Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
There are many practical things consumers can do to use energy more efficiently, and thereby reduce greenhouse gas and other air emissions.
First Step – Measure Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Household Emissions Calculator to measure your household carbon footprint by entering your personalized information.
Second Step – Take Actions to Minimize Greenhouse Gas Emissions
There are many practical measures consumers can take to reduce greenhouse gas and other air emissions. These actions, in many cases, will help you save money. Energy conservation and energy efficiency result in lower heating and cooling bills and will help avoid emissions. Fuel-efficient vehicles can save hundreds of dollars at the gas pump every year and produce fewer emissions per mile driven.
Here are some ideas on actions you can take:
Use Energy Efficient Appliances – Remember to look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing new appliances.
- Upgrade to high-efficiency air conditioning – New, high-efficiency 13 SEER air conditioners will use only half the energy compared to a 15-year-old air conditioner.
- Replace old refrigerators – An old refrigerator may use twice as much energy as a new energy-efficient refrigerator. Refrain from putting the old one in the hot garage where it is only partially filled and only seldom used.
Use Tax Incentives – Take advantage of the new federal tax credits when making energy efficiency improvements to your home.
Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) – A CFL can cut your lighting costs by 75 percent compared to a standard incandescent light bulb. CFL bulbs also help lower your air conditioning costs since they do not generate as much heat as a 100-watt light bulb.
Install a Programmable Thermostat – A programmable thermostat enables you to raise or lower the temperature settings such that the heating and cooling equipment are not running needlessly at different times during the day and night. This will save you energy and money.
Travel Wisely – Carefully plan your trips. When buying a new vehicle consider a car that gets more miles to the gallon than your current one. Ride the bus or carpool. (Vehicles are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States).
Care for your Car – Keep tires properly inflated and wheels aligned to improve your gas mileage. Get regular tune-ups to maximize fuel economy.
Buy Carbon Offsets – A carbon offset is a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from a third party, aimed at canceling out (offsetting) the emissions arising from a particular activity.
Practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle – By practicing the 3 R’s, you conserve energy and natural resources, reduce emissions, and help save valuable landfill space. Landfills produce methane gas which is a greenhouse gas.
- Recycle paper, cardboard, newsprint and magazines.
- Recycle aluminum cans.
- Recycle all batteries.
- Reduce printing and photocopying by saving documents on your hard drive or creating personal file folders.
- Set printer default to print double-sided (duplex).
- Purchase the highest post-consumer content paper that will work with your printing equipment.
- Bring in your own coffee mug to avoid use of throw away cups.
- Switch from a full-page fax cover sheet to a half-page cover sheet.