This is part of myseries: 20 Ways to Go Green that Make a Difference. This series discusses practical ways we can go green in our lives, that will have a measurable effect on the environment. This is an alternative to the many lists that offer 100+ suggestions, many of which are not easily applied to our lives or the impact isminimal.
When you are done in the room, shut the lights off. Leaving them on wastes electricity and causes more pollution by needing to produce more. You do not need the lights on downstairs if you are upstairs, so shut them off. This applies to other electronics, such as TVs, video games, computers, and even microwaves, just shut them off once you are finished using them. Some people advocate unplugging them completely to save a tiny bit more energy, but not here on this list. I am trying to offer and promote tips that are practical to implement but will actually provide results.
Another tip is to use energy conserving light bulbs and appliances, which I totally support. Although, I believe you should use the items you already have before buying new ones. Even for green products, there is a cost to producing each of these units, so finish using the items you have, and when it's time to replace them, consider the environmentally friendly options.
A final trick that I learned from my father is to automate the shutting off procedure for appliances. Lights outside, inside, heating, and fans can all be set on timers instead of switches. If you are handy, which is definitely green, then go ahead and still these timers yourself! At my parents house we had the bathroom/shower fan set to a maximum of 20 minutes, then it would shut off automatically. If you are taking longer than 20 minutes in the shower, that is not green!