DIY: Do It Yourself
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There are many great tools to help you learn how to save energy in your own home, at school, or at the office. Remember, the cleanest, cheapest kilowatt hour is the one you never use. In addition to signing up for one of ECA’s DIY Workshops and installing all the basic measures on our Step by Step Guide, we highly recommend the following for the intrepid Do it Yourselfer:
Install a Programmable Thermostat: This simple device will save you hundreds of dollars a year. There are many types, we recommend the ones that have 7 day programs, vacation settings and of course, daytime and nighttime setbacks. Programmable thermostats are the most cost effective measure you can install. Pick one up at a local hardware store for approximately $50 and save three times that in the first year!
Change out all your bulbs: LEDs (light emitting diodes) or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) save energy. LEDs have changed for the better. They are can now produce warm sunny light or just about any color you chose. Cost is way down also.
Air sealing: Air sealing is the term used to describe many different materials and ways to seal leaks, cracks and holes to prevent cold air from entering and warm air from leaving your building in the winter.
Water Conservation: The average American family wastes 8% of all home water use through leaks. Fixing leaky faucets, pipes, and toilets will save you hundreds of thousands of gallons and hundreds of dollars per year! Water can be conserved in other ways too: turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth, taking showers instead of baths, and running your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full are all great habits to get into that will save you tons of water and money without having to sacrifice your daily lifestyle!
Stormwater Management: Consider connecting a rain barrel to your home's downspout planter to reuse water for lawns, trees, gardens, or washing a car. A rain garden or downspout planter box can also be placed right by your roof gutter. Instead of ending up in the sewer system, the water travels to your garden/downspout planter.
Transportation: According to the EPA, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation account for 27% of total U.S. GHG emissions, making it the second largest contributor to GHG emissions after electricity. You can help decrease your GHG emissions by carpooling, bicycling, and taking public transportation on a more regular basis.
Reuse: At least 50 million plastic bottles are wasted every day JUST in the U.S. That is enough to lay out each bottle end to end from San Francisco to New York City and back again. Help lessen this statistic and buy a reusable water bottle. If you are unsure about drinking tap water, buy a filter to place onto your faucet. Also, ditch the plastic bags and buy some reusable bags to carry along with you when you go shopping. The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year. Reusable bags are durable and help eliminate plastic waste.
Recycle: The City of Philadelphia will give you a recycle bins at any of their 21 locations, or you can use your own container that is no larger than 32 gallons and labeled for recycling. Things that you CAN recycle: paper, plastics, metals, cartons, glass, cardboard. Things that you CANNOT recycle: plastic bags, Styrofoam™, shipping/packing material, food waste, pizza boxes, food-soiled paper, cups and takeout containers, paper towels and napkins, light bulbs, needles and syringes, electronics.