Our two kids, Miranda 10 and Laird 7, have always asked us for a playhouse. Being somewhat tight on funds, it was hard to imagine forking over several hundred dollars on either some expensive kit from a hardware store or those cheap plastic houses from the box joints. Our family talked it over and came to the conclusion that we would begin our quest to build our own playhouse. We have two goals: acquire as much material as possible from dumpsters, jobsites, and if the need arises — spend as little as possible. When purchasing those products, we will buy local products that have a sustainable aspect. We have plans to add a rain barrel this spring for some additional landscaping, and we are always looking for more ideas.
– Timothy T.Back to Top
Ever since living in Hawaii in my early 20s, I’ve hung all my clothes outside to dry on the clotheslines. Since moving to Colorado, I now put each load in the dryer for just a few minutes and then hang everything up to dry on hangers on a pole mounted across my basement laundry room. Things dry fairly quickly or overnight. I have been doing it so long that I can't tell you how much energy I have saved over the years, but when I compare my energy bill to friends it seems that the average savings is $30–40 a month.
– DawnBack to Top
We've been recycling glass, paper, cardboard and plastic for 6 years. By recycling, we've reduced the amount of trash we send to the dump to two 13-gallon white trash bags each week. We started recycling because our son came home from school after learning about it and not only encouraged us to do it, he helped set it up. To this day he helps take the recycling to the center.
Turns out, it's pretty easy to do and got us to thinking about other ways we can positively impact nature and our family budget. We use a thermostat to control the temperature, turning down the temp during the day. We added 15 inches of insulation in the attic. It improved the warmth tremendously, which means we are losing less heat! We also replace our lights with compact fluorescents. We've been working on this for some time and all our major lights are CFL's. We have some lamps and fixtures that CFL's won't work in, but we regularly look for more efficient lighting options.
We use energy-efficient fans and seldom use the air conditioner. We decided to stop using the second fridge in the basement and gave it to a family member who needed one. We try to always wash full loads of laundry, to make the most of energy usage. I feel good about recycling and reducing energy usage because being a good steward of the earth is everyone's responsibility. But more than just a responsibility, it's exhilarating to find another way to be more earth friendly, plus I really like the lower energy bills!
– Marsha M.Back to Top
I upgraded the attic insulation, got an energy-efficient EcoSense dishwasher, ENERGY STAR rated clothes washer, energy-efficient water heater, capped the chimney, put new doors on the house that actually seals the cold out, and patched the roof. This house we bought in November 2009 and in 11 months, we put in $60,000 of repairs and improvements and most will help with energy savings. I also started a home-based business and the server I chose to host my business' website runs entirely on solar panels. My home-based business is all about being green and promoting green initiatives. I will use net profits to buy books about global climate change to donate to high school libraries. That's what I'm doing to help be more energy efficient.
– Adrienne W.Back to Top
Ever since I was old enough to operate a light-switch I have been conserving energy. At home, many of fixtures are on timers so the lights are off during the day and the sun can light the house. Whenever a light or fan is left on, I go and shut it off immediately. Same goes for the heat. If the refrigerator door is open for than a minute, I set it so that a door alarm beeps until someone closes it. The bills are low which makes my parents happy. At my school, we had a “Go Green” fair and they asked for suggestions. I am the first one in every hallway, stairwell, dorm building and bathroom to shut off the lights. I suggested that everything should be on a timer and if we are supposedly "going green" we should take concrete action. Hopefully this goes into effect soon. I am continuing to influence and motivate others to do as I am. It feels great and makes our environment a better place! So this time go green!
– Neha V.Back to Top
I rent a room in a single-family home, utilities included. Even though I don't own my own home I help my landlord save utility costs by taking short showers and using a power strip for electronics which I shut off when not in use. I use baseboard heat only sparingly. The homeowner provides compact fluorescent bulbs for table lamps etc. For transportation, I don't own a car (by choice) so I get around by biking, walking or busing. I like to call it my "No Car Diet.”
– Darrell R.Back to Top
I have stopped purchasing paper plates, and to reduce garbage I try to purchase only recycled containers. I only use lights in the home at dusk, and try to only do laundry when I have full loads (in cold water only with environmentally safe laundry detergent).I replaced all light bulbs with CFLs, and use the dishwasher instead of washing dishes. My energy bill has definitely decreased.
– Shiquitta R.Back to Top
We turn the heat down in the house when we are at work, and turn it up a little when we get home. We wear sweatshirts, long pants and slippers to compensate for lowering the temp in the house.
