You probably already know about replacing frequently used light bulbs with CFLs, so I won’t hit you over the head with that one. And I’m guessing you’ve heard that upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances also makes a big dent in your carbon footprint, so I won’t go there. Yet, I’m guessing you may not know how many pounds of carbon dioxide you can shave off your carbon footprint by making a few other slight adjustments, such as only running full loads in your dishwasher or changing your air filter regularly.
But first, what is a “carbon footprint” anyway? We all have one, even if we can’t see it! A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) that’s released into the atmosphere as you go about your daily life. The average American is responsible for more than 4,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Now, here are some ways to walk more gracefully upon the earth.
Habits: Take a Break and Turn Down
Adjust your thermostat two degrees in summer and two degrees in winter to save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly.
Take a vacation from driving for two days each week, and you’ll cut an average 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Buy 100 percent post-consumer recycled printer paper, and save about 5 pounds of carbon dioxide per 500 sheets of paper.
Water: Insulate and Go Low-Flow
Save as much as 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by insulating your hot water heater.
Use a low-flow showerhead, and save as much as 350 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Run only full loads in your dishwasher, and save about 100 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
Maintenance: Weatherize and Inflate
Weatherizing your home with caulk and weather stripping around windows and doorways can save 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly.
Save 250 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by keeping your tires properly inflated.
Change your air conditioning filter every three months, and save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
If you’re wondering how well you’re doing, well, there’s no need to wonder! Use the EPA’s household emissions calculator, and then decide on ways to slim your print.
What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint? Which of these tips would work for you? What would you like to do to reduce your impact?