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How to reduce your carbon footprint

From Green Wiki

There are a number of ways to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more earth-friendly lifestyle. Some of them are more feasible than others. The goal of this article is to provide an overview of all the aspects of sustainable living and provide more in-depth information on various sub-pages.



[edit] Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

Knowing the size of your carbon footprint will help you on a path to continuously reduce it. There are many carbon calculators available:

Earth Day Network The original footprint calculator, constantly updated by Footprint Network.



Act on CO2


LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions

Climate Care CO2 calculators

Brighter Planet


An Inconvenient truth

Make a plan to reduce your carbon use

You can act on your carbon footprint with any of the reduction methods below.

[edit] In Your Home

  1. Unplug your electronics: Most electronics still use some energy even when turned off. This 'standby mode' or 'phantom load' drains up to 10 percent of electricity used in most homes.
  2. Invest in an Energy Management System: PowerwoRx-e3
  3. Use surge protectors to make it easier to unplug lots of things at once when you leave a room.
  4. Turn off your lights when they aren’t being used, even when you leave a room for a short period of time.
  5. Replace any incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) or Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Fluorescent light bulbs are more expensive, but replacing just one incandescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide and, because it lasts eight to 15 times longer than an incandescent bulb, save approximately US$30 over the course of its lifetime. CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and as such must be handled as hazardous waste when discarding. Some cities have hazardous waste pick up programs and companies such as Home Depot accept inactive CFLs bulbs for safe disposal. LED lights are highly efficient and are able to reproduce the soft light of incandescents. They also contain no mercury and last six times longer than CFLs.
  6. Regulate your home temperature: Move your thermostat two degrees cooler in winter and two degrees warmer in the summer.
  7. Clean or replace air filters on your AC unit at least once a month.
  8. Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees and wrap it with an insulated blanket.
  9. Set refrigerator temperature at 36-38 degrees and your freezer to 0-5 degrees. Pack your refrigerator tightly to reduce the amount of cooled air. Ensure that the refrigerator is leveled properly to ensure that it operates efficiently. If you are buying a new refrigerator, ensure that it is Energy Star approved.
  10. Use the microwave more Microwaves use a lot less energy than conventional ovens and stoves.
  11. Wash clothes with cold water, hang dry your laundry rather than putting it in the dryer when it's warm outside. Clean the lint filter in the dryer every time.
  12. Dry clothes on a clothes line instead of in a dryer. Whether electric or gas, less use of any energy to heat air to dry your laundry is less energy consumed.
  13. Use dishwashers instead of washing dishes by hand You actually use more hot water when you wash dishes by hand. Do not use the heated dry mode on your dishwasher.
  14. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. You will save 25 gallons of water a month.
  15. Reduce water in your toilet tank. Putting a liter bottle filled with water in your toilet tank can save 300 gallons per month.
  16. Use a low-flow showerhead and faucet aerators to conserve water.
  17. Reverse indoor ceiling fans for summer and winter operations.
  18. Buy used furniture because there is a surplus of it. It is often cheaper than new, with the exception of some antique furniture.
  19. Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
  20. Turn off your computer when you're not using it. Or adjust your computer's power management to reduce the amount of power it uses while idle.
  21. Purchase a carbon offset family plan and become carbon neutral. These plans are great, flexible and available at LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions

[edit] Home Improvement

  1. Plant Trees to shade your home and air conditioning units.
  2. Use low-VOC latex Paint-rather than oil-based to paint your home. Paint with brushes or rollers instead of spray paints.
  3. Seal and Insulate your home. Sealing air leaks and adding more insulation to your home is a great do-it-yourself project. The biggest leaks are usually found in the attic and basement.
  4. Replace old windows with energy efficient windows
  5. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances: ENERGY STAR has qualified products in more than 50 product categories, including lighting, home electronics, heating and cooling equipment and appliances.
  6. Invest in an Energy Management System: PowerwoRx-e3
  7. Invest in energy savings for your own home. Building from adobe in arid climates can dramatically save on energy costs and result in homes that last hundreds of years. Adobe construction also greatly reduces the amount of wood used in home construction. The man behind the Rocky Mountain Institute ( actually sells electricity created at his home back to the electric company, paying for the modifications he made to his home in just a few years.
  8. Connect your outdoor lights to a timer
  9. Buy reusable goods. The effort to make and transport even small items can add up very quickly.
  10. Install a drain water heat recovery pipe in your home to reclaim energy from waste water.
  11. Install insulated blinds on windows to decrease energy escape.
  12. Install a energy efficient carbon neutral water heater. Available thru LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions

[edit] In Your Garden

  1. Use perennial vegetables instead of annuals (there are more than you think!)
  2. Plant edibles including trees, vines, bushes, mushrooms, and ground-covers, to reduce your carbon footprint and have a "farmer's market at home".
  3. Avoid using leaf blowers and other dust-producing equipment.
  4. Leave grass clippings on the yard they decompose and return nutrients to the soil
  5. Use recycled wood chips to keep the weeds down, retain moisture, and prevent erosion
  6. Plant marigolds to ward off pests rather than a pesticide
  7. Water grass early in the morning. See more on Water Conservation in Gardens
  8. Borrow seldomly used items such as ladders, chain saws, and party decorations.
  9. Put leaves in a compost heap instead of burning them or throwing them away
  10. Install water barrels to collect rain water from eaves troughs. Place a small bucket in your sink to collect water when washing produce. Use this water in the garden.

