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Encouraging North Americans to Pollute Less, Consume Fewer Resources, and Use Less Energy since 2007.

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Home Energy

There are many things you can do at home to pollute less. Most of us don't do much. Please take a look below and see if there aren't a few things you can do that are "significant" or at least "noticeable". It is easy to do "not enough".

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Limit the water flow in the shower Less hot water flow means less use of water per time period when you take a shower. I used a coin the size of a penny, drilled a 1/16" hole in it and put it between the shower head and the water line. The shower now uses less than 1 gallon of water per minute even at full force. Cheap and very effective. It may work best with a shower head that is designed to work with less water, e.g. water saver shower head. The coin reduces the water flow even further.
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Purchase "green energy certificates" You may have the option in your area to purchase electricity from companies that create electricity from renewable and/or clean sources such as wind, water, sunlight, and others. This way you support companies that create electricity with much less pollution and you still have the same comfort at home.
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Disconnect stand-by devices Any device that can be operated with a remote control uses electricity just sitting there waiting for you. Unplug the device if you are not using it. Plug it back in if you want to use it. If the device has lights on even when not in use or is warm to the touch it uses electricity just sitting there waiting. Leaving them plugged in results in many devices (TVs, stereo systems, some lamps,...) using more electricity when not in use than when used.
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Spin-dry clothesUse a spin-dryer to get the last bit of water out of your laundry before you put it in the clothes dryer, or even better hang it on the line to dry. Drying times are significanly reduced. Google: spin dryer.significant
Hang dry laundry Clothes that are hung outside to dry do not require the huge amounts of electricity that a clothes dryer requires. The clothes also last longer. Yes, the clothes may be stiff and will not smell the way you are used to. Sorry.
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Turn off lights when not in room When you are not in the room you don't need the lights and turning them off saves electricity. If you walk in and out a lot and you use fluorescent bulbs consider leaving them on. Fluorescent bulbs (tube shaped; straight or curled) use a lot more energy on start-up than regular incandescent bulbs.
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Replace incandescent light bulbs with CF bulbs Fluorescent light bulbs (straight tube) or compact fluorescent bulbs (curved or wrapped tube) require much less electricity to operate while giving off the same amount of light and while lasting significantly longer.
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Properly dispose of fluorescent bulbs Fluorescent light bulbs (straight tube) or compact fluorescent bulbs (curved or wrapped tube) contain a small amount of mercury and should not be thrown away in the regular trash. Dispose of them through your toxic waste collection system.
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Use LED lights Light emitting diodes are becoming more popular for good reasons. They require very little electricity to deliver light that is bright and cool to the touch. They are very shock-resistant and last for ten thousands of hours.
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Use rechargeable batteries
Rechargeable batteries can be recharged hundreds of times. That saves the landfill from disposed batteries. Try to use rechargeable batteries that can be disposed off through the regular trash once they have reached the end of their useful life. Some rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals that are very toxic and are hazardous waste.
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Turn off computer Turn it off when you are not using it. It saves electricity and keeps the room/ your house/ your office cooler in the summer.
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Turn off devices if not really used Most electric devices create heat as a by-product. Turn them off when you are not using them. It saves electricity and keeps the room/ your house/ your office cooler in the summer. Why have the radio, TV, fans, air-conditioning, etc. on if you are not there using them?
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Do tasks that require light during the daytime. If you need light take advantage of day light. It is available free of charge, does not require the use of additional energy, and does not pollute. Open the curtains if there is not enough light coming in to the house.
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User toaster oven instead of full-size oven A toaster oven uses less electricity and will cook/bake the food faster. It is smaller of course, and do not forget to adjust the cooking and baking times. It may cook much faster.
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Eat cold meals Cooking requires energy. If you do not heat up the food you do not use energy. That is especially smart in the summer when you do not want to create heat inside the house.
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Close refrigerator door Every time you open the refrigerator or freezer some of the cold air falls out and the refrigerator/ freezer has to turn on to cool down the contents again. Open the door briefly. Make sure it is shut tight afterward.
