The term ‘carbon footprint’ has popped up quite often in recent times. It is essentially the number of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, generated by a particular human activity.
The carbon footprint concept also includes the emissions of other greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide, or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Our carbon footprint is a major driver of climate change, and to avoid a 2 degree Celsius rise in the earth’s temperature, the average global carbon footprint per person needs to drop under two tons by 2050.
Currently, the global average carbon footprint for a person is around four tons. However, the average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons.
Bringing your individual carbon footprints from 16 tons to 2 tons is a monumental task. However, you can take some steps to bring down your individual carbon footprint and make a difference.
1. Use A Renewable Energy Option
One of the best things you can do to become more energy efficient is to switch to a sustainable and renewable energy option.
As American citizens continue to become more aware of the hazards of non-renewable energy, the shift to more sustainable, clean, and renewable sources of energy is imminent.
In the past few years, several companies in the retail energy industry have begun offering greener and cleaner energy options to their customers.
Eligo Energy, an alternative energy retailer based in Chicago, is one such pioneer in the green energy field that provides competitive products and innovative solutions that help you become more energy efficient.
2. Add Insulation To Your Attic
As much as 85% of the heat lost in a house passes through the attic, and improving the insulation of your attic is one of the best ways to make your home more energy-efficient.
The benefits of adding insulation are backed up by the United States Department of Energy. As per statistics, boosting your attic insulation can lower heating costs by 10 to 50%.
While insulating the attic, special attention needs to be given to the attic entryway, a commonly ignored but important part of the attic. Don’t forget to use air sealing to enhance the benefits of new insulation.
If you experience harsh summers where you live, it is a good idea to install attic fans for the summertime.
3. Install Solar Panels
Solar panels absorb the sun’s rays and convert them into electricity or heat. Basically, you can capture and use sunlight, an endless source of energy, to meet some of your electricity requirements.
Installing solar panels isn’t cheap, and in some cases, they take up a good amount of space. But they help you save money on electricity bills in the long run.
You need to install these panels at a place where you can access sunlight, such as the roof. The more efficient the solar panel, the greater the energy output per amount of light energy hitting the cell.
Your geographic location, the architectural design of your roof, and the temperature in your region are among the factors that will determine which solar energy system would be right for your home.
4. Perform An Energy Audit
Energy audits are conducted to track the energy usage and efficiency in your home. You can hire a professional energy auditor to evaluate your home and gauge the inefficiencies and wasted energy.
First of all, the auditor will help you identify areas that need improvements and inform you about the saving opportunities. You will also learn about the energy-efficient ways of heating and cooling the house.
Secondly, the auditor will advise you on reducing energy consumption while maintaining the safety and health of the occupants of the house. Thus, you can make sure you’re living in a safe and energy-saving space.
Recent innovations in smartphone technologies have made it possible for homeowners to perform energy audits of their own homes.
5. Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances
Using energy-efficient appliances in your home is not only good for the planet but also great for your pocket! On average, appliances account for roughly 13% of total household energy use.
According to a study, using energy-efficient appliances in your home can help you save up to $400 per year on utility bills while also reducing your carbon footprint.
One of the core players in the sustainable energy sector, Inspire Energy believes in creating a “seamless renewable energy experience” for the community.
As a result, the company provides “smart home devices” as part of its clean energy subscription plan to make your shift to renewable energy effortless.
6. Tune-Up Your HVAC System
HVAC systems are used in both domestic and commercial environments to control the temperatures. While an annual tune-up of the system is recommended, people often forget to get it done.
However, regular HVAC system maintenance is important to ensure that your furnace and air conditioner are running at peak efficiency.
Annual maintenance not only checks that all the system components are in good working condition, but it also primes the system for optimal performance, thereby making it more energy-efficient.
Proper maintenance of your HVAC system can reduce your heating and cooling expenses by up to 20%.
A Few Other Easy Tips to Conserve Energy
- Reduce your hot water use
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs
- Unplug unused chargers as the average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy when not in use
- Install a storm door–they can help reduce energy loss by up to 50%
- If you still have a desktop computer, consider replacing it with a laptop as laptops are more energy-efficient
- Don’t leave your electronics on all day long
- Crank your thermostat down when you are not at home
- Seal air leaks around your home
- Defrost your refrigerator and freezer regularly
Although some production of greenhouse gases occurs naturally, human activities have led to a substantial increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
While the USA has one of the highest rates of CO2 emissions per capita, rising pollution rates are a global problem that is doing irreversible damage to our ecosystem.
If you want to bring your carbon footprint down and do your bit to save the planet, the above tips ensure that you can do so without a hitch.
Transitioning to a more eco-friendly and energy-conscious lifestyle takes time and effort, so do not expect immediate results. The change might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s undoubtedly worth it.