Most of what I write isn't relevant to Instructables. My main blog is here: biodieselhauling.blogspot.com
**End Digression... On to the Good Stuff**
Everyone has a reason to use less energy.
-For the environmentalist, obviously, all forms of energy have some ecological impact, and the ones we use the most (oil and coal) happen to be the ones which are most destructive.
-For the patriotic, using less energy means less dependence on foreign oil (and natural gas).
-For the selfish (I don't mean that in a bad way), it means lower bills, and therefor more money in your bank account (or cash under your mattress) that you can spend on other things.
Using less energy is definitely a win all around.
And yet, as much talk as the idea gets lately, few seem to be very serious about it.
There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of articles consisting of tips and tricks to conserve energy and be a little more ecological.
While they have plenty of valid ideas, a great many of the most common suggestions are things which either:
1) cost a whole lot of money upfront (with a promise of saving money in the long run), making them impractical for most people - things like "buy a hybrid" or "replace older appliances with Energy Star models; or
2) are tiny steps which will save an insignificant amount of energy. You may as well do these things, but you aren't going to see reflected on your next bill, and they aren't going to change the world - things like "clean your air filter" or "turn up the thermostat a few degrees" or "keep your car washed for less wind resistance".
These suggestions seem to be geared towards a very specific demographic, implying that being "green" is limited to middle class families who can afford to be.
In reality, the change to be more environmentally friendly means spending much LESS money than the typical American consumer; not only in the long run, but upfront as well.
I will not suggest that you buy a new hybrid or turn down the heat a few degrees.
If you take some of the steps to follow you will reduce your "carbon footprint" and have more cash in your wallet as well.