and gas prices)
GHG reduction: about 0.15 to 0.30 tons per year
I live in a moderate climate (Vancouver, BC, Canada) and only require artificial heat about 7 months of the year (from mid October to mid May). For the other 5 months of the year I turn my furnace off completely, including the pilot flame. There are occasionally some cold days during that period but we usually just wear extra clothing and leave the furnace off. Throughout much of the US the heating season is shorter and potential savings are even higher.
To turn off your furnace completely, look for a valve in the gas line to the furnace. Simply turn the valve handle so it is angled 90 degrees to the pipe. If you like, you can check your furnace to ensure the pilot flame goes out.
To turn your furnace back on, turn the valve handle parallel to the pipe and re-light your pilot flame following the furnace manufacturer's instructions (if you don't have the manual for your furnace you can probably look it up online, or just wing it... they're mostly the same). As a reader has noted, there is no danger if someone turns the gas valve back on but forgets relight the pilot flame. There is a thermocouple that prevents gas flow unless a flame is present. You typically have to hold a button down to get the gas to flow when re-lighting the pilot flame, and keep holding it down until the thermocouple warms up.
Step 13: Use Tote bags when you shop!
If you do use plastic bags, re-use them. Use something like this plastic bag recycler, to reuse your plastic bags.
Step 14: Install low-flow sink and faucet aerators
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%.
Here is a site to purchase them:
Step 15: Full loads of dish washing and clothes cleaning
Air dry your dishes, as well as your clothes. Dryers also consume a good amount of energy.
Step 16: Get rid of excess weight in your car
Anyway, extra, unnecessary weight decreases potential gas mileage. Get rid of that junk, and improve your gas mileage!
Step 17: Throw away bottle caps
From Harvard Law's Facilities Management Website:
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.
Step 18: Turn off the lights when you leave the room
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.
Step 19: Energy Star
Step 20: Air Seal your home
Once you are sealed efficiently, then you can properly insulate your home.
Step 21: Insulate your walls
Insulating the attic will help people in both warm and cool climates save money because you will not be spending more money to heat/cool that attic space as well.
Step 22: Fresh Filters
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.
Step 23: Cheap Insulation: Rugs
Step 24: Power Strips
Their standby consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.
Here is a list of power strips you can get easily off the internet
Step 25: Computer sleep mode and hibernate mode
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.
Thanks Natural Resources Defense Council for that tidbit of information.
Step 26: Printing and Photocopying
Save a few trees, print on both sides.
Step 27: If you can, use recycled paper
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.
Step 28: Clean fridge or freezer coils
If you just dust them off, or clean them, their efficiency will improve.
Step 29: Brooms before Hoses
If you do it once a week, that is close to 600 gallons a month. All for really, an unnecessary use.
Step 30: Shorten your showers
Shorten up your showers, estimates show that even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
Step 31: Don't use so much detergant
Use as little detergent as you can. Just add a some more elbow grease!
Step 32: Lawn mower blades
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!
Step 33: Wash your car on the lawn
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.
Step 34: Limit your play with the hose
Step 35: Dont defrost food with running water
Defrost it on your counter, and take that time to read some new Instructables!
Step 36: Cold water cycle
This reduces the energy needed to heat the water up.
Step 37: Dehumidifiers
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 wells/public water supplies.
Step 38: Freezer fillers
Tip from bundlemeup.
Step 39: Pressure cookers and microwaves
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.
Step 40: Cool down your spa when you are not using it
Sorry no picture, I do not own a spa.
Step 41: Get Tested, don't be afraid to ask
Step 42: Low Wattage is good wattage
Step 43: Your Chemical Non-Romance
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.
Thank you EPA for those tidbits on chemical use.
Step 44: Combine errands and trips
Limit the trips you take. Scheduling properly is key, so try not to get caught driving to and from a site multiple times.
Step 45: Get regular engine tuneups
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.
Step 46: Smooth Driving
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.
Step 47: Grasscycling
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.
Step 48: Mulching
Step 49: Non-Recyclable Water Jugs
Step 50: Reuse Computer Paper
Don't throw that paper out, reuse it.
Step 51: Green Cleaning
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.
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Making your own nontoxic cleaning kit will take you no time at all with these simple, straightforward directions, and with this kit you will be supplied with enough cleaning product for months of cleaning.
As an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpartÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢â¬Âand that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.
Step 52: Washcloths
Paper towels are a use once and throw out product.
Step 53: Handkerchiefs instead of tissues
You just throw away the tissues, and they are often wasted. So, instead of tissues, move to handkerchiefs.
Step 54: Rebuying
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.
