9 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in 2015
January 9, 2015.
2014 was the hottest year on record: you heard about climate marches, international climate action in Lima, and a groundbreaking China–U.S. emissions agreement. Now it is your turn to make an environmental strides at home. You don’t need to go completely zero-waste or never drive a car again to make 2015 more sustainable. Here are 9 easy ways you can make a difference this year:
1. Learn The Recycling Rules in Your Municipality
Recycling is becoming increasingly available across the US. If you aren't sure what you can recycle in your town, workplace, or while traveling, the iRecycle app can tell you based on your present location.
2. Do laundry in Cold Water
Much of your home's hot water goes to kitchen needs and laundry. By washing your clothes in only cool and cold water, you can save a lot of energy. Due to chemical advances in the last 15 years, many detergents now work just as well in cold water as in hot water - as do soap nuts!
3. Air Dry Clothes
The average American household machine dries about 400 loads of laundry every year, which emits about 1100 pounds of CO2! By switching to a drying rack rather than a traditional electric dryer, you will save money on utility bills – up to $10 every month.
4. Unplug Your Workout
Since you are probably already making a resolution to get fit in 2015, keep in mind that many exercise machines use energy. You don’t need a treadmill to go for a run. Bike, walk, or take public transit whenever possible for the most energy-efficient workout that also saves time.
5. Install Smart Powerstrips
Smart Powerstrips cut off power drawn from your appliances when they are not being used. Reducing vampire power draw is one of the easiest ways to become more energy efficient. The average U.S. household spends about $100 per year to power devices while they are off or in standby mode.
6. Green Your Workplace
Green living doesn't stop at home. Make your office more efficient by encouraging recycling, printing double-sided, and turning your computer completely off before leaving. Next, consider looking into efficient water fixtures, lighting, smart thermostats and weatherization projects for your work facility.
7 Green Your Ride
Daily transportation accounts for 20% of the average American's carbon footprint! You can reduce your carbon footprint by biking to work or taking public transportation. If you have to drive, invest in a hybrid or a more fuel efficient car. You can also create a carpool or ride share. If work permits stay home and work one or more days a week (please do show this to your boss)!
8. Improve Your Home Heating
It is cold outside and may be time to replace your old thermostats with smart thermostats. These devices heat and cool the house according to a schedule, so your house will be reliably comfortable in the morning, then use less energy while you are out, and will be comfortable again when you return home for the evening.
9. Join a Green Networking Group
Now that you are heading down a low carbon path, you can help empower others in your community to lower theirs. There are a plethora of ways that you change your community's footprint, from developing municipal renewable energy, to leading seminars at the library to starting a local farmer's market. We recommend visiting the Towns in Transition Network or reading one of our books for ideas.