– Vickie L.Back to Top
I have an older home with electric heat. One day when I was vacuuming the ducts, I noticed that some of them have pulled away from the sub-floor. I tightened the screws and used duct tape to stop any leaks between the floor and the duct work, which worked out great.
– VirginiaBack to Top
My family and I just moved into our first home and so far, we have replaced all the doors and windows, insulated the attic, and replaced our old energy hog kitchen appliances. On a personal note, I have always been the "green type.” I have recycled, composted, and collected rainwater since I was a teenager. There are so many resources available to us now to make these changes in our homes in the form of tax credits and rebates, that there really is no reason not to do it. We have only lived here for two months so I haven't been here long enough to document the energy savings extensively but I know they are there. I would do it even if it didn't make a dent in our bills—that's how committed I am to this cause! Turn off those lights, make the improvements and know that you are giving a big thank you to this planet that was given to us.
– Melissa D.Back to Top
I am changing my light bulbs to CFLs, I bought a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator, I replaced my old washer and dryer with front load high efficiency models, and my water bill has not gone above the "minimum" amount since. I keep my furnace filter cleaned and changed when needed, and I have a rain barrel for watering our home grown food. We also teach our kids not to run the water when brushing teeth and to turn off lights if they are leaving a room. We have storm windows and caulk as needed, and we installed a new high efficiency toilet that flushes using only a little water.
– Candi B.Back to Top
There are many different things that I have done over the last 7 years to conserve energy. I needed to repaint my house last year. I power washed the entire house to identify any cracks in the stucco, removed existing caulking and re-caulked all windows and stucco penetrations (i.e., around the chimney, doors, roof/wall abutments, & A/C and vents), used low expanding foam to seal around plumbing penetrations (roof plumbing vents), used masonry caulk to seal any cracks in the stucco (first used grinder to expand cracks and remove any crumbling stucco), fixed cracks and/or replaced any broken or failing window trims, primed entire exterior with high quality latex primer (2 coats on stucco and trim), and painted entire house with 2 coats high quality latex paint. After repairing and painting I have noticed a significant reduction in drafts throughout the premises—even so than expected. I believe that the caulking/foaming of the roof penetrations made most of the unexpected difference.
– Peter S.Back to Top
My father was an electrician, and so growing up it was always “turns off the lights when you’re not using them.” I got used to energy conservation as I grew up. He was always making us aware of how we could help the world. My father would be so proud to see how I am helping to save energy.
– Cheryl K.Back to Top
I use electric heat and only heat the kitchen and bedroom during the winter months. I have a thermostat to control heat in each room. I turn on the living room heat only when I have company. When I use the oven to cook in the winter, I leave the oven door slightly ajar so that the heat heats up the kitchen. I also never use the oven to make only one dish in the oven. If I turn on the oven, I make at least 2 dishes that can be cooked at the same time.
– Sunita P.Back to Top
Three years ago, we installed energy window film in our windows that receive the most light and heat gain during the day. This significantly cut down the amount of heat entering the home, without compromising our views by using curtains. At the same time we also are able to protect the floor and furniture finishes from the sun's harmful UV rays as well offer protection against severe damage to the doors and windows caused by severe weather such as hurricanes. Overall, we are satisfied with our investment and we can enjoy our home comfortably without using the AC as much, thus helping to reduce our energy costs.
– Sol Architecture and Partners LLCBack to Top
We always unplug everything we can, have changed all our light bulbs to the CFLs, connected to 'Windtricity' through our local electric company, and from the start we bought ENERGY STAR appliances. Since we've signed up with Windricity, our electric bill has so far been cut in half! Now we just need to come up with a plan for the doggie door we installed, if you have any ideas on this, please feel free to email me.
– Lillian D.Back to Top
Last fall I had my house repainted, and the painters did an excellent job of caulking around all windows, filling cracks and even adding a spot of caulk everywhere on my siding where a nail was used. I am on a level payment plan for my gas bill (gas heating and gas water heater) and a couple of months ago my level payment dropped 40%. I can only attribute it to the caulking and new paint.
