With the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning the world that we have a very limited time to reverse global warming, it is no longer adequate to blame the large corporations that emit the majority of greenhouse gases. It is no longer sufficient to blame transportation or the meat industry.
While these entities account for the vast majority of carbon emissions and environmental degradation, everyone must make a concerted effort to reduce their carbon footprint and do everything possible to mitigate our impact on the environment. Your eating habits and transportation methods contribute greatly to your footprint, but what about your home? Any household needs certain things, some of which have a large effect on energy use and therefore the burning of fossil fuels. Don’t despair, there are many ways to make your home greener.
Cooling and heating
Your thermostat consumes a large portion of your home’s energy use. While green energy is spreading and becoming more viable, the vast majority of energy is produced by fossil fuels. Heating and cooling are the main culprits of emissions in your home. There are a variety of ways you can curb the effect this has on the environment. One option is to use the thermostat less or not at all. Another is to buy a smart thermostat, which allows you to control the temperature of your home from your phone and use the air and heat only when you are home.
How long you use cooling and heating will also affect how much energy you use and, therefore, your carbon footprint. Finally, the insulation in your home will have an effect on how much you use your thermostat. Seal your doors and windows and remove attic insulation so you can put in new insulation. With new insulation and sealed windows and doors, you will use much less energy to heat and cool your home.
Like smart thermostats, there are many other smart appliances that can help you save water, energy and money. For example, smart washing machines can recycle water and use less energy than an average dishwasher or clothes washer. Smart dryers also reduce energy consumption. Smart refrigerators save energy in a number of ways and help you save food, which is another area where you need to reduce your spending, waste and environmentally questionable food purchases.
The food you buy
Meat and dairy production accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t have to stop eating meat completely, but reducing meat and dairy will greatly improve your carbon footprint. In addition to meat and dairy, you should be careful to buy foods that are produced from corn and soybeans. These two crops are the main culprits of unsustainable food production. Almonds consume a lot of water and are also not good for the environment. You don’t have to obsess about finding all the foods that are bad for the planet, but paying attention will improve your carbon footprint and lessen your impact on the environment.
Lighting is another part of making your home environmentally friendly. You should turn off lights as much as you can, but more importantly, you should switch out incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs. LED lights not only last much longer than traditional bulbs, but they also consume less energy. Your bills will go down and your energy consumption will go down. LEDs are more expensive, but they last so long that they end up being cheaper than incandescent bulbs.
There are more ways to improve the environmental friendliness of your home, but this is a good place to start. Of course, your transportation habits are a big part of your carbon footprint, but your home itself can be improved to lower your energy use and reduce your bills. If you’re willing to invest a little money in your appliances, food and lighting, you can mitigate your impact on the planet and save money in the end. While you won’t solve the entire climate change problem with your choices, every effort counts and is important to creating a cleaner, less polluted world.