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All-Star Energy-Saving Tips

7/9/2007 12:00:00 AM

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Last weekend, I was one of the millions of people who tuned into the TV coverage of LiveEarth. I thought it was a fun show. Hours and hours of music, punctuated with random green living tips. Those tips weren't bad, but I wanted more! There's only so much information you can cram into a 30-second public service announcement.

It got me thinking about where to find detailed advice about how to reduce your carbon footprint. Personally, I think one of the easiest places to start is at home. So in the spirit of an all-star lineup, here's a list of some of the best sources I know for advice on how to use less energy at home and how to start making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. 

  • Detailed Plans. As the name implies, Gary Reysa's Web site, builditsolar.com, has numerous plans for DIY solar projects, and they're definitely worth checking out—it's inspiring to see what you can build on your own if you happen to be handy with tools. But Reysa's site also offers very simple, straightforward advice for conserving energy. Go to The Half Plan to find out how his family is cutting their energy use in half, step by step, and to see all the details of the costs and savings. It's no surprise to see that one of their first steps was to install compact-fluorescent light bulbs and the savings really add up.
  • Informative Books. There are also some great books about reducing your energy use. Two that I think are especially helpful are The Home Energy Diet, by Paul Scheckel, and The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy, by Dan Chiras. (Chances are you can find both books at your local library, but if not, you can find them by clicking on the links above.) Both books start with the philosophy that you can save a lot of money and energy by making your home more energy efficient, especially if you want to install renewable energy systems down the road. Scheckel's book focuses on how to reduce your energy use, while Chiras' has less about conserving energy, but gives all the details about options for home renewable energy systems.
  • Countless Green Resources! Last fall, at Mother Earth News, we printed an excerpt of Al Gore's book An Inconvenient Truth. During that time, we all spent quite a bit of time checking out the book and the many resources it lists. Both the book and the film were based on a slideshow, so there are a lot of charts and photos. There are also an enormous number of useful resources both in the book, and on the affiliated Climate Crisis site. It's a handy, very thorough list of resources, and a great place to get started saving energy.


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