Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere as a result of your activities. This is thought by many to contribute to climate change. You may reduce your carbon footprint at home for little to no cost through changes in your habits, conservation, and using energy more efficiently.

The following are ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint at home.

Properly insulate your home

  • Make sure all windows close properly.
  • Seal any drafty areas.
  • Have a professional insulate your home if there are problems that you cannot fix on your own.

Maintain your heating and cooling systems.

  • Keep them maintained according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Proper maintenance will reduce the amount of energy that is used.

Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.

  • As incandescent light bulbs (the bulbs that have been common for many years) stop working, replace them with LED bulbs. Although they seem expensive,  LED bulbs can pay themselves back in a few months because of reduced energy consumption.

Set your water heater to “Vacation” mode when you are away for extended periods.

  • This mode will keep the water warm, but use less energy than it requires when you are home.

Plug your appliances and electronics into a power strip or unplug them when they are not in use.

  • Many devices continue to consume energy when they are not in use if they are left plugged into a standard electrical socket.
  • A power strip can be turned off. Doing so will cut power to the unused devices.
  • If you do not have a power strip, unplug everything that is not in use.

Use cold water whenever possible.

  • For tasks such as laundry and washing dishes, use cold water unless the items being washed must be washed with warm water. This will eliminate wasting energy on heating the water.

Recycle all possible materials.

  • When you no longer need something such as a plastic bottle or newspaper, offer it for recycling. Recycling uses less energy and saves more resources than the energy that is required to drill for oil (which is used to make plastic) or cut down trees (which will instead capture carbon if they are not cut down).

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Shut everything off that is not in use.

  • When nobody is in a room, turn all of the lights off.
  • Have the last person out of a room turn the television off after watching it.
  • Turn your computer off when it is not in use. Although standby and hibernation use less energy than while you use it, turning it off will use no energy at all.

Eat local food.

  • Food often travels long distances between the time it is made and the time it reaches your kitchen. This requires extensive fuel use, which is usually in the form of either gasoline or diesel, which are fuels that emit considerable amounts of carbon dioxide.
  • Eating local foods means that the food you eat at home did not have to travel great distances. Thus, you are indirectly responsible for less carbon dioxide emissions than if you ate food from other areas.