P2 at Home

Reduce your energy use

  • *Avoid leaving lights on in empty rooms.
  • Turn on your desktop lamp instead of higher-energy overhead lights when practicable.
  • Weatherstrip leaky doors and windows during winter months.
  • Use cold water for laundry; 90% of energy used for washing clothes goes to heating water.
  • Look for moisture sensor controls that turn dryer off as soon as clothes are dry and cut energy use by 10-15%.
  • Clean lint trap between loads for quick drying, less energy use.
  • Set water heater between "low" & "medium" (110-120o F); each 10-degree reduction saves 35% on water heating bills.
  • Lower your thermostat: each degree lower reduces your furnace's energy consumption by 23%. Try 65-68o F when home during the day, then 55o F at night.
  • Turn off your home computer when it is not in use for long periods.
  • Car pool, use public transportation, ride a bicycle or walk instead of driving whenever possible.
  • Repair old appliances when they break down or replace them with more energy efficient ones.
  • Plan an energy efficiency strategy for your home. Order an energy audit from your local utility office.
  • Switching to compact fluorescent lamps saves energy and reduces pollution.

Reduce your water use

  • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, shave, lather your hair, scrub the car & save 3 gallons a day per activity.
  • Shorten your shower; a 12 minute reduction each day can save 700 gallons of water per month.
  • Repair leaks in your home water system and save 20 gallons a day per leak.
  • Wash only full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher and save 75-200 gallons of water per week (this also saves energy!).
  • Install a low-flow shower head and save half the amount of water you use.
  • Keep a drinking bottle of water in your refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold water and save 200-300 gallons per month.
  • Dishwashers use only 10 gallons of water per load, instead of hand washing with the water running which could waste 1517 gallons per load.
  • Replace your toilet with a low-flow version that uses half as many gallons per flush (average toilet uses 5 gallons per flush). Other options include buying a toilet dam, or try this:

    Soak the label off a dishwashing or laundry soap bottle. Fill the bottle with water, put the cap back on and place it in the tank, making sure it doesn't interfere with the flushing mechanism.

Reduce the amount of packaging in your purchases

  • When shopping, look for items that have less packaging than other brands.
  • Buy products in bulk when you know they won't go to waste.
  • Avoid single serving items -- convenience usually means more packaging.
  • Bring reusable, cloth bags to the store.

Reduce the amount of paper you use

  • Keep a blackboard by the phone instead of paper for messages.
  • When printing on your computer or making copies, use both sides of the paper.
  • Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive:

    Write to:

    Direct Marketing Association
    Mail Preference Service
    P.O. Box 9008
    Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

    Request that your name and address be added to the Name Removal File. Register your name every five years. Although this will decrease the volume of mail you receive, you will still receive mail from companies you regularly do business with and organizations that do not subscribe to Mail Preference Service.
  • Call one of these toll-free numbers to remove your name from mailing lists used by credit-card companies and some solicitors:

    Equifax: 1-800-556-4711
    Experian (formerly TRW): 1-800-353-0809
    Trans Union: 1-800-680-7293

  • Call the customer service departments of your credit card and favorite mail-order companies and tell them you want to be kept on an "in-house" list only.


Use reusable, long-life products

  • If you pack lunches, use only washable, reusable containers for sandwiches and other foods.
  • Substitute reusable plates, silverware and cups for disposable ones.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and save up to $260 a year.
  • Try to repair things instead of throwing them away.
  • Reuse glass jars and plastic bottles as storage containers.
  • Save foam packing peanuts and bubble wrap to use when you
    send your next package.
  • Buy a standard camera instead of repeatedly buying single-use ones.

*Use your imagination to prevent pollution

  • Try to purchase products containing recycled materials.
  • Consider locally grown produce which uses less packaging and minimizes transportation.
  • Donate clothes, books and toys (those in good condition) to charity or have a garage sale.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of rinsing them under the faucet, then use the "dirty" water to water your plants.
  • Use water based paints which are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

*Use P2 outdoors

  • Let your grass clippings lie and mulch fall leaves. This eliminates waste and conserves soil nutrients. Grass clippings and mulched leaves are great fertilizers!
  • Start a compost pile instead of burning leaves or give yard waste to a neighbor who has one.
  • Fertilize in the fall instead of spring. Fertilizing in the spring puts grass into a fast growing cycle, which starts the mowing season sooner. Test your soil before fertilizing so you will know what your lawn needs.
  • Set your mower deck at a higher level. This will encourage grass roots to grow deeper and the lawn to thicken. Thicker lawns smother out weeds and require less watering.
  • Consider pest-control methods which are more selective and do not rely on heavy use of pesticides. Identify the pest and then determine how they should be controlled. Spot treat problem areas. Try this solution for snails:

    Fill a shallow pan with beer, sinking it to ground level.
    This is a guaranteed snail catcher.

  • If you use pesticides or fertilizers, be sure to calibrate application equipment to avoid environmental problems, such as run-off to lakes, streams or ground water contamination.
  • Plant trees and shrubs for shade and wind block.