[edit] Reduce Reuse Recycle

[edit] Reduce what you consume

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[edit] In your office

  1. Reduce the need to copy and print. When you need to, copy and print on both sides of the paper
  2. Reuse items like envelopes, folders, and paper clips
  3. Set up a bulletin board for memos rather than sending copies to each employee
  4. Use recycled paper and recycle printer cartridges
  5. Use Soy based ink which is less toxic
  6. Use a ceramic coffee mug instead of disposable cups
  7. Turn off power bars and lights at the end of the day
  8. Consider flexible work schedules or telecommuting
  9. Keep a hand towel at your desk and carry it to the restroom instead of using paper towels

[edit] Getting places

See also Green_Driving

  1. Consider using your bike or feet for most transportation needs.
  2. Consider purchasing a Hybrid vehicle.
  3. Consider being a member of a car share organization. As a member you pay for a service as needed rather than a very expensive product that depreciates in value every year.
  4. Purchase radial tires and keep them properly inflated
  5. Drive during non-peak hours If you avoid heavy traffic you will not spend a significant amount of gas during stops.
  6. "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line" Keep that in mind while driving. Plan out your trips accordingly. Indeed some trips may be "slower" due to lane speeds, but less time on the road is less gas. More money in your pocket and less damage to the environment.
  7. Know when to turn the car off[1] The best way to warm up a modern car is to drive it. Idling hurts engines, wastes gas, and contributes to global warming and pollution.
  8. Whether you are driving or flying, you can always reduce your carbon emissions and offset them with carbon offsets. Detailed flight carbon offsets and automobile carbon offsets are available at LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions. You not only make your flight or drive carbon neutral, you are able to get material to proudly show your new carbon neutral status, such as window stickers, bumper stickers and even luggage tags.

[edit] Diet

See more at Eating Green

  1. Decrease your meat consumption. More land has to be put into agricultural production to produce meat than to produce plant products. Because the methane they belch is 23 times more effective at retaining heat than CO2, domestic animals contribute more to global warming than all human transportation combined. [2]
  2. Buy local. Buy goods that were produced locally rather than transported across long distances.
  3. Buy food from the bulk bins at your local health food store. Most food in those stores is more expensive but the bulk bins and bulk spices are often cheaper than grocery store equivalents and use less packaging. Bring your own reusable jars or other containers.
  4. Be particular about the fish you eat. Many fish are over harvested or their capture has negative impacts on ocean ecosystems. In addition, some species of seafood pose health risks due to heavy metals and toxins that have built up in their systems. Choose seafood that is both sustainable and healthy.
  5. Vegetarian cookbooks are a great place to begin exploring meat-free options such as textured vegetable protein. Some good choices for those new to meat-free eating include: Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day by the Moosewood Collective, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman, and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen.

[edit] At the Cash Register

See also Green products

  1. Use green affinity credit and debit cards. Earn carbon offsets as rewards instead of airline miles or other rewards, such as Brighter Planetor at LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions
  2. Avoid products with multiple layers of packaging
  3. Buy certified wood to support sustainable managed forests.
  4. Buy a carbon offset. Find entities that allow you to "mitigate" your CO2 usage through the Chicago Climate Exchange or search for carbon offset providers, such as Terrapass Brighter Planet Climate Care,Native Energy or LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions - Canada's Carbon Offset & Environmental Solutions Company.
  5. Buy rechargeable batteries
  6. Use only reusable shopping bags. The oil it takes to produce 14 plastic bags will power your car for a mile. They are also more comfortable and sturdy than plastic bags.

[edit] Personal & Beauty products

  1. Use products with natural or no fragrances. The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a great resource to learn more about the harmful chemicals in personal care products and to find out which brands contain -- and do not contain -- them.
  2. (Women) Use a menstrual cup or cloth pads. This will really decrease the amount of waste you put into landfills each month. Mooncup, DivaCup, and the Keeper are popular brands of menstrual cups. Glad Rags, Lunapads, and Sckoon make washable, reusable pads. These products are widely available for purchase online and in stores that sell natural products.
  3. (Women) Greatly decrease your toilet tissue use at home: keep a squirt bottle of water and a small towel by the toilet. Rinse and dry after urination (think bidet).

[edit] In Your Community

  1. See "An Inconvenient Truth" and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
  2. Support and advocate alternative energy sources such as Wind energy or Solar energy that don't emit CO2 gases.

[edit] Sources and Citations

[edit] References and External Links