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Keep fridge/ freezer full If your fridge or freezer are not filled up very much consider putting in bottles filled with water. A fridge or freezer that is full warms up slower and does not turn on as often as one that is basically empty.
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Put freezer in coldest room of house You freezer is working to keep its contents very cold. The warmer the outside air, the more energy is required to keep the contents cool. Move the freezer into the basement or any other unheated room that stays cool by itself.
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Don't put fridge next to stove Your fridge is working to keep its contents cold. The warmer the outside, the more energy is required to keep the contents cool. A stove gets rather hot on the outside. Putting it next to the fridge results in using more electricity just because the fridge and stove are next to each other. At least put something insulating (but heat resistant) between the two devices where they are touching.
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Cool food outside during winter Instead of putting food that is still warm in the fridge for storage (which results in the fridge using a lot of electricity to cool the food), let it cool outside in the winter and put it in the fridge when it is cold.
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Store blocks of ice in fridge Use the outside during the winter time to freeze some water in containers (such as gallon milk jugs) and put the frozen water in the fridge. This way you can cool your fridge contents without using electricity.
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Wash your laundry less often Your washing machine uses electricity. Using it less often saves energy. How dirty can your clothes really get if you work in an office? Does the stain come out with a little soap, water and hand scrubbing or do you need to wash the whole thing with a machine?
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Use mechanical toothbrushes rather than electric toothbrush Keeps your upper body in shape (look at those muscles!) and saves some electricity.
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Do it without electricity if possible Electric can openers, electric scissors, electric knives, electric mirrors, and whatever else product that really does not need to be electric do a task that can be done without using electricity and without pollution. If you also consider the energy required to MAKE those products, not using them is noticeable
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Use solar battery charger The sun shines without creating pollution. If you need to purchase a battery charger purchase one that uses sunlight to charge batteries. Making the solar panel may require more energy than you ever save. Better not to use battery powered devices at all.
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Run outside rather than on treadmill Treadmills and many other fitness machines require electricity to operate while running outside does not. Is it not ironic that we need electrically powered machines to be able to use human power?
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Use hand tools when possible If you can do it by hand do it by hand. No electricity required but it may take a bit longer and be a bit harder to do. Less pollution though.
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Reduce temperature setting on hot water tank The higher the temperature difference between the hot water and the outside, the harder the water heater has to work. By reducing the temperature setting on the tank you will pollute less. Make sure it is not below 140F or 60 C though because certain dangerous bacteria thrive in warm water.
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Install insulating jacket on hot water tank The water inside the tank will cool down much slower if the tank has additional insulation. The water heater has to work less often
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Put right size pot on appropriate stove burner A pot that is too small for a burner lets much of the heat escape without heating up the contents of the pot.
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Put lid on pots when cooking The contents of a pot with a lid heat up much faster and keep the heat longer than without a lid.
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Use a steam cooker A steam cooker uses pressure and temperatures that cannot be reached with a regular pot. The contents cook much faster and require less energy to be prepared.
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Buy energy-star rated products Energy-star rated products are designed to use less energy than the same products without this rating. If you need to purchase an item, look for the energy-star rating and compare.
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Keep functional devices longer - ignore fashion pressure It requires a lot of energy to develop, manufacture, and distribute appliances and products. Resist the fashion pressures - don't purchase something new to replace a perfectly functional device.
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Control outdoor lights with light- and motion-sensitive switches If outdoor lights are necessary, connect them to motion and light sensitive switches. That way they are only on when someone is around who may need them, and are only on when it is actually dark. Adjust the motion sensor to be less sensitive if it activates the light for every little movement. Cats and flying leaves don't need a light.
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Resist the temptation to heat you yard/patio/terrace with infra-red heat lamps. An outside heat lamp heats the outside. Other than creating pollution there seems to be little reason to do this. Put on more clothes or go inside if you are cold.
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Don't heat your swimming pool Heating your pool requires a lot of electricity or energy.
