Individual Actions You can Take to Improve Air Quality
Saving energy does more than conserve our natural resources; it minimizes the air pollution that is caused in the production of that energy. Conserving energy helps your pocketbook and your health! So don’t just do it for the dolphins, do it for yourself!
In the Basement:
- Turn down the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees to save energy used to heat your water. Your water will still be hot, but you will save money and avoid scalding yourself.
- Put an insulating blanket on your hot water heater to reduce heat loss.
- Insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss, particularly those closest to the hot water heater or those passing through unheated areas.
- Replace filters on furnaces, air-conditioners, and heat-pumps regularly so that they run efficiently.
- Replace old appliances with more energy efficient models.
- Have a pro seal your heating ducts to reduce heat loss.
Throughout the House:
- Inspect your home’s insulation. Add more if needed first in the attic, then in the walls.
- Caulk and weather-strip all doors and windows.
- Install a programmable clock thermostat to set back your temperature automatically at night and when you are not home or turn your heat down at night or when you leave the house 10 degrees.
- Turn your heat down by three degrees all the time starting with one degree if three degrees is too uncomfortable at first.
- If you have a waterbed, make it! Covers will help insulate it and save heating costs.
- Purchase clean energy where available. (Sign up for WE Energies’ “Energy for Tomorrow Program” To learn more call 1-800-242-9137 or visit Energy for Tomorrow®).
- Purchase Energy Star products. See EnergyStar or call the ENERGY STAR Hotline at 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).
- Use the “energy saver” settings of refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers.
- Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
- Turn off computer at night and when not in use.
- Replace as many incandescent bulbs with compact florescent bulbs as possible. They save energy and last ten times longer! They are great for lights used often and in hard to reach fixtures. Give florescent bulbs to all your hard-to-buy-for friends and family as birthday and Christmas gifts.
- Schedule an energy audit for expert advice on your home as a whole. Call the Focus on Energy Information Center at 1-800-762-7077 for more information. Rebates and money back for improvements are available.
- Want assistance finding the right bulb for your fixtures? Download the "Light Bulb Finder" application to get recommendations on the right bulb for different fixtures based on energy savings, costs and payback.
- Do laundry during off-peak hours.
- Run only full loads in laundry machines.
- Clean dryer lint after each load so that dryer runs efficiently as possible.
- Dry laundry on a clothesline.
- Avoid wearing clothes that need dry cleaning or use a wet cleaning service as an alternative such as “Natural Cleaners” in Hales Corners.
- Cover pots when you are cooking to reduce energy use. Use a pressure cooker when appropriate.
- Wash dishes in a sink or dishpan of soapy water. Do not run hot water excessively.
- Run only full loads in the dishwasher. Air dry dishes when possible.
- Use an electric or chimney barbecue starter (available at your local home supply store), instead of lighter fluid.
- Shorten your showers to save on energy used to heat the water.
- Install low-flow showerheads.
- Install faucet aerators.
In the Workroom:
- Use low-VOC or nontoxic household cleaners.
- Use low VOC or no VOC paints.
- Properly seal household cleaners and chemicals and solvents in airtight containers.
Use natural/biodegradable cleaners when possible such as baking soda and vinegar. See Non-Toxic Home cleaning.
- Dispose of paints, chemicals and other solvents properly. (Call Milwaukee’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection at (414) 225-2134
Yard & Garden:
- Replace gas-powered equipment such as mowers and leaf blowers with electric, rechargeable, or manual equipment.
- Fill and use gas powered lawn equipment in the evening hours.
- Buy a spill-proof, low-emitting gas can.
- Keep mower blades sharp and undersides clean.
- Winterize equipment each fall.
- Mow less. Plant slow-growing grass and seed mixtures. Use more native plants. Try natural landscaping to minimize lawn mowing and fertilizers.
- Use organic or nontoxic pesticides and garden products.
- Use propane or natural gas grills instead of charcoal and lighter fluid
- Plant trees for shade and control heat
- Compost yard waste