8 Easy Steps Toward Reducing Your Carbon Footprint at Home
We hear a lot about our carbon footprint and how we as individuals affect the world around us, but do any of us really know what that means? It seems like everything we do in modern society is pumping carbon into the air, from our daily errands to being comfortable in our own homes. While corporations are a big part of the carbon problem, we can all pitch in as individuals to help curb the amount of carbon pumped into the air. These tips for reducing your carbon footprint at home are so easy that you will wonder why you haven’t been doing them already.
Reduce Food Waste
People often don’t realize how much carbon goes into the food cycle, from planting, to harvesting, to delivering to the grocery store. About 40% of the food we buy ends up in a landfill, creating methane, another harmful greenhouse gas. Shopping for a family isn’t always easy, but try to only buy what you need and when you do have leftovers, freeze what you can and compost as much as possible. You can cut down on some carbon use by growing a personal garden with your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Invest in Solar
Solar is the future of home energy, and it keeps getting better year over year. The sun isn’t going anywhere for a long time, and it can power the entire world once we work out a few kinks on how to store energy for dark days and nighttime use. Even now, rooftop solar panels will immediately cut down your carbon footprint by powering your house with energy from the sun instead of fossil-fuel-burning power companies.
Reduce and Reuse Plastics
One of the biggest users of carbon in the world is plastics, which require fossil fuels at every step of their process, and then all too often get tossed in a landfill and left to break down over centuries. You can do your part by choosing natural plastic alternatives when you can, recycling, and reusing plastics whenever possible.
Take the Carbon Out of Clothes
Like it or not, clothes are a necessity, and keeping them clean goes a long way toward keeping you accepted in society. However, the clothes cleaning process uses a decent amount of energy. GE Appliances estimates that 75-90% of the energy used by a washing machine is heating the water. Switching to a colder cycle and air drying clothes when you can save a ton of energy, which, in turn, cuts down on carbon emissions.
One of the main areas in that an individual household raises carbon emissions is temperature control. When your furnace or air conditioner is always running, you are constantly burning fossil fuels, whether you are home or not. A smart thermostat is a great start because it will learn your habits, adjust the temperature to those habits, and keep the house a little hotter or colder when you are not home or sleeping, which will help save some of that energy.
Although it will cost you some money upfront, upgrading your appliances will pay for itself eventually. New energy-efficient appliances will save both energy and water, saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint.
Take Advantage of the Weather
In many parts of the world, the seasons allow us to completely cut off the heating and cooling and take advantage of the weather outside by opening the doors and windows. Not only does this save on energy costs, but it also allows fresh air to move through your home.
Another way to take advantage of the outside is to use curtains to manipulate how the sun gets into your house. If you want to warm up the house, open all the curtains to let the UV rays in as much as possible. If your goal is to cool the house down, close all the shades and block the sun from getting in.
Unplug the Vampires
The sneakiest energy wasters in any house are vampire electronics. Things like computer chargers and TVs are constantly pulling electricity whether they are being used or not. Unfortunately, all of these vampire electronics are costing you hundreds a year in electricity, which adds to your carbon footprint.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you probably won’t be carbon neutral in a day either. So don’t let yourself get discouraged or give up taking steps that will lower your carbon footprint. These choices are great for the environment, but they are often beneficial to our health and wealth. Of course, one person can only do so much, but when all of us try, small changes will lead to big results.