There are countless other ways to be greener. What have you done to use less water, save energy, cut down on chemical use, etc.? Drop us a note here.
Take advantage of cash for appliances rebates and replace your energy hogs for higher-efficiency models.
Consider recycling your old appliances or dispose of them properly.
Clean the coils behind or underneath your refrigerator with a tapered appliance brush to keep it running efficiently.
Consider washing larger loads, and when loads are smaller, choose a lower water level setting if your machine does not automatically do this.
Dust off the slow cooker. You'll use a lot less energy than cooking a meal across several burners and in the oven. Learn more ways to reduce your cookprint.
Skip prerinsing dishes. Our tests have found that it's unnecessary, and you'll save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year.
Opt for the cold-water wash cycle, which will save you about $60 a year.
Waste less food with these food-storage tips.
Heating & Cooling
Buy an effective programmable thermostat—using one properly can cut your cooling and heating bills by up to 20 percent. Save some money by installing it yourself.
Place the thermostat on an inside wall away from windows and doors so that drafts don't cause the heat or AC to cycle on unnecessarily.
Add insulation. An estimated 80 percent of older homes are underinsulated. Properly insulating and sealing your home can cut your heating and cooling bills by 10 percent.
Open blinds and shades on cold days. Solar heat gain can raise interior temperature significantly. But close them at night to minimize heat loss.
Lower the temperature a degree or two before guests arrive. A houseful of people generates a lot of body heat.
Clean or replace filters monthly during heating and cooling season. Clogged filters force the equipment to work longer, raising your electric bills.
Insulate and seal cracks and gaps in your ducts. That can help reduce energy costs by 30 percent.
Use zone heat wisely. A portable heater in a room saves only if you're willing to keep the rest of the house chilly. Wood-burning fireplaces can suck more heat from your home than they put back in.Weather-strip old windows and doors. It's the surest way to close the gaps around openings, reducing heating and cooling costs by 15 to 30 percent.
Prevent the stack effect by sealing around canister lights and other holes in the ceiling beneath the attic. Be sure to choose the right caulk for the project. Most recessed light housings (canisters) have openings for air to pass through for cooling and also require clearance from insulation. Consider replacing them with new housings designed to be airtight and suitable for contact with insulation.
Figure out your water footprint and learn how to shrink it.
Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F and insulate hot-water pipes to knock up to 5 percent off your energy bills.
Install a low-flow showerhead. It will reduce hot-water use by up to 50 percent.
Upgrade to a low-flow toilet to save 4,000 gallons per year.
Drain your water heater a few times a year to remove sediment, which can decrease efficiency.
Fix a leaky faucet and other sources of water waste.
Lighting & Electronics
Next time an incandescent bulb burns out, replace it with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulb. You'll help increase socket saturation.
Control outdoor lights with sensors or timers so that fixtures stay off during the day.
Put your PC to sleep. Save $25 to $75 each year by using the system standby or hibernating feature on your computer.
Plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn them all off at once.
String LED lights this holiday season. They last longer. Our tests have shown that they can save up to $11 per season.
Yard & Garden, DIY
Plant a deciduous shade tree on the west and southwest sides of a house to save energy.
Test your soil to see which nutrients it needs. This will help you use less fertilizer in the long run.
Water the lawn deeply but infrequently, and water in the morning, when the winds are calm and temperatures aren't so hot that the water will evaporate before it reaches the roots.
Learn more about water-wise landscaping.
Consider switching to an electric mower. Seek out a mower-exchange program for your old gas-powered mower.
Choose a low-VOC paint for your next project
Dispose of hazardous household products properly. Read our advice for handling paints, finishes, and common household items.
Make your own less-toxic household cleaners.
Learn More About Energy Use
Get an energy audit for your home. The auditor will use a blower door or infrared photography to pinpoint where your home is leaking energy.
Discover more about Energy Star. The federal program has raised awareness of energy efficiency but has some shortcomings.
Learn about energy use in your state.
Get up to speed with the latest technology in energy management.
In honor of earth day, I'm turning on all the lights and running the AC with the windows open. Then, maybe I'll let plastic bags tumble across the meadow in the breeze.
About a half to two-thirds of these suggestions are useful suggestions to save money and avoid needless waste.
The other portion is a bunch of Global Warming cult propaganda which has no place in a website and magazine dedicated to neutral testing of consumer products.
"Cookprint", are you kidding me?
Consumer Reports needs to remember that it's function is to test products and not lecture it's subscribers on how to live their lives.