Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases your lifestyle choices release into the atmosphere. The more carbon in the atmosphere, the warmer the earth gets.
The average carbon footprint per person in the US is 19.58 tons per year, which ranks us in the top 10 in the world. Countries like Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Bahrain, and others rank ahead.
To avoid an increase of 3.6 degrees in the average global temperature by 2050, we need to cut our carbon footprint to a dramatically lower 2 tons per person!
Here’s how you can cut your carbon footprint and save yourself some electricity at the same time:
1. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
Doing 2 loads of laundry per week in cold water can cut your carbon footprint by up to 500 lbs per year, according to Columbia University.
Truthfully, the enzymes in laundry detergent are designed to work better in cold water anyway. So your clothes will come out cleaner.
And, you’ll save money because you won’t be using electricity or gas to heat your water.
2. Turn Down Your Heat
By far, your home’s heating is the biggest cause of an increasing carbon footprint. About 25% of all energy used in your home goes to heating, says The New York Times.
Start by using a smart thermostat, if you don’t already have one. They actually pay for themselves in a year, so they’re a great energy savings investment.
Next, simply turn down your heat a degree or two. Put on an extra layer of clothes if you need to.
And consider especially turning down your heat at night. You can easily cover up with warm blankets to compensate for the lower temperatures.
3. Avoid Eating Meat
Now this one sounds strange at first, doesn’t it? What has meat got to do with reducing your carbon footprint?
Raising cattle actually consumes more energy and releases more carbon than cars. In fact, they’re responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gases, according to the Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Cattle consume 16 times more grain than they produce as meat. It takes complex farm machinery that releases carbon to grow that grain. It takes energy to raise the cattle, butcher them, and then package and distribute the meat.
Plus, the cattle themselves release lots of methane (a greenhouse gas) during their lifetime.
You personally don’t save a lot of money with this one. But sometimes you have to think beyond your immediate needs and into the bigger picture.
Yes. You can save electricity by reducing your carbon footprint. And now you have some simple strategies you can use to do both.