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- Consider travel time and transportation costs when deciding where to live. Keep the length, distance, and transportation options (or lack of options) of your commute in mind when choosing housing. See HUD's Housing and Transportation Affordability Initiative.
- Educate yourself and your neighbors about transportation options available in your neighborhood, and consider carpooling with family, friends or neighbors. Capital Metro and Movability Austin provide ideas for reducing traffic congestion.
- When buying groceries for your family, consider also picking up items to donate to the food pantry.
- Plan trips to minimize car travel and travel during peak times, especially on Ozone Action Days. Visit the site for the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas.
- Check out a wattmeter from the Austin Public Library. Reduce “phantom” energy use and save money.
- Regular maintenance helps reduce home energy costs and pollution. Maintain your car, household and appliances to conserve energy and, when replacing them, consider choices that conserve energy.
- Plant a sustainable landscape. Plant native, deciduous trees, especially on the west and south sides of your home to provide shade in summer and sun exposure in winter. Texas A & M has a free online Texas Tree Planting Guide. Make landscaping choices that minimize water use, such as xeriscaping.
- Make conservation and recycling a way of life. Teach children to conserve energy and water and to recycle from an early age.
- Unplug items when not in use. Consider a power strip for multiple items, so you can turn several devices off with one switch.
- Replace light bulbs with CFL bulbs.
- Get a free, programmable thermostat from Austin Energy, and save 20% on your air conditioning and heating bill!
- Change the air filter on your air conditioner regularly. The unit will last longer and operate more efficiently, saving you money and saving energy.
- When buying a new car, consider “upgrading” to a better gas mileage. You will save money and pollute less.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle – make recycling a way of life in your home.
- Turn off lights and conserve energy.
- • When buying or renovating your home, make it accessible. Eventually you, or another family member may require a walker or wheelchair. Making your home accessible today will help keep your options open in the future.
- Help your school hold holiday food drives and other efforts to give students opportunities to help families in need.
- Take the bus to school. Avoid driving your children or yourself to school. Take the bus, walk, or ride a bike.
- Inspire young minds to create inventions for a cleaner future.
- Learn what it takes to run a “zero waste” classroom. Teach students the value of recycling.
- Carpool. Work with your school or parent teacher organization to develop a student carpool program or carpool map.
- Highlight energy conservation in the classroom. Celebrate Energy Awareness Month in March by highlighting energy conservation tips in the classroom.
- Inspire young minds to think about inventions that will create a cleaner future. At the appropriate age level, have students build a solar panel, a battery, a wind turbine, a water-powered generator or mill to understand different, more environmentally friendly energy options. The U.S. Department of Energy provides Lesson Plans & Tips for K-12.
- Join with co-workers to provide a Thanksgiving food basket or holiday presents for a needy family.
- Ask Austin Energy to do an energy audit.
- Carpool or take public transit to work. Facilitate the development of a company carpool program or consider carpooling with family members or neighbors.
- Keep your commuter car in good operating order. Regular maintenance helps your car operate more efficiently and use less gas.
- Sponsor a food drive at work or collect donations of clothing or other household goods and donate them to Goodwill.
- Share commuting options with co-workers. Include commuting options in orientations for new employees.
- Telecommuting and flexible schedules reduce greenhouse gasses. See if your employer will allow you to work from home a few days a week or have a flexible schedule to reduce commute time.
- Teleconference. Consider holding meetings over the phone or internet. If you must meet in person, schedule meetings for non-peak drive times.
- Have a “walk and talk” meeting. Get the oxygen, brain and great ideas flowing with an early morning or lunch time “walk and talk” with your co-worker.
- Check out the Austin Green Business Leaders program. Find out what other businesses are doing on this City of Austin website.
- Participate in Austin Energy workshops. Attend the next Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) workshop sponsored by Austin Energy; conduct an energy assessment and consider recommended improvements.
- Support affordable workforce housing. Support the development of affordable housing options that are close or convenient to your workplace.
- Turn off lights and office equipment when not in use. Power strips make it easy to turn multiple devices off with one switch. Motion sensors can also help keep lights off when no one is around.
- Publish bus schedules in meeting announcements.
- Eliminate the use of disposable cups, plates and napkins.
- Find and cut out energy draining devices in your facility.
- Carpool. Work with other members, volunteers or participants to create and maintain a carpool map or carpool program.
- Ride the bus. Determine if taking public transportation to attend the events and meetings is feasible with the Capital Metro Rider’s Guide.
- Teleconference. Hold meetings over the phone or internet.
- Provide leadership to educate staff, members and leadership about affordable housing and transportation initiatives, such as bond elections and other efforts to make housing and transportation more affordable.
- Publish bus schedules in meeting announcements. When inviting people to an event or meeting, give public transportation information as well as parking instructions, and seek out meeting spaces that are accessible to public transit.
- Create opportunities to volunteer “virtually.” Explore virtual volunteer opportunities or provide these opportunities in your organization.
- Conduct an Austin Energy Conservation Audit. Encourage your non-profit or religious organization to ask Austin Energy to do an Energy Conservation Audit and to implement feasible recommendations.
- Cut back on trash. Eliminate the use of disposable cups, napkins, plastic-ware and plates. Encourage people to donate coffee mugs for a mug tree.
- Find and cut out the energy draining devices in your facility. Volunteer to check out a wattmeter from the Austin Public Library and stop paying for energy you don’t use or need.