When it comes down to it, there are just two ways to curb your consumption:
- Change the products/systems around you, or
- Change your behavior
It’s a pretty simple idea, but I think it’s an effective way to start breaking down a really complex problem — how do we go about consuming less?
In case you don’t want to (or already) replaced some bulbs/installed low-E windows/bought a rain tank, here are…
Five curb-your-consumption behaviors you can start right now
- Raise the thermostat one degree. Over half of most home energy costs during summer go toward cooling. Raising the thermostat one degree can result in significant savings, some say up to 10%, on your overall energy costs.
- Only do full loads. The average American family of four washes 540 loads a year, which consumes up to 21,000 gallons of water. The average family also does more than 150 dishwasher loads annually, which uses about 1,500 gallons. Doing two fewer laundry loads a weekand one fewer dish load a week could save 4,500 gallons of water/year.
- Hand wash dishes like Martha does. Washing dishes is one of those things that no one ever really sits you down and tells you how to do it. Maybe it should be. A kitchen faucet can distribute upwards of 3 gallons per minute, and I can’t tell you how many times I visit someone’s home and see them wash with the water running. The right way to do it is with a hot wash tub on one side, and a hot rinse tub on the other. Just like Martha suggests.
- If the yard doesn’t need it, don’t water! One evening this week I was out mowing my front lawn, and sure enough an automatic sprinkler down the block started going off. Is that really necessary after 50 or so straight days of rain? If you live in N. Texas shut your auto-watering off!
- Fire up the gas grill tonight (instead of cooking inside). So this may not save the world (and I’m sure there’s some eco-issue with propane I’m unaware of), but cooking outside will help you out with two consumption areas — you won’t heat up the kitchen, which saves A/C. And you’ll have fewer dishes to clean, less water needed. Happy grilling!