Excerpts from: You Can Prevent Global Warming (and save money!) 51 Easy Ways
Authors: Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, 2003.
After reading the entire book and highlighting it, I believe I’ve distilled the most vital information.
The following information was lifted using paraphrasing or summarizing; no original thought on my part.
Home Electricity and Hot Water
1. Light Up Your Life
-Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) last 10 years and uses 75% less energy than incandescents (invented by Edison!)
-13 Billion lbs. of carbon dioxide will not be emitted if every house in the US uses one compact fluorescent; that’s equal to the pollution of 1.2 million cars per year.
-CFL’s are more expensive though rebates may be available.
-If you buy compact fluorescents be sure to get ones with electronic solid state ballasts to prevent flicker or buzz.
-Replace 4 incandescents with CFL’s and save $30 in energy bills per year and prevent 718 lbs. of carbon dioxide.
2. Rein in the Fridge
-Average US house spends $120 in energy per year on the Fridge
-Use only one large fridge, not two small
-New fridges use half as much energy as ones 10 yrs old
-If the temp of every US fridge was increased 1 degree F. that would prevent 3
million tons of carbon dioxide.
-Chlorofluorocarbons (very bad ozone killers) were replaced with
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (bad ozone killers), however the latter is 1,800 times
more damaging to global warming.
-Greenfreeze (a replacement developed by Greenpeace) is 38% more energy
efficient but not available in the US. However, it is the most popular in Europe.
-Save 651 lbs of carbon dioxide by cleaning coils on the fridge twice a year.
3. Don’t Be a Washout
-80% of a washing machine’s energy is used to heat the water.
-Wash clothes in cold water to cut the energy of washing in half
-Moisture-sensor settings on dryers can save 15% in energy.
-250,000 tons of carbon dioxide can be saved if every US household let one load of laundry
-Horizontal or H-axis washing machines use 30-60% less water and 50-70% less energy than a vertical-axis.
-Washing cloths in cold water / using the moisture sensor on the dryer will save 1,533 lbs of carbon dioxide in one year.
4. You’re Such a Dish
-80% of energy consumed by a dishwasher is to heat it to 140ºF
-By hand-washing dishes with wash and rinse basins 324,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide
would be emitted and 1.2 billion gallons of water saved.
-Using air-dry setting on a dishwasher will save 663 lbs in carbon dioxide per year.
5. Winch the Water Heater
-239 million tons of carbon dioxide could be prevented if half of US households turned their
water heaters down 10F.
-Use the “energy conservation” setting if there is one.
-2nd to the fridge, the water heater uses the most energy of all appliances
-Hot water on demand systems save $160-200 per year.
-A heat trap can reduce water heating costs by 5 to 10 percent.
-Install a timer on the water heater; off at midnight, on at dawn.
-Drain 1 quart of water from the valve faucet at the bottom of your tank every
three months to prevent sediment buildup.
-697 lbs of carbon dioxide will be prevented by wrapping your water heater and turning
down the temp by 10ºF degrees
6. Shower Simply
-Showering uses 37% of hot water, a washing machine uses 26%
-The average person uses 50 gallons a hot water a day
-A 5 minute shower is record speed, 8 is normal, and over 10 is a waste.
-By installing 4 faucet accelerators and 2 low-flow showerheads you will save
$255, 1,671 lbs of carbon dioxide, and 10,950 gallons of water (per year?)
7. Troubling Toilets
-40% of total water usage is used to flush toilets.
-In 30 years the US population has grown 52% while water consumption has
-If 100,000 low flow toiletes were installed, 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide would be prevented and 702 million gallons saved.
8. Got Evian?
-Electricity consumed by America’s water coolers in one year is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 700,000 cars.
-Spring water takes a lot of energy to collect, bottle and transport.
-The majority of the human population has to walk three or more hours to find
-You can drink 40,000 eight-ounce glasses of tap water for the price of three
$1.50 bottles of spring water.
