The actions that we take each day create CO2 emissions. These emissions add up, contributing to our carbon footprint. Whether your carbon footprint is affected by the fact that you drive a car, leave lights on throughout the house or charge your cell phone for a number of hours each day, the carbon footprint that you possess can have a profound impact on our planet and environment.
Our carbon footprints are largely to blame for the climate changes that we’re experiencing. It also contributes to pollution, toxic acid rain, and melting polar ice. One person's carbon footprint can drastically differ from what another person is contributing. Ideally, we want to reduce our carbon footprint to improve air quality, protect our planet, prevent the extinction of wildlife, and even improve the economy. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to reduce carbon footprint at home.
Reducing Waste Amounts
The more waste we produce, the more greenhouse gas emissions we produce. Whether our food or garbage ends up in landfills, our carbon footprint increases by generating methane gas. There are ways that you can reduce the amount of waste that your household is responsible for. Consider making these changes:
- Attempt to purchase products that have less packaging. A lot of brands are manufacturing refill products that are made using biodegradable or recyclable packaging.
- Purchase your grocery and personal care items in bulk. This reduces the packaging that you’re responsible for.
- Think about the items in your home that you can switch to a reusable version. Instead of paper towels, have a collection of towels or rags that can be washed and used again.
- Make it a point to recycle any eligible items you’re about to discard. This includes glass bottles, plastic containers, and paper bags.
- Instead of purchasing plastic water bottles, opt for one reusable container you can fill and take with you for the day. This is one of the best ways to reduce carbon footprint at home.
- When it comes to food scraps, start a compost pile in your backyard. This prevents you from throwing those scraps away, but you can use that compost for your garden or landscaping.
- Instead of throwing items away that you no longer need, take them to a thrift store or donation drop box. You may be done using something, but someone might find great use in that item.
Replacing Your Light Bulbs
Throughout your home, you have at least a couple dozen light bulbs. Typical incandescent lights at this quantity create approximately 4,500 pounds of CO2 per year. This is much more than LEDs, which only create about 450 pounds. If you’re still using the older and inefficient variety, consider making the switch. Not only is it better for the environment, but it will also save your household some money.
Use Your Automobile Less
In an ideal situation, you would live close to where you work. Walking to the office daily would be an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint while helping you get in better shape. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for everyone. If you must commute to work, think about reducing your driving on weekends or evenings. Instead of driving to multiple stores nearby, park your car somewhere in the middle and walk to the different locations. You can also use your bicycle as a method of transportation. Public transportation is always available, which tends to be much more affordable than constantly putting gas into your vehicle. It also helps reduce carbon emissions. Carpooling is a way for multiple people to reduce their carbon footprint while saving fuel money.
When it comes time to replace your current vehicle, many eco-friendly options exist. All-electric models or hybrids will reduce pollution and save you money over the life span of your automobile. Some carbon-neutral automotive brands include Toyota, Tesla, Hyundai, Nissan, and Volkswagen. All-electric or hybrid models are available, with different features and specs to consider.
Downsize Your Home
Consider the type and size of home that you’re living in. If you’re living in something much larger than you need, you will likely consume more energy than necessary. You'll run your furnace less by downsizing to something with less square footage. The construction of a small home utilizes fewer building materials. You’ll even be able to run your vacuum and appliances less if you have a smaller space to maintain them. Again, these changes are all beneficial for your budget as well.
Turn Things Off When Not in Use
If you walk through your home right now, how much electricity is being used unnecessarily? You probably have lights on in rooms that have nobody in them. Computers might be running without being used. You can even unplug your television when not in use in order to reduce your carbon footprint and save anywhere from $100 to $200 per year when you unplug everything that’s not being used. You can also encourage your children and other family members to do the same when leaving a room.
Use Less Hot Water
Approximately 18 percent of the energy we use in our homes comes from heating water for things like showering, washing laundry, and bathing. Consuming this energy releases carbon into the atmosphere. You can increase your ways to reduce carbon footprint at home by turning the temperature down on your hot water tank. The tank must maintain a set temperature when you’re not using hot water. By reducing that temperature, it will run less. You can also insulate your water heater and pipes to help retain some of that heat. When it comes time to replace your water heater, look for an Energy Star-rated appliance. This means it’s a much more efficient unit.
When it comes time to invest in new clothing and items for your home, try to shop from brands making planet-friendly changes. From their supply chain to create their products, companies such as Tesla, Nestle, Bosch, and Patagonia are all dedicated to reducing their carbon emissions. You can also shop for used items. Check out your local thrift store or ask if your friends have anything they want to get rid of.
Consider a Smart Thermostat
Most homes have a basic thermostat that allows you to move the temperature up and down as needed. Many better options are available now, including smart thermostats that help you reduce your carbon footprint. By programming a heating and cooling schedule into your thermostat, you will reduce the time your furnace or air conditioner needs to run. This saves you money but also reduces your carbon footprint.
When the weather is cool outside, consider letting your indoor temperature drop slightly when you won’t be home. Your thermostat can then bring the temperature back up again when you’re going to be returning. Try to use your air conditioning system less in the summer months when you’re not around. Crack a window open whenever possible to utilize the fresh air outside to improve indoor air quality and keep your home comfortable.
Utilize Renewable Resources
Renewable resources like the sun, wind, and water will consistently provide power that won’t ever run out. This self-replenishing feature is very efficient and affordable. It’s also really great for the planet.
There are ways that you can use renewable resources at home that don’t require you to install a large windmill in your backyard. Solar systems are becoming a very popular option for homeowners. Investing in a solar system on your own can be expensive, but different options are available to bring the cost down. For example, Ivan the Solar Guy offers a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) where you can get a complete home solar system installed for as low as zero $0 dollars out of pocket. Or, you can purchase the system outright with cash or a loan. An initial assessment will help you determine if going solar is right for you, how many panels are needed, and what investment, if any, you will need to make. If you are interested in ways to reduce carbon footprint at home and are unsure of the benefits of going solar, schedule a call with Ivan the Solar Guy, to discuss the options.