3 Easy Ways To Decrease Your Carbon Dioxide Emissions
By Nathan Brown
Using the carbon calculator provided by stopglobalwarming.org, I have learned that there are three changes you can make to quickly and easily reduce your carbon footprint and save money. Best of all, two of these changes only need to be made once and none of them require you to spend a dime! As a matter of fact, you could save $168 and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 2,700 pounds each year.
1. Change your thermostat by two degrees:
- Annual carbon savings: 2,000 pounds CO2
- Annual dollar savings: $98
Because space heating and cooling takes such a tremendous amount of energy, just this slight change can have a great impact. During the hot months, turn the thermostat up two degrees and in the cold months, turn it down two degrees.
Also, many thermostats are programmable, allowing you to maintain the desired temperature only when a building's occupants are in the building and awake. Learn more about programmable thermostats.
Consult your thermostat's owner's manual to learn how to program it. If you are unable to find the manual, it is very likely that you can download it from the manufacturer's website. If these changes prove to bring lots of savings for you, it might be worth considering reducing your reliance on carbon-intensive heating and cooling even further. In the summer, opening windows to allow for cross-ventilation combined with the use of fans could easily achieve some of the cooling of air conditioning, just as wearing layered clothing in the winter could take the place of a furnace or space heater in more mild cold spells.
2. Set your hot water temperature to 120°F or below:
- Annual carbon savings: 500 pounds CO2
- Annual dollar savings: $30
When shipped, water heaters are typically set to 140°F. However, most households' needs can still be met after decreasing this setting to 120°F or lower.
This easy fix has the potential to significantly decrease the amount of carbon dioxide emissions your home, apartment or condominium creates while heating water. For reference, imagine using the water from a hot tub or jacuzzi (usually between 100°F and 110°F) to shower or wash dishes or clothes. If you foresee that temperature as being sufficient, it is likely that you won't even notice a difference in the temperature of the water at the faucet after making this change. Perhaps you'll be so impressed that you will try lowering the temperature even more!
3. Only run your dishwasher when it is full:
- Annual carbon savings: 200 pounds CO2
- Annual dollar savings: $40
The energy used to heat water, spray it on the dishes and finally dry them can add up very quickly. Try loading the machine completely before running it. Also, it is important to remember to use the machine's energy-saving setting for drying dishes and to not use heat to dry them. If you are unsure about how to do this, consult the appliance's owner's manual or look for it online. As a last resort, you can always turn the machine off when it gets to the drying cycle and let the dishes air dry.
Loading the dishwasher fully will also decrease your time spent unloading, especially if you're able to bypass putting dishes away by removing them from the dishwasher as you prepare for the next meal.
- Total annual carbon savings: 2,700 pounds
- Total annual dollar savings: $168
This quantity of carbon dioxide emissions is roughly equivalent to what would be saved by driving a compact car 4,000 fewer miles each year. If you find these tips helpful and enjoying knowing that you are easily saving money and the environment, tell your friends and family! Making small changes like these can only have a big impact if there are lots of people making the changes. I strongly encourage you to make the small steps to being the change you wish to see and helping others to do the same.
About the Author
Nathan Brown is an activist creating a revolutionary movement by showing people how to prevent global warming. You can sign up to join and help spread the movement: www.acoolerclimate.com