Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce your household emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas contributor to climate change. (Annual carbon dioxide savings are estimates for the described activity for an average household).
Energy-proof your home. Make sure all the windows are closed properly and that the attic in your home is properly insulated. Also, keep your heating and cooling systems properly maintained, and switch to reusable filters when possible.
Set your thermostat 2 degrees Fahrenheit lower in winter and 2 degrees higher in summer. Heating and cooling account for half of all energy use at home. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 2,000 pounds).
Wrap an insulation blanket around your water heater and set the unit’s thermostat to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 1,850 pounds).
When you are away from home for an extended period of time, switch the water heaters to vacation mode. Most water heaters have a “vacation” setting. Switching to that “away” mode still keeps the water warm, but will not use the energy it takes to keep a tank full of piping-hot water.
Try switching from incandescent to compact florescent light bulbs. Compact florescent light bulbs use about 60 – 75 percent less energy than our normal light bulbs and last much longer. Compared to regular bulbs, the fluorescents are more expensive, but they will eventually pay for themselves due to lower energy costs. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 300 pounds).
Schedule a home energy audit. Many utilities check customers’ homes, provide simple energy-saving devices for free, and offer suggestions on improving insulation and energy efficiency.
Use less hot water. Heating water consumes a lot of energy. Try installing a low-flow showerhead and washing your clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 850 pounds).
Let’s keep our planet green!