Introduction: Go Green!

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This is a small guide to going green.

Step 1: Save Energy

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Very important... you gotta save energy, and this is done by the steps below

Step 2: Cars

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Cars get you to places that would be otherwise, unachievable by the common people. Although, they help us in everyday life, try to use them less, it will save money, gas, and the earth from carbon. The good choice is riding the bus, walking, or of course riding a bicycle.

Rishnai the Car Guy says:
For many of us, cars are an unavoidable fact of modern life. You don't have to go quite as far as hypermilers do in pursuit of saving gas, but there are a few easy things you can do to make things more efficient.

One of them is to put in more than the recommended air pressure in your tires, or at least check and fill them regularly. This will reduce their total traction, but that's not really an issue unless you have to deal with water. There is a reason that racing tires are slicks.

From a safety standpoint, it is probably only a good idea to raise your tire pressure a lot, espescilly near the limit, during your local dry season. You'll seriously need the tire's full water channelling and abatement abilities if it's going to rain on your commute a lot. Snow: forget about it. Use snow or all-season tires at the recommended pressure.

Don't try to save money and use lower grade gas than your car is designed for. This will actually hurt your fuel efficiency, since you will have reduced your power efficiency. That is to say, if it takes 140 horsepower to support the way you drive, in order to drive the same way with lower-octane gas you will need to burn more of it, since you'll need to burn more to make that same power. Don't hurt your gas milage like that. Use the recommended gas.

If you can keep a light foot but like to work on engines and have horsepower on tap if you need it (or are willing to pay to have the work done), it is a good idea to add a cold-air intake, a hot cam, port the heads, install a fan clutch, put on higher-ratio rockers, reprogram your ECM, or put on a turbo. Each of these will increase the amount of horsepower that you get out of each cubic inch of fuel/air mixture in your engine. That means overall a lower volume of gas for a given amount of power. Therefore, if you only actually use 140 horsepower to get around, you can get around just the same by going lighter on the throttle and using less gas. Bear in mind that for cams, high-lift, short-duration is good for torque, medium-lift, long-duration is better for high-revving power, and will take a bite out of your low-end performance, where most of us drive. Beware of that.

Step 3: Energy in House--lights

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Turn off lights when you don't use them (common sense) and computers use lots of energy, so when you leave the computer, put it in sleep mode, hibernate mode, or return to command prompt if using Linux.

Rishnai's opinion:
It is all the rage right now to use compact flourescent lightbulbs in every application. They do save electricity and last a LONG time. This is one of the easiest changes to make to save energy. Do it.

A word of caution, though. The flourescent light does not have the same spectrum as the incandescent blub, which has essentially the same spectrum as the sun. The first thing you'll notice when you put in a CF blub is that everything is very blue all of a sudden. You get used to it, but not totally. Don't dress or do laundry by CF light or things might look a little weird when you get into different light.

CF blubs are also incompatible with dimmers. There is a threshold, below which the bulb will not light, and above which the bulb will not get brighter. In other words, it's either on or off. If you need to be able to dim things, which is very handy, you must stick with regular light bulbs.

A computer uses roughly the same amount of electricity as a refrigerator. In my case, that means I basically have five fridges, since I have a boatload of computers, a fridge, and a deep freeze. That runs up my energy bill, but I'm okay with that since I get more benefit out of it than it costs. It's up to you where the line is for you.

TheBurn's Opinion: Cfls ARE florescent bulbs, don't forget, these bulbs have high amounts of mercury, remember, you gotta throw these away PROPERLY or it will eventually contaminate fish, which is actually where a lot of our world's economy (especially in Japan) lies. don't kill the fish, remember we are going green, and environmentally friendly, not killing fish by just throwing them in the trash.

Step 4: Energy in House--everything Else

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Just turning electronics off isn't really enough, especially if you have more invested in electronics than cars and their gas. Your home entertainment system (even if that's just a TV and rabbit ears) pulls quite a bit of energy even when they're "off". Use a power strip so that you can flip a switch when you're done and cut off that power entirely. The house I'm in right now has one outlet in every room that is wired to a wall switch. That's very handy, but don't get one installed if it didn't come with the place. Don't plug your cable box or VCR/TiVo into the power strip or switched outlet, as they need to be on to continue to keep time. That way, you can record things without having to set your clocks every time. Plus, if yours is like mine, the cable box will take 5 minutes to connect to the central office and work right, especially the Pay Per View and TV guide features. You don't want that, so it's probably best to just continue to pay for their "parasitic" electricity. The rest of everything should be switched, though.

