Most people are aware of the ever-present and continuously growing climate change crisis, but not everyone knows how they can do their part to protect the planet. There is a common misconception that going green or reducing your carbon footprint is expensive and requires a significant time investment, but this is not the case. There are, of course, more involved and costly ways to live a greener life and while these more complicated methods generally yield more significant results, they are far from the only option. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to live a greener life, and with a few simple changes to your home life, you can reduce your carbon footprint at home.
Calculate Your Current Carbon Footprint
Before you can set about lowering your carbon footprint, it is important to know what your current footprint is. Your carbon footprint is defined as the amount of greenhouse gases you produce and the Environmental Protection Agency has created a calculator to show you your current footprint along with your potential savings if you were to adopt eco-friendly life changes. If the global community is going to reach the goal carbon footprint of 1.87 tons by 2050, everyone will need to do their part to lower their personal carbon footprint.
The Power of Propane
Propane has been a common fuel for years but has fallen out of the spotlight as of late. As the push for eco-friendly living grows, propane is resurfacing as a greener alternative to traditional fuels. More and more homeowners are incorporating propane at home in the form of propane power appliances. Propane appliances include clothes dryers, cooking ranges, furnaces, fireplaces, and tankless water heaters. Many propane appliances boast better energy efficiency than traditional appliances. For example, high-efficiency propane clothes dryers produce roughly 42% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electric dryers and residential propane furnaces produce 50% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electric furnaces.
Modern and Green Light Bulbs
The incandescent light bulb has been the standard lighting choice for over 100 years, but modern technology has introduced two new options to the market in CFL and LED bulbs. CFL and LED light bulbs are superior to incandescent bulbs in every way as both bulbs last longer, shine brighter, and use less energy than incandescent bulbs.
An incandescent light bulb has an average lifespan of between 1,200 and 1,500 hours, but a CFL bulb can last 10 times as long with a lifespan of between 10,000 and 15,000 hours. However, an LED bulb will outlast even a CFL bulb with a lifespan of between 25,000 and 35,000 hours which is 25 to 35 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb and 2 to 4 times longer than a CFL bulb. LED bulbs also edge out incandescent and CFL bulbs in terms of energy efficiency and, by extension, heat. Both incandescent and CFL bulbs generate heat when in use which wastes energy, while LED bulbs remain cool while shining.
There is no doubt LED and CFL bulbs are the most energy-efficient lighting option, but the upfront cost can give homeowners pause. However, the upfront cost becomes less important when you factor in the savings these bulbs provide over time. CFL and LED bulbs use less energy than incandescent bulbs meaning homeowners will see a reduction in their energy bills which will help to offset the bulbs’ initial price over time.
Laundry is one of the most universal chores and most people are accustomed to using a washer and dryer to clean their clothes, but this long-accepted practice is not very eco-friendly. The washing machine is not inherently environmentally harmful, but using it irresponsibly or needlessly can waste energy, so only use your washing machine when you have a full load to optimize the energy expenditure.
Standard electric dryers are far more wasteful than washing machines as one dryer cycle uses five times more electricity than one washing machine cycle. The green alternative to dryers is air-drying your clothes. Air-drying clothes may be old-fashioned and slower, but not using a dryer can reduce a household’s carbon footprint by 33%. You can hang your clothes up to dry overnight to have clean dry clothes in the morning without wasting energy by using the dryer; the end result is the same, but by air-drying your clothes, you are helping to protect the planet.
Lowering your carbon footprint at home is not as difficult as the task may sound. With some simple changes to your home life, you can live a greener life and do your part to help avoid climate change while saving money on energy bills.