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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home with These 5 MethodsApril 22nd, 2016 by
Reducing your carbon footprint, or the amount of greenhouse gases you produce in your daily activities, is not an impossible task, but it does take some thought and planning. High levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are disrupting our climate and weather patterns, and if we don’t take steps to reduce those carbon dioxide levels, the changes in the global landscape will be irrevocable.
A lot of press has been given to ways to reduce your individual carbon footprint with travel—combining trips, maintaining consistent driving speeds, and keeping your car’s tires properly inflated, for example—but it is just as important to take steps to conserve energy while you’re at home, too. Read on for five ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
- Have an energy audit performed. An energy audit is a full-scale assessment of your home’s energy usage. Since reducing your carbon footprint at home is largely about lowering your energy consumption, an energy audit is the perfect place to start. An energy audit typically involves an inspection and series of tests that will determine where your home might be losing energy—poorly sealed doors and windows, for instance, or an inadequately insulated attic or crawl space.
- Help your HVAC system work more efficiently with programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats make it easy to keep your home at the right temperature, and as a bonus, you won’t have to remember to adjust the thermostat before you leave the house. To save energy (and lower your heating and cooling costs) when you’re away, keep your home a little cooler in the winter and a little warmer in the summer than you might prefer when you’re at home. A programmable thermostat saves you the cost and environmental impact of keeping your house unnecessarily cool or warm when you aren’t there.
- Replace incandescent and compact fluorescent lightbulbs with LED bulbs. Incandescent lightbulbs are no longer on the market, and compact fluorescent bulbs are not as energy-efficient as their LED counterparts. Using LED bulbs in your light fixtures will conserve energy and result in a noticeable change in your utility bills.
- Install water-conserving plumbing fixtures. In many areas of the country, low-flow plumbing fixtures are mandatory in new construction. If your home is older, however, you may still have standard toilets and showerheads that require gallons upon gallons of water for each use. Replacing plumbing fixtures isn’t free, so if budget is a concern, replace standard fixtures first in the kitchen and in any bathrooms that see daily use.
- If you’re not using it, unplug it. You may not give much thought to device chargers and small appliances that stay plugged in all the time, but the reality is that they all use small amounts of electricity even when you’re not using them. When your phone or tablet is fully charged and you’ve finished making breakfast, unplug the charger as well as the toaster, electric kettle, coffee maker, and other small appliances before you leave the house. Plug TVs and audio-visual equipment into power strips that can be turned off with one switch when you plan to be away from home for several days.
Reducing your carbon footprint at home doesn’t have to be a huge, all-or-nothing lifestyle overhaul. Focus first on creating new, energy-saving habits, and then make more, perhaps larger, changes here and there when your budget and schedule permit. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to a small carbon footprint.