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Oklahoma State University

Living Space

Whole House:

  • Turn off the lights when not needed, even as you go from room to room in the course of your day (or evening).
    • It might seem a little inconvenient at the time, but it will lessen the environmental impact that is caused by so many lights in so many rooms in so many dwellings across the U.S.
  • Rent, borrow, share or buy used instead of new. When you have to buy new, purchase durable rather than disposable goods.
  • Use power strips.
    • Not only will it save energy, it also makes it easier for you to turn off multiple power users at once.

Living Room:

  • Turn your TV off when you leave the house or anytime you are not using it.
    • This will save the life of your TV and cut down on the energy use.


  • Avoid buying bottled water.
    • Drink from a reusable cup or canteen. You will still have to wash it, but you can save a ton of money (not to mention energy, natural resources, pollution and waste) by drinking tap water. If you're worried about tap water quality, consider buying a filter. Switching to tap water could save you $60 per month!
  • Before you go grocery shopping, grab a reusable bag for purchases, and choose products with little or no packaging.
    • This will help reduce landfill waste, and reducing and reusing are always preferable to recycling.
  • Try to isolate your refrigerator away from heat sources.
    • If your fridge is beside a heat source like a stove, heating vent or dishwasher, your fridge will have to use more energy and work harder to keep cool.


  • Avoid falling asleep with the TV or lights on.
    • Studies have shown that you get better sleep in a dark room, and both your energy bill and the planet will thank you.
    • There are apps that play white noise if you need that to fall asleep.


  • Interesting fact: If you flush your toilet once less per day you will save as much water as an average person in Africa uses their entire day for drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning (Go Green, $ave Green).
  • Repair leaky faucets and shower heads or report leaks to your landlord.
    • Many landlords provide services to fix any plumbing problems. Making that call will save you time, soggy shoes, and money.
  • Plastic shower curtains and liners are not recyclable and end up in landfills; consider  purchasing a water-resistant cloth curtain instead.


  • Wash only full loads of laundry, and wash on the cold setting.
    • According to the US Department of Energy, up to 90 percent of the energy used by washing clothes in a washing machine is heating the water in a laundry load, and the higher the temperature, the greater the cost to you and the environment. Additionally, hot water fades clothes faster than cold water. This means colors run less in cold water, which means you don't have to separate your clothes as much, which means fewer wash loads! Save energy and time and make your clothes last longer by using cold water.
  • If you own a dryer, clean the lint filter out regularly.
    • The EPA estimates that keeping the lint trap clean may provide savings of up to $34 in energy costs each year and also reduces the probability of fire. So clean your lint catcher EVERY time. You will save more drying time than it takes to clean out the lint.
    • Don't like cleaning your lint screen? Try drying your clothes on a clothes line!
    • Don't have outdoor space?  There are plenty of indoor clothes drying rack systems available.

Dining Out:

  • Only order what you are going to eat.
    • This saves waste and resources. If you happen to order more than what you are going to eat, take it home and make sure you eat it later. (Roommates love FREE food, you can score brownie points with them by giving them your leftovers!)
  • Substitute water for soda when you are eating out. Add a lemon for a refreshing bite.
    • Not only will it be healthier for your body, it will be better for your wallet too. Drinking water at restaurants instead of other drinks can save a family of three up to $977 a year.