There is a great list of practical things that each of us can do to actually slow down or reverse the damage being done to our little planet over at GlobalWarming-Facts.info.
I’ve shortend the list a bit here, but you can always use the link above to get the original.
- Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl) –
CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year per lightbulb!
- Install a programmable thermostat –
Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. They can save you $100 a year on your energy bill.
- Move your thermostat down 2Ã‚Â° in winter and up 2Ã‚Â° in summer –
Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has more tips for saving energy on heating and cooling.
- Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner –
Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
- Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases –
Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most efficient models available.
- Do not leave appliances on standby –
Use the “on/off” function on the machine itself. A TV set that’s switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
- Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket –
YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action. You can save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 50Ã‚Â°C.
- Move your fridge and freezer –
Placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own. For example, if you put them in a hot cellar room where the room temperature is 30-35Ã‚ÂºC, energy use is almost double and causes an extra 160kg of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 320kg for freezers.
- Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly –
Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors.
- Don’t let heat escape from your house over a long period –
When airing your house, open the windows for only a few minutes. If you leave a small opening all day long, the energy needed to keep it warm inside during six cold months (10Ã‚ÂºC or less outside temperature) would result in almost 1 ton of CO2 emissions.
- Replace your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing –
This requires a bit of upfront investment, but will halve the energy lost through windows and pay off in the long term. If you go for the best the market has to offer (wooden-framed double-glazed units with low-emission glass and filled with argon gas), you can even save more than 70% of the energy lost.
- Get a home energy audit –
Many utilities offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. You can save up to 30% off your energy bill and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Energy Star can help you find an energy specialist.
- Cover your pots while cooking –
Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!
- Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full –
If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load or economy setting. There is also no need to set the temperatures high. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.
- Take a shower instead of a bath –
A shower takes up to four times less energy than a bath. To maximise the energy saving, avoid power showers and use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort.
- Use less hot water –
It takes a lot of energy to heat water. You can use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year) instead of hot.
- Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible –
You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.
- Insulate and weatherize your home –
Properly insulating your walls and ceilings can save 25% of your home heating bill and 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Caulking and weather-stripping can save another 1,700 pounds per year. Energy Efficient has more information on how to better insulate your home.
- Be sure youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re recycling at home –
You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates. Earth 911 can help you find recycling resources in your area.
- Recycle your organic waste –
Around 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions through the methane is released by decomposing bio-degradable waste. By recycling organic waste or composting it if you have a garden, you can help eliminate this problem! Just make sure that you compost it properly, so it decomposes with sufficient oxygen, otherwise your compost will cause methane emissions and smell foul.
- Buy intelligently –
One bottle of 1.5l requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0.5l. As well, buy recycled paper products: it takes less 70 to 90% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide.
- Choose products that come with little packaging and buy refills when you can –
You will also cut down on waste production and energy use!
- Reuse your shopping bag –
When shopping, it saves energy and waste to use a reusable bag instead of accepting a disposable one in each shop. Waste not only discharges CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, it can also pollute the air, groundwater and soil.
- Reduce waste –
Most products we buy cause greenhouse gas emissions in one or another way, e.g. during production and distribution. By taking your lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of a disposable one, you save the energy needed to produce new lunch boxes.
- Plant a tree –
A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%. The Arbor Day Foundation has information on planting and provides trees you can plant with membership.
- Switch to green power –
In many areas, you can switch to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar. The Green Power Network is a good place to start to figure out whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s available in your area.
- Buy locally grown and produced foods –
The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to your plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community.
- Buy fresh foods instead of frozen –
Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.
- Seek out and support local farmers markets –
They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth. You can find a farmerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s market in your area at the USDA website.
- Buy organic foods as much as possible –
Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!
- Eat less meat –
Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath.
- Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible –
Avoiding just 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year! Look for transit options in your area.
- Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates –
Sharing a ride with someone just 2 days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds a year. eRideShare.com runs a free national service connecting commuters and travelers.
- Don’t leave an empty roof rack on your car –
This can increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10% due to wind resistance and the extra weight – removing it is a better idea.
- Keep your car tuned up –
Regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. When just 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the atmosphere.
- Check your tires weekly to make sure theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re properly inflated –
Proper inflation can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Since every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference!
- When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle –
You can save 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year if your new car gets only 3 miles per gallon more than your current one. You can get up to 60 miles per gallon with a hybrid! You can find information on fuel efficiency on FuelEconomy and on GreenCars websites.
Try car sharing –
Need a car but donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to buy one? Community car sharing organizations provide access to a car and your membership fee covers gas, maintenance and insurance. Many companies Ã¢â‚¬â€œ such as Flexcar – offer low emission or hybrid cars too! Also, see ZipCar.
- Try telecommuting from home –
Telecommuting can help you drastically reduce the number of miles you drive every week. For more information, check out the Telework Coalition.
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