I have done a few things around the house that I just sorta made up as a way to save energy, but still have the device function appropriately.
I'll start with my garage door opener:
Like all true South Orange County home-owners - my family tends to use the automatic garage door opener more than the front door!?! We are a very social neighborhood, so it actually makes sense. We get home (dodging all the kids in the street) and when we pull in our driveway, we open the garage automatic door, our kids jump out and grab footballs, skateboards, bikes, etc. and join their friends, while the wife and I unload what's left...
But this uses electricity in the form of a motor, two 60-watt light bulbs (part of the unit), and the remote sensor - while the friggin front door ... uses nothing except a key and our human muscles. ...so the front door is the better choice - from a green perspective - but frankly the kids will open the big garage door for their toys once in the house anyway so really saving a step. This is one battle I have let go of.
But I can make it less energy intensive. The motor and remote sensor I cannot do much about. So I thought for a time about the bulbs and how to work out lighting on the cheap that still functioned well enough for the wife to be OK with it.
Plan A: Removed both 60 watt incandescents. Replaced with CFLs. After a couple weeks, one failed. ... then the other failed a few weeks later. Hmmmm. Vibration and CFLs is not a good mix. Properly disposed of wrecked bulbs...
Plan B: Mounted a shiny metal shop light to the ceiling (pointing straight down) by clipping it to an angle bracket that originally was for a 2x4 framing project. Screwed an outlet adapter into one of the now empty light sockets in the garage door opener unit. Neatly fished the plug for the shop light down to the socket. Installed a 13 watt CFL into the shop light. No vibration transfers to it. Has worked for about 16 months with no bulb replacement. Is brighter than original unit setup because the incancescants were in the white plastic cover which dimmed their light. Saves 107 watts every time we use the door - which is several times a day, about 5 minutes of light each time.
...it may be kinda silly, but it works and saves energy!