Step 55: Energy Efficiency Rebates
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.
Step 56: Materials on the holidays are so before this instructable
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.
Search for other charities here.
Step 57: Go Digital with books
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.
Step 58: 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 WattÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¢, 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 youÃÂÃÂ´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 WattÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¢ youÃÂÃÂ´ll know ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬ÃÂWattsÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬ÃÂ killing you.
Step 59: Use a Rain Barrel
A good amount of water does not reach your wells/reservoirs/public water lines, so harvest some of the extra rain water with a rain barrel.
You can read about them in the link above.
Step 60: Homemade Gifts
Search instructables...here, I have done a search for you! Homemade Holidays
Step 61: How to Recycle Your Phone Books
If you have a curbside pickup, place them there at that date. But if not, check out this site, and enter your zip code.
For example I entered one for San Francisco, and came up with a few results.
Step 62: If it's Yellow, let it mello, if it's brown, flush it down
If you go #2, flush that floater down.
It just reduces the amount of water being used in your toilet.
Step 63: Refill Your Mugs, no Styrofoam
Bring a coffee mug to work or an place that you can refill your drinks. Just limit your use of Styrofoam.
Step 64: 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.
You can buy some here.
Step 65: Don't use bad chemicals on your 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.
Thank you wildspirit
Step 66: Cloth diapers
Reusable Diapers are widely sold in super markets and on the internet.
Sorry, I do not own any diapers, so i could not take a picture of one.
Step 67: Snip 6-pack rings
Step 68: Clean the lint screen
If you want to be even better, check out #11!
Step 69: Use refillable container
Of course if you do not use refillable containers, it is imperative that you recycle the containers when you are finished with them.
Step 70: Close your refridgerator door
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.
Step 71: Use rechargeable batteries
Non-rechargeable batteries must be disposed of often. Using rechargeable batteries saves money on batteries, and doesn't pollute the earth.
Step 72: Donate old clothes to charity
Step 73: Environmental Friendly Home Colors
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.
Step 74: Use a whiteboard/chalk board
Or you can also use step 50 for writing your notes down.
Step 75: Toilet paper rolls
Do your share to recycle them. You will save landfill space.
Step 76: Buy Organic
The non-organic foods have pesticides and other potentially harmful preservatives. So, eat organic, be healthy, and save energy.
Step 77: Buy eggs in cardboard flats
The cardboard flats do not produce harmful byproducts, another benefit over Styrofoam.
Step 78: Chop by hand
The machines used to chop take up space, as well as energy that could be used elsewhere.
Get an arm-workout, chop ye' veggies.
Step 79: Recycle used deoderant containers
Save our drinking supply and recycle these buggers.
Step 80: Reuse Your Chopsticks
Reuse these chopsticks by a simple cleaning. That way you don't waste trees by taking chopsticks.
You can also buy permanent ones with cool designs.
Step 81: Reusable Coffee Filters
Also, the French Press and theromos are great ways to limit the use of a coffee filter! French press is absolutely delicious!
Here is a froogle search of some:
Step 82: Refill Your Lighters
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!
Lighter fluid is not very expensive
Here is a tutorial on how to refill your lighter by yourself
Step 83: Rent an environment friendly car
Step 84: Recycle AC coolent
Only 15% is currently recycled. Lets make get that percentage higher!
This site gives good steps on how to recycle your coolant
Step 85: Work at 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.
Step 86: Limit the cars you own
Step 87: Recycle Your Ink Jet Cartridges
Take them to a recycling center, or any other office supply store.
Staples gives you rebates on the cartridges you return.
Step 88: Hotel linens/towels
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.
Step 89: Clean up after your pets
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.
Step 90: Cremation instead of a burial
Modern cremation utilizes air filtration and produces little in terms of air pollution as compared with excavation equipment.
Sorry I do not have a picture. You wouldn't want a picture would you?
Step 91: Pick up Litter
Who knows, maybe if you pick up litter candid camera will pay you $50. (I saw an episode where they did that)
Step 92: Teach others
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.
Step 93: Join a 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...
Step 94: Support local environment legislation
Support local, state, as well as national voting junctures that are about helping the environment.
Step 95: Contact elected officials
Step 96: Don't have recycling?
Step 97: Educate YOURSELF
Your local library is bound to have numerous articles, magazines, and books on suggested topics about environmental sciences.
Read and inform.
Here are books about the environment. Look for these in your library.
Step 98: Upgrade your computer
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.
You already have them, why buy a new one?
Here, I already did a Google search for you!
Step 99: Email instead of snail mail
Obviously it reduces the amount of paper, and the amount of mail that your mail carrier has to carry.