11/29/2006 11:47 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Convenient Truths: Reduce Your Home Electricity Consumption


Week two of Treehugger and Seventh Generation's "Convenient Truths" contest begins today, and we hope you've got your storyboards laid out and your video cameras and/or mobile phones warmed up. We're on pins and needles waiting for your videos, as we know many of you walk the walk towards that barely visible carbon footprint.

While much of the discussion on global warming here in the US recently has focused on the impact of transportation (which we'll definitely discuss), Treehuggers everywhere know that the power plants that generate our electricity likely represent the largest source of CO2 emissions. While conserving energy at home may strike some as about as sexy as Jimmy Carter's sweater, changes in how we use electricity daily may provide the biggest bang for our buck in contributing to the fight against global warming. They're also among the simplest changes we can make... and they're still highly filmable!

Among the things you can do to impress our judges, and lower your electricity use (and electricity bill in the process):
  • Add insulation to your home -- the US Department of Energy recommends an R-value of at least R-22 in the attic.
  • Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents or (if you can afford them) LEDs.
  • Turn down the heat -- a one-degree (Fahrenheit) reduction on the thermostat will save you about 3 percent on your heating bill, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.
  • Stop heating/cooling the outdoors -- while you may not be able to afford new windows or doors right now, some rope caulk, weather stripping, and a little elbow grease can help keep that heated/cooled air inside where it belongs.
  • Ceiling fans can make more efficient use of cooled and heated air -- according to Home Depot, they can save you 40% in the summer, and 10% in the winter.
  • Identify the users of vampire power in your home -- and then drive a stake through their heart!
We're just scratching the surface of the many simple (and filmable) actions you can take. For more, check out some of our guides, or Consumer Report's new The Complete Guide to Reducing Energy Costs. Upload your video at

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is a writer at Treehugger, the publisher of sustainablog, and Senior Editor at new green start-up GreenOptions.