Our actions always have an impact, no matter how minor they might seem. The plastic bottle that isn’t disposed of properly, may end up in the ocean. When the thermostat is set too high, the excess energy causes a much higher utility bill. The outdated, fossil fuel burning appliance kept way too long pollutes the air we breathe.
These are just a few examples of the many ways our actions can negatively affect the environment and increase a home’s carbon footprint. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to lessen the harmful emissions and pollutants we create in our homes. Below are a few straightforward changes everyone can make to reduce their impact on the Earth.
First, let’s explain what a carbon footprint is. Put simply, it’s the amount of carbon emissions produced by everyday actions. From the food we eat, to the trips we take, everything involving the combustion of carbon compounds in production, delivery or operation contributes to this total amount. On average, an American’s carbon footprint is approximately 20 metric tons, which is five times greater than the world average.
In terms of a household’s carbon footprint, there are two main sources: the amount of energy used to construct a house and the amount of energy needed to cool, heat, light and power the home. The second source is referred to as operational energy, and there are many ways to handle it. For starters, it’s advised to adjust how the household appliances and HVAC system are utilized.
In the laundry room, for example, while doing laundry, you should pick the cold or warm setting, instead of picking the hot water function. With advanced detergents capable of sanitizing the clothes, this small change decreases energy consumption without affecting cleanliness. Similarly, you should set your water heater to no higher than 120° F and wrap it with an insulation blanket. Doing this simple action can cut down on 1,850 pounds of CO2 a year.
Switching to a Smart thermostat is another way to decrease a home’s CO2. These cutting-edge gadgets can be programmed to better manage your energy usage with almost no effort on your end. While programming it, set the thermostat as little as 2° F lower in winter and 2° F higher in summer. These two degrees may seem inconsequential, making this adjustment can cut back on 2,000 pounds of CO2 a year.
Lastly, even though it isn’t as easy as adjusting a setting, homeowners can reduce energy waste by using alternative, renewable energy sources. For example, solar panels produce renewable energy and given the correct circumstances, can power a house completely. With tax credits and other incentives, these technologies are becoming much more affordable and pursued by eco-friendly households.
With these small changes, we can all do our part to slow the progression of climate change and potentially reduce the impact it has on future generations. For further examples of how to shrink your carbon footprint at home.
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Infographic Provided By The Solar Energy Company, Route 66 Solar