Reducing the carbon footprint

Reducing the carbon footprint

Turn off lights: When you leave a room, turn off all the lights. Remember to turn off your television, DVD player, stereo and computer when you’re not using them.

Do a home energy audit: Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help you identify which areas of your home are not energy efficient. Many utility companies offer rebate programs to subsidize the cost of energy efficiency upgrades.

Control the thermostat: Setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter can translate to a big difference in energy use without dramatically affecting your comfort level. Installing a programmable thermostat can significantly cut your energy use without sacrificing comfort. Ceiling fans are a great way to
cut your cooling costs, too.

Drive less: Less car time means fewer emissions. Try public transit and explore your carpooling options. If you can, try working from home once a week.

Buy efficient: When you buy anything—from cars to appliances—consider efficiency. Look for the EPA star rating on new appliances.

Replace your light bulbs: As regular light bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Replacing one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb and use 66 percent less energy. If you install new lights, consider buying energy efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs). An LED’s average life span is 100,000 hours (vs. 1,500) and they reduce energy consumption by up to 90 percent.

Unplug the power: Standby power is the energy wasted by an appliance that’s plugged in but switched off. The easiest solution is to unplug appliances you’re not using.

Weatherize your home: Once you know where the problem spots are, there are several small steps you can take to reinforce the envelope of your home, such as installing weather stripping, covering your windows with shrink wrap sheeting, insulating your hot water pipes and plugging gaps around outlets. In hotter climates, use window tints, blinds, bushes, trees or trellises to help keep heat out during the summer months.

Cut your waste: Reducing your household garbage by 10 percent can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per household each year.

Use less hot water: Wash clothes in warm or cold water. About 90 percent of a conventional top-load washing machine’s energy is heating the water. Also, consider turning down your water heater to around 120 degrees.

Hang your clothes out to dry: After your HVAC system and your refrigerator, your clothes dryer is the biggest energy hog in your home. Using the sun and wind to dry your clothes can save 1,400 lbs of CO2 per year.

Buy carbon offsets: If you’re flying, consider buying carbon emission offsets. They help fund projects that capture and reduce the amount of GHGs entering the atmosphere and encourage clean, renewable energy production.

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