Hardly a day goes by without news outlets throughout the world reporting the effects of climate change. Now, even regions previously thought to be decades away from any impactful fallout have been rocked by events like floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.
The science surrounding climate change is complex and often overwhelming for a layperson to analyze. What we do know is that the only way to prevent catastrophic eventualities is for humanity around the world, from billionaires to hard-working blue-collar folks to pull together and keep Earth’s temperature increase under 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Today, we’d like to share seven ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Overall, an individual’s carbon footprint is nearly impossible to accurately measure. Still, there are steps you can take to ensure that your home is as eco-friendly as possible. Along with changes to the way we eat, our modes of transportation, and our patterns of consumption, reducing the energy required to power and maintain our homes is one of the key components of reducing one’s carbon footprint.
Reduce Your Water Consumption
Drought is a challenging issue throughout nearly every zone in the country. In just the last decade, we’ve experienced nine droughts. Each individual drought created a minimum of $1 billion in damages. Additionally, through a series of domino effects, droughts send carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further warming the planet.
The result? Even more drought.
We recommend reducing your home’s water consumption as much as possible. Not only will it help reduce your home’s expenses but doing so will also reduce your energy consumption. Treating, transporting, and heating water for your home all require resources and energy, and using excessive water does (even in small measure) reduce water reserves in Middle Tennessee.
Install high-pressure water-saving shower heads and take shorter showers. Reduce your shower temperature, even by just a few degrees.
Turn off the tap anytime you aren’t actively using water. Activities like doing dishes and brushing your teeth are prime opportunities to employ this strategy.
Fill your dishwasher and run it rather than doing dishes by hand. While it may feel counter-intuitive, any modern dishwasher will consume far less water than would just rinsing your dishes by hand.
Repair leaks as quickly as possible. In addition to wasting water, leaks have the potential to cause significant damage rapidly.
Switch to drought-resistant landscaping or rock-based landscaping. If you do want to keep your lawn, water it in the morning, and water it only as much as necessary.
Improve Your Home’s Insulation
Regulating your home’s temperature can be a real energy hog. To keep your costs and energy consumption as low as possible, hire a contractor to improve your home’s insulation. By maximizing the insulation in your attic, walls, around your pipes, and improving the weather seals around your doors, walls, and windows, you can save an average of 15% on your energy costs.
Consider Installing Solar Panels
Switching to green energy sources can go a long way toward reducing your home’s carbon footprint. Recently, we discussed the pros and cons of solar-powered homes. We hope this article will help you begin to decide whether solar power is best for you.
Whenever possible, switch to paperless billing and communication. This simple step will help keep your home’s paper clutter to a minimum, make it easier to stay organized, and ensure you’re doing your part for the trees!
Buy ENERGY STAR-Certified Appliances
When it’s time to replace your HVAC, washer and dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, or water heater, opt for ENERGY STAR-certified models. Homeowners once worried that these types of appliances would fail to perform as well as their energy-gobbling counterparts, but technological developments have ensured this is a non-issue.
On average, a homeowner saves $450 per year on their energy bills, and utility companies often offer rebates on ENERGY STAR-certified appliances. Additionally, homes fully equipped with these green appliances tend to garner higher bids when it’s time to sell. Clearly, the benefits to the planet aren’t the only motivation for you to go green.
Install LED Lighting
When we used incandescent bulbs, we could expect that they would last about 1k hours. LED lights last more than 50k hours—with some lasting up to 100k hours! In practical terms, installing LED lights can mean you can go six to twelve years without changing your light bulbs.
LED light bulbs are incredibly energy efficient as well. Compared to traditional bulbs, you will see a 60 – 90% improvement in your energy consumption. LED bulbs don’t produce heat, either, making them safer, and ensuring your house stays cooler in the summer.
Do you have furniture or art that you want to protect from UV rays? LEDs don’t produce these bleaching rays, unlike fluorescent bulbs. Protect your fine art, textiles, your skin, and your eyes by making the switch to LEDs.
Readers, we want to hear from you! How have you begun to reduce your home’s carbon footprint? Are you composting, growing produce, or using rain barrels? Perhaps you’ve upgraded your windows and installed UV-reducing screens? Please leave us a comment and tell us which changes have been the most impactful for your household so that others can learn from your experiences.