22 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Posted on January 4th, 2011 by
   

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Car

  • Maintenance – Replace your air, oil and fuel filters according to schedule.
  • Tires - Keep your tires properly inflated (this can save 400-700 pounds of CO2 per year).
  • Drive better - Studies have shown up to 30 percent of the difference in miles per gallon is due to driving habits alone.  You could save more than a ton of CO2 per year by:
    • Accelerating slowly and smoothly
    • Driving the speed limit
    • Maintaining a steady speed
    • Anticipating your stops and starts
  • Make your next vehicle a fuel-efficient one – Check out EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide for info on miles per gallon.

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Travel

  • Carpool – Just once a week saves 20 percent.
  • Check out public transit options – It may not work for you every time, but use it when it does.
  • What about your bike? – Get in shape, too!
  • Only a mile? – Walk.
  • Optimize – Save this trip for later and combine with another.
  • Telecommute Work from home occasionally if you have a long commute.

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Home

  • Programmable thermostat – Costs about $50 or less and will save you that much or more in the first year.

    A programmable thermostat can help reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Weatherstripping and caulking – Costs almost nothing while decreasing energy use, reducing drafts and improving comfort.
  • Lighting – Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) have that cool curly shape and save more than two-thirds of the energy of a regular incandescent.  Each bulb can save $40 or more over its lifetime. You can also consider light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, which can last even longer.
  • Water-conserving showerheads & toilets – Can reduce water and heating costs. Save even more water by turning the faucet off when brushing or shaving. These simple changes can save many thousands of gallons of water annually.
  • Appliances – Always pay attention to the total lifetime cost, including energy—not just the price tag.  Look for the ENERGY STAR label.
  • Electronics – Likewise, look for ENERGY STAR. If you’re going away or not using an item for a while, unplug it to prevent “vampire” energy loss from electricity usage on standby.
  • Windows – These can be expensive, but when it’s time to replace them, make sure they are ENERGY STAR rated.

Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Life

  • Donate old electronics to charity. Donate your old cell phone, PDA, digital camera, or iPod to Recycling for Charities and benefit the charity of your choice.
  • Stop your junk mail with the help of 41pounds, a nonprofit service that contacts dozens of direct mailers to remove your name from their lists.
  • 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 shipped by truck).
  • Eat less meat. 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., for example, gets tossed, producing methane in landfills as well as carbon emissions from transporting wasted food.

This article also appears on Carbonfund.org’s Save Energy page

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