04/18/2012 05:08 pm ET Updated Jun 18, 2012

Eco Sense and Cents-ibility

By Linda Descano, CFA®, President and CEO, Women & Co. and Managing Director and Head of Digital Partnerships, North America Marketing, Citi

As someone who used to work in the corporate social responsibility arena, I was struck to learn that women are 2x more likely to consider energy efficiency important for electronics after becoming a mom, according to's 2011 Shopping Rituals of the American Mom. And with more moms and MOMMs using smart phones, tablets and computers for managing finances and filling pantries, I thought y'all might be interested in some other "sensible" things you can do, beyond buying eco-efficient tech gadgets, to reduce your carbon footprint and potentially save you "cents":

• Invest in smart energy strips, which can sense when your electronics are actively in use, and cut off electricity to the equipment when it is in the "off mode" so the technology will not continue to draw energy while idle.

• Pick up some weather stripping at your local hardware store and line the edges of your doors and windows to improve the seal. This will help keep your heat and air conditioning in, reducing the electricity required to maintain your indoor temperatures.

• CFLs and LEDs are great ways to reduce the electricity required to light your home. While some have a higher initial cost than their incandescent alternatives, many repay the extra cost within just a few months.

• Depending on your lifestyle and location, biking to work, the store, or to do errands not only saves on carbon but can help you burn calories. Consider buying a second-hand bike, rather than a new one, for added environmental benefit (the "reuse" in the 3Rs) and lower out-of-pocket cost.

• When possible, buy locally sourced food, which not only supports your local agricultural community but also may save tons of emissions associated with the transportation of food. In fact, in the U.S., produce, on average, travels an average of 1,500 miles before reaching our table. * Wow!

• When traveling to far-off places and even those closer to home, donations to a carbon offset program are another way to net out the carbon emissions associated with your travel.

For more tips and tools for "greening" your home and office, visit ENERGY STAR, EPA eCycling, Carbon Calculator, and National Center for Appropriate Technology.

* Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University

About the Author:

Linda is President and CEO of Women & Co., a service of Citi that brings women relevant financial content and thoughtful commentary. She also serves as a Managing Director and Head of Digital Partnerships for North America Marketing at Citi. A recognized expert on the topic of personal finance, Linda is also the featured contributor on and, for which she serves as their women and money expert. Her writing, tips and commentary have appeared in countless publications including: Huffington Post, MORE Magazine, American Banker and MSN Money to name a few. She is the recipient of a 2011 Luminary Award from Womensphere® and was the New York recipient of the 2009 Corporate w2wlink Ascendancy Award.

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