Reducing your carbon footprint is great for the environment, but it can also benefit you and your home in terms of efficiency. Below, we have listed nine tips to help reduce the carbon footprint your home creates, saving you energy and money in the long run.
Turn off the lights.
The average person spends approximately 11% of their energy bill on lighting, so it can be worth it to shut the lights off when you are not in the room. For an additional way to be more energy efficient with your lighting, install LED bulbs. LED bulbs use up to 85% less energy than an incandescent bulb, without sacrificing how much light is output.
Wash full loads of laundry in cold water.
Making sure that the load is full will reduce the amount of times you use the washer and dryer, and cold water will greatly save energy in comparison to washing your clothes in hot water. Washing clothes in cold water will also help prevent colors from bleeding too much and help prevent shrinkage. Also consider air drying your clothes whenever possible rather than overusing your dryer.
Shut off the water.
You’ve probably been told that to save water, you should shut the faucet off while brushing your teeth, but did you know this method can save up to 8 gallons of water per day per person? You can also save water and energy by taking shorter showers or opting to install a low flow shower head.
Even when your phone, for example, is fully charged, it is still eating away energy while it is plugged in. Termed “vampire” energy loss, this can be easily prevented by making sure to unplug electronics and appliances when they are fully charged and not in use.
Recycling is one of the main tenets of the carbon-reduction movement. In addition to recycling whenever possible, consider buying products that are made from recycled materials and avoiding products with too much plastic packaging.
Another great way to shrink your carbon footprint and reduce household trash is to begin composting food waste. Compost also comes in handy for gardening, acting as a natural fertilizer for your plants.
Get a programmable thermostat.
Costing only around $50, a programmable thermostat will help you save on your energy bills. Make sure to program it to turn heating or cooling systems off during the day when you are not there, and you will be well on your way to reducing your carbon footprint.
Upgrade to ENERGY STAR appliances.
While you may not be able to run out and replace all of your appliances, keep this tip in mind whenever you’re ready to replace an old appliance. There are a number of ENERGY STAR certified products including furnaces, AC units, dishwashers, and refrigerators, all of which are certified to be energy efficient.
Get an energy audit.
An energy auditor will be able to identify problems in your home that are causing the loss of energy, thus costing you money on your heating and cooling bills. With an energy audit, you will learn how to best remedy those problems and weatherize your house, making it more efficient.
If you are interested in receiving a low-cost energy audit, visit www.heatsquad.org or call (802) 438-2303 to schedule your appointment.
Author, Bailey Aines, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont part-time employee