For more information on this, here's some links:
Here is an article about getting rid of these "energy vampires"
The whole chart of energy used by standby mode is here

Another major source of energy loss is through an inefficient heating/cooling system. If you have an A/C instead of a swamp cooler, you'll be using more, but even a swamp cooler can be made better. Of course, you want to make sure things are well-insulated so all that effort doesn't go right out the walls, but before you pay for someone to drive over and install insulation that was expensive and energy-intesnsive to make, make sure you're using what you've got effectively.

If you have air conditioning, though, don't despair. Run your A/C in the morning to a little colder than you'd have it, then turn it off and let your house warm up naturally. If, by nighttime, it's too hot, open a window instead of turning the cooling back on. That rule is the same no matter how you cool your house.

Swamp coolers rely on evaporation of the water in the pads to cool the air. Therefore, you can't run them in the morning to be more efficient, since the cold air won't evaporate it as quickly. Instead, run your cooler in the hottest part of the day until your house is the right tempurature. Now turn your cooler off and close your drapes on the side of the house that the sun is facing. In fact, keep your drapes closed until that part of the house is in shadow as a rule. If it's winter and you're trying to warm things up, open the sun-side drapes instead.

Step 5: Recycle

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Most people use things only once or twice, and throw them away. What I say: RECYCLE!
Recycling is when something gets used in a cycle over and over again. Every 16.9 oz/500 mL plastic bottleed saves the energy of a computer being on approximately 30 minutes. od way, if you drink bottled water. I prefer drinking filtered tap water, it costs 500 times less. And saves money.

Rishnai's two cents:
If you like to have a source of portable water, buy one (count it, one) bottle of water, drink it, and refill it with tap water.

Little-known fact, but Aquafina and Dasani are just glorified tap water from the cities that the bottling plants are in. Unless you live someplace where the water is literally non-drinkable, like Alamosa, Colorado recently (major bacterial contamination), your tap water is not any less safe than most bottled water.

Aluminum is at record prices right now. If I remember correctly, 8 aluminum cans equals a pound. Two full 45-gallon trash bags of cans fetches three dollars at King Soopers. That same thing fecthes you over a hundred at the scrapyard. Don't let the scrapyard weigh your truck with and without the cans, though and pay you for the difference--they're cheating you. Those large scales are not calibrated for that kind of precision. Weigh the cans yourself on your bathroom scale before you leave home. If you put the bags in boxes and go to the post office/UPS office during a non-busy time of the day, those folks will probably let you use their scales. Their scales are definitely accurate. Now have that information at the ready when you go to the scrapyard and cash in.

Step 6: Give Back to the Environment

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Grow trees, plants, anything that will help the environment. If an onion goes rotten, plant it in your yard, it will grow. We tear down too many trees and plants these days, and it is neat seeing the se buggers grow.

Step 7: Eat Local Foods

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If you eat local food, such as produce and meat. This takes less time to get to the market, and is more fresh, so they restock less because of it becoming rotten.

Step 8: Buy Many Groceries at Once

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If you buy a months worth of groceries every month instead of every week, you will save the air from gas emissions.It will also save you some free time, maybe to plant seeds and tend to plants. For fruits, gt bananas when ripe for the first week.Partially ripe for second week.Green/unripe for 3rd week. And for the fourth week, you restock on groceries.Dont keep them in the same container, they will all ripen if that happens. Put some in the refrigerator if they ripen too quickly.

Step 9: Use Dimmers on Lights

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Using dimmers on incandescent lights lets you save electricity when you don't need full light., and when you do need full light, let it go up. If you dont wanna purchase dimmers, purchase 3 - way bulbs.

Step 10: Green Energy

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Get "Green Energy" from your power company. Green energy is energy that is acquired by wind, water, or sun. Usually done by calling your power supplier or on the bill there should be an option. Only few companies have this, but if they do, sign up for it

Step 11: Use Concentrate Juices

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If you use juice from concentrate, it will not use much plastic, and can be activated by tap water.

This is mostly the case if the juice you would otherwise buy is from already reconstituted concentrate. That is the case with most of the juices in the grocery store. It is more efficient to transport concentrate juice from the orchard to the bottling plant, for example, since they can fit more on the same truck. On the same token, more cans of frozen concentrate fit on a truck from the plant to the grocery store, so the unit-cost on concentrate juices in terms of carbon emissions is lower.

Even better, buy fresh, never-concentrated juice, especially the sort that is local.

Step 12: Freecycle

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Whenever you need something, or throwing away something, use Ones trash is another one's treasure some say.

Step 13: Throw Away Caps

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Whenever you recycle bottles, throw away the caps, it helps ventilate the bottle so they don't have to dry at the recycling plant, and taking off the caps is a huge job there because all of them have to be removes that don't get off.