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Go swimming in a lake or take a brief cool shower if you are too hot. Swimming pool pumps require electricity to stay clean. They also often require chemicals that turn a huge amount of drinking water into water that is not suitable for drinking any more.
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Recycle what needs to be thrown out If a product needs to be thrown out because it cannot be repaired any longer, take it apart and recycle the parts. Most plastic parts can be recycled, most metal parts as well. It is important to avoid throwing out items though since recycling often results in toxic by-products.
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Repair what can be fixed Even if it is more expensive than buying new, repairing a house hold device is more energy efficient than purchasing a new one. Especially if it can be repaired locally. The longer you can keep a product that does not pollute while in operation, the better. Do not fix cosmetic damages though. That wastes energy and pollutes more!
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Reuse rather than recycle
Reusing a product means that you do not purchase a product that was made new for the same purpose. Recycling rarely results in the materials being returned to becoming a product of the same quality. Recycling also requires energy, even though it is generally much less than creating new materials and uses less resources.
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Wash your recycling last If you need to wash the plastic or aluminum containers you are about to recycle, use the dirty dishwashing water before you drain the sink. Why wash what you throw out with hot clean water? It may not even need to be washed at all.
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Don't toast your bread Not toasting is more energy efficient than toasting.
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Use toaster - not toaster oven If you have the choice between a toaster and the toaster oven, use the toaster. It toasts your bread much faster and, as a result uses less energy.
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Wash laundry with cold water Doing your laundry with hot or warm water requires MUCH more energy and creates more pollution than washing it with cold water. Most likely it will get clean just fine, especially if you let it soak for a long time.
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Install two handle faucets to avoid running any hot water when you really don't need it If you are installing a new faucet (because you have to, not because you want to) single lever faucets do not use hot water IN ONLY ONE position and it is easy to use hot water even if you do not want to. If you already have a single lever faucet be aware of the fact that you may be using a little bit of hot water in almost all positions of the lever.
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Wash full loads only If the laundry machine of dishwasher are not full wait a bit longer to wash only a full load. The dishwasher uses the same energy when it washes only a small load. The laundry machine can usually be adjusted but all you saved is the amount of water. It still takes the same amount of electricity. Washing only full loads is even more important if you use warm or hot water for doing the laundry.
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Fix dripping faucets Dripping faucets waste drinking water that has to be made and pumped. Hundreds of gallons of water go down the drain every year if it just drips once per second.
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Fix dripping hot water faucets Dripping faucets waste drinking water that has to be made and pumped. Hundreds of gallons of water go down the drain every year if it just drips once per second. And, since it is hot water you are wasting energy for heating the dripping water. Get it fixed.
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Cook with microwave Cooking with the microwave may be more expensive than cooking with gas, it is however more efficient and uses less energy.
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Unplug microwave A microwave that is plugged in uses a small amount of electricity all year long. It may use more electricity when it is not in use than when it is actually used.
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Turn electric stove top and oven off earlier Turning off the stove tops or oven does not mean that the cooking stops right away. It takes a while for foods to cool below boiling temperature. However, turning off the stove and oven results in the immediate end of use of energy.
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Keep oven door closed until the end Every time you open the oven door or, even worse, leave it open for a while, the temperature inside the oven drops and the stove has to work to get to the set temperature again after you close the door. You can open the door (and leave it open to heat the house) once you are done and want to take out what is inside.
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Get a wind-up version of radio or flashlight If you have to, buy one that needs no batteries ever.
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Hard wire your smoke detectors It may be already required. This way smoke detector uses regular household current and will never need batteries.
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Avoid battery powered products and batteries A battery requires many times more energy to be manufactured than the battery will ever create itself. Every time you use one battery you are actually using the equivalent of the energy of dozens of batteries. Not only is this a waste of energy for a product that (most of the time) has little importance if looked at the big picture on this planet, in addition batteries are hazardous waste and need to be separated from regular trash to be stored in "safer" landfills. If you never begin using battery powered products, the pollution that is the result of making those products is avoided as well. If you already started - stop now, recycle battery-powered products, and end your share of the manufacturing of batteries and the resulting toxic waste.
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