-An instant hot water dispenser is 20-80% more efficient at boiling water than a
-Faucet filters or filter pitchers should replace spring water bottles
-Using filtered water as opposed to buying 2 bottles of spring water a week will save 580 lbs of carbon dioxide
9. Shake ‘n’ Bake—Efficiently
-Change baking habits to save energy; food only absorbs 6% of total heat
produced by an oven.
-An electric oven with a convection fan costs 30% less to operate than a regular
-Natural gas ovens are twice as efficient as electric ovens.
10. Now You’re Cooking
-A pressure cooker cooks food 10 times faster and uses up to 75% less energy
than a conventional oven.
-A microwave is 75% more energy efficient than a conventional oven.
11. Phantom Loads
-TVs and VCRs that are “turned off” cost Americans almost a billion dollars in
electricity per year.
-5% of annual electricity is consumed by appliances while they are switched off
-1/4th of the energy consumed each year by a TV is while it is turned off.
-The International Energy Agency is pushing for a Global One-Watt Plan,
limiting appliance usage to one Watt while switched off.
-233 lbs. of carbon dioxide prevented by plugging in your stereo and VCR only while using
12. You’ve Got (E-)Mail
-If every home office used one less ream of paper a year this would save 130,000
tons of carbon dioxide.
-Save 435 lbs of carbon dioxide by using the sleep feature on your computer, monitor, and
printer after 5 minutes of inactivity.
13. Things Not Everyone Has
-Leaving the damper of a fireplace open in the winter is like leaving a 4ft window
-If everyone who owned a pool in the US ran the filter for only 4hrs a day, 7
million tons of carbon dioxide would be prevented each year.
14. Out with the Old, Save with the New
-If 20% of Americans with washers upgraded to high-efficiency machines, they would prevent 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
-Energy Star fridge savings per year: $32 / 1,486 lbs carbon dioxide
-Energy Star washing machine savings per year: $30 / 1,055 lbs carbon dioxide
-Energy Star Dishwasher savings per year: $15 / 756 lbs carbon dioxide
15. All I want for Christmas Is a New Laptop
-Laptops are 90% more efficient than desktop computers
-Laser printers use 17 times as much energy as inkjet printers
-An internal fax modem on your computer prevents all faxes from being printed
-It takes 12 times the energy your computer uses in one year to manufacture it. So
recycle used computers.
-When a cathode ray is crushed in a landfill it releases four to eight pounds of
-By buying a laptop you will save over four years: $25 / 495 lbs of carbon dioxide
16. Upgrade Your Water Heater
-10 year old water heaters are 50% efficient, while new gas water heaters are 85%
-In older water heaters 30% of your energy bill went to keeping water hot at all
-The EPA says geothermal heat pumps are the most energy efficient / cost
-If 500,000 geothermal heat pumps were installed in homes then 3 million tons of
carbon dioxide would be prevented; equal to planting 190 million trees.
-Solar water heaters, wave of future.
-A geothermal heat pump will save $600 and 37,200 lbs over its 20 year lifespan.
17. Switch to Solar
-There is more than enough sunlight to provide the entire human population with
all the electricity, hot water, and heating it needs.
-Fossil fuels will only become more expensive and scarce; the opposite is true of
solar power as its technology improves.
-One 1,000 watt polovoltaic solar panel will prevent 1.8 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Home Heating and Cooling
18. Fun with Furnaces
-Almost 50% of a household’s energy costs per year are for heating and cooling.
-Radiator reflectors for radiators on the outside walls of a house will help direct
heat into the room.
-Tuning up your heating system every 2 years will prevent 1,248 lbs of carbon dioxide
19. Do the Right Temp
-The US creates 310 million tons of carbon dioxide every year by heating its homes
-44% of US houses have programmable thermostats but only 27% of those who
have them, use them
-If every house with a programmable thermostats used it then 15 million tons of
carbon dioxide would be prevented.
-During the winter the DOE recommends a temp of 68 while you’re home and 60
while at work each day.
- During the summer the DOE recommends a temp of 78 while you’re home and
85 while at work each day.
