A few simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, help reduce the nation's growing dependency on nonrenewable, often imported fuel, and save you money every month on your utility costs. Though many energy-saving measures -- such as upgrading your home appliances or installing solar modules -- require an initial investment, other measures cost little to nothing and can be implemented right away.
Replace the incandescent lightbulbs in your home with Energy Star-rated compact fluorescent bulbs. If every U.S. household replaced the five most frequently used lightbulbs in the home with high-efficiency bulbs, greenhouse gases would be reduced equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars (see References 1). Additionally, each compact fluorescent lightbulb can save more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime, use 75 percent less energy and last as much as 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs also produce much less heat than incandescent bulbs, meaning your air conditioner uses less power. (See References 2)
Use Heating and Cooling Systems Sparingly
Heating and cooling units are among the largest consumers of electricity in homes. You can save electricity by changing air filters and having your system maintained as recommended by the manufacturer. Use your heating and cooling systems only when necessary. Open windows and use ceiling and attic fans when you are warm, and put on extra clothing or take a walk if you are cold. (See References 1)
Seal cracks in your home's exterior walls. Much of a home's heated and cooled air escapes through cracks in attics and basements, which often go unnoticed. Have a home energy auditor pay a visit, assess your home's inefficiencies and recommend the best plan of action. Many utility companies and local programs offer these services free of charge. (See References 1)
Power Down Your Electronics
Items such as computers, printers and game systems continue to draw power even when you're not using them. Turning off the components is a good start to save on electricity, but you can take your savings one step further by unplugging the electronics altogether. To save time, you can plug the electronics that are close by into a power strip; then just turn the strip off when you won't be using those items for a while. You can also take this simple electricity-saving measure into your workplace. (See References 1)
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Beth Berry has been writing since 1995 about sustainable farming, fiber arts and parenting. She brings expertise in organic gardening, landscape design and domestic arts to her writing. Berry holds a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from Abilene Christian University and is a master seamstress.
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