The Ultimate Guide to Eco Living




This Instructible will show you how to live greener with some tips ranging from a small tweak in your life to a large shift.

Step 1: Living Green

Green living can be a small change that barely effects you, or a complete lifestyle, but implementing just one of these changes completely into your life can have a big impact on the environment.

**If anyone has something that they have heard that I have missed, then PM me or write it in the comments. I will try to add it ASAP**

***Please vote in the Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest!***

Step 2: The Car

The car is a large user of energy. If you can cut that down as much as possible, then you can save our planet from a lot of CO2. Here are some ways to cut emissions:

-Tune up your car regularly, a badly tuned car can have a 20 percent energy penalty

-Get (or see if you have) tires with low rolling resistance as they improve gas mileage

-Get a hybrid, natural gas, or high mileage car, the lower the emissions, the better for the

-Don't use AC in the car, you can lose up to 21 percent of your gas mileage. Open a window!

-Buy used cars, that way the energy for one car is all that s used instead of that car being

-Carpool to work or school

Step 3: The House

The house also uses a lot of energy, so lowering your utility bills is a good thing. Here are some ways to reduce your house's CO2 emissions.

-Make sure that your house is properly insulated, one small leak can consume a lot of energy
over the year.

-Get bamboo flooring. It is a more renewable resource as it grows faster.

-In summer, waster at only dawn and dusk so that less water evaporates and more water is
absorbed by the plants.

-Plug electronics into power strips so that you can turn them off and kill the "Fantom Draw."

-Turn down the thermostat/heater in the winter and turn it up in the summer. Only by a couple
degrees, but it makes a difference. In the winter, wear a jacket, in the summer, use a fan.

-Buy a thermometer(a small investment) so that you can controll your temperature by opening
and closing the windows when it is hotter outside than in.

-Turn off your lights in a room that you are not in as well as a room that is well lit by sunlight

-Switch from conventional bulbs, to CFLs or LED bulbs

-Buy a "Pause" shower head, use less water

-Take short showers

-Get solar panels

-Lower your water heater temperature, they often go to heats that we never use, and it wastes
energy to heat it

-Put an insulating jacket on your water heater to keep the heat in and use less energy to heat
the water {Thanks iPodGuy!}

Step 4: Miscellaneous

The previous are the two main categories but there are also things that don't really fit into those categories. Here are some of them.

-Use a reusable lunch bag to reduce waste from paper bags

-Use a "pause" shower head and pause while you are soaping up to save unneeded water

-Take shorter showers

-Gollect rain for free (and green) water

-Use reusable canvas or fabric shopping bags

-Wash laundry in bigger loads to use less water

-Compost to save food from the landfill and get free mulch

-Donate your old clothes, don't waste them

-Buy organic, local food, it is better for the environment, it supports your local farmers, and
saves emissions on transport

-Buy green products because, well, they're green!

-Use eco-jewelery, and things that you can make yourself, like hemp

-Recycle batteries rather than throwing them out

-Get a green computer that uses less energy (like from this contest!)

-Set your computer to go to sleep so that it is not using energy while idle

-Set your dishwasher on energy saver and turn of the "pre-rinse" which isn't needed as long
as there is nothing big still stuck on things

-Buy stuff used, at garage sales, freecycle, Craig's List, etc.

-Save paper. Don't print things unless you must, or will use it more than one time. Try to keep
things on the computer

- Recycle

-And last but not least... make stuff from Instructibles to reuse items and recycle by yourself



    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest

    26 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 3

    Watering your plants before the light comes up doesn't actually save water it saves your plant, if it does get a little dry during the day try using terracotta pieces or polymer beads (this will lessen your water consumption and save your plant).

    Fans use a lot of energy, only run them at night drawing cold air in then close the curtains to keep the cool air in, if you have to use one during the day only use it in the room you are in.

    Cook outside (bonus points if you use a solar stove).


    Keep reusable ice packs in the freezer, place them on your head to cool your whole body.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    CFLs are BADfor the environment, the mercury in all Florescent Bulbs is bad for the environment.

    4 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    If you burn coal to make your electricity, that releases even more mercury into the environment.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     what you don't realize is that they last much longer, use less energy, and be recycled so that the mercury doesn't harm the environment and is reused. Also they create less waste and save energy so the positives far outweigh the negatives.


