Steven Miric/istockphoto


Living with other people is good for the environment and for loneliness. Living with a friend or family member may seem like it use more resources, but two people sharing a space reduces household energy by about 18% per capita. The savings shouldn't stop there. Two heads are in indeed greener than one. That's why you should hold a house meeting on ways to reduce energy use.

If your household is already one that has weekly or monthly meetings, than putting a discussion of water and energy use on the docket won?t be so difficult. But if this is a new thing for your roomies, you'll probably have to finagle your roommates and/or family members into showing up. Tell them it's a meeting about saving money. And don't forget to provide eco-friendly snacks for all.

What to Discuss and How to Discuss It

Talk with your family about tactics and techniques that can save money, energy and water. For example, you can ask that people turn off the lights when they leave the room. Talk about which rooms aren't used often. You can install motion sensors in those rooms to keep lights from being left on for days.

Easy conservation tips that any household can use

Simple Behavioral Habits

1. Turn off the water when you brush and shave, except when rinsing.

2. Wash only full loads of dishes.

3. Wash dishes and do laundry in the evenings or mornings.

4. Turn off fans when you leave a room.

5. Discuss how your household's recycling program works.

6. Set the thermostat a few degrees coolers.

7. Set hot water temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Air dry clothes when appropriate.

9. Unplug appliances that aren't in use.

10. Take shorter/fewer showers.

11. Switch all appliances and electronics to their power saver modes.

12. Keep food covered in the fridge, which will help your refrigerator be more efficient.

13. Water garden and lawn during the morning and evenings.

Affordable Green Investments that Will Save Money and Energy

You should also discuss with your roommates purchasing inexpensive green upgrades that save water and energy. Most of these devices cost under fifty dollars and when split two or three ways, recoup their cost in a short time. Most renters don't want to worry about making their money back before they move to a more permanent domicile. Some of those investments include:

14. A weight for the toilet tank, which will help save water.

15. Blackout curtains, which help keep heat and conditioned air from leaking out windows.

16. Foam insulating gaskets.

17. Cellular blinds, which also help save energy.

18. Ceiling fans.

19. Motion sensors for lights.

20. A water filter, so you can skip the bottled water.

21. A low-flow showerhead.

22. Faucet aerators, which decrease water flow, but not pressure.

23. Insulation for the hot water heater.

24. Draft snakes.

25. Storm windows.

26. A permanent furnace filter, which will improve your air quality

27. A rain barrel.

28. Rentable solar panels.

29. Energy-saving power strips.

Green Home Maintenance and Projects

Once you've decided where you and your roommates can afford to make changes, you should decide what projects you could all do together to make your home a greener place. Some of those projects may include:

30. Checking for air and water leaks.

31. Planting a garden.

32. Caulking around windows and doors.

33. Cleaning filters for air conditioning or other air ducts.

34. Cleaning exhaust fans.

35. Mulching the yard and garden.

36. Removing weeds without pesticides.

37. Planting a rain garden.

38. Clean fridge coils.

39. Turning leaves into mulch.

40. Building a compost box.

If you are the owner of the house, you could discuss larger home investments like alternative energy generators and proper weatherization, but in the short run, you can have a much greener home with minimal effort and cost. With everyone pitching in, you could jam through this entire list in the span of a weekend. Got a tip or a post idea for us to write about on Planet Green? Email pgtips (at) treehugger (dot) com.