What do I mean by this? Let’s look at some real world examples:
- electricity consumption – my thermostat is turned down to the upper 60s in the winter and the upper 70s in the summer. I heat with natural gas, and cut the AC off in summer whenever we can live with the windows open. I dry my clothes outside as much as possible and run the dryer very little. My major electronic devices are all on surge protectors that we flip off when not in use so they don’t suck electric when idle. I user compact florescent light bulbs in all my lamps. I’d be willing to buy solar panels or a small wind turbine to generate my own electricity if the payback period were significantly less than today’s 7-8 years. Nothing would make me happier than to see the electric meter spinning backwards as we feed power out onto the electric grid.
- gasoline consumption – I buy cars that get at least 28 mpg or more to save on the cost of refills. I drive as little as possible, telecommute at least 2 to 3 times a week, group errands into one trip. I’d be happy to buy any car that gets 100+ miles per gallon if one existed and could pass a crash test. I’d also be willing to buy a natural gas powered car if the prices were comparable to gas powered cars to keep energy dollars in the US.
- recycling – I try to recycle as much as possible because I don’t believe in wasting resources. But I tune my buying habits to eschew soft drinks and bottled water, convenience foods, anything that comes in small plastic packages. My goal is to reduce the need to recycle by buying items in packing that uses fewer raw materials.
- gardening – I grow vegetables in a small garden to save money at the grocery store and because I think they taste better. I compost instead of using commercial fertilizers.