-Do not adjust temperatures in increments less than 4 hours.
-Annual amount of carbon dioxide prevented by turning the furnace down 10ºF each night
and 1F each day is 811 lbs.
20. Assess the A/C
-Americans create 100 million tons of carbon dioxide each year by running their air
-If every air-conditioning American turned up the temperature by 1 degree this
would save 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
-By closing off one room in a house to the central AC, 348 lbs of carbon dioxide will be
21. Alternative Ways to Cool
-In humid climates a dehumidifier can replace AC
-Ceiling fans magnify the effect of AC
-Turn the AC off at night, open windows at night and use ceiling fans
-An aluminum radiant barrier placed on the underside of a roof will keep the sun’s
heat out. The best results are in hot climates and homes with little insulation.
-Prevent 495 lbs of carbon dioxide by using 3 ceiling fans along with AC for one summer
22. Dress Up Your Windows
-Sun-control window screens can block up to 90% of the sun’s heat
-White window coverings can reduce solar heat gain by 50%
-16% of heat is lost through uncovered windows in the winter.
23. Plug Air Leaks
-Caulking and weather stripping windows and doors can lower heating and
cooling costs by 10% or more.
-This will save 692 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.
24. Air Out the Attic
-Attics can reach 150 degrees in the summer
-Rooms below attics can increase in temperature by 10 degrees
-Attic vents can help, and so can an attic fan—especially a solar attic fan
-By using a whole-house fan instead of an air conditioner for 1/3 of the summer
825 lbs of carbon dioxide will be prevented.
25. Insulate Your Home
-Poor insulation in US homes results in 67 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions
-By insulating one 600 sq. ft. attic to R-value 38 will save 2,149 lbs of carbon dioxide.
26. Leaky Ducts
-25-40% of hot air leaks from the ducts connecting to your furnace.
-Duct leakage results in 63 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year or 10.2 billion
-Test your ducts, professionals do it best.
-Don’t use duct tape since the tape is meant to be a temporary fix.
-Aeroseal is an excellent way of sealing ducts though a professional must do it.
-2,250 lbs of carbon dioxide per year will be prevented if you get your ducts Aerosealed
27. Replace Your Windows
-Energy Star labeled superwindows can cut energy usage by 15%
-These new windows save 50% more energy than ones only 10 years old and will
prevent 1,864 lbs of carbon dioxide
-If one family installed storm windows for a winter, 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide would be
28. Invest in a New Furnace or Air Conditioner
-An energy star furnace will save $57 and 11,916 lbs of C02 per year
-An energy star AC will save $31 and 3,969 lbs of carbon dioxide per year
29. The Advantages of an Audit
-By having an energy Audit and following the suggestions you will save 12,595
lbs of carbon dioxide over 10 years
-If 100,000 US houses had an energy Audit and followed the suggestions this
would save $64 million in energy costs and 1.2 billion pounds of carbon dioxide.
-If homes and businesses followed an energy Audit then over 20 years we would
have saved 25% more oil than we could extract from the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge in the next 60 years.
30. Save with Shade
-Adding energy efficient landscaping to your home can reduce your AC costs by
50% and reduce overall heating and cooling costs by 40%
-If 100,000 people put up shrubs or shaded their AC then 14,000 tons of carbon dioxide
would be prevented each year.
31. Trees: Nature’s Air Conditioners
-An average size tree soaks up 50 lbs of carbon dioxide; per year however it is all released
when the tree dies.
-Tree planted around your house will lower cooling costs; one maple tree can emit
50 gallons of water per hour and has the cooling capacity equal to a large window
-By transpiration and shading the air around a tree is usually 9 degrees cooler; tree shaded neighborhoods are on average 6 degrees cooler.
-Over their lifetime, one acre of trees will absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide that a car would emit by driving around the world.
-2 million tons of carbon dioxide could be saved by putting up a windbreak of evergreens on the north side of houses in the northern plains.
-Check to see if your utility company offers rebates for planting shade trees.
