November 17th, 2010
04:33 PM ET

iReport #BeAHero challenge: Test your 'go green' smarts


Editor's Note: Watch "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" Thanksgiving night at 8 p.m.ET/5 p.m. PT.

[Updated 11/18/10 at 12:20 p.m. ET ]

We got dozens of great responses to last night's "Going green" challenge.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program, the biggest contributors to global warming are power plants, cars, trucks, airplanes, buildings and homes.

Clearly, you know what it takes to save water and energy in your home: Fixing leaks; taking short showers instead of baths; washing only full loads of dishes and clothes (and using cold water); turning off the tap while brushing your teeth; using power strips for electronics and turning them off when not in use; and replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs, among other things.

The question is: How many of these changes have you made?

Darkharp says he makes 85 percent of his own power using solar panels; uses renewable wood to heat his home, and telecommutes, thereby reducing gas consumption and pollution from his car.

Graeme Jones, 49, a computer analyst in Marietta, Georgia, recycles all his plastic, cardboard, glass, junk mail, tin food cans, aluminum cans and styrofoam. The bulk of his mail goes into a paper shredder and is recycled with yard waste into compost for his garden. He also diverts the water from his washer, shower, and AC to water his trees in the dry months. He said saving money was the primary reason for the changes, but also, "I don't like things going to the landfill that can be used again."

Jeff Lytle, a software company owner in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, says his family doesn't want to use any more oil than can what be produced domestically. So he and his wife are building their "green dream home" complete with concrete exterior walls, ENERGY STAR appliances, geothermal heating and air conditioning, reclaimed hardwood floors, countertops made from recycled glass and concrete and other features. He says construction costs are comparable to less-energy-efficient homes in the neighborhood. He is chronicling the process on his blog green-dreamhome.com.

"I don’t think the government’s ever going to solve the energy problem. I think it’s up to individuals to do that," he said.

[Original post] On CNN's American Morning yesterday, Jason Carroll looked at how one American family is going "green" and discussed easy tips anyone can do to make your home more eco-friendly - and help your wallet at the same time.

We've been giving you small ways to "Be A Hero" in your own life. For your next challenge, we want to see how much you know about going green, with a few questions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program:

1. Name three of the biggest contributors to global warming.
2. List three ways you can save water in your home.
3. List three ways to save energy in the home.

Post your responses in the comments below, and we'll be back with answers tomorrow.

And if you’ve taken steps to make your home more eco-friendly, we want to hear about it. Head over to iReport and show us or tell us about the changes you've made to your home.

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. alex

    1 co2
    cars
    cities
    2 go to friends
    take showers
    dont waste
    3 turn off lights
    use cold water in washing machine
    use wood heater

    November 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. emill*i

    Name three of the biggest contributors to global warming.
    – pollution from vehicles
    – carbon dioxide
    – wasteful use of fossil fuels

    List three ways you can save water in your home.
    – Take shorter showers
    – Turn the water off when you brush your teeth
    – Use "high efficiency" machines, such as dish washers, washers, and dryers

    List three ways to save energy in the home.
    – Use flourescent light bulbs
    – When washing clothes, always use the coldest setting
    – Turn hot water heater temperature to a lower setting

    November 18, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Josh

    3 biggest Contributors
    1.) people not caring
    2.)wild fires
    3.)big SUVs

    November 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Elizabeth

    1
    cars
    co2
    coal

    2
    short showers
    turn off the water when you brush your teeth
    wash less clothes

    3
    unplug things that are not in use
    energy saver light bulbs
    windows and not the AC

    November 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jesse

    In my opinion, I think that global warming is not something to worry about. In the near future, you may not be on this earth or maybe the earth will be destroyed (if you are religous) or we may find a way to live somewhere else or underground. There are so many things that can happen, that the main cause of "global warming" could be linked to just about anything, and the human race is always adapting to its environment so we can find some way solve the problem at hand or get away from it. I mean saying that cows are the cause of it, are you going to kill all the cows in the world to get rid of that or maybe destroy all gas or diesel fueled cars. It has not affected me nor ever will, it is like a figment of my imagination. So dont dwell in the ifs an what ifs, just live your life as long as you and this world are here.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Casey

    1.1. meat industry while methane generated by cattles and porks and the processing and transportation of the products contributes much more than other factors.
    1.2. The clearing of forest to plant animal feed.
    1.3. power plant.
    2.1. In summer water used to wash vegetables and fruits are saved and used to water garden plants and lawns.
    2.2. For a old man we go to washroom very often. Even I change three 12 liter toilets to 4 and 6 liter duel flush toilets, I still save the urine to fertilize the garden and fruit trees.
    2.3. In Ottawa while I live the city government distributes water saving kits (toilet, faucet, and shower head) to every household. And if you missed it one can go to the city hall to get them. We have plenty of water in Canada, yet both the governments and individual are doing everything we can to conserve it. When I travel to California and Florida, I see the waste everywhere. Yet water is scarce in the States, why don't they learn from Ottawans. 3.1. Change all bulbs to CFLs. 3.2. In the summer get up early and open all windows and doors to cool off the house and bring the fresh air in. When sun shines in close everything and the curtains and set the air condition to 26 degree(79 F). Reverse it in the winter. 3.3. For a small famify we use convection oven to bake or roast.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Caro-Lune

    The biggest contributors to global warming is animal farming:
    – deforestation happens because we have to plant more crops to feed the animals worldwide or to make space to raise them (Amazon forest cut at 80% for this reason). Dead forest cannot absorb carbon dioxide anymore.
    – animals and their waste emit methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas (more potent than carbon dioxide).
    – even the UN has concluded that animal raising for food was a greater greenhouse gas contributor than all the transportation in the world.

    November 18, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Henry

    The livestock is the number one reason of global warming and green house gas emission.

    Because of the meat dairy industry, forest is cut off. People eat meat and eggs and drink milk, and people get sick and cost a lot. And meat industry is extremely energy consuming. Compared with livestock, transportation is only a piece a cake.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jsew

    THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY ACCOUNTS FOR 50-80% OF GLOBAL WARMING.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
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