Turn it down. Turn it off. And for the love of God, lose the plastic bags. We're constantly hearing about all the things we should be doing—or not doing—to go green and keep the planet from bursting into flames. We know you care about the birds and the trees, but let's be honest: We'd all get a wee bit busier if we knew there was a little more environmental payback to pocket. That's why we found the 11 green commandments that do the most good—for the mother ship and you.
Where to screw, what to screw: Such are the concerns of our times. We can help. Replace the five most frequently used lights in your home with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Yes, we know you've heard that a million times. But quit yawning—this move is guaranteed to pad your pockets and waste way less energy. Check it out: You'll save $30 or more in electricity costs over the bulb's lifetime and shell out less at the register, because CFLs labeled "Energy Star-approved" last at least two years, guaranteed (if one blows before then, the manufacturer will replace it). If every American replaced just one light, we would save enough juice to illuminate more than 3 million homes per year. Brilliant.
ON WOMEN'S HEALTH:Environmentally Friendly Goods for Your House
Let's make this very clear: You don't have to boil your unmentionables to get them clean. Wash your threads in cold water. Hot water costs up to nine times as much per load as cold; warm costs up to five times as much. Three ingredients—water, soap, and agitation—are all you need for your duds and your conscience to come out clean. Oily stains may still need hot water; pretreat and soak first. And you should turn up the heat if poison ivy gets on your clothes. But in general, chill out; you'll cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by 320 pounds.
There's no need to scald yourself in the shower. Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees. You'll save your skin, trim your electric bill by up to 10 percent (if you've had it set at the typical 140 degrees), extend the life of your water heater and pipes by reducing mineral build-up and corrosion, and keep the climate out of hot water, too, by eliminating 200 pounds of emissions per year. Phew.