If you type in “energy savings tips” into your search engine, you will find several sites that give you tips on how to save money on your energy bill. Most often the lists will recommend using ENERGY STAR certified appliances, replacing lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights, installing a programmable thermostat, cut down on water use with water saving toilets, shower heads, and faucets, and the list goes on. All are excellent recommendations and all have been discussed on this blog. But these tips are a little more unconventional and ‘off-the-beaten-path’ ideas that I have collected.

¨ Make saving energy a family project. Have an occasional family meeting to discuss ways to save energy. Make a game out of it by offering rewards to your kids for coming up with new energy savings ideas.

¨ Cancel your printed magazines and newspapers and get your info online.

¨ When purchasing a home look at neighborhoods with close by public transportation to cut down private vehicle use.

¨ Recycle your plastic bags you get from the grocery store or other retail outlets. Often there is a recycling center at the retail outlet itself or drop them into a recycling container. You may not think that recycling a plastic bag will impact the environment that much, but did you know that it takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose?

¨ Refuse getting a bag at a store if you don’t need one. Or carry your own sturdy bag(s) for your shopping needs.

¨ Avoid double cupping that cup of coffee or better yet, use your own mug.

¨ Recycle household batteries properly. If not disposed of properly they can release harmful materials into the environment. Or purchase a good quality set of rechargeable batteries.

¨ Instead of always cooking with your stove, try to make easy meals in a toaster oven or microwave. If you need to use your stove or oven, try to cook large quantities of food and make your own ‘TV’ dinners to eat throughout the rest of the week.

¨ Foods and vegetables will take less time to cook if cut into smaller pieces and use the proper size burner and lids. Or try to eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible. No cooking required!

¨ Let hot foods cool on the counter before putting them into your refrigerator. Hot foods cause the unit to work longer and harder.

¨ Remove old items from your fridge regularly so you don’t waste space or energy on keeping them cold.

¨ Don’t overdry your clothes. It wears out your clothes and wastes energy and money.

¨ Hang your laundry out to dry on nice days instead of using the dryer. Let the sun do a job it was made for!

¨ Drain a quart of water from your hot water tank every few months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers its efficiency.