10 Simple Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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Reducing your carbon footprint depends largely on using less carbon-producing energy. Even little actions can add up to create a worthwhile environmental benefit.

Here are 10 easy ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home. There is literally no reason that almost anyone cannot take these simple, energy-saving steps.

1) Set your refrigerator temperature at 36° to 38° and your freezer at 0° to 5°. They will use less energy when you reduce the differential between the temperature of the room and the temperature set point inside the refrigerator and freezer.

2) Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load so that it uses less energy.

3) Use a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven or cook top when possible to conserve energy when cooking. Savings are particularly striking when reheating food or liquids. 

4) Replace all incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs to save energy and save money on light bulbs and electricity.

5) Plug computers, printers, televisions, and other electronics into switchable power strips so that they can be completely switched off when not in use. Otherwise, these electronic items will draw power continually to remain warmed up. This is the so-called “vampire energy drain” that will cost you significant money every year and increase the size of your carbon footprint.

6) Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket to reduce heat loss.

7) Turn off the lights when leaving a room for more than about 2 to 3 minutes. A lot of energy is wasted every year by light burning needlessly, contributing to your carbon footprint. Turning them off diligently will keep your carbon footprint smaller. For additional ways to reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the energy consumed for lighting, see number (4) above.

8) Set your thermostat a little higher in the summer and a little lower in the winter to save energy.  Typical recommendations are for a thermostat setting of 68° in the winter and 78° in the summer, but you can adjust these limits according to your comfort.

9) Be sure to have your thermostat setting much higher in summer when you are away from home to avoid cooling your home when no one is there. Similarly, in the winter, set the thermostat much lower while away from home.

10) Recycle paper, plastic, and glass diligently.’

These 10 steps are easy to implement and will save you energy and money as you reduce your carbon footprint.

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August 2011
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