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10 Green Living Ideas for Frugal Families

Slow Your Energy Use Roll

When you leave for vacation -- or for a day of work, for that matter -- you probably make sure all your lights are turned off and you haven't left the faucet running full blast. Congratulations on saving energy! Well, not quite.

Turns out that leaving appliances plugged in -- that is, not turned on, but just connected to a power source -- is actually using quite a bit of energy in itself. Consider your laptop. If it's charging, plugged in and in use, it's actually using an average of 44 watts of energy [source: Standby Power]. Let's say it's just fully charged, and plugged in. Even not in use, it's using 29 watts of energy [source: Standby Power]. Your computer isn't attached to the power source? Guess what--just having the power source plugged in uses 4 watts of power [source: Standby Power]. You can find more appliances that your energy bill might appreciate being unplugged by checking out, which provides a table of appliance's energy use. In the meantime, unplug that cell phone charger you're not using, and save .26 watts of energy [source: Standby Power].

"Smart" electrical strips also disengage power when not in use. Low flow showerheads will save both water and energy; a faucet aerator will conserve heat and energy on your tap without a loss of water pressure.

Next is a biggie--use less fuel, use less energy. Let's cruise to the next page to see how your family can live a little greener (both earth- and wallet-wise).