Rishnai says:
Really? You sure? I would have thought that the bottles were all just remelted together and the slag poured off and the water evaporated out. Either way, remove the cap, as the cap does not appear to be the same material as the rest of the bottle. At least it's not the same color as the rest of the bottle. I would recycle it anyway, since if they don't need it, they'll get rid of it.

Maybe it doesn't matter.

Theburn7 answers Rishnai:
I reassure you, these caps are a different type of plastic which aren't used for much except for... Caps! Sure, OK, you can recycle them, just not twisted on the bottle. This step is more important than most people think so.

Step 14: Go Outside More!

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Most energy that is consumed by the average person are caused by cars and the home. Go outside more to face the temptation, ride your bike to the local trails, go somewhere with friends, go to the park, golf, or preferably plant things, go to the movies with your special someone, the movie is ALREADY playing. Most cool things happen outside, so once you are done reading this instructable and comment, go outside!

Step 15: Use Biodiesel

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If your automobile uses or can use biodiesel, use it, it is made of 85%ethanol that is natural and a renewable resource. Most places i have been have no biodiesel plants, if that is the case, make your own, though it takes time. There is a good instructable here ,a little much i think, but this is the way now.

Step 16: Grow Your Own Food

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The economy for fruits and vegetables is not doing too good (at least in the US) because we import/export many of our food products, and we don't want to add to this problem, so let's grow our own fruits/vegetables, and doing this costs hardly anything and provides more oxygen. This step is recommended, but is totally optional

Step 17: Recharge Batteries

Use Lithium Ion batteries for the best efficiency, and recharge them as frequent as possible. NiMH batteries must first be run down all the way, and charged full. They both do an outstanding job at being batteries.

Step 18: Composting!

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Dont just throw away biodegradable materials in the trash which will just go to a landfill. Use this compost for plants, and you can sell it if u make enough to the local gardeners and florists. Compost is made of vegetable and fruit scrap, and sometimes newspaper, or whatever is biodegradable, which excludes meat.

Step 19: "Vampire Power"

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There is a thing called "Vampire Power" It suck the precious electricity from your own home! Most modern electronics have the option of On/Standby. There is no option to turn them off unless if you completely take the power supply away from the device itself by unplugging it or turning off the power strip. Visit to see mor information.


judyjowers (author)2009-10-19

Slate magazine analyzes the production and claims that concentrate is actually worse for the environment due to it's high energy consumption during production:

theburn7 (author)judyjowers2010-01-13

thank you for the information

Walis (author)2009-08-14

Please don`t take this instruction so serious and read something relevant about this. For example:

and if you are lucky, the battery will self-discharge within a day, acting as a heat source...

There is something about the "don`t recharge" sign on the alcaline batteries...

gregmartin (author)2012-06-06

Biodiesel comes from vegetable oil, be it waste or virgin. If you can buy from a company that produces their biodiesel from waste vegetable oil, great, because you're creating one more use for a product before its end of life and keeping it out of landfills, the ocean, or wherever else it may end up. There is debate about increasing demand for biodiesel from virgin vegetable oil, as we would be using land that would otherwise grow crops to grow fuel instead. How is that fair? The newest technology, even though it's not very new at all is algae-produced biodiesel, such as that grown by Solazyme. Problem is it's around $15/gallon and not very widespread or accessible. If you have a diesel car, go biodiesel. It's greener and sometimes cheaper, too. has a ton of good info on it.

However, Biodiesel is secondary to more traditional methods like walking or even riding your bike.

tinker234 (author)2011-06-25

wow hey i just got some hydregen uel cell blueprints could i power my home off those and live eco rendily because water is the only way bib proudct darn that key

theburn7 (author)tinker2342011-06-30

Beware, though, it takes energy to split water into hydrogen, and oxygen. Usually anything to do with electrolysis is a scam.

tinker234 (author)theburn72011-06-30

sorry my other computer f key dosent work and i know thats why i am making will be a test

tinker234 (author)2011-06-25

hey it worked once that key

theburn7 (author)2011-06-23


TheDanzel (author)2009-04-27

a bonsai won't compensate your carbon footprint :D

theburn7 (author)TheDanzel2011-06-23

It will lead one in the right direction. (author)2010-04-11

 CFL bulbs don't produce much light and don't last a long time.  BUY LED.

quadracer (author)jj.inc2010-05-09

hid is way more efficient (author)2010-04-11

 mm looks good, this is a step I like (author)2010-04-11

 But you can use CFL bulbs, but you can use LED BULBS YAY!!!

