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Pitch In > At Home | At Work | At the Ballpark | Purchasing | Recycling

AT HOME


Saving Energy (Source: EPA)


Choosing energy-efficient products can save families about 30% ($400 a year) while reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases. Whether you are looking to replace old appliances, remodel, or buy a new house, you can help. ENERGY STAR is the government's backed symbol for energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR label makes it easy to know which products to buy without sacrificing features, style or comfort that today's consumers expect. More steps you can take:

  • Turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room.
  • Use the microwave to cook small meals. (It uses less power than an oven.)
  • Purchase "green power" for your home's electricity. (Contact your power supplier to see where and if it is available.)
  • Have leaky air conditioning and refrigeration systems repaired.
  • Cut back on air conditioning and heating use if you can.
  • Insulate your home, water heater and pipes.

Reducing Air Pollution (Source: EPA)


How you address air pollution in your home can have a big effect on the environment and on you and your family's health. The choices you make at home affect the amount of pollution outside your home as well as inside. Here is what you should do to pollute less and all the while save some money.

  • Use compact florescent lights with energy-efficiency lighting and other energy-efficient appliances.
  • Turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room.
  • Use the microwave to cook small meals. (It uses less power than an oven.)
  • Plant deciduous trees in locations around your home to provide shade in the summer, but to allow light in the winter.
  • Recycle paper, plastic, glass bottles, cardboard and aluminum cans. (This conserves energy and reduces production emissions.)
  • Reuse materials like paper bags and boxes when you can.
  • Properly dispose of household paints, solvents and pesticides. Store these materials in airtight containers.
  • Paint with a brush, not a sprayer.
  • Keep woodstoves and fireplaces well maintained.
  • Purchase "Green Power" for you home's electricity. (Contact your power supplier to see where and if it is available.)
  • Have leaky air conditioning and refrigeration systems repaired.
  • Cut back on air conditioning and heating use if you can.
  • Turn thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer.
  • Insulate your home, water heater and pipes.
  • Have air conditioning systems checked in the Spring and heating systems checked in the Fall.
  • Follow professional advise on how to check filters monthly. These tips can save money from more serious repairs down the road as well as insure cleaner air.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Source: EPA)


Making a few small changes in your home and yard can lead to big reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and save money. Explore our list of nine simple steps you can take around the house and yard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

  1. 1. Change 5 lights
    Change a light, and you help change the world. Replace the conventional bulbs in your 5 most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs that have the ENERGY STAR and you will help the environment while saving money on energy bills. If every household in the U.S. took this one simple action we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.

  2. 2. Look for ENERGY STAR qualified products
    When buying new products, such as appliances for your home, get the features and performance you want AND help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Look for ENERGY STAR qualified products in more than 50 product categories, including lighting, home electronics, heating and cooling equipment and appliances.

  3. 3. Heat and cool smartly
    Simple steps like cleaning air filters regularly and having your heating and cooling equipment tuned annually by a licensed contractor can save energy and increase comfort at home, and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When it's time to replace your old equipment, choose a high efficiency model, and make sure it is properly sized and installed.

  4. 4. Seal and insulate your home
    Sealing air leaks and adding more insulation to your home is a great do-it-yourself project. The biggest leaks are usually found in the attic and basement. If you are planning to replace windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified windows for better performance. Forced air ducts that run through unconditioned spaces are often big energy wasters. Seal and insulate any ducts in attics and crawlspaces to improve the efficiency of your home. Not sure where to begin? A home energy auditor can also help you find air leaks, areas with poor insulation, and evaluate the over-all energy efficiency of your home. By taking these steps, you can eliminate drafts, keep your home more comfortable year round, save energy that would otherwise be wasted, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  5. 5. Use green power
    Green power is environmentally friendly electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun. There are two ways to use green power: you can buy green power or you can modify your house to generate your own green power. Buying green power is easy, it offers a number of environmental and economic benefits over conventional electricity, including lower greenhouse gas emissions, and it helps increase clean energy supply. If you are interested, there are a number of steps you can take to create a greener home, including installing solar panels and researching incentives for renewable energy in your state.

  6. 6. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
    If there is a recycling program in your community, recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, support recycling markets by buying products made from recycled materials. Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your home helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal.

  7. 7. Be green in your yard
    Use a push mower, which, unlike a gas or electric mower, consumes no fossil fuels and emits no greenhouse gases. If you do use a power mower, make sure it is a mulching mower to reduce grass clippings. Composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage that you send to landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. See EPA's GreenScapes program for tips on how to improve your lawn or garden while also benefiting the environment. Smart Landscaping can save energy, save you money and reduce your household's greenhouse gas emissions.

  8. 8. Use water efficiently
    Saving water around the home is simple. Municipal water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to households, and saving water, especially hot water, can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Look for products with EPA's WaterSense label; these products save water and perform as well or better than their less efficient counterparts. There are also simple actions you can take to save water: Be smart when irrigating your lawn or landscape; only water when needed and do it during the coolest part of the day, early morning is best. Turn the water off while shaving or brushing teeth. Do not use your toilet as a waste basket - water is wasted with each flush. And did you know a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet and faucet leaks right away. See EPA's WaterSense site for more water saving tips.

  9. 9. Spread the Word
    Tell family and friends that energy efficiency is good for their homes and good for the environment because it lowers greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Tell 5 people and together we can help our homes help us all.

Conserving Water (Source: EPA)


A family of four uses 400 gallons of water every day. EPA's WaterSense program helps conserve water for future generations by providing information on products and programs that save water without sacrificing performance.

More steps you can take:

  • Don't let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Take short showers instead of tub baths.
  • Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher; wash only full loads.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
  • Buy high-efficient plumbing fixtures & appliances.
  • Repair all leaks (a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons a day).
  • Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best).
  • Water plants differently according to what they need. Check with your local extension service or nurseries for advice.
  • Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only - not the street or sidewalk.
  • Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation systems for trees and shrubs.
  • Keep your yard healthy - dethatch, use mulch, etc.
  • Sweep outside instead of using a hose.
  • Landscape using "rain garden" techniques to save water and reduce stormwater runoff.