25. Play with your lighting. You won’t have to constantly adjust your thermostat if you simply pinpoint the most sun-drenched spots in your house. In colder temps, open the blinds on windows that face the sun during the day; when it’s warmer out, keep those blinds closed.
26. Hook your home office electronics into one power strip. Home offices are a huge energy drain because they’re a hot spot for electronics—and ones that stay on all day. Plug everything—your computer, phone, mini fridge, you name it—into one strip so you can turn everything off when you’re done working.
27. Go on a backpacking trip. That’s right—take a cheap vacation by packing everything you really need for a weekend in one bag that you have to carry around on your back. It’ll help you see what’s really essential—and what’s not—when you’re back home so you can start forgoing some of your energy-draining creature comforts.
28. Shop at your local farmers market. It’ll inspire you to bring your own bags, buy food that doesn’t come in a package and not contribute to the thousands of “food miles” we create by purchasing food from afar.
29. Plant a vegetable garden. Even better than buying organic food at the market, grow your own without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
30. Eat less meat. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock production generates nearly one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gasses— more than transportation. In fact, scientists have calculated that if Americans reduced meat consumption by just 20 percent, it would have the same effect as trading in their standard sedans for eco-friendly hybrids! So, make meatless meals one or two days a week or try going vegetarian one week a month.
31. Remove yourself from junk mail lists. Go to the Direct Marketing Association’s website (dmachoice.com) and register your address. You’ll end up with less to recycle—and less opportunity to get bogged down by clutter!
32. Know what off-gasses. Nonorganic mattresses, paint, new furniture and other products can release thousands of potentially harmful pollutants, primarily volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These pollutants affect indoor air quality and can contribute to a variety of health problems, including allergies, asthma, learning disabilities and reproductive disorders. When buying new stuff for your home, look for the GREENGUARD certified mark, which means the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute has certified it for low chemical emissions (greenguard.org).