-Check with local governments about creating stricter tree ordinances and planting more trees.
-Certain websites will save rainforests simply by having you visit their websites. You can save up to 105 sq ft of rainforest each day simply by visiting one site per day.
32. Green Plants, Less Water
-Grass requires more water and maintenance than any other plant in your yard.
-Using lots of mulch can lower watering needs by 40%
-47% of all water usage in the US goes to homes
-Leave grass clippings on the lawn since they are 75-85% water and will result in
a 50% reduction in the need for fertilizer.
-The amount of carbon dioxide saved from this reduced need for fertilizer is 58 lbs per year.
-For each hour of use a gasoline powered lawn mower is 11 times more polluting
than a car.
-If every new home in the use was designed with a landscape that conserves water
then 250 gallons of water would be saved and 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide prevented.
33. Get Smart About Sprinklers
-90% of people overwater their lawns and gardens.
-Add an automatic rain sensor and save 599 lbs of carbon dioxide
-A sprinkler’s efficiency is determined based off its spray uniformity
-When grass is watered during the day (10AM-4PM) 65% of the water will
-A garden hose without a nozzle flows at 12 gallons per minute.
-Most sprinklers spray water five times faster than soil can absorb
-If 100,000 people got rainfall sensors then 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide would be
-A rainwater collector installed on an average sized roof will collect 700 gallons per inch of rainfall. If this water is saved and used to water the lawn then $200 can be saved on utilities.
-Plants grow best when they are watered slowly, deeply, and infrequently---like rain.
-Wait five to seven days after rain before you start using your sprinkler.
34. Your Car: The Carbon-Dioxide Spewing Monster
-Each year, for the last 10 years, we’ve driven more miles in our cars
-A US lightweight vehicle emits 12,000 lbs of carbon dioxide per year and 54 tons over its
lifetime, there are 130 million of these in the US.
-There are 530 million automobiles on the roads worldwide, accounting for 21%
of the world’s global warming emissions.
-In one year your car will emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as your house.
-Improving fuel efficiency of your car is the best way to prevent GW
-Automobiles are the largest single source of carbon dioxide in the US, 1/3 of the total
-Most cars on the road do not achieve their maximum fuel efficiency due to lack
of effort on their owner’s part.
-A tune up can improve efficiency by 15-50%
-If an additional 100,000 people had their cars tuned up that would save 124,000
tons of carbon dioxide this year.
-Rapid acceleration or braking on the highway will decrease efficiency by 33%
-Idling for more than 20 seconds is inefficient
-Driving 55 as opposed to 65 will save 15% in energy.
-Keeping tires properly inflated will decrease fuel consumption by 6%
-Drive with open windows only below 40 mph, use the AC over that so as not to
-By traveling 55 instead of 65 you will save 720 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.
35. Learn How to Drive Less
-Unless a store is 1 mile away or less it is more energy efficient to buy things online and have them delivered.
-Truck delivery is 90% more efficient than car errand running
-Air freight is 40% more efficient than car errand running.
-Try to use the slowest method of shipping.
-We need to change our mindset about driving; make it our last choice of
transport as opposed to our first.
-If you buy groceries online you’ll save $20 per year in gas, 35hrs of shopping
time, and 10 hrs driving time.
-Support local businesses by doing errands locally.
-Don’t rent movies, use On-demand or a mail order service.
36. Let Someone Else Do the Driving
-Car pooling with one other person will save 8,520 lbs of carbon dioxide per year
-If just 500 people took public transportation to work for one day a week, instead
of driving, they would prevent 300 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
-Speak up to local government if public transit is unsafe.
37. Use Person Power
-25% of all automobile trips in the US are less than a mile long.
-40% of all automobile trips in the US are less than 2 miles. Perfect for a bike
-5 million Americans bike to work.
-Walking and biking are safer than driving.
-Using your car less not only helps with air pollution, it helps keep brake fluid,
oil, and coolant off the road.
