Small investments that pay off
8. Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for your most-used lights. Although they cost more initially, they save money in the long run by using only 1/4 the energy of an ordinary incandescent bulb and lasting 8-12 times longer. They provide an equivalent amount of bright, attractive light. Only 10% of the energy consumed by a normal light bulb generates light. The rest just makes the bulb hot. If every American household replaced one of its standard light bulbs with an energy efficient compact fluorescent bulb, we would save the same amount of energy as a large nuclear power plant produces in one year. In a typical home, one compact fluorescent bulb can save 260 pounds of CO2 per year.
9. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket, which costs just $10 to $20. It can save 1100 lbs. of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 220 pounds for a gas heater.
10. Use less hot water by installing low-flow shower heads. They cost just $10 to $20 each, deliver an invigorating shower, and save 300 pounds of CO2 per year for electrically heated water, or 80 pounds for gas-heated water.
11. Weatherize your home or apartment, using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks around doors and windows. Caulking costs less than $1 per window, and weather stripping is under $10 per door. These steps can save up to 1100 pounds of CO2 per year for a typical home. Ask your utility company for a home energy audit to find out where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. This service may be provided free or at low cost. Make sure it includes a check of your furnace and air conditioning.
12. Whenever possible, walk, bike, car pool, or use mass transit. Every gallon of gasoline you save avoids 22 pounds of CO2 emissions. If your car gets 25 miles per gallon, for example, and you reduce your annual driving from 12,000 to 10,000 miles, you’ll save 1800 pounds of CO2.
13. When you next buy a car, choose one that gets good mileage. If your new car gets 40 miles per gallon instead of 25, and you drive 10,000 miles per year, you’ll reduce your annual CO2 emissions by 3,300 pounds.