There are many changes an individual can make to become more environmentally friendly. However, changes like switching to solar panels or buying a hybrid car costs money and may not be momentarily feasible for some people. Nevertheless, an individual can become more environmentally friendly just by making simple cost-free strategies through minor lifestyle alterations that will save money and offset carbon. We’ve listed some of these in other blogs, but it’s always good to have a reminder. Also – let us know which ones you’re doing and which ones you’d like to try out next. It’s always great to hear everyone’s progress – we’re all still learning!
- Unplug electronics, such as PC’s, TV’s, DVD’s, stereos, etc. These consumer electronics are responsible for approximately 15% of household electricity use, even when on “off” or “standby” mode. If you unplug such devices, you may save up to $10 a month on your utility bill (Per DoE.) This may also offset your carbon by about 1000lbs. per year (Per World Resources Institute.)
- Practice temperature control with your heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC) system, especially for periods away from home. Programming your thermostat to certain levels can save you about $180 in energy costs every year (Per Energy Star.) These combined efforts can reduce your carbon emissions by 20% to 50% (Per DoE.)
- Adjust your current water heater to no more than 120 degrees, which is sufficient for most households. Each 10 degrees reduces about 500lbs. of carbon per year (Per World Resources Institute.)
- Most washers’ energy consumption goes to water heating. Washing two loads a week in warm or cold water will reduce emissions by about 500lbs. per year (Per World Resources Institute.) Also, air dry your clothes to save energy otherwise used during machine drying.
- Run your dishwasher with a full load of dishes. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher goes to heat water. Avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features. Instead use your dishwasher’s air-dry option (Per Energy Star.)
- Reduce the amount of energy your refrigerator uses by setting the temperature between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while positioning it away from a heat source such as an oven, a dishwasher, or direct sunlight from a window. Make sure the door seals are airtight and minimize the amount of time the refrigerator door is open (Per Energy Star.)
- Recycle products from paper to electronics. Products made from recycled paper, glass, metal, and plastic reduce carbon emissions because they use less energy to manufacture than products made from completely new materials. For instance, you will save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle (Per Nature Conservancy.) You will also save 17 trees by using 1 ton of recycled paper (Per World Resources Institute.)
- Take fast showers and turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, washing your hair, lathering your hands with soap, washing dishes, or washing food. This could save up to 25 gallons of water per month (Per National Conservation Campaign.)
- If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store-and it’s even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
- Walk or bike instead of driving to add to your health benefits. The effort would save energy costs and save one pound of carbon for every mile travelled (Per Nature Conservancy.)
For additional information and references visit:
- Energy Star
- National Conservation Campaign
- Nature’s Conservancy
- U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- World Resources Institute