4 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in the Home
Climate change is a scary prospect. It has the potential to harm many essential aspects of our lives, from the food we eat to the air we breathe. And considering 2022 had one of the hottest summers on record, it’s clear that we’re already feeling the impact.
With a global issue like this, it can be hard to feel like there’s anything you can do to help. However, every individual contribution matters—and if we all made even small changes to our daily lives, we as a society could make a big impact. In this article, we’ll discuss four easy ways to start reducing your carbon footprint at home today.
What Is a Carbon Footprint?
You might have heard the term before, but what exactly is your carbon footprint? A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses produced by your everyday activities. These include things like the groceries you buy, the appliances you use around the home, and the way you commute to work.
Greenhouse gasses are significant because they trap heat in the atmosphere, raising the global temperature. The presence of some greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, in our atmosphere also have other negative consequences for our world, contributing to issues like air pollution and ocean acidification.
Your personal carbon footprint depends on many factors—including some that you may not be directly in control of, like where you live—but generally comes down to personal choices and habits.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Adjusting to more environmentally-friendly habits helps decrease the amount of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Here are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint in your daily life.
1. Audit Your Home’s Energy Use
It’s difficult to use energy more efficiently when you aren’t sure how much you’re consuming. Evaluating your home’s current energy consumption can help you get a clear picture of what energy-saving strategies would work best. It also helps you identify any energy waste or safety issues you might have.
You can reach out to either your local utility company or a professional home energy auditor to get started. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also offers a carbon footprint calculator that you can use to get a quick estimate of how much you’re consuming.
2. Switch to Energy-Efficient Products
Once you have a sense of how much energy you’re consuming and where it’s being expended, you can start implementing energy-saving strategies around the home. Household appliances are usually major energy consumers, especially if you use them frequently. Making the switch to energy-efficient appliances with an Energy Star certification can help you cut back on your use.
You can also reduce your current energy consumption by getting into the habit of turning off appliances when they aren’t in use. For example, if you’re leaving a room and there’s no one else in it, turn off the lights as you go.
Keep in mind that some household products, like televisions, printers, and microwaves, can eat up standby power, meaning they consume energy even when they’re turned off or not in use. Unplugging these products when you aren’t using them can further cut back on energy waste.
3. Reduce Household Waste
What and how much we throw away has an impact on the environment. Food waste is an especially big culprit—around 40% of our food supply is wasted each year, according to the EPA.
When you’re busy and running errands, it can be hard to see the big picture. However, every product you can buy in a store is the result of a long process that requires a lot of energy and resources to carry out. Buying more than you can use and wasting it ultimately wastes not only the product, but also everything that went into making it.
Making more mindful purchasing decisions can help you cut back on the amount of waste you create. Buying less and reusing products where you can also saves you money in the long run.
4. Reduce Water Usage
Water is a precious resource, and one we can’t survive without. Climate change has already impacted our water supply, making it even more important that we don’t over-consume.
Simple changes in your habits, like turning off the water while you brush your teeth, only running your dishwasher when it’s full, and taking shorter showers, can save hundreds of gallons of water per year. Since pumping and treating water accounts for 3% of the nation’s energy consumption, you’re also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by cutting down your water use.
It’s hard not to feel helpless in the face of a global crisis. Nevertheless, just being more mindful in your everyday life can go a long way towards helping the earth. Try incorporating some of our suggestions into your household, and help us get one step closer to a greener future.
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