TURN 'EM OFF Flick the switch on your way out of the room, even if you'll only be gone a short time. And if you're not reading small print or using precision instruments, opt for the cozy feel of fewer lights altogether.
TRADE 'EM IN If you must get lit, trade in energy-gobbling incandescent bulbs for eco-friendly compact fluorescent ones. They're as good for your wallet as they are for the environment.
PARK THE CAR Leave the gas-guzzler in the garage and walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation to get around. Google Transit, will help get you where you need to go via bus, subway, or train. And if all else fails, eRideShare.com can help you find a local carpool.
GRAB A BIN If you're not already recycling paper, plastic and glass it's time to get with the program. The folks at Earth911.com will fill you in on the basics and provide nearby locations for recycling aluminum cans, paint and computers.
OPT FOR NUKES Conventional ovens use almost three times as much energy as microwaves. Give snacks, beverages and smaller meals a zap in microwave-safe glass containers instead of warming them in the oven or heating them on top of the stove.
FIX A LEAK Think that slow leak in the sink doesn't waste much water? Twelve drips a minute from a faulty faucet wastes over 600 gallons of water per year. Hard to believe? Do your own math with the American Water Works Association drip calculator, then consult the easy-to-follow instructions on how to stem the flow at DoItYourself.com.
WHILE YOU'RE AT IT... As long as you're in the loo, why not repair that running toilet? The EPA says that "inefficient toilets are responsible for most of the water wasted in American homes." To make yours even less draining, place a brick, rock or water-filled bottle in the tank to reduce the amount of H2O used when you flush. Visit EarthAScope.com for details.
HEATER TWEEK Turning the thermostat on your water heater down to 120 degrees, (most are set at 140 degrees by manufacturers), can save you up to 5% in H2O heating costs and reduce the risk of scalding as well. Wrapping your heater with an inexpensive, insulated blanket, (the U.S. Dept. of Energy will show you how), can add an additional 4%-9% to those savings.
WATER EARLY The most efficient and effective time to water your lawn or garden is early in the morning, just as the sun is coming up. Giving your beds an A.M. drink with keep them cooler during the heat of the day, and will reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation.
CANCEL 'EM 59 million trees give their leafy, oxygen-producing lives each year to become paper for the 19 billion catalogs that Americans receive by mail. Ordering online is one way to cut down on catalog clutter, but you could still end up on a mailing list. Which is why we love CatalogChoice.org. They'll cancel as many catalogs as you like for free.
LOAD IT UP Did you know that a fully and properly loaded, energy-efficient dish- washer uses 37% less water than washing dishes by hand? Oh, and don't rinse dishes before loading. It may seem counterintuitive, but according to industry insiders and The New York Times, pre-rinsing can keep your machine and detergent from doing their jobs properly.
TOSS 'EM IN As with dishwashers, energy-efficient and properly loaded clothes washers will get you the most bang for your energy and detergent buck. Select the proper load size before starting the machine, and use warm or cold water instead of hot whenever you can.
CLEAN YOUR FILTERS Air conditioner filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month for units to perform at maximum efficiency. Be sure to check user manuals regarding filter replacement or cleaning schedules for furnaces, over-range fans, and space heaters too. And clothes dryer filters should be cleaned after every use.
SHUT THE DOOR Leaving the fridge door open causes the appliance's thermostat to kick into overdrive to compensate for the loss of cold air. So keep the door shut, and remember to clean the condenser coils in back if you want maximum cool at minimum cost.
UNPLUG GADGETS About 75% of the power used by electronics is consumed while the items are turned off. That goes for everything from TVs to toasters, CD players to computers. So unplug products or turn power strips off, and don't forget to unplug chargers for MP3 players, cell phones, tools, toothbrushes, and other gadgets once charges have been fully loaded.
LESS IS MORE Saving water in the shower is as easy as installing a low flow shower head, (check out this straightforward video How-To on You Tube for help). And of course hosing down with a buddy is a singularly sexy way to save the planet.
BUNDLE UP Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during winter months, and grab a sweater or pull on socks when things begin to feel a bit nippy. Remember to close your fireplace damper, and take a look at these other winter time tips on how to stay toasty.
CATCH A BREEZE When the summer heat is on, create a cross-breeze by cracking opposite windows. Pull shades, blinds or curtains to keep rooms cool during the sunniest parts of the day, and do laundry during cooler morning or evening hours. Consider installing a ceiling fan, and keep your thermostat or air conditioner at 78 degrees.
PAY ONLINE Each person who registers to pay bills online reduces the amount of paper used each year by 6.6 pounds. Never has weight loss been so easy, and switching from paper to electronic statements ups that figure even more. (Don't forget the dough you'll be saving on stamps as well).
PLANT SOME TREES Not only do trees generate life-supporting oxygen, provide residence for all sorts of essential critters, reduce home cooling costs with their shade, and block bitter winter winds, but they look downright lovely too. To find out what kinds of trees will serve you best visit LPB.org.