As many people are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and lead more eco friendly lives, it’s important to not overlook the role that your home plays in your overall carbon footprint. The average home consumes over 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month with over half of that being used for heating and cooling. Your home is the biggest energy consumer in your life, and so it’s worth investing some time and effort to make sure that it is operating as efficiently as possible.
Taking the time to make a number of small upgrades to your home to save energy and reduce its carbon footprint can have a significant environmental impact over time, and also save you a lot of money. It’s easy to let small home improvements slide to the sideline when life is busy, but it’s a good idea to take a weekend every once in a while and ensure that you aren’t losing tons of money and energy to easily solvable problems. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Upgrade your window treatments
Homes and apartments with lots of large windows and natural lighting are all the rage nowadays, but they do come with some significant energy usage disadvantages. In the summer, sunlight hitting your windows and coming into your home can significantly raise the indoor temperature and cause your air conditioning to have to work harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
In the winter, as the cold air outside cools your windows, it can cause cold spots in your home and necessitate running the heat more often in order to compensate. Ensuring that your windows and doors are sealed against drafts and leaks is a great place to start sealing your home. Then you can upgrade your curtains and blinds to prevent heat loss in the winter and excessive warming in the summer.
Avoid washing your clothes in hot water
Washing clothes is an essential part of every home, however it is a significant energy user, especially when it is running almost every day. While it’s hard to cut down on washer use, one of the best ways to save energy when using it, is to wash clothes on a cold or warm cycle. According to EnergyStar, running a warm cycle uses about 50% less energy than the hot cycle and the cold cycle uses even less than that.
It’s also best to always run full loads, because it consumes just as much energy to run a half full washing machine then it does to run a full load. When you have the time, you can also air dry your clothes to save energy from having to run the dryer. Laundry is a big energy user but a little creativity can go a long way to reducing that. These steps can also reduce wear on your clothing as they subject them to less stress over time.
Start using a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats are a great way to get more out of your heating and air conditioning, while also saving money and energy in the process. There are many options currently available for smart thermostats that will learn your routine and save you the trouble of manually programming them. They can help keep your home at a comfortable temperature when you’re home, without wasting money and energy to heat or cool it when you’re at work.
Use your appliances efficiently in the kitchen
Instead of heating up your oven several times a day, opt for the toaster oven or the microwave to heat smaller amounts of food. When you do use the oven, you can leave the door open after to let the heat out and warm your house/kitchen etc. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full and avoid leaving your refrigerator open for long periods of time. If you plan ahead what you need from the refrigerator, then you won’t have to stand in front of it with the door open making decisions, while all the cold air escapes into your kitchen requiring the refrigerator to work much harder to maintain its temperature. You can even make an inventory list to put on the fridge so you know exactly what you have.
Have your family shop with EcoCart
Many households regularly place online orders for everything from cleaning products and groceries, to clothing and technology. All of those orders can have a significant carbon impact over time, and that can dramatically affect how eco-friendly your household is.
Since online shopping is here to stay, the best way to reduce your online carbon footprint is to install EcoCart and use it whenever you check out online. Make sure that it’s installed on all the computers in your home! Then, whenever you’re shopping online, just click the green button when you see it pop up to make your order carbon neutral. After you click the button, EcoCart will automatically offset your carbon footprint by donating to renewable energy and carbon offset projects around the world.