The environment is a gift to humankind in numerous ways, rather, it is the basis of our existence. From the oxygen we breathe to the food we eat; it is all part of the ecosystem we live in. But how much do we give back to the environment? - Very less.
While we are busy living our lives, we often skip paying attention and taking care of the beautiful environment around us. We often lead such busy lives ourselves that our responsibility towards the ecosystem sometimes takes a backseat.
According to a research article, 75 percent of Americans say they want to protect the environment, but only 1 in 5 people make the actual effort to do so. Because of this, climate change, global warming, and other environmental destruction continue, while our attention is elsewhere.
On an individual level, the choices that we make in our day-to-day lives have a significant impact on the environment. Activities such as driving a fuel car, eating meat, using excess electricity and more, contribute to carbon emissions into the atmosphere, known as carbon footprint. These emissions lead to climate change and other environmental depletions.
But there are simple, in-home lifestyle changes each one of us can make to reduce our carbon footprint at home.
This video by FuseSchool - Global Education talks about Carbon Footprint and some steps to reduce it at a personal level.
What is carbon footprint?
Carbon Footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) released into the atmosphere through various human activities. It is the result of carbon emissions that comes from the use, production, and end-process of a product or service.
The GHG includes (80%) carbon dioxide (primarily emitted by humans) and other gases (20%), including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gas. These greenhouse gases trap the heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming.
How to calculate your carbon footprint?
Calculating carbon footprint will help you determine the amount of carbon you emit into the atmosphere. This calculation is based on your daily activities that promote greenhouse gases, for instance:
- The quantity of fuel required by power plants to generate your house electricity (depending on the type of fuel and the amount you use).
- The quantity of carbon emission from the usage of your bikes or cars (depending on fuel efficiency and the amount you use).
- The quantity of GHG emissions from your house boilers and furnace (depending on the efficiency, size, time, and fuel used).
- The quantity of waste disposal.
The quickest way to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide gas emitted by your home is to download Dwellin free from the app stores. In 30 seconds, mobile app Dwellin estimates your home carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide gas emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere each year.
Dwellin then recommends lifestyle changes and home maintenance steps you can take to decrease your home’s carbon emissions and make your home more environmentally sustainable.
Now that we have a better understanding of carbon footprint and how to calculate it, let’s look at simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home.
How to reduce carbon footprint at home?
According to Investopedia 2018, China is the largest emitter of carbon footprint followed by the U.S.A with 5.41 billion tons of carbon emissions. With such a high carbon emissions rate, climate change has become an unsolvable threat to the ecosystem. However, with the right steps and basic household changes, we can support a sustainable environment.
Incorporating a healthy diet, cutting on meat, driving less, eating organic, and more are some of the basic lifestyle changes to reduce carbon footprint. However, in this article let us focus more on lowering Household carbon footprints.
Perform regular energy audits to save energy.
1. Use smart plugs
If your home still has a switch for every power outlet, then this is a simple change you can make at home to not just reduce your carbon footprint, but to also reduce your energy bills each month.
When we use switches to control our power outlets, we often forget to turn them off, using energy and racking up high energy bills. When electronic items are plugged into the wall socket, they draw a small amount of energy, adding to your carbon footprint.
You can avoid this by installing a smart plug. It is easy to use and has a single on/off plug for multiple devices. Using a smart plug will ensure you do not have to unplug each socket individually.
2. Install a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat comes with the latest energy-saving technology and automation. These thermostats include smart cooling and heating features while you are away from your home, saving on energy bills and reducing the carbon footprint.
3. Use the dishwasher
A dishwasher feels more wasteful, of energy and water, than washing the utensils by hand, right? We use as high as 27 gallons of water per load by hand than a dishwasher that uses up around 3 gallons of water. Also, the latest dishwashers are also energy-efficient, saving not just water, but also electricity.
Invest in energy efficient appliances to lower your carbon footprint.
4. Use solar panels
If you’ve been considering living sustainably (or even doing something for the planet) for some time now, but don’t know where to start, we recommend solar panels. Solar panels are feasible and effective solutions to start living sustainably. The carbon footprint of solar panels is negligible and hence are a perfect energy alternative; helping you save energy and lower your carbon footprint abundantly.
While installing solar panels is not as easy as some of the tasks mentioned here, it is well worth the effort, for the planet and for your pocket.
5. Use a clothesline to dry your clothes
Dyers consume more energy than most home appliances. According to the World-Wide Foundation, a dryer loads five times more energy than a washer. So, skip using the dryer and dry your clothes outdoors on a clothesline under the bright sun. This process will not only save energy but also let you lower your carbon footprint without spending anything extra.
If you are unable to use a clothesline, consider performing a lower dryer heating setting.
6. Insulate your home
One of the main reasons why we incur higher utility bills is improper insulation. Reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint by securing windows and doors tightly while using HVAC to maintain the room temperature. A slight gap can push the air out of the room, causing excess use of energy and promoting higher carbon footprints.
A simple solution to this problem is adding more insulation and caulking the gaps.
7. Grow vegetables in your garden
Apart from promoting energy efficiency, you also want to take care of reducing carbon footprint by growing veggies in your garden. This way, you avoid using veggies being transported from miles away and walk through the backdoor to the home garden for fresh vegetables.
8. Conserving water
Water is limited and needs to be safeguarded. Further, it requires energy and resources to deliver potable water supply at your homes, adding to your carbon footprint. You can save the environment by conserving water. Here are some steps you can use to conserve water:
- Turn off faucets when not in use – while brushing, shaving, etc.
- Fix leaky faucets, pipes.
- Perform regular plumbing.
- Take short baths than using showers.
- Use a drip irrigation system for your garden.
For sustainable living, you can follow these easy household changes and reduce your carbon footprint. Most of these steps are easy to implement and convenient. However, together they can make a huge difference to our planet.