– RayBack to Top
We replaced all of our everyday lights with energy–saving bulbs. We recycle all items our City allows including glass, aluminum, plastics, and paper. Also, we use our own shopping bags everywhere we shop. We have energy efficient air conditioners with timers that we set so they run only when needed. We compost all organics from the house and yard/garden. We don't use pesticides on our lawn or garden and our yard is butterfly/bird friendly. Also, we use recycled mulch from our landfill. When we were first married and my husband moved in, I explained my recycling. He had been an apartment dweller, so he didn't understand why I took such care to recycle and said that I was only one person. I told him that it starts with one person; now, he is a believer. We started recycling a few years ago and now we hardly have any trash, and our recycling bin is always full. I recently added a 10kw PV solar system to my house, and a solar hot water heater. My wife and I are in the process of changing out our light bulbs to CFL bulbs. We started recycling a few years ago and now we hardly have any trash, and our recycling bin is always full. We have switched from water bottles to a water dispenser and now we use refillable sport bottles. Our three children have joined in and now they give their friends a hard time whenever they use water bottles.
– PatriciaBack to Top
Since purchasing a new HDTV, I’ve started connecting it to a power surge device so I can simply switch the device off when not in use. I’ve also plugged my laptops and desktops into power strips which can be turned off with a flip of a switch. After doing a load of laundry, during the warmer months, I hang dry and use the "sun" and warmer temps to dry the laundry. During the winter months, after a load of laundry I run the dryer for only 20 minutes and then I hang dry for the remaining. This has noticeably decreased my utility bill per month. I shut the blinds on the side of the house that get lots of sun and open the blinds on the side of the house for nature light instead of turning on lights. Also, I collect rain water from the rains and from the Air Conditioner unit that runs outside of my home and use it to water my inside and outdoor plants.
– Cookie J.Back to Top
Last year I moved into my current home. I bought a new, smaller ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator and clothes washer. We rarely use the dryer and prefer a clothesline. We use mostly CFL bulbs and turn the heat off at night. We compost our yard waste so we only have a small shopping bag of garbage to throw away each week and our veggie garden loves the compost and worm castings.
– MaribethBack to Top
Most time in early summer mornings, the air is cool, so I open the all windows. When it begins to warm up, I close the windows. I don't open any window and block outsun during day—that way I keep cool my house and I don't use air conditioning very much.
– Namkoong K.Back to Top
In an effort to minimize my family's environmental impact, we have reduced the number of shopping trips we make by car. Instead, we purchase daily items only if they can be obtained from stores within walking distance. Otherwise, we skip the purchase until we make a once–monthly trip to stock up on essentials.
– LisaBack to Top
At home I recycle and compost everything I can and I have my own garden. We keep the heat set to 65 degrees in the winter and the air conditioning at 76 in the summer and we don't turn them on until late in the season. I also try to avoid buying single use products. I use regular towels instead of paper towels or napkins whenever I can.
At work I always turn off my office light and monitor when I leave for the day and I print very infrequently to save paper. I also recycle everything possible in the office.
- Amy D.Back to Top
I created The CD Recycling Center of America. Our goal is to keep as many unwanted CDs and DVDs from entering our landfills and incinerators. It is great for pollution control, while conserving natural resources.
- Bruce B.Back to Top
After replacing almost all of my standard light bulbs with compact fluorescents, I was looking around to find other ways to save energy. Realizing how much my pool filter pump runs, I conducted an experiment on my own pool. The question of “how long does the pump actually have to run to keep the pool clean?” was what I was trying to answer. My pool has been set to run 10 hours a day, every day. I started reducing the time until I noticed that the pool started to become dirty. I then increased the time in small increments until the pool maintained clarity. I ended up finding out that running my filter only 8 hours a day kept the pool clean. Then I asked “What happens if the filter is not run all 8 hours at the same time?”
I split the timer into two, 4-hour run times, one in the early morning and one in the late afternoon. I used the same experiment of reducing the filter run times, and found out something even more revealing. I am able to run my filter for two, 3 hour sessions a day (approximately 12 hours apart) for a total run time of six hours. This is a reduction of 40%. Now my pool is as clean as it was when running 10 hours straight. Even better, I am saving money (about $12 a month). What used to cost $30 now is costing only $18.
Now I asked myself “Why was the filter pump set to 10 hours a day?” My only answer is that that is where the pool installer set the timer 15 years ago, and it’s always been done that way. Now I wish that I had that $2,100 back that was wasted.
- Mark B.Back to Top
I am working with our church to get our 100 gallon water heater replaced with an on-demand water heater. Currently, we heat water 24/7 to wash a few dishes a couple times a month—no one is showering or washing clothes. There should be a significant energy savings with an on-demand water heater.
- William B.Back to Top
My uncle and I developed a program that powers off all computers in our district that are left on each night. On average, we shut down about 1,000 computers each night. We estimate that we have saved the district over $13,000 dollars and saved over 124 tons of CO2 since the start of this year.
