Reduce Your Pollution Impact
Energy conservation - a few small changes can make a big difference.
To control climate change, our lifestyle decisions must begin to include the effect and cost of pollution. If people begin to take responsibility for managing their own carbon footprint, we can continue with our needed activities while mitigating the impact on global warming. Of course, offsetting your carbon footprint is just one element of reducing carbon emissions. Here are some "eco-habits" that you can easily acquire that will help you reduce your carbon impact and encourage sustainable living:
- Keep the car parked: use phone and video conferencing to avoid the trip.
- Consider cleaner fuels like ethanol. E10 (the most available commercial mixture), reduces CO2 emissions by about 10%.
- If you need to go somewhere, walk, take the train and bus, or cycle instead of driving. In the United States, automobiles produce over 20 percent of total carbon emissions. Walk or bike and you'll save 28.2 kg of carbon for every 100kms you travel.
- Keep a shopping and errands list in the kitchen, so that you can take care of groups of activities when you are out and save on transport emissions for multiple trips.
- Set up a carpool for work or for taking the kids to school. On average a carpool saves 528 gallons of gasoline and nearly 5.5 tonnes of CO2 each year.
- Try to use taxis or personal vehicles that offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Take the bus to work one day a week - save 5.89 Kg/month
- Avoid using your air conditioning (unless you're driving on the highway). Driving around town with air conditioning reduces your fuel efficiency by between 10 and 20 percent. However on the highway, at high speeds, your open windows will slow down your car, creating a larger inefficiency.
- Drive a hybrid vehicle. Hybrid vehicles are about 25% more efficient, which translates into an annual savings of about 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
- Drive smoothly or 'drive green'. It can cost you up to 25% more in fuel to drive at 70mph compared to 50mph, and harsh acceleration and braking can consume 30% more fuel than driving smoothly. If 1 million people in Canada committed to 'driving green' for a year, we'd save about 10,000 tanker trucks of gasoline!
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated. If all 4 tires are under-inflated by only 2psi (which is a relatively little amount), fuel efficiency will drop by 4 percent. save 19.05 kg/month
- Avoid idling. Idling consumes about 3.78 liters of gasoline an hour. That's over 8 kg of CO2.
- Cut back on the number of flights. Make conference calls to avoid the trip, or try taking the train when you can. Did you know that flying from Montreal to Athens can emit as much as 3.5 tonnes per passenger? That's half of the Canadian average per capita emissions - 7 tonnes.
- Insulate your home. Good quality insulation can save you up to 20% of your energy bill
- Pipe wraps reduce heat loss and help save on your water heating costs. Shrink film, thresholds, weather stripping and sealants provide quick and easy solutions to help prevent escaping heat.
- Maximize passive solar power by opening and closing the blinds in order to heat and cool your home
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust temperatures at night or when you're not home
- Insulate your water heater - save 9.02 Kg/month
- Caulk and weather-strip your home - save 32.66 Kg/month
- Switch to energy efficient appliances - Energy Star - and "green" electricity providers at home and at work. Energy Star products can save you 30% on your energy bills (about $450 a year).
- Turn off appliances at the wall instead of using standby.
- Regularly clean your furnace filter. It can make your furnace up to 50% more efficient, if 1 million people cleaned their furnace filter once a month, the effect would be equivalent to saving 650,000 barrels of oil.
- Unplug any electronic device that has a transformer (TV, cell phone charger, computer), by doing so you can save about 10% of your hydro bill.
- Turn off your computer monitor. In the U.S businesses are responsible for more than $1 billion a year in wasted electricity for computer monitors that are turned on when they shouldn't be.
- Switch to energy-efficient CFL bulbs and save up to 78% on energy costs. CFLs have the added advantage of lasting ten times longer than traditional bulbs and, because you won't have to replace them as often, you'll create less landfill
- Replace one 70 watt bulb with a 9 watt LED - save 2.27 Kg/month
- Install dimmer switches in your home, they can reduce energy consumption by up to 20%. Similarly, motion sensor lights on the exterior of your home can provide energy savings by switching lights off automatically when not detecting movement. Timers are also an effective way to reduce energy consumption. They can be programmed to use electricity only when it's needed.
- Install a programmable thermostat, it can allow you to save up to 33% on energy costs by adjusting the temperature so the furnace and air-conditioning don't come on as often when you are sleeping or away from home.
- Turn down your thermostat by 2 degrees - save 24kg/month
- Use solar panels as an alternate source of energy
- Ceiling fans use far less energy than the air conditioner
- In the kitchen, use pressure cookers, microwaves and toaster ovens instead of the conventional oven
- Position the fridge out of direct sunlight to prevent energy waste
- Run dishwasher only when full and on its energy-saver mode - save 31.75 kg/month
- Wash clothes in cold water rather than hot - save 19.05 kg/month
- Dry half your clothes on the clothes line or drying rack - save 9.52 kg/month
- Raise your thermostat from 72 to 73 degrees this summer - save 27.21k/month
- Plug electronics into power strip and turn off when not in use - save 18.14 kg/month
- Clean your refrigerator's coils and defrost it regularly - save 26.3 Kg/month
- Recycle as much as possible. Most municipalities have recycling facilities where you can recycle aluminum, glass, plastic, paper and cardboard .One ton of aluminum mined and processed from scratch releases over 4.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide, whereas one ton made from recycled aluminum releases only 0.62 tonnes. If your area doesn't have a curbside recycling scheme, send an email to your local representative to ask for one.
- Use a composter; it can reduce the volume of your garbage by 20% or more.
- To conserve water, choose showers over baths. A 5-minute shower uses approximately half the water of an average bath.
- Go low flow to reduce water consumption. By switching to water-efficient products such as a low-flow toilet and showerhead, you can save up to 52,000 litres of water per year.
- Fix leaky faucets to reduce wasted water.
- Buy from companies that have reduced and cleared their emissions.
- Work from home more. Many organizations, when prodded a little, will accept flexible work arrangements where there is no impact to the work that needs to get done.
- Switch to a more plant-based diet; one of the largest sources of GHGs is the livestock sector, ruminants alone are responsible for 18% of the world's methane emissions
- Grow your own food, not only will you be saving on transportation and energy but you could (provided you do not use fertilizers and pesticides) also be eating organic!
- Eat organic, on average organic farms use 37% less energy than conventional farms.
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