Effective Tips to Lower Your Energy Consumption and Carbon Footprint

Your carbon footprint refers to the total of greenhouse gases you produce daily, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Several factors come into play when calculating your carbon footprint, such as your transportation habits and your home’s energy consumption.

One of the best energy saving tips is avoiding single-use products like plastic straws, which reduces your footprint, as it does not fly for vacation, and investing in companies that do not finance the fossil fuel industry.

Change Your Thermostat

A large portion of a household’s carbon footprint comes from energy usage. Heating and cooling consumes 48 percent of the average home’s energy. Changing your thermostat makes it easy to drastically cut that percentage without sacrificing comfort.

Whether using a smart thermostat or a manual one, adjusting your indoor temperature by five degrees in the winter and 10 to 15 degrees in the summer significantly cuts energy consumption. The location of your thermostat is also important – it should not be near sunlight, other appliances, heater vents, windows, or hot water pipes.

It takes a lot of energy to raise animals for meat consumption. Eating a vegetarian diet can significantly lower your carbon footprint. Similarly, choosing locally grown fruits and vegetables over those that travel a long distance produces less CO2. Your footprint can be smaller if you cook meals at home instead of buying restaurant food.

Turn Off Appliances

Turning off appliances when not in use is important in saving energy. It reduces your electricity bill and helps the environment by lowering the need for non-renewable resources.

Many electronics and appliances still use electricity even when they are turned off. This phantom energy can add up to hundreds of dollars yearly in wasted electricity costs.

You can prevent phantom energy by unplugging devices when not in use and using a power strip to plug multiple items into one outlet. It also makes sense to replace your light bulbs with LEDs, which consume 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer.

Displaying “Please Turn Off Appliances” signs in your home and office can help remind everyone to turn off appliances and lights when not in use. It’s an easy way to reduce electricity bills and protect the environment!

Turn Off Lights

Lighting consumes a lot of energy in homes and businesses, and turning off lights whenever you leave a room is important. This helps reduce the energy used and extends the life of light bulbs.

In addition, keeping incandescent lights on longer than necessary increases the operating time of the bulb and can shorten its lifespan. Switching to LED house lights is a good idea to avoid this issue.

Unplugging electronics that aren’t in use is another simple way to save energy. You can even purchase advanced power strips to help you reduce “vampire loads.” ENERGY STAR is a great tool that will show you how much energy an appliance or electronics uses at any given time. It’s a great tool to have in your home and office!

Turn Down the Heat

The world is warming, and without immediate action, we’re on track to warm by 2 degrees Celsius or more by the end of the century. This warming will lead to climate change impacting our communities in western Sydney. These include extreme heat, increasing droughts and water scarcity, rising sea levels, loss of coastal communities and livelihoods, fluctuating weather patterns, and food security.

Turning down the thermostat just a few degrees can greatly affect your energy costs and carbon footprint. But it’s also important to encourage your family, friends, and co-workers to join you. To learn how:

  1. Unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t being used, especially during peak hours (3-10 p.m.).
  2. Use power strips to minimize “phantom” electricity consumption from devices like printers and phone chargers.
  3. Insulate Your Home

The insulation in your home prevents heat from escaping in winter and entering in summer, lowering energy costs and improving comfort. It also helps block outdoor allergens and pollutants, making for a healthier home.

Upgrading your existing home with spray foam insulation or insulating the walls, crawl space, and basement of new homes with insulated concrete forms or advanced wall framing techniques can significantly reduce your embodied carbon footprint. This is a simple and cost-effective measure that improves your EPC rating, which increases the value of your home.

Air leaks and poor insulation waste a lot of energy in your house. You can save 15% or more on energy bills by sealing and adding insulation. The savings pay for the upgrades many times over.

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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