Before we can change energy use habits we must first change beliefs about energy conservation. A recent survey conducted by the Earth Institute of Columbia University shows that many Americans misunderstand energy conservation. Of the respondents surveyed, 20 percent believe that curtailment (e.g., driving less and turning off lights) is the most effective way to save energy. Few responded with what experts advocate, i.e., taking an efficiency approach like buying more efficient appliances and insulating homes. According to EcoMall, insulating walls and ceilings in a home can save up to 20 to 30 percent of home heating bills and reduce carbon emissions by 140 to 2,100 pounds per year. Similarly, the government’s Energy Star program maintains that replacing windows can save from 7 to 24 percent of heating and air conditioning bills. Reducing our carbon footprint requires action but at the same time, the most effective actions. Ariel Schwartz of Fast Company suggests that the government should ramp up its energy information campaigns so that people understand “that, say, insulating homes from extreme heat and cold will save more energy than flicking off the lights.” You can see the full results of the study here. Learn more about practical ways you can save energy.