We developed this program because we are very concerned about the environment and we believe that it is everyone's responsibility to do their part in reducing the amount of CO2 and other pollutants being released into the environment. Our goal is to give this program to every school district in the state so that we can make the biggest impact possible.
- Glenn N.Back to Top
I reuse large plastic jars with tight snap or screw-on lids to store all my bulk items if they don't get recycled (for items such as frozen vegetables, rice, and grains.) Plastic jars for candy, sugar, yogurt, or any non-chemical item are very handy. I can't always find these containers at a dollar store and a tight budget does not always allow me the luxury of buying the containers. So I soak the containers in very hot disinfectant soapy water for half an hour. I rinse let dry and reuse. My foods stay fresh and I save money at the same time.
- MindyBack to Top
I have decided to go back in time. Instead of using a clothes dryer, I now hang my clothes outside to dry. It takes a little planning (watching the weather) and a little more time, but in the end it is worth it. Not only do I save the environment and money, but my clothes have that good old-fashioned fresh air smell. So, just use a little fabric softener and get back to nature.
- Dee A.Back to Top
I removed all of the grass in my front yard and then removed approximately 7 cubic yards of soil to correct the contour. I shaped it to the natural slope of the neighborhood but created a lower spot with gravel. This made the yard zero runoff. In fact, my yard now collects a lot of the water from the neighbor’s driveway, reducing his runoff. I then planted drought tolerant plants and brought in decorative gravel, boulders, etc. to make it look nice. It also cut my water bill by about 40 percent once I quit watering the grass.
- GregBack to Top
A self-contained gifted class of 5th and 6th graders at Kennedy Middle Grade School has been the driving force in collecting pledges this past year. The class studies energy as a part of their science curriculum. Therefore, the students were assigned energy project to educate others about energy and why we as individuals and as a nation, should use it efficiently. Five small groups of students gave a 5-10 minute presentation to different decision making groups in the community including; the Kiwonas, two different Rotary groups, the City of Kankakee’s City Council, Kankakee County’s County Board, Kankakee School District #111’s School Board, as well as several other groups. After their presentations, the students asked for the adults to sign the ENERGY STAR Pledge. The class collected well over 200 pledges.
- Kennedy Middle SchoolBack to Top
During the year, Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools participates in the Change a World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign by collecting pledges. We drive pledges through a link on our website as well as by giving out a few CFL bulbs to help us get started. As an ENERGY STAR Partner and pledge driver we encourage our staff to let the community know about our program and help us increase our number of pledges. We send out e-mails to our staff to promote taking the pledge and they forward this on to their family and friends. This helps us stay in the top five. The schools of Nash-Rocky Mount participate with the City of Rocky Mount and Keep America Beautiful program to help fight preserve our environment, also. In addition, we train our staff on how to leave their classrooms at night so that we continue to save energy and money when we are not in the building.
- Nash-Rocky Mount Public SchoolsBack to Top
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) has partnered with the ENERGY STAR program for the past eight years to educate residential consumers in the Midwest on energy efficiency, while providing retailer incentives to accelerate market transformation. In the fall of 2008, MEEA partnered with both local and national sponsors to host a two-day family event at Chicago’s Navy Pier in which visitors were educated on energy-efficient products, given free CFLs, and asked to sign the ENERGY STAR pledge.
- Midwest Energy Efficiency AllianceBack to Top
The VA New England Healthcare System used the Change the World Campaign pledge drive as a cornerstone of its employee energy awareness/outreach efforts for the year. As a first-time pledge driver, VA New England committed to a goal of having as many employees as possible take the ENERGY STAR pledge. VA New England’s campaign has helped to increase employee awareness of energy consumption at home. This in turn has encouraged employees to re-think the way they use energy in the workplace—an important step in reaching our energy goals. To promote the pledge, the four New England Energy Managers held ‘Change the World’ employee events at 11 VA Medical Centers in New England, with personal, face-to-face outreach about the benefits of saving energy. Events were also held for maintenance and operations personnel. Employees were kept informed about the pledge via newsletters, e-mails, and VA Intranet sites. VA New England also took advantage of the umbrella pledge driver program to foster competition among Medical Centers. Employees could check their progress against goals and against each other online.
- VA New EnglandBack to Top
The City of Long Branch, NJ, through the Mayor’s Energy Committee, utilized two avenues to reach the public and get them involved in the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign, as well as generally raising public awareness of the importance of saving energy and conserving our natural resources. First, the City sponsored a booth at the League of Municipalities Convention in Atlantic City to promote the City of Long Branch. The convention is attended by thousands of state public employees, officials, and residents. This year, the theme was Long Branch Goes Green, and staff solicited pledges from convention attendees. Second, the staff at the City’s two library branches solicited pledges from library patrons, as well as providing “green” literature, environmental and energy saving displays, and suggested reading lists. A contest developed to see whether the convention or the library would drive more pledges, and ended in a dead heat.