Walis (author)2009-08-14

OK, you are "going green", but did any of you consider the amount of energy consumed by making this at home??? Anyway, burning plants in your car engine does not seem green to me at all...

Gopher Mound (author)Walis2009-12-11

 I think it can really only be green if it's made on a large scale and can be used on a large scale.  Otherwise I think it probably isn't the best way to go about it... I think, I'm no expert.

What would probably be even better would be finding a way to make your diesel run off of old cooking oil and what not (after filtering), fairly inexpensive to do if I remember right.  Plus most places have to pay to get rid of that old cooking oil, so they'd probably have no problem letting you snag a few gallons.  I know it's pretty easy to do with older diesels, but would probably take some work to get a newer diesel to work.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong on anything.

amarsar (author)2009-11-05

Make your own green energy and save loads of money, this is sweet.

savagesmith (author)amarsar2009-11-29

It's hard to trust any site that gives you a pop-up "are you sure you want to navigate away from this page" when you hit the back  button.  I'm just sayin' that the site admin might want to change that if they want to look legitimate.

wizard744 (author)2009-11-16

i make all sorts of crafts with bottle crafts (ill post some later)

james.mcglashan (author)2009-10-14

batterys must have rechargable lith batts only last longer and chargefaster work much better

greenbeanmusicmachine (author)2009-05-09

I think that just using rechargeable batteries is a good enough tip. so many people buy big bulk boxes of batteries and throw away pair after pair when they could just buy one pair of rechargeables and they would probably stay charged longer anyways. I got a bunch of energizer rechargeable on sale and they last a long time and when I needed a travel charger I bought Sanyo Eneloop batteries and they last for weeks on end in my camera.

JKibs95 (author)2009-04-25

You shouldn't compost meat, cheese, butter, or other animal-stuffs because it attracts mice and flies

vitaleca (author)2009-04-23

aveda recycles these!

DRD T-bone (author)2009-04-14

To be clear:

"a hot cam, port the heads, install a fan clutch, put on higher-ratio rockers, reprogram your ECM, or put on a turbo."

None of these will actually increase fuel efficiency. An engine is an extremely dynamic air pump. The term "hot" in reference to a cam typically points out higher life/more duration which will increase the volumetric efficiency of the engine at higher RPMs to make more horsepower. This is probably the best way to decrease your fuel efficiency. Higher ratio rockers will achieve the same effect. Porting the heads is a bit more complex, but once again you're changing the area in the load/powerband curves that the engine operates most effectively and most back yard porters will be a long shot away from improving efficiency over an entire OEM laboratory's years of work and data optimizing port and chamber design. Turbocharging your car is guaranteed NOT to improve fuel mileage; it's physically impossible. The way that OEMs increase fuel mileage through turbocharging is by simultaneously downsizing engine's displacement or being more conservative with cam/head/intake design. ECM reprogramming may improve fuel mileage, but often times you sacrifice reliability or other emissions which should be strictly reserved for offroad use. You're incorrect about lower octane gas as well. Lower octane gas burns faster than higher octane gas (higher octane is less prone to detonation). This has absolutely NOTHING to do with power while cruising at highway speeds where a car will typically use less than 20 horsepower. This comes into play under heavy load and acceleration where higher cylinder pressures may cause the mixture to detonate if a lower grade of gasoline is used. As far as whether a lower grade will help or hurt fuel mileage I'll reserve from commenting on that since I'd imagine it to be quite specific to the combustion chamber/piston design for each individual vehicle.

The basics of improving gas mileage are using a free flowing air intake with reusable cotton filter, free flowing exhaust (which will usually change the note of the exhaust and the volume of it), a good tune-up, and properly inflated tires (keep in mind that the tire manufacturers recommend certain pressures for certain vehicle weights)


tandem25 (author)2009-03-26

This i'ble has many great suggestions. Good Job!
Here's my 3 cents worth about one of the topics:
I learned many things in over a decade in industrial construction. One of those was NEVER drink concentrated juices. I spent a fair amount of time in food processing plants. Quite a few of them were juice plants in Florida (different producers). If you are going to buy your juices make sure that they are "fresh squeezed". I'm not going into details. Research for yourselves. That USDA stamp of approval doesn't mean a lot to me anymore. Those who work for the USDA are the same disgruntled underpaid lazy government employees who work at the DMV. Think about THEIR efficiency. And by the way. If you wanted to buy American juice, you'd be hard pressed to find it. All of the producers co-package, store and use concentrate from other companies. Many of them from Brazil. Sorry so long.

romario (author)2008-09-09

Everlasting light bulb page says... perhaps not erroneously: "a lifetime warranty that the everlasting light bulb will never burn for the rest of your life!" What more could you want for $30.00?

