- Conservation - The best way to spend your 'Green' dollars is to reduce the amount of energy you use. Turning off lights when you leave a room reduces your power requirements without impacting your lifestyle, and be aware of appliances that are plugged in all the time but not used, the plug in transformers for these items sometimes draw power all the time.
- Lighting - using 18 watt compact florescent bulbs (CFL's) in recessed light fixtures and 13 watt CFL's in pendant lights in just your kitchen will reduce your electricity use for lighting to 1/3 of what it is with 50 watt halogens and 60 watt incandescent bulbs. Look for new CFL bulbs that are instant on, dimmable and you can also select a light color appropriate for your room. Using LED lights will reduce your energy bill by half again or cut 80% off your energy costs over incandescent bulbs. New LED bulbs are also color matched to incandescent bulbs and dimmable.
- Use shades on south facing windows during summer afternoons will reduce your air conditioner load.
- Plant drought resistant plants (native where possible) to reduce the amount of watering required. Here are some suggestions: ornamental grasses, sedums, daylillies, hostas, heuchera, shasta daisies, lambs ears, yarrow, butterfly weed, peony, sage, black-eyed susan, snow-in-summer, hens and chicks, and white clover lawn cover. Consult with your local master gardeners for more ideas and help selecting plants.
- Upgrade your A/C will cost you around $4,000 but you will save around $800 per year in energy costs plus your energy provider may offer rebates. You may notice your A/C runs quieter too.
- Air drying just a quarter of your laundry can cut energy consumption by 229 KWh per year.
- Michigan is blessed with an abundance of fresh water, but we also use more. Average daily water use by Americans is almost triple most European countries (575 gallons vs. 200 gallons)
- Save 2,500 gallons a year just by fixing a leak of one drop per second from a faucet or toilet.
- Save over 13 gallons during each 5 minute shower by switching to a low flow showerhead.
- Upgrade to a front loading Energy Star washing machine and save 8,700 gallons per year plus the cost of heating this extra water for washing clothes.
- Toilets use over 1/3 the water in an average home. Low flow toilets can save thousands of gallons per year and pay for themselves in two years or less.
- Use refillable water bottles instead of disposable plastic water bottles. 17 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles for Americans annually - enough to run a million cars for a year.
- 660 gallons of water collected in a rain barrel from every inch of rainfall on a 1,100 square foot roof. Save $95 annually by using that water to irrigate your lawn and garden.