Every time we drive, fly, turn on an appliance, discard waste, and cool or heat our homes we emit greenhouse gases into the air. Some greenhouse gases are required to keep the earth at a livable temperature. But, in excess they have a negative impact by trapping too much heat in the atmosphere which warms the planet and changes our climate. An eco footprint is a measurement of how much your lifestyle impacts the earth in terms of the resources needed and the waste produced. You can also measure your impact by counting greenhouse gas emissions, measured in units of carbon dioxide (CO2). Household Carbon Footprint Calculator from EPA
10 easy steps to shrink your eco footprint
- Reduce your number of car trips - carpool, bike, walk, take the bus.
You will save 1 lb of carbon for every mile you don't drive.
- Adjust your thermostat up 2 degrees in the summer and down 2 degrees in the winter .
By adjusting your thermostat 2 degrees you could save 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.
- Unplug chargers and turnoff appliances, including computers, when not in use.
Even if they are turned off, electronics consume energy when they are plugged in. By pulling the plug when something is not in use you could save 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide a year.
- Change to energy efficient light bulbs.
By switching out 3 lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) you could save 300 lbs of carbon dioxide per year. CFLs seem more expensive than regular bulbs, but since their life is 10 times longer they save you money over time.
- Bring re-usable bags to the store.
Using your own bag instead of plastic or paper bags reduces waste and requires no additional energy to make.
- Reduce your water usage - turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shorten your shower.
Showers use 2.5 gallons of water per minute, and each gallon uses three ounces of carbon dioxide. If you shorten your shower by 2 min. a day, you can save 342 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
- Purchase energy efficient appliances.
By updating your old refrigerator to an Energy Star certified appliance you could save 500 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.
- Choose a re-usable coffee mug and water bottle
One plastic mug, used twice a day, every day instead of disposable cups, can save 135 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per person per year.
- Always recycle.
Every time you recycle one pound of waste, you reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by one pound.
- Spread the word to your family and friends.