What You Can Do;
Making a few small changes in your home and yard can lead to big reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, increase the nation’s energy independence and save money. Explore our list of nine simple steps you can take around the house and yard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
Change 5 lights
Change a light, and you help change the world. Replace the conventional bulbs in your 5 most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs that have the ENERGY STAR label and you will help the environment while saving money on energy bills. If every household in the U.S. took this one simple action we would prevent more than 1 trillion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
Look for ENERGY STAR labeled products
When buying new products, such as appliances for your home, get the features and performance you want AND help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified products in more than 50 product categories, including lighting, home electronics, heating and cooling equipment and appliances.
Heat and cool smartly
Simple steps like cleaning air filters regularly and having your heating and cooling equipment tuned annually by a licensed contractor can save energy and increase comfort at home, and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When it’s time to replace your old equipment, choose a high efficiency model, and make sure it is properly sized and installed.
Seal up your home with better insulation and duct-work
Close up any visible cracks and gaps in your house, install adequate insulation, check that ducts are sealed and choose ENERGY STAR qualified windows when replacing old windows. Not sure where the cracks and gaps are? A home energy auditor can also help to identify areas with poor insulation and evaluate the energy efficiency of your home. By taking these steps, you can eliminate drafts, keep your home more comfortable year round, save energy that would otherwise be wasted, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Use green power
Green power is environmentally friendly electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun. There are two ways to use green power: you can buy green power or you can modify your house to generate your own green power. Buying green power is easy, it offers a number of environmental and economic benefits over conventional electricity, including lower greenhouse gas emissions, and it helps increase clean energy supply. If you are interested, there are a number of steps you can take to create a greener home, including installing solar panels.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
If there is a recycling program in your community, recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, support recycling markets by buying products made from recycled materials. Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your home helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal.
Use water efficiently
Everyone can save water through simple actions. Municipal water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to households, and saving water, especially hot water, can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth. Do not use your toilet as a waste basket for toiletry items – water is wasted with each flush. And did you know a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet and faucet leaks right away.
Spread the Word
Tell family and friends that energy efficiency is good for their homes and good for the environment because it lowers greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Tell 5 people and together we can help our homes help us all.
On the Road
Many factors affect the fuel economy of your car. To improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy by as much as 5 percent. Use overdrive and cruise control on your car if you have those features.
Tune your ride
A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is more reliable and safer! Keep your car well tuned, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and use the recommended grade of motor oil.
Check your tires
Check your tire pressure regularly. Under-inflation increases tire wear, reduces your fuel economy by up to 3 percent and leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions and releases of air pollutants. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door to the glove compartment or on the driver’s-side door pillar.
Combine your trips
When running errands, combine trips. Several short trips taken while your car’s engine is cold can use twice as much fuel and produce twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
Use Alternative Fuels
Find out if you own a Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV). FFVs can be fueled with a fuel blend containing 85% ethanol or with traditional gasoline. Ethanol is produced from renewable crops such as corn and therefore using it as a fuel for your car can lower greenhouse gas emissions. There are approximately 5 million FFVs on the road today.
At the Office
Manage office equipment energy use better
Office equipment and electronics use energy even when idle or on stand-by. To save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at work, always activate the power management features on your computer and monitor, unplug laptop power cords when not in use and turn off equipment and lights at the end of the day. Consider using a power strip that can be turned off when you’re done using your computers, printers, wireless routers and other electronics.
Look for ENERGY STAR labeled products for the Office
When buying new products for your office at work or at home, get the features and performance you want and help reduce greenhouse gases and emissions of air pollutants. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified office equipment, such as computers, copiers, and printers, in addition to more than 50 product categories.
Use less energy for your commute
Switch to public transportation, carpooling, biking, telecommuting and other innovative ways to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on your way to and from work.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycle office paper, newspapers, beverage containers, electronic equipment and batteries. Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your office helps conserve energy, and reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal. You can reduce, reuse and recycle at the office by using two-sided printing and copying; buying supplies made with recycled content; and recycling used printer cartridges.
Most people don’t realize that solid waste reduction and recycling help address global climate change. How? The manufacture, distribution and use of products – as well as management of the resulting waste – all result in greenhou
se gas emissions. Waste prevention and recycling reduce greenhouse gases associated with these activities by reducing methane emissions, saving energy, and increasing forest carbon sequestration. The links below provide more detailed information on greenhouse gas emissions from waste and what you can do.