How To Lower Your Carbon Footprint At Home 2021
Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay
This article has a two-point focus:
- Discuss a few topics about how to lower your carbon footprint at home
- Recommend 10 best household products to help you reduce your emissions
If you know how to lower your carbon footprint at home, you can contribute to a huge global movement, along with commercial companies and charities.
You are not just a “little person” with no influence on life matters. You vote with your spending, every day.
So what’s going on in your world? Do you know what your carbon footprint is?
Have you heard about carbon offsets?
A carbon offset is an amount of money you can pay for a project that reduces greenhouse gases somewhere else. If you offset one ton of carbon, the offset will help capture or destroy one ton of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere. Offsets also promote sustainable development and increase the use of renewable energy.”
– Earth Institute |Columbia Universtiy
For more ideas on lowering your carbon footprint, and contributing to carbon offsets, check out COTAP.org.
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
Lower Your Carbon Footprint – Why Does It Matter?
There is a lot of ongoing argument about the importance of reducing your carbon footprint, meaning, lowering the C02 emissions that you personally, or your household creates.
Many vested interests (like fossil fuel companies) argue against this idea.
But, focusing on what matters as to your own personal interests, and that of your family, will give you a view on how to save money, create less emission tonnage, and continue to live well.
Every time you buy a new appliance, computer, gadget, install lights in your back yard for ambiance or safety, a new car, your decision will affect your carbon footprint.
Even when buying or renting a home, you can assess how much natural light you will get daily, depending on where the windows are placed. This will change one small aspect of your energy consumption, to a degree.
Here are some ways you may be able to reduce your own carbon footprint.
These ways may not apply to everyone, and may not be possible for everyone, but some of these may be choices you can consider.
You can completely avoid carbon emissions by walking or riding a bike, or an electric scooter, as much as possible.
If your city has good public transportation, use it. You will save on your gas costs, greatly reduce your own emissions, and reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle.
Switch to a low or no carbon vehicle. Finances permitting, you could get a hybrid or electric car. A hybrid car may be a better choice, unless you can charge your electric vehicle from your home solar system. avoiding a huge increase in energy costs.
Drive gently. Give yourself time so you don’t have to rush and accelerate sharply as you go. This can reduce emissions up to 33%. Avoid heavy traffic congestion to prevent periods of mere idling.
If you own your home make sure it is sealed and insulated well.
If you rent, ask your landlord to improve weather stripping, caulking or sealing, if you notice any drafty spots in windows and doors.
Check to see if there are any local programs that will pay for, or help pay for those.
Upgrade appliances to Energy Star models. Many municipalities will give a tax credit or rebate on a purchase for energy efficient appliances.
Some cities or counties will replace a refrigerator, for example, in lower income homes and apartments.
This serves the local energy grid, reducing the area requirements for power.
Older furnaces, air conditioners and fridges need to be replaced.
Light bulbs – do you turn off lights when you leave the room? Do you use LED lights in all outdoor areas, or solar powered motion activated lights?
Fluorescent lights are a health hazard and LEDs used for longer periods in the house have been associated with macular degeneration, so I don’t recommend them.
I use LED nite lights however, inside pink salt covers, which gives them a warm glow. I can walk around at night (inside) with no other lights on this way.
Currently, I am charging eight small solar powered patio lights, to be used instead of candles during power outages.
They will hold 8 hours of charge in their turned off state. Very handy to have and place around the house, turning them on when needed.
During wild fires the air is smokey. Windows need to be kept closed. Using candles as your only source of light will pollute your home, issuing smoke and chemicals like lead, into your inside air.
I bought the solar powered lights, to bring in at night and use wherever I need them. I certainly am not looking forward to the next power cut, but at least I’ll be prepared, and find out how well this plan works.
Moderate your thermostat so your heating/cooling isn’t activated except when you are home and need it. Smart devices that work with Alexa or another app are wonderful for your remote control over usage.
I don’t have a