    Where do you recycle your CFL bulbs? They are not accepted in typical recycling programs, but instead require special recycling because of the hazardous mercury. Most people do not know they contain mercury, or that they are recyclable, let alone how to recycle them or how to deal with one if it breaks.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    True, however LED light last much longer, use even less power, and are much better for the environment.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    Some of the points made in this instructable are good; but others, such as buying a hybrid and using solar panels, are not, in reality, a very effective way of cutting down of energy usage and carbon emissions as the manufacturing of these large objects is huge and overall the benefits from having them aren't as large as you may think. The main areas to target need to be those that use the greatest amounts of energy/resources. the largest users are transport, manufacturing and heating. A simple way of saving both money and the environment is to turn your heating down, and wear another jumper, cycle or walk instead of drive wherever possible and try and re-use things before recycling them as however good recycling is, it still uses a fair amount of energy.
    Jacob has a good point about eating less meat, as it is a lot worse for the environment, plus it's healthier.
    Anyway, thanks for posting the instructable and I hope you find this criticism constructive.


    9 years ago on Step 2

    The single biggest difference you can make in the fuel use of your car is to SLOW DOWN. When you go 2 times as fast, it requires 4 times more energy. (This is why the US instituted a 55mph speed limit after the 1970s oil embargo) When you eventually buy a new car, buy the smallest one that can fit your daily needs (if you only need a truck once a month, buy a compact car and rent a truck once a month) The car which uses the least fuel is the one that is sitting in the garage. Ride a bike or take transit as much as possible.

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 2

     Not necessarily its about RPMs if you have a stick drive in high gears at low RPMs if you have a automatic, chip it, but not for power, for low RPMs and high gears.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 2

    Driving in the highest gear you can without lugging (shifting early) is ALSO true, absolutely.

    However, once you reach the highest gear, the only way to limit RPMs is to stay at that speed.  In the majority of cars you reach top gear between 45 and 60mph.  Which means the limiting RPMs means not going above that speed.
    Which just happens to also be the speed at which wind resistance becomes a major factor, and increases exponentially as you go faster.


    8 years ago on Step 3

     no no no
    no CFL, I did an experiment, they last longer in a 24-7 environment, but under normal on off circumstances the incandescent performed best, but LEDs are the best and I don't know if they ever quit.
    no solar panels, they are expensive, inefficient, and take up to much space.


    8 years ago on Step 2

     can, up to, dude you need to worry about the minimums
    natural gas car, that sounds like a big heavy tank no refueling and big explosions.
    hybrids aren't that special they get energy from the grid which is still mostly coal powered, thats not green.


    8 years ago on Step 2

     Hybrid cars are a sales gimmick. The pollution that comes out of a cars tailpipe over it's operative lifetime pales in comparison to the pollution created to manufacture it. The perceived reduction in impact of Hybrid cars is an illusion. The batteries in these vehicles contain heavy metals and must be carefully disposed of. Hybrid vehicles are heavier and thus go through tires more quickly. 

    It is dust to dust impact that must be evaluated when selecting a vehicle to minimize environmental impact.


    9 years ago on Step 2

    I don't have AC and live in the UK where I would rarely need it, but I have heard that using AC can be more efficient that opening a window and increasing a car's drag. Some people are pretty obsessive about their fuel economy and you can read their thought by searching for hyper-miling.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 2

     You're right.  After 40 mph, (sorry I don't know kilometers) it's more efficient to use air conditioning rather than having the windows down!  


    9 years ago on Introduction

    seems almost everyone horribly fails to realize that CO2 is heavier thanair.......HOW THE HECK DOES IT GET IN THE OZONE LAYERPEOPLE?!?!?!? also the massive forests and greenery of the world willfilter most of the CO2 out of the air. it is only a moderate healthconcern if you live in a large city, where there is not much greenery toabsorb CO2. i have no clue why people are worryed about global warmingwhen there and temperatures that are 40 degrees below average in the U.S


    9 years ago on Step 4

    A couple of small things for the misc list: -Dry clothes on a line instead of the dryer. -Use rechargeable batteries. -Turn your computer off when you are not using them and set it to go to stand-by mode on its own after a few minutes in case you forget.


    9 years ago on Step 4

    Excellent, but, you forgot one really major one: Eat less meat. The production of meat takes up to 10 times as much water, land, energy, and pollution, as the same amount of calories from plant sources. On average, most American's total impact on the environment from driving a car and diet are close to equal. You don't have to go vegan right away. Just cutting back helps.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    great! but opening windows is more efficient than ac below 40 mph but above 40 mph ac is more efficient.