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Ways to Help out Around the House/Dorm

·     Leaky faucet or drain?  Call physical plant or your landlord; leaky faucets and drains can waste thousands of gallons of water a year

      ·      Shorten the length of showers, this can conserve A LOT of water—try to take a five minute shower instead of a thirty minute one

      ·      Don’t wash just one item of clothing or a very small load of laundry; make sure it’s a full load to save energy and water

      ·      Recycle glass; take them to Mud Island or First Congregational Church so it can be recycled

      ·      Use egg cartons to plant seedlings

      ·      Have a hamster, mouse, gerbil, etc?  Give them toilet paper rolls to chew on, rather than throwing the rolls away. 

      ·      At home, test for Radon, which causes lung cancer.  It’s an invisible gas and the only way to know if it’s there is to test for it

      ·      Have a plant in your room! It gives your room a much healthier environment

      ·      Turn the faucet off while you brush your teeth; this can save up to 240 gallons of water per month

      ·      Clean your air filters regularly

      ·      Unplug electronic devices when leaving for vacations, and set thermostat on lower settings.  This saves energy AND money.

      ·      Don’t use a straw when drinking out of cups; this is wasteful

      ·      Paint your house a light color if you live in a warm climate and a dark color if you live in a cool climate; this can help offset heating and cooling costs

        If you have a desk lamp, invest in energy-efficient light bulbs. They last 10 times longer, and use 75 percent less energy. “If every American home replaced just one bulb with an [energy efficient] bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gasses equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars” (Energystar.gov) 

         Rent a bike from the bike shop, and use it to travel around campus rather than wasting gas to drive your car short distances

          If you have an article to read for class, or like having a copy of a powerpoint in front of you, take your laptop to class and read it off your computer rather than printing them out. If you need to print out powerpoints, print multiple slides on a page. You can fit 6-8 slides on a page without compromising legibility

         Invest in a thermos! Get a drink at the Middle ground and they will deduct from the price of your latte, coffee, tea, etc. and you can be invigorated with the thought that you helped reduce waste with each sip you take

          Buy Tupperware or other plastic containers, and bring them to the Rat if you plan on skipping lunch rather than unnecessarily using Styrofoam containers

        Bring your backpack to grocery stores so you don’t have to take plastic bags you don’t need. If you do accumulate a lot of plastic bags, find creative ways of re-using them at Have a Lot of Stuff?

Always be sure that electronic appliances are OFF!!


Many small household appliances and pieces of electronics (a full list can be seen below) consume energy even when you may think they are off.  This is known as “leaking electricity”, and it accounts for as much as 5% of all residential electricity use.  Even when these devices are not in use they are still drawing electricity.  Things such as led clocks on VCRs, the little red “standby” light on your television, or feeling for warmth from your phones power adaptor are all signs of leaked electricity.  One way to prevent this from happening in order to save energy (and money!) is to keep all of your devices plugged into one power strip.  When the appliances are not in use, simply unplug or turn off the power strip, and don’t forget to unplug cell phone chargers!! This will ensure that no electricity is being wasted on these devices.

The Electricity Leaking Culprits!!

TV & Video Equipment

TV,  VCR,  Cable Box ,  DVD player,  Video disc player,  Digital satellite system (DSS),  Video game player


Compact audio system,  Rack audio system,  Portable stereo (boombox),  Personal stereo (e.g., Walkman®)


Answering machine,  Cordless phone,  Cellular phone recharger


Microwave oven

Personal Care

Electric toothbrush,  Shaver,  Hair/beard trimmer

Home Care & Maintenance

Cordless hand vacuum,  Portable tool

Home Office Equipment



  What kind of Light Bulb is in your light fixture? 

 CFL: The better bulb

Compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) are those swirley little guys that look like soft-serve ice cream cones. Actually, they come in a myriad of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Economically speaking, they’re a great deal, too. CFLs cost a bit more than an incandescent, but use about a quarter as much energy and last many times longer (usually around 10,000 hours). It is estimated that a CFL pays for its higher price after about 500 hours of use. After that, it’s money in your pocket. Also, because CFLs release less heat, not only are they safer, but your cooling load is less in the summer. CFLs aren’t hard to find anymore, and many cities will give them away for free.  


Laundry, we all have to do it so why not make it a little more GREEN!


A recent study released by Cambridge University, “Well Dressed,” demonstrated that 60% of the greenhouse gases generated over the life of a T-shirt come from washings and machine dryings! All of the energy and carbon emissions used to grow, manufacture, ship, and sell clothing does not even come close to the energy and emissions needed to clean a garment!

So…how can we minimize energy use and minimize pollution with your current washing machine?

v  Even if there is a pair of jeans that you are dying to wear, always wash a full load

v  Use ecologically minded detergent…or make your own detergent! (there’s a recipe for making detergent on the Cleaning and Household  Cleaner Substitute page)

v   Set washing machine temperatures on warm or cold with a cold rinse

v  Instead of running clothes through the dryer, why not utilize solar energy to dry your clothes (your clothes will even last longer!)

v  Make sure to clean the lint trap between dryer uses- it saves you about $30 a year!



(Cambridge University Study “Well Dressed” can be found at: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/sustainability/)


Screensavers, sure they are cute but they are also an energy drain!



Get rid of them.

 Did you know that it takes more energy to run those floating toasters or even a static image than it does to have your computer and monitor go into a low-power mode. Seriously!

At one point in time, screen savers did have a purpose- they used to extend the life of your monitor.  Screen savers were useful and invented to prevent burn-in or a permanent shadow branded into the phosphors of your monitor by a static image of that essay you left on your screen all weekend. But that is not the case anymore.

Getting rid of the screen saver could save $50 to $100 a year on your electric bill over a year's time. That’s a lot of money! Save yourself some money and feel good that you saved a piece of the atmosphere from harmful carbon emissions.

It is best to turn you computer completely off when you are not using it but if you must leave it on, then stand-by mode or hibernate  are good options. Both options will reduce the amount of power you are using and keep the information contained in your current session.

But, if you have to leave the computer on, get rid of the screensaver!