- Unplug electronics such as cell phones and laptops once they are charged. Adapters plugged into outlets use energy even if they are not charging.
- Many appliances use electricity even when they're turned off. It's called a phantom load or vampire electricity. As much as 75 percent of the electricity used by home electronics and small appliances is used while they're turned off. The Ohio Consumers Council estimates that it costs consumers $40 to $100 a year!
- CFL lights are great replacements for any bulb (except spotlights). Replace lights that are used often, non-dimming lights and any light (inside or out) protected from direct outdoor temperatures. They use about 25 percent of incandescent energy and last eight times as long. CFL bulbs save 450 pounds of emissions over the lifetime of the bulb and generate 70 percent less heat.
- UNMC LiveGreen - 'Flip the Switch,' Even If You're Just Out For A Bit
- Almost 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat the water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Save money and energy. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water, instead of hot, using a detergent formulated for cold-water use.
- Dry your clothes on a laundry line rather than throwing them in the dryer. Clothes dryers are the third-largest energy users in the home, behind the refrigerator and washing machine, costing more than $100 a year to operate, according to Project Laundry List.
- Run full dishwasher loads. You'll save up to 20 gallons of water per load, or 7,300 gallons a year. That's as much water as the average person drinks in a lifetime.
- Buy a water filter for your kitchen faucet and put to good use yet another way to do away with those plastic water bottles that are clogging landfills and burning up energy in recycling plants. About 1.5 million tons of plastic are used on the bottling of 89 billion liters of drinking water each year.
- Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. You'll conserve up to five gallons of water per day -- which could add up to 1.5 billion gallons that could be saved across the country each day -- more than enough for all of New York City.
Heating and air
- Keep air vents clear of any obstructions. It takes as much as 25 percent more energy to pump air into the workspace if the vents are blocked.
- The average household spends nearly $2,000 a year on energy bills—nearly half on heating and cooling. A programmable thermostat, set and used properly, can save about $180 each year.
- Indoor chemicals contribute to allergies, asthma, birth defects, and learning disabilities in children. As few as 15 houseplants in an average-size home can offer a significant reduction in the number of indoor contaminants.
- One in every 15 U.S. homes has elevated levels of lung cancer causing radon. Pick up a radon detector at your local hardware store and call a professional if it picks up concentrations above 3.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
- Idling for just 30 seconds burns more fuel than turning off the car and restarting it. Turn the ignition off at long stoplights and other lengthy hold-ups. And rather than using the drive-through, just park and go in.
- Burning one gallon of gas produces roughly 25 pounds of CO2. Check the air pressure on your tires. Properly inflated tires can increase fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent.
University of Wisconsin researchers found that bicycling could answer many environmental and health problems. According to the report published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, if Mid-westerners replaced half of their short trips with bicycle trips during the warmest six months of the year, they would save about $3.8 billion per year from avoided mortality and reduced health care costs for conditions like obesity and heart disease. The report calculated that these measures would save an estimated $7 billion, including 1,100 lives each year from improved air quality and increased physical fitness. The length of trips in the study were 2.5 miles one way and less than 25-minutes by bike.