38. Trains, Not Planes
-Flying from Chicago to New York emits six times as much carbon dioxide per person as taking a train, and 16 times as much as taking a bus.
-The single worst thing you can do to contribute to global warming is to fly.
-Buying a hybrid car may save you 6,341 lbs in carbon dioxide per year but a round trip
flight from NY to CA will emit 6,450 lbs of carbon dioxide per person.
-Airplane travel is responsible for 8% of global warming emissions
-600 million Americans fly 70 billion miles emitting 107 million tons of carbon dioxide
-Amtrak had a record year in 2001, 23.5 million passengers
-If 100,000 people took the train from NY to Boston instead of flying this would
save 7 million lbs of carbon dioxide.
-Over the next 5 years the UK will spend $21.5 billion on railway transit; the US will only spend $2 billion even though our population is 5x larger.
-Even driving a car is better than flying. And if 4 people are in a car it’s better
than taking a train.
-If you must fly then consider buying carbon offsets to compensate.
39. New Cars, New Fuels
-Minivans, SUV’s, and Pickup trucks are 51% of US vehicles. They average 16
mpg as opposed to 23 for automobiles.
-For the first time in history, the cars going to the scrap yards average better mpg than the brand new ones.
-For every decrease in weight by 10%, fuel efficiency improves 7%
-Diesel, though more efficient mpg, is 10 times more carcinogenic and has many
more lung clogging particles in it than gasoline exhaust.
-Hybrids get twice the fuel efficiency of regular cars.
-It may be 15 years before hydrogen fuel cells replace the internal combustion
-By buying a hybrid car you will save per year: $383 and 6250 lbs carbon dioxide
40. Down Home Cookin’
-The average meal travels 1,200 miles to reach your kitchen
-2/3 of American farmers spray One billion pounds of pesticides onto food crops
-Pesticides are bad for global warming. There is twice as much carbon dioxide in soil as in
the atmosphere and that carbon exists in microorganisms. Pesticides kill these
microorganisms and the carbon dioxide is released.
-If once a month 100,000 people bought their week’s produce from a local farmer’s market they would prevent 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
-Local food is cheaper, supports local economy, transported less, and has less packaging.
-By buying organic food you are lowering the need for pesticide / pesticide
41. Eat Your Broccoli
-Average American eats 260 pounds of beef per year or 5 pounds each week.
-Each American’s consumption of beef is responsible for 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide and 130
lbs of methane emitted during the life of the cattle.
-Methane is another greenhouse gas, 23 times more potent for global warming
-The world’s cows burp 75 million tons of methane.
-Waste / manure also release methane
-Livestock in the US comsume 70% of wheat, corn, and grain grown on land that
takes up 35% of our land area.
-The amount of grain the US produces each year for cattle could feed a billion
people for a year.
-For one pound of beef produced: seven pounds of grain are needed and 2,500
gallons of water to grow that grain.
-Best to worst for GW: Chicken-fish-pork-lamb-beef
-Growing fruits and vegetables and grains requires 95% fewer raw materials than
-If you ate one less lb. of beef a week: save $109, prevent 546 lbs carbon dioxide, save
130,000 gallons of water, and save 364 lbs of grain.
42. If You Buy It, It Will Come
-A recycled aluminum can uses 95% less energy to create than one made from
-Not every product that’s made from recycled material has a label telling you
-The following are always made up of recycled content: aluminum cans (+50%),
glass containers (25%), tin cans (25%), pulp cardboard (100%).
-Look for products labeled “climate-neutral” and buy them
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and More
43. Less Is More
-Typical American creates 4.6 lbs of garbage per day, 1,700 lbs per year, double
30 years ago.
-“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is in the order of importance. The best way to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions is to reduce.
-Packaging materials make up 1/3 of America’s landfills
-The typical American receives 550 junk mail letters a year
-Consumerism; 7/10 women claim shopping is best way to cheer up
-4 more earths would be needed if the world’s population lived the way
-By registering with a website to prevent junk mailings, you will save 171 tons of
carbon dioxide per year.
