In honor of 2010's 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the upcoming 41st anniversary of Earth Day, here is the third installment of 40 quick, easy, and effective ways to reduce waste, save energy, trees, and other resources, and help fight pollution and curb climate change. Part 3 of our four-part series focuses on conserving energy:
- Slay the energy vampires. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75% of the electricity used to power electronics and appliances in the average home is consumed while the products are turned off. Plug products into power strips and flip the switch on the power strip to cut all power when the appliance is not in use.
- Whenever possible, open windows and use fans rather than running your air conditioner. In the market for a new air conditioner, fridge, clothes washer, or other appliances? Look for the Energy Star label, which shows that the product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and the US Department of Energy. Energy Star qualified washers, for example, use about 30% less energy than conventional models.
- State governments, the federal government, and local utilities offer rebates and other incentives for purchasing energy efficient appliances. Check the DSIRE map to find the ones that are available in your area.
- When you're shopping for a new computer, keep in mind that a laptop uses much less energy than a desktop model.
- Skip the dryer and hang your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack to save both energy and wear and tear on fabrics.
- Cook with smaller appliances rather than always opting to heat food in the oven or on the stovetop. You can save energy, for example, by using an electric kettle rather than a teapot on the stove and by cooking small or medium sized portions of food in the microwave or toaster.
- Replace five conventional light bulbs in your most frequently used fixtures with energy-saving compact fluorescents, and you can save $70 a year in electricity costs. Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescents last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy.
- Install a programmable thermostat. You can set it to automatically raise or lower temperatures at night and when you're not home, and save as much as $180 a year in energy costs.
- If it's sunny outside, be sure to open your blinds to get the full benefit of the most energy-efficient source of light.
- Share — cars (carpool!) and comments!
Interested in the other 30 tips? Check out tips 1–10, 11–20, and 31–40!