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Everyday steps to cut your personal emissions:

1. Turn off your computer.

Turn your computer monitor off if you are not using it for 10 minutes or longer. A conventional computer monitor uses the same amount of electricity as a 75-watt light bulb. Turning it off, even if you’re going to be away from it for only 10 minutes, can save a tremendous amount of energy in the long run. Despite their name, screen-savers do not save any energy at all.

Turn off your computer when you are not using it for more than an hour. It does not harm your computer to turn it off and on. This used to be true in the very early days of computers but now it’s just an old myth! If you buy a new computer, consider buying a laptop. It uses much less energy than a desktop.

Learn more about our computer initiative.
Learn about Power Management on computers

Power Management setup instructions for: Windows ME | Windows 2000 & XP | Vista | Mac
Download our computer brochure with lots of information about computers, energy consumption, and climate change. It is available as a
PDF file (101 KB) or as a Word Document (162 KB).

You can also call us (617-627-5517) to get a printed version or pick one up at our office at Miller Hall on the Medford Campus.


2. Bike to campus and to work, or use public transportation.

Biking keeps you in shape and produces no pollution or greenhouse gases at all! A third of all greenhouse gases come from transportation (cars and trucks). Learn about Zipcar.

3. Use your thermostat.

In the summer, set the thermostat for your air conditioning higher: between 78 and 83 degrees. In the winter, set the thermostat for your heat lower: between 65 and 68 degrees during the day and between 50 and 60 degrees at night. You could also consider purchasing a programmable thermostat that automatically raises and lowers the temperature in your home, saving you money and making you more comfortable. See the Energy Star website for more information.

4. Turn off lights and appliances, and avoid the use of halogen lamps.

Lights account of 25% of our electricity use. Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs. They cost between $1 and $16. But they’ll save you about as much money over their lifetime, because they use about 60% less energy and last 10 times longer. Often your utility company will have special rebates which means you can buy them at a much lower price.

Halogen lamps use a large amount of energy, while providing a proportionally small amount of light. (By the way, they are prohibited on campus because they pose a serious fire hazard).

Download our light brochure with lots of information about lights, energy consumption, and climate change. It is available as a PDF file (101 KB) or as a Word Document (162 KB).

You can also call us (617-627-5517) to get a printed version or pick one up at our office at Miller Hall on the Medford Campus.

Learn more about electricity and its environmental impacts.

5. Eat less meat.

Beef needs a tremendous amount of water and energy to produce. (All the corn and soybeans that have to be grown–with pesticides and fertilizers–to feed the cattle!) If you would like to eat meat, go for poultry. The pollution and water and energy use is much smaller.

If you still like to eat beef or other meat now and then buy organically produced meat. It is produced much more efficiently and without chemicals. (The animals from organic farms also have a much happier life, since animal welfare guidelines are strict for organically certified farms and virtually non-existent for conventional farms).

Eating foods such as grains and soy products helps preserve precious resources, and these foods require less energy to produce.  More about meat and climate change.

6. Eat Local Food.

The average meal travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate. By eating food grown and raised locally, you’re reducing the emissions caused by shipping and storing foods across the country and the world. In addition, you’re supporting local farmers, which conserves open space and helps the local economy. In addition, most local farms are small family-owned businesses that practice sustainable farming methods, further reducing the use of fossil fuels and other chemicals (used to create fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides).

To find local farmers go to:
To participate in a vegetable box share program at Tufts, check out the new CSA program.

7. Make efficient use of hot water.showerhead.jpg

Take shorter showers! Install efficient shower and faucet heads. The cost will quickly pay off in lower water and heating bills. Set your water heater on “low,” or approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfectly adequate for most home use.

8. Save energy when doing the laundry.

Wash your clothes using the “cold/cold” setting. Also, only do laundry when you have a full load.
If you have a choice, use a front-loader washing machine. It washes your clothes cleaner, uses only about a third as much water as a top loader and less than half as much energy. Watch out, you only need about a third as much detergent! Hang your clothes on a clothesline to save on energy and drying costs
Learn more about front loading washing machines.

9. Make sure your fridge is set on the correct temperature.

Fridges should be set between 38 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit, and freezers between 0 and 5. If your settings are 10 degrees too cold, which is often the case, your electricity costs will be up to 25% higher.
Defrost it regularly. The more ice builds up in your fridge and freezer, the less efficient it is and the more electricity it uses.
Buy a new refrigerator if yours is very old. New refrigerators are 2-3 times more efficient than a refrigerator that is more than 8 years old. Buy an “Energy-Star” refrigerator, they are especially energy-efficient! (see Side by side refrigerators/freezers are least efficient. Most efficient are refrigerators with the freezer section on the bottom. (Remember from physics class: heat rises, so having the freezer on top and the engine at the bottom is really not very efficient.)
Save money in your home: learn about our energy efficiency seminars.

10. If you decide to drive, get a car with better gas mileage.

Buying an efficient car saves both energy and money. The average SUV gets about 12 miles to the gallon, whereas an efficient car can get up to 35 miles per gallon. The new hybrid vehicles get 60 miles to the gallon! If everyone bought the most efficient car in their respective class, our country would save approximately 1.47 billion gallons of gas a year.

truck.jpg11. Buy fewer goods and be a conscientious consumer.

People often neglect that when they buy a product, it actually went through a long, usually industrial process that required a large amount of energy.
Reducing consumption is one of the most effective ways of reducing energy waste.

12. Fly less.

More about air travel and climate change.

13. Be an activist.

Send letters urging your representative to take action on global warming and clean energy. Below are webpages that let you send faxes and e-mail to your representatives. They also tell you about many other political activities you can get involved in.

Power Shift
World Wildlife Fund Action page
Union of Concerned Scientists action page

14. Support businesses that follow green practices.

Check here for some options: