1. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Start with your five most frequently used lights. CFLs are now brighter and faster and save about 66% of the electricity used by an incandescent bulb. Every bulb helps!
  2. Turn all computers, televisions and electronics entirely off when they are not in use to cut your "phantom" or hidden energy use. You can do this easily by plugging all electronics into a combined surge protector/power strip with a single on-off switch. Unplug phone and electric toothbrush chargers when they finish charging.
  3. Home heating is one of your major energy needs. Install an Energy Star programmable thermostat. Setting the thermostat to 70 degrees or lower in winter and 78 degrees in summer will result in dramatic savings. Program it to lower the temperature 10 degrees at night or anytime no one is home during the day.
  4. Saving water saves energy. Fix plumbing leaks and install aerators on faucets and low-flow shower-heads. Take shorter showers and turn down the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. If you are gone for a long period of time, set the thermostat at “vacation” or the lowest setting. If you replace your water heater, consider a “tank-less” or “on-demand” system.
  5. Increase the energy efficiency of your home. Weather-strip and caulk gaps in windows and doorframes. Insulate attic, walls, floors, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, and plumbing penetrations. Then, increase the efficiency of your heating system, appliances, and fixtures. The next time you replace one of these items, look for the Energy Star seal. Meanwhile, keep coils under the refrigerator free of dust and debris, run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full. Call or visit the website of National Grid for more tips to save electricity and natural gas.
  6. Cut the carbon from your car. Your car is a major contributor to your carbon pollution footprint. Carpool to work or ride the train - carpool to station parking lots to save on the parking fee! Drive efficiently: avoid frequent start-stops, keep tires inflated to maximum pressure, and remove unnecessary weight from the vehicle. When you replace your vehicle, choose a more fuel-efficient car.
  7. Complete a simple on-line, home-energy audit to find out how much energy and money you can save at home. (You can also set up a free "in person" audit through MassSAVE by calling 1-866-527-7283)
  8. Reduce, reuse, recycle, re-buy. Power down your lifestyle and embrace your inner “frugalista”! Craigslist and the local Freecycle are simple networks where you can locally buy, sell, or give away items or services. By limiting your consumption and purchases of goods produced using non-renewable resources, you will use much less and spend less.
  9. Use the sun and wind to dry clothes. Whenever possible, use a clothes line instead of an energy hog clothes-dryer.
  10. Join the "Clean Energy Choice" campaign to help raise money for Franklin solar projects! National Grid’s "Green Up" program sends more power from renewable sources into our electricity system by pooling small, voluntary tax-deductible contributions added to consumers’ monthly bills. If 150 Franklin households sign up by September 30th, the Town will be eligible for a $25,000 grant to install a demonstration solar electric system on a school or other town building. Sign up at
  11. Take a bite out of Global Warming. Small changes in the way you select, purchase, and grow your food will reduce your carbon foot print and often save you money, too. You can choose to eat organic, reduce meat consumption, avoid processed foods, buy locally grown foods, and choose foods that have the least packaging – all steps that will cut the energy used to produce and ship the food you eat. Simple measures add up, and there are many more things you can do!

    For more information on more simple ways to save money and help the Earth, contact the non-profit Franklin Area Climate Team, which will be starting “Low Carbon Diet” groups this spring. Email