Guest post by Dylan Snyder*
Homeowners today have the ability to reduce their carbon footprint with a combination of simple changes, modern tech, and practical green tips. The US’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a carbon footprint as “The total amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere each year by a person, family, building, organisation, or company.”
For homeowners across the globe, their carbon footprint is affected by things such as energy consumption, water usage, and even how much junk mail the household receives. To reduce a home’s carbon footprint, consider several green tips and tactics.
Reduce Energy Consumption from Heating Units
UK Power states that home heating is a large contributor to energy consumption and CO2 emissions, especially given the nature of the climate in the UK. Eliminating air leaks/drafts throughout a home is a good first step for reducing home energy consumption. Seal gaps around doors and windows to stop leaks. Increasing wall and loft insulation also keeps heat in and reduces energy use. UK Power also suggests placing aluminum sheets behind traditional radiators as an tried-and-true method to reflect heat back into the room.
For more tips on saving energy in your home check out these articles!
Switch to Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs
Ditch the old incandescent light bulbs and make the switch to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LEDs (light emitting diodes. Both CFLs and LEDs use up between 25-percent and 80-percent less energy than incandescent lights. In addition, CFLs and LEDs last up to 25 times longer than incandescents.
Use Less Water
The average American family uses approximately 300 gallons of water daily, while in the UK, the average usage for a six person household is about 200 gallons daily. The best ways for homeowners to begin to use less water in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint are:
- Switch off the taps when brushing teeth
- Take shorter showers and remember showers use less water than filling the bathtub – unless you use a power shower
- Opt for energy-efficient, water-saving appliances
- Use the water-saver features/cycles on dishwashers and clothes washers
- Switch out old shower heads for energy-saving models
- Fix leaks
Global Stewards reports that 13.7-percent of all household water is wasted because of leaks. Stopping water leaks not only helps to reduce the home’s carbon footprint, but it also helps prevent the development of mould.
For more tips on saving water in the home check out:
Ten Top Tips for Saving Water in the Kitchen
Ten Top Tips for Saving Water in the Bathroom
Top Ten Tips for Saving Water in the Garden
Eliminate Junk Mail
Junk mail is not only is annoying, but the energy used to produce each piece contributes to your home’s carbon footprint. Eliminate or at least reduce the household’s junk mail by removing your name(s) from direct mailing lists.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat and Energy-Saving Appliances
Any products that are designed to save energy, are ideal for homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint. These include but are not limited to refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, and dishwashers. A programmable thermostat is essential, helping to save money each month as well as energy when programmed properly. Actual settings to maximize energy savings will vary by home size and other factors like use of ceiling fans, amount of home insulation, and type and age of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Recycle and Reuse
Recycling programs have been in place throughout the world for several decades. Items such as plastic, glass, cardboard, and multiple varieties of paper can be recycled and then used to create other products in an effort to reduce resource consumption. At home, set up easy-to-use recycling bins and then follow your area’s recycling protocols.
Reuse what you can, especially items like plastic carrier bags. Take it one step further and bring your own non-plastic bags for shopping. Avoid “toss-away” items like paper napkins and plates and opt for linens and real plates.
Every homeowner can begin to reduce their carbon footprint with a few simple steps. Every little bit helps – you’ll feel better at the end of the day, and as an added bonus, you may find yourself with some extra savings each month.
*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.