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  Member Home > Green Living Certification > Our Lists of Checklists

Green Living Certification - Our Lists of Checklists

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This chapter is all about organizing your thoughts and wishes about what you can do to affect positive environmental change.

Use these checklists. You should refer to them often to help you decide what you can do. From the large and the small efforts, they all serve the same purpose – you help to reduce carbon emissions, reduce the ever-growing landfill masses, and save the Earth’s resources. Remember: Every little bit helps.


  • Use a bowl to clean fruits and vegetables.
  • Never leave your faucet running.
  • Avoid using the dishwasher and use a washtub to wash dishes by hand.
  • If you use a dishwasher, only run full loads.
  • If you must use your dishwasher, buy an energy-efficient model.
  • Start a compost pile instead of using your garbage disposal.
  • Use leftover water to give to your plants.
  • Fix any leaks.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw meats; thaw them in the fridge overnight, or in a bowl of cold water on the sink.
  • Instead of running the tap each time you want a glass of water, store water in a container in the fridge.
  • Fit a spray nozzle into your kitchen faucet and save several hundreds of gallons of water a year.


  • Fix all leaks. (If you have a leak that is leaking at the rate of a drop a second, you are losing 2,700 gallons of water a year.)
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth.
  • Don’t flush every single time you urinate. Flush every third or fourth time and save up to 5 gallons each time you don’t flush (depending on the age of your toilet).
  • Take short showers, even turning the water off when you soap up and shampoo your hair and then turn the water back on to rinse.
  • Get a low-flow showerhead
  • Take the water you run while waiting for it to get hot and use it water plants.
  • If your toilet is old, use a “displacement” device to reduce the amount of water you use with each flush.
  • If you can, replace your old toilets with new, low-flow ones which save up to 4 gallons with each flush.
  • Consider buying a composting toilet.
  • Attach a low-flow regulator to your shower head.
  • Insulate your water pipes so your water will heat up faster in the winter, causing you to use less water before it gets warm.


  • Save rainwater in barrels to water your plants.
  • Avoid using hoses or sprinklers hooked up to a hose. Use drip irrigation or a sprinkler system.
  • Add drought-resistant plants so you use less water in your garden.
  • Never water in the heat of the day. Water your garden in the morning or evening to prevent evaporation.
  • For small plants, use a watering can and pay attention to how much water you are using.
  • Water only plants that need watering. Some might and some might not; pay attention and water only when needed.
  • If you use a hose in the garden, add a trigger nozzle to it so you can control the amount of water use.
  • Don’t water if it’s going to rain. Always check the weather forecast before watering.
  • If it’s windy, avoid watering your garden. Wind increases evaporation and all your watering efforts will be pointless.
  • Don’t water the plant – water the base of the plant so the water goes directly where it needs to be.
  • Water your plants occasionally but very well, rather than often but very little, which encourages shallow rooting. Using this method will keep your plants more drought resistant.
  • Choose plants that like dry, hot conditions – think of lavender, rock rose, thyme, and evening primrose.
  • Let your grass grow long – cutting it often encourages growth.
  • When you mow your lawn, leave the clippings on top of it. It will not only reduce moisture loss, but provide valuable nutrients to your grass as well.
  • Insulate your outside pipes and taps in the winter to reduce the chance they will freeze and burst.



  • To cook food more quickly, cut it into smaller pieces.
  • When boiling water, place a lid on the pot so heat doesn’t escape. It will heat faster and save you energy.
  • Use small appliances whenever possible. Use a tea pot to heat water, a toaster instead of the broiler for toast and slow cookers and pressure cookers for meats and soups.
  • When cooking in the oven, don’t keep opening the door to “see how things are coming along”. A lot of energy escapes that way.

  • Make one-pot meals that require only one heating element. That also means fewer dishes to wash.

  • If you’re cooking in a conventional oven, and you only have one shelf worth of food to cook, use the top shelf, which is generally hotter.

  • In the summertime, use the grill instead of the oven to save energy.
  • Consider coking in the microwave oven whenever possible. They generally use 80% less electricity than a conventional oven.

  • Cook two days’ worth of food at a time. Although you have to heat up the food for the second day, you’ll use much less energy than starting from scratch on the second day.

  • Keep your freezers full, as they are the most energy efficient when full. If they aren’t full, use plastic milk bottles or water bottles filled with water to make the freezer thing it’s full.

  • Keep that refrigerator door closed!


  • Turn the thermostat down when you are away. You can safely turn your heater off at night, as long as your outdoor temperatures don’t drop to freezing.
  • Draw the curtains in your bedroom at night to keep the heat in and the cold out.

