Whenever you save energy, you reduce demand for fossil fuels, which means lower emissions of carbon dioxide, the major contributor to global warming. This year, vow to take these simple steps suggested by Environmental Defense (EDF.org) for a healthier planet.
1. Use the energy-saving setting to dry dishes—or let them air dry.
2. Wash laundry in warm or cold water, not hot.
3. Turn down your water heater thermostat to about 120 degrees.
4. As you replace appliances, select the most energy-efficient models.
5. Adjust your room thermostat to be lower in winter, higher in summer.
6. Clean or replace dirty air filters, which can save 5 percent of the energy used.
7. Put energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs in your most-used lights.
8. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket (if it has no internal insulation).
9. Install low-flow showerheads to use less hot water.
10. Caulk and weather-strip around doors and windows to plug air leaks.
11. Ask your utility company to do a home energy audit.
12. Walk, bike, carpool, or use mass transit whenever possible.
13. Purchase a car that gets good gas mileage.
14. Buy minimally packaged goods & choose reusable products over disposable ones.
15. Be sure your car’s air conditioner coolant is recycled after servicing.
16. Insulate your walls and attic to save about 25 percent of home heating bills.
17. If you’re replacing windows, install energy-saving models.
18. Plant trees next to your home and paint the house a light color if you live in a warm climate or a dark color in a cold climate.
19. Be a community activist. Set up recycling programs and promote energy efficiency at your school and workplace.
20. Stay informed about environmental issues. Keep track of government representatives’ voting records and write or call to express concerns.