A Green Truth
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs: These energy-efficient bulbs cost less than $4 and are produced by major corporations like GE. If every household in America switched five regular light bulbs for five fluorescent bulbs, it would be the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the highways for a full year.
- Outdoor solar lighting: These yard or patio lights cost less than $20, and they don't burn any electricity or produce any CO2.
- Programmable thermostats: Though these thermostats cost from $50 to $100, they can actually cut your heating and cooling costs. Set the setting so it's a little bit cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer when you're not in the house. A difference of 2 degrees can reduce a home's CO2 emissions by up to 9 percent over the course of a year.
- Air filters: Changing the air filters in your heating and cooling systems regularly can knock 2 percent off of your CO2 output each year.
- Electric hot water heater blanket: Hot water heaters use a lot of energy and generate a lot of CO2. A blanket costs less than $18 and can cut your home's CO2 emissions by almost 4 1/2 percent.
Gore says that when you're shopping for major home appliances, look for the Energy Star label. "This is a signal that you're getting an environmentally efficient appliance that's going to save you money at the same time," he says.