- City of Long BranchBack to Top
My current effort to save energy is at my church. We have two 50 gallon hot water tanks providing hot water 24/7. I feel that this is a monumental waste since we only wash a few dishes occasionally; nobody is washing clothes or bathing. My proposal is to replace both water tanks with an on demand water heater that should result in energy savings of as much as 90%. If my reasoning is correct, every public building that has minimum hot water usage is a candidate for an on demand water heater. It does not make sense to heat water 24/7 that is only required occasionally.
- William B.Back to Top
I have a newly constructed, 2,800 square foot home. It is very well insulated with radiant heat and low-e argon windows. I have changed over 30 lights in my house and switched to CFLs. For electricity, I believe in lights off if they're not in use. I also started a renewable/energy efficiency program at Greenfield Community College to help make the necessary changes for the environment. My goal is to educate as many folks as possible to change our use patterns. Many folks are listening to my ideas. I have 20+ years as building/remodeling contractor — so I know how to turn a structure around to increase efficiency.
- Steve R.Back to Top
Two years ago, I replaced all 10 windows in my home with energy-efficient windows, and now there are no more drafts coming through the cracks. I cut my natural gas heating by about $200 in peak winter season. I financed this project on my own and I was able to get home heating tax credit on my income taxes. I also have replaced some of the light bulbs with CFLs. I cut down on my consumption of water, especially when brushing my teeth. Now I keep the water off until I rinse — this saves a lot of water.
- PhyleeBack to Top
I have replaced most of my lights with CFL bulbs, and I set my thermostat at 68 in the winter and 75 in the summer. Both of these steps have made a difference in my electric bill, but what has made the biggest difference is using power strips for my computer, monitor, printer, TV, DVD player and all my small appliances that "sleep" after being shut off. A flip of the switch on the strip totally shuts the appliances off, so they are no longer "sleeping" and using "phantom" energy when they are not being used. I am also learning to unplug other appliances when not in use. The last time my electric budget was adjusted, it went down, not up, for the first time ever.
- Pat K.Back to Top
Our energy company had an energy audit performed on our business — it has saved me hundreds of dollars and I suggest this to other businesses!
- PonBack to Top
We have replaced every light bulb inside and outside our house with energy-efficient CFLs. We also had a new blower put into our furnace. We cover our air conditioner during the winter and caulked around all the doors and windows as well as added more insulation.
- William C.Back to Top
I have been advocating turning off the lights since I came to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1999. I'm the last to leave the office on certain days and I usually go around and turn off all computer monitors, space fans, printers, copiers, and the office lights when I leave. I'm amazed how many people leave their computer monitors on. Although IT has instructed HUD personnel to leave their computers on so that they can receive updates, most people think that includes the computer monitor-I suggested HUD IT send a message out to leave the computer on but turn off the monitor.
- Thomas I.Back to Top
There are a lot of things that we are doing to try to help out. First, we have changed all of our lights to CFL light bulbs — that's 22 bulbs in total. We have also begun to change out our windows to ENERGY STAR qualified vinyl windows. We have also put all of our electrical devices on power strips so that whenever they are not in use, we can completely turn them off, and thereby save energy by not building up "phantom" charges.
- Mario T.Back to Top
I placed curtains with lining over my windows which hold the heat in the house in the winter. Rooms that I do not use, I do not heat nor cool, and for these rooms, I close the door and vents. I have installed a timer on my hot water heater and my heating and cooling system has a timer, so the heat is off when we are asleep and away. One of the biggest ways we save money is that when we are home we wear less clothing in the summer, and more in the winter.
- ChappelleBack to Top
I personally believe that one of the easiest ways for people to save money, reduce their carbon footprint and minimize environmental risks, is to replace wasteful incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Because of this, I use only CFLs wherever possible in my own home, but not only that, I have given away free CFLs to people in my town and surrounding towns, schools, and businesses at Green Expos, etc.
Since March of 2007 I have given away over 2,500 energy-efficient CFLs. While I continue to give away free CFLs almost every day, I started to also give away free adjustable low-flow shower heads which reduces water consumption in showers by over 50%! This time next year I will be able to tell you how much water I have saved my city and the surrounding towns.
- Bill G.Back to Top