ReCreate (author)romario2008-09-25

Send that to the mythbusters

lukeyj15 (author)ReCreate2009-02-15


BeanGolem (author)ReCreate2008-10-26

There is no myth that needs busting. The claim is the warranty, not the fact that it will last forever. The company sells the original bulb for a price high enough to cover any subsequent burn-outs. It doesn't matter if it actually lasts forever or not.

Grey_Wolfe (author)ReCreate2008-09-29

You may have a point there. But I don't know if they'll be able to fit an entire lifetime's worth of usage within one episode. lol

romario (author)Grey_Wolfe2008-09-29

ah no... the point was the typo, typical of translated stuff, that says "NEVER Burn"...

Andimia (author)2008-08-13

'"Don't try to save money and use lower grade gas than your car is designed for." Most cars that "require" higher octane gasoline actually have sensors that can adjust to whatever octane gasoline you use.

Androcles (author)Andimia2009-01-25

But the issue is how they adjust for the lower octane gas. They do this in two ways by advancing or retarding the timing and increasing the overall engine idle. This is to prevent the engine from Pinging / knocking. This does 2 things to your car, it causes the car to run hotter and use more gas then the car that is timed properly and running at a lower idle. Due to the greater heat that is produced in the cylinder, the life of your Oil is greatly reduced. Ultimately this will hurt the life of your motor.

Shut Up Now (author)2008-08-25

well organized instructable. good work.

tradergordo (author)2008-08-13

Swamp coolers only work in arid climates, a small percentage of the U.S. Texas, Arizona, sure... anywhere along the east coast - no.

Rishnai (author)2008-08-06

You make an excellent point. Of course, all such plastic bottles leach Bisphenol A, so best not using them at all. I'd think that more would leach into the initial amount of water because it has been in the bottle a lot longer than just filling it up for the day and drinking it. Even the "reusable" plastic water bottles leach nasty chemicals. Nalgene bottles, for example, leach an estrogen-like chemical that can cause endocrine problems. Maybe we all ought to stick to stainless steel or glass bottles, if we drink out of a bottle at all.

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-05-25

Now you are getting some really good ideas, good job. I like step 6, eat local foods and step 10 concentrate juice, you can also recycle its container.

roulopa (author)Mr. Rig It2008-07-28

concentrated juices need more energy to produce and still have to travel / be stored in a freezer or refrigerator and still need containers. Make your own juices / smoothies out of fresh local fruits bought on the market. It won't take you more than 10 min to make a litre (even less for smoothies) and if fresh, will provide a lot more vitamins and energy.

theburn7 (author)Mr. Rig It2008-05-27

Ty rig it

mieszalniapasz (author)2008-07-23

You should paste next image: drink alcohol and smoke ganja - it's all natural and renewable ;o) Go green !! :o)

Grey_Wolfe (author)2008-06-25

cans are not considered 'clean' aluminum, so they're not worth quite as much as other sources of aluminum. Your point still stands, they're worth more at the scrap yard. Helpful hint: the tabs are clean aluminum unless they're coloured; pull your tabs and scrap them seperately, you'll get more cash.

Rishnai (author)Grey_Wolfe2008-06-25

Excellent idea! I used to collect them. I had about 45 gallons of them at one point. Maybe I was a little obsessive, but I just made a point of having everyone who I had ever met give me their tabs. Of course, I didn't sell them at the scrapyard, I made "chainmail" out of them and sold it at art fairs and the like. Kids liked it. Another thing about the tabs: some places have stuff from the Ronald McDonald House where they'll give one minute of dialysis to a child at children's hospital for each tab collected. That's where that 45 gallon bag went. That's a lot of Big Macs... I probably cost 'em a fortune!

Grey_Wolfe (author)Rishnai2008-07-15

Got any pics of your 'mail'. I've been messing around with cans as an art supply, I'd love to see how that turned out.

nightninja87 (author)2008-06-17

great instructables i wish america was more green side note u never see on news that cars cause lung cancer but u see that cigarettes cause lung cancer what produces fumes?

pverrecchia (author)2008-06-15

You are supposed to throw away the caps and recycle the bottles. I went to the landfill on a field trip in 4th grade and they told us to remove the caps so the bottles can dry out, and so any toxic fumes do not build up inside of the bottle.

theburn7 (author)pverrecchia2008-06-15

thats what i thought, i cant think of any reason not to trow away the caps, because of that

finnster (author)2008-06-14

I recycle caps (but throw out the bottles).

theburn7 (author)finnster2008-06-14


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