1. Seal up cracks around doors and windows in your home
Did you know if you add all the neglected cracks and leaks in the average home, it equals the space of a two-foot by two-foot hole?
Heat may be inadvertently seeping out, driving up your energy consumption and bills this winter. Take time to check for gaps around doors and windows and seal them up by caulking or installing weather stripping.
2. Wait until you have a full load to do laundry
Washing one large load of laundry will take less energy than washing two smaller loads. Most people tend to "under load," rather than overload, their washers. Before washing, check your machine's capacity in pounds and weigh your dirty clothes to ensure that you have a full load.
3. Re-arrange your furniture to take advantage of natural light
By positioning furniture to maximize light from windows and doors, you'll use less energy to brighten your home. To bring more light in, make sure your window coverings are sheer or pulled back.
4. Make your own household cleaners using natural ingredients
Make your own cleaning products for a safer alternative for furniture polish, all-purpose cleaner. Visit http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a24885/make-at-home-cleaners/ for alternatives to commercial products that you can whip up yourself using borax, washing soda, distilled white vinegar, baking soda, salt, club soda, cooking oil or lemons.
5. Water your yard or garden in the early morning or evening when it's cooler
By watering during cooler hours, you can discourage excessive evaporation from your lawn and garden since the sun won't be able to burn off the moisture, therefore saving hundreds of gallons of water. Also, remember to adjust sprinkler heads and water flow to avoid "watering" those surfaces and structures that don't need H2O.
6. Check out the Energy Star Home Advisor to get green advice
Visit http://www.energystar.gov/ to learn how to make your home greener. Just enter your ZIP code and basic information about your heating and cooing system, and the Home Advisor will provide you with home improvement projects to increase your energy efficiency and comfort.
7. Wash your clothes on the cold or warm cycle for energy savings
Stay away from the hot cycle and you'll save on energy — between 80 and 85 percent. And be sure to clean out your dryer's lint filter after each load — it helps it run more efficiently and saves you $40 a year in electricity costs.
8. Look for Long-Lasting Cleaning Supplies
Forgo single-use products, such as disinfectant wipes or dusting sheets, for reusable options. Invest in cotton washrags and natural-bristle brushes that can be cleaned and used longer.
9. Use less energy for holiday lights
Choose strings with fewer bulbs and the fewest watts per bulb to cut back on energy usage this holiday season. Look for LED lights, which are more efficient than incandescent, and be sure to operate lights on a programmable timer so they don't accidentally stay on all day and night.