Everyone can reduce their individual carbon footprint; there are some easy steps you can take.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Car
You can save more than a ton of CO2 per year by changing your driving habits.
- Accelerating slowly and smoothly
- Driving the speed limit
- Maintaining a steady speed
- Anticipating your stops and starts
- Keeping your car tuned up and running efficiently
- Replacing your air, oil and fuel filters according to the manufactures schedule
- Keep tires properly inflated (just this can save 400-700 pounds of CO2 per year)
- When you purchase your next vehicle, chose a fuel-efficient model. Check out EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide for info on miles per gallon as well as EPA SmartWay to see if the car is certified as green.
- If your household has two cars and one is used mostly for commuting, make the commuting car a real gas sipper.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Daily Travel
- Every day think about how you can reduce the miles you drive.
- Combine your trips
- If you carpool just once a week you can make an impact.
- Check out your transit options; buses, light rail, biking, and walking may all be options.
- If you bike or walk 5 miles a day you can have a huge impact on Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
- Do you need to take this trip at all, the answer may be no.
- It may be you can get the same item at a lower price on the internet, a trip to the store may not be necessary.
- Telecommute, work from home when you can.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Air Travel
- Can you combine trips; can you do it in one trip?
- Can you use the bus or light rail to get to the airport?
- Fly nonstop if you can.
- Before you arrive at your destination do some research to find better ground travel options (shuttles, transit, trains, etc. can be great options) at your destination?
- Ask your hotel about their environmental commitment.
- While you’re away stop to turn your stuff off that does not need to run while you’re gone. Turn down your thermostat and your water heater;turn off your electronics.
- More tips…Take a look at these green travel tips.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Home
- Install a programmable thermostat. It costs about $50 or less and will save you that much or more in the first year. Keep you temperature low during the day when you are not at home.
- Weather stripping and caulking costs you almost nothing while it reduces energy use, reduces drafts, and improves your comfort.
- Change incandescent bulbs for more energy efficient options.
- Heating and cooling systems need to be properly maintained use less energy. When it’s time to replace, do your research and ask for ENERGY STAR.
- More efficient showerheads and toilets can reduce water and heating costs, even in your bathroom. To save even more water, turn the faucet off when brushing, or shaving; a few simple steps can save thousands of gallons of water annually.
- When buying appliances look for an ENERGY STAR label (check out energystar.gov).
- Choose the size of refrigerator you actually need; think twice about that extra refrigerator in the basement, or garage.
- Turn off appliances when they are not in use, unplug them to prevent “vampire” energy loss from electricity usage on standby.
- Windows are expensive, but when it’s time to replace them, make sure they are ENERGY STAR rated.
- Solar is now a great option and in many locations you can sell the extra power you produce.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Office
- Enable power management so your computer and monitor shut down.
- Consider using ePlusGreen’s PC energy-saving technology. The system monitors and minimizes computer and printer energy usage.Do you need a hard copy? Can you save your document to a file on your computer?
- Print both sides of a page when possible.
- Can you carpool or transit, or even bike to work? A lot of companies provide storage areas for your bike and showers and changing areas.
- Turn off lights that are not in use; use occupancy sensors to shut off lights in unused rooms.
- If you are going out to lunch choose an eatery within walking distance.
- Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Life
- Just 40% of your carbon footprint is due to direct energy use; the other 60% is indirect. This is the result of everything we buy and use. If you pay attention to your consumption and waste habits you’ll find lots of opportunities to conserve.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle; you’ve heard it before, but it’s still great advice. Manufacturing products produces an average 4 to 8 pounds of CO2 for every pound of manufactured product.
- Buy locally if possible; shipping burns fuel. A 5-pound package shipped by air across the country creates 12 pounds of CO2 (3 ½ pounds if it is shipped by truck).
- Eat less meat (this is huge). If you’re already a vegetarian, you save at least 3,000 pounds of CO2 per year compared to meat eaters. If you’re not a vegetarian, just increase the number of vegetarian meals you eat each week by one or two. Also, poultry is less greenhouse gas intensive than beef.
- Don’t waste food. Mom was right, about one-quarter of all the food prepared annually in the U.S. gets tossed, producing methane in landfills as well as carbon emissions from transporting wasted food.
- The energy used to produce, deliver and dispose of junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 2.8 million cars in the U.S. annually. You can dramatically reduce your junk mail through the service of a nonprofit 41pounds, which will contact dozens of direct mail companies to remove your name from lists, including catalogs you specify. The cost is $41 for everyone in your household for five years.