  • If you have central heat, close the vents in rooms you aren’t in.

  • Insulate your walls and attic.

  • Service your boiler on a regular basis.

  • Use your fireplace or wood stove instead of your heater.

  • Set a thermostat to each radiator so you don’t run them more than you need to.
  • Set your central air conditioner thermostat 5 degrees higher than you normally do.

  • Don’t use your air conditioner (no matter what type you have) unless the outside temperature is at least 80 degrees.

  • Use fans to keep cool. The judicious use of fans during the summer can save you as much as 60 percent on your cooling bill.
  • Close your blinds or drapes on the side of your house that gets either the morning or evening summer sun.

  • Don’t buy an air conditioner larger than you need for the size house you have.


  • Switch to energy efficient light bulbs and save almost 90 watts per hour.

  • Turn the lights off if nobody is in a room.

  • If you can see well enough without a light on, turn it off.

  • Use natural light everywhere you can.

  • Save on evening light by having candlelit suppers anytime you can.

  • Use the most energy efficient lights in a room (for example, table lamps versus overhead lighting).


General Energy Saving Tips
  • Think about ways you can save more energy each day. Turn off your computer, unplug your TV.

  • Pay close attention to your energy bills and make note of any seasonal changes. What can you do to affect positive change?

  • Look into whether or not you can have a Smart Meter installed in your home. More and more energy companies are installing them.

  • Don’t use electric blankets on your bed unless absolutely necessary for health reasons.


General Energy Saving Tips
  • Think about everything before you buy. Do you really need it?

  • When you purge items from your home, donate them to a thrift store or other charitable cause. If someone buys your donated items instead of something new, they have saved the Earth from chemicals necessary to make new items.

  • Consider shopping at thrift stores, garage sales and the like to save on the manufacture of new items.

  • At the grocery store, say “no” to the eternal “paper or plastic” question. Bring your own reusable tote bags to carts your groceries home.

  • Buy products with little packaging. Buy food in bulk, shoes without shoe boxes, and personal care products in large sizes to reduce your waste.

  • Reuse as much as you can in the kitchen. Aluminum foil can be used several times. You can simply wash and reuse. It can then be recycled.

  • Don’t use paper products which are just thrown away and add to the landfill masses.

  • Repurpose your furniture to make it useful longer in your house, and when you do buy furniture, consider buying used furniture to reduce the amount of new product being made.

  • Find out what recycling resources are available in your community. Some communities require you to separate your recyclables, while others will do that at the transfer station.

  • If you don’t have curbside pickup in your community, consider finding a nearby recycling facility and take your recyclables there.

  • Buy recycled products, like toilet paper and paper towels made from recycled materials. Print on recycled paper in your printer and consider refilling your printer cartridge rather than purchase a new one.

  • Learn how and where to recycle items like televisions, computers and batteries.

  • Use rechargeable batteries rather than one-use batteries.

  • If you engage in a home remodeling project, donate the items you are removing. Don’t throw them away as they could cause damage to the environment.

  • When you do make changes to your home, always keep the environment in mind. Use natural materials, resist the urge to use caustic chemicals and think about proper insulation.

  • Recycle everything you can, from newspapers to magazines to wine bottles. Even if your community doesn’t take recyclables at the curb, you can bring items they don’t pick up to local recycling centers.


  • Is there mass transit available in your area? Can you use it?

  • What kind of car do you drive? What gas mileage does it get? Can you do better?
  • Walk more. It’s good for you and the environment.
  • Consider buying a hybrid vehicle.
  • Have you considered carpooling?
  • Keep your car well serviced. It will get better gas mileage and emit fewer gasses into the air.
  • Keep you tires on you car inflated properly for optimum gas mileage.

  • Wash your car at a carwash rather than at home. An average at-home car wash requires 116 gallons of water.
  • If you can’t walk everywhere, bike everywhere you can. Good for the environment, good for you.


  • Find out where to purchase natural cleaning products, or learn how to make your own (see “resources” for more information).

  • With each choice you make, think of Mother Earth. Is it a good choice for her?
  • When you’re out and about, find ways to recycle items you have acquired. Or hold on to them until you get home and can recycle them.
  • Find out if your community has curbside recycling and if not, lobby your local government to provide it.
  • If you’re drinking bottled water, drink the whole bottle, and then refill it with tap water. Once it’s been refrigerated, you might not notice the difference between the tap water and the bottled water. You’ll also send one less bottle to the recycling center or landfill.



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