Climate change triggered by the release of greenhouse gases is changing the planet and may have detrimental effects on generations to come. Cutting down on your carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds your home emits due to the use of fossil fuels, can have a great impact on the environment.
With a few energy-reducing upgrades, you can save a lot of money over time, possibly get a tax break and help the world.
Investing in an electricity monitor for about $20, such as the Kill-A-Watt, will let homeowners know how much energy their appliances use.
This allows you to cut down on unnecessary electronic devices like a refrigerator in the garage or other objects that don’t need to be plugged in.
Windows and shutters
Many people don’t realize how much air is leaving their homes through areas such as cracks and open windows. This causes a heating and cooling system to work harder and consume more energy.
Low energy window film can be applied to windows and custom plantation shutters to seal and create better insulation in the home. You may also upgrade to energy-conserving windows and shutters and improve heating and cooling efficiency.
Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling systems generally account for 48 percent of your utility bill. Upgrading to an energy-efficient heating and cooling system can save a huge amount of money. Old models usually have an efficiency rating of 60 percent, meaning they provide 60 cents worth of energy for every dollar spent.
By comparison, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems can provide about 94 cents worth of energy for every dollar. Even if you can’t afford to change your system right away, incorporating lifestyle changes such as using your heating and cooling system moderately, turning it off when the weather is pleasant and changing out filters can help reduce carbon emissions.
Your refrigerator accounts for about 20 percent of your utility bill. The average refrigerator in Europe is 9 cubic feet while the average in America is 18 to 26 cubic feet. Older refrigerators are usually much less energy-efficient. Upgrading to a smaller, more energy-efficient refrigerator can greatly reduce energy costs.
Washers and dryers
The average American family does 300 loads of laundry a year. Energy-efficient washers consume about 20 percent less energy and 35 percent less water. About 80 percent of American homes use clothes dryers, and energy efficient dryers also consume 20 percent less energy.
If every American home switched to these environmentally minded devices, they could save $1.5 billion in utilities and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to 2 million cars.
On average, running a clothes dryer once is the energy equivalent of lighting 225 CFL bulbs for one hour. Additionally, getting a clothing line and air-drying clothes is a great way to reduce energy costs.
Lights and bulbs
Changing the lights in your home to CFL bulbs is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. These bulbs use 75 percent less energy than traditional bulbs. If every home in America switched one light in their house with a CFL, it would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to lighting 3 million homes and running 800,000 vehicles.
It’s worth noting that some of these bulbs contain mercury, and it’s best to purchase those free of this hazardous metal.
Greenhouse gas emissions are causing the earth to warm and trigger natural disasters. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint, and doing so only requires a few simple upgrades. Applying a couple changes like those listed above will not only save the planet, but also save homeowners plenty of money over time.
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