As temperatures rise, energy deficits mount and natural resources dry up, going green is a necessity. Want to minimise your carbon footprint? Teja Lele Desai has a few ideas for your home

The outside

Solar heat and radiation are absorbed through windows and roofs. Fit windows with double glass panes (insulating air space reduces heat transfer) to bring down power bills.

Direct shading devices such as pergolas, awnings, solar screens, and low-e glazing enhance energy efficiency.

Trees, shrubs and vines shade roofs, windows and walls, and bring down temperatures by 5 to 6 degrees Celsius through evapo-transpiration.

Water early in the morning or late in the evening to reduce water loss due to evaporation. Don’t over water; the soil should be moist, not soggy.

Living areas

Try and maximise the use of daylight. Keep curtains open as long as possible and delay switching on lights.

Switch to CFLs (use four times less energy and last eight times longer) or consider dimmers (dimming a light by 10 per cent more than doubles an incandescent bulb’s life).

Appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners and TVs account for a big chunk of your electricity bill. Update periodically and check energy ratings.

LCD TVs and monitors consume less power than CRT or plasma screens. Laptops average annual energy savings of as much as 50 per cent over a desktop; ink jet printers are more energy efficient than lasers.

The kitchen

Fix faucets with aerators - a low-flow faucet aerator can reduce tap water use between 25-50 per cent.

Refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer save 15 per cent in annual energy costs as compared to a side-by-side model. Icemakers and water dispensers in the door increase energy use by 20 per cent.

Choose a washing machine with a low water factor (the number of gallons per cycle per cubic foot that a machine uses). Use the washing machine/dishwasher only for full loads.

A full load (no pre-rinsing) in the dishwasher uses up to 35 per cent lesser water than hand washing. Chuck the drying cycle to save about 15 per cent on total energy use.

Do your laundry in cold water; use hot only if your clothes are filthy. About 85 per cent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heat water.

Curb use of paper in the kitchen. Use cloth instead of paper towels; replace paper napkins with cloth ones.

Don’t trash all your garbage. Create a homemade compost bin (learn how at www.compostguide.com) for the best kind of fertiliser.

The bathroom

Check all faucets and pipes for leaks (a small leak can waste 20 gallons per day).

Opt for showers instead of baths, and never throw tissue in the toilet (flushing trash wastes 5-7 litres water).

Install a low-flow (uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute) toilet and showerheads. These can cut annual water use by up to 70 per cent.

Lower the temperature on your hot water geyser.

Gadgets and appliances draw power even when they're switched off or not in use if they are plugged in. Switch off and prevent phantom electrical draw.