Personal Ways to use Less Energy

Created by Simply Living's Peak Oil & Global Warming Learning Group

  • The Three R's - Reduce (1st) -- Re-use (2nd) -- Recycle (last)
  • Buy local (choose local over non-local - food, restaurant, grocery, bank,…anything)
  • Move to less energy-consuming residence
  • Move to a walkable/sustainable neighborhood
  • Use more efficient means of transport
    • Ride bicycle instead
    • Walk instead
    • Take mass transit instead
    • Car pool
    • Take better mileage car (including hybrid)
  • Limit car use to fewer days per week
  • Combine errands into one car trip
  • Telecommute
  • Grow food
  • Buy a greater percentage of less-energy-to-create foods
    • meat requires more energy than almost all non-meat foods
    • organic local is best; local non-organic next; organic non-local is next; non-organic, non-local is last
      (Average grocery item travels 1,200 - 1,500 miles)
      (Hawaiian pineapple, Spanish clementines, Chilean grapes etc)
    • Drink local water instead of packaged water or soda
  • Buy from local farmers through farmers' markets or co-ops
    (e.g., Clintonville Co-op or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) local farm)
  • Microwave oven - for smaller portions of food, or water, microwave uses up to 65% less energy than gas or electric oven or stovetop when cooking, reheating or defrosting.
  • Improve house
    • More insulation
    • More energy efficient windows (different ones on sunny side vs. shady side)
    • Caulk/weatherstrip - windows, doorjambs, thresholds
    • Replace furnace with higher efficiency model
    • Insulate hot water heater (do not go to central tankless model - does not save)
    • Replace old toilet with low-flush toilet
    • Use window shades & drapes to prevent heat transfer
  • Use less air conditioning in summer (raise thermostat, use fans - whole house exhaust or attic-only exhaust or inside house fans)
  • Use less heating in winter (lower thermostat)
  • Replace old appliances and computers with energy star models (
  • In summer, shut off gas furnace's pilot light
  • Use all natural, non-toxic household cleaners (e.g., for carpet, upholstery, floor, sink, toilet)
  • Turn down thermostat on hot water heater
  • Run dishwasher only when it is full
  • Wash clothes in cooler water, both wash and rinse cycles
  • Dry clothes in the air, outside or inside
  • Replace air filters frequently in forced air systems
  • Use more energy efficient light bulbs where appropriate
  • Use less hot (and cold) water when showering
  • Decrease (eliminate) lawn chemicals or pesticides
  • Mow grass with non-motor mower
  • Replace lawn with ground cover or other plants, especially native plants that don't require watering
  • Compost
  • Plant trees near home to keep it cool
  • BRING YOUR OWN BAG instead of using store-supplied shopping bags (plastic or paper) - cloth bags pay for themselves in 2 years or less, or use no bag, when possible
  • Print on both sides of computer printer paper (one Simply Living member can supply all the "reuse" paper you need)
  • Don't dry clean
  • Buy clothes made from hemp or organic cotton
  • Recycle by:
  • Buy minimally packaged goods - ultimate is buy in bulk/unpackaged - Clintonville Co-op, Wild Oats, Sunflower (High St near Hudson), Beechwold Natural Foods, Whole Foods
  • If you buy in bulk, bring your own containers - staff will gladly "tare" your containers.
  • Sign the EDF's petition to curb CO2 emissions by passing the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act
  • Contact your federal, state and local government officials about changing legislation/regulations to use less energy. See Progress Report on Local Action Plan on Global Warming at Then click "Publications & Reports", then scroll down to "Global Warming".