-Consumerism: out of control we need to be minimalists
-Buy in bulk. Large quantities of non-perishable goods will use less packaging
and it is often much cheaper.
-If you buy 15% of your groceries in bulk you will prevent 1,354 lbs of carbon dioxide and
44. Use It Again, Sam
-Every year Americans throw away 25 billion plastic foam cups.
-From 1950 to 2000, Americans consumed as much food and material goods as all
the generations of Americans before them.
-70% of all drinks in Germany are sold in refillable glass bottles
-Avg. household uses 700 paper grocery bags in two years; equal to all the wood
in a 20 year old tree. Cloth bags last 5 years.
-Our landfills are so tightly packed that there is no room for oxygen to
decompose, you could find an intact 15 year old hot dog.
-Every day Americans drink 45 million cups of coffee or tea in disposable cups. If
everyone began using a reusable thermos they would prevent 7 million lbs of carbon dioxide
-Buy rechargeable batteries.
-Never buy anything “disposable”
-By switching from paper towels and napkins to cloth you will save $45 and 214
lbs of carbon dioxide
45. Be Thrifty
-The waste created manufacturing one laptop weighs 4,000 times more than the
finished laptop, so sell your old one.
-Donations can lower income taxes, especially cars (running or not)
-Have a yard sale and sell everything you don’t really need; 55,000 people do
-By having a one day yard sale you will prevent 1,500 lbs of carbon dioxide and earn $150.
46. Compost Most Everything
-2/3rds of total waste is compostable. For example we send 30 million tons of leaves and grass clippings to landfills each year.
-Organic materials rotting without oxygen will produce methane. Materials which
could have been composted are now creating 40% of US methane emissions while
rotting in our landfills.
-In the fall leaves make up 75% of our waste and cost $1 billion to dispose of.
47. Recycling Is Here to Stay
-Recycling creates five times as many jobs as landfilling does.
-Making recycled paper uses 55 to 75% less energy, plastics 60-75%
-For every soda can you recycle you’ll prevent 1 pound of carbon dioxide
-Recycling a daily newspaper will save 100 lbs carbon dioxide per year
-In 30 year the recycling rate has quadrupled, however the amount of trash going
landfills has increased by 33%
-Good state: Seattle Washington recycles 33%
-Bad state: Montana 5%
-National average: 28%
-Throwing away 2 cans will waste more energy than a person living in the 3rd
worlds will use in a day.
-Glass does not lose quality when recycled. US requires new glass containers be
-200 million gallons of used motor oil are dumped on the ground / landfill each
year. That is equal to 120 Exxon Valdezes. 1 gallon of oil can pollute 1 million
gallons of drinking water. If we recycled that 200 million gallons we would need
1.3 million fewer barrels of oil a day.
-If 100,000 people who didn’t recycle started recycling, they would collectively
prevent 42,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
-If California meets its 50% recycling goal by 2008 then they will have infused $2
billion into the state economy and created 45,000 jobs.
-Recycle everything you can. Recycling cars has provided enough recycled steel
to produce 95% of new cars.
-If you recycle 2 lbs of material per week you will prevent 130 lbs of carbon dioxide
Expand Your Impact
48. Buy Green Electricity
-Electricity generation is responsible for more than one-third of the US carbon dioxide emissions.
-If your state energy market is deregulated then purchase electricity from renewable sources.
-Spend one extra dollar a month on green energy and save 650 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.
49. Invest in Green Stocks
-World Bank estimates the solar electricity market to be worth four trillion dollars
-Invest in photovoltaics
-Invest in SRIs (socially responsible investment funds; they perform as well as
-In 2050 renewable energy will account for 32% of global energy.
-Invest $100 in renewable energy and make $573 and save 13,455 lbs of carbon dioxide
over 20 years.
50. Stay Current!
-A long list of other sources on Global Warming
51. Get Involved
-Ask local businesses to install bike racks
-Ask your grocery store to sell cloth bags
-Write to companies you feel use too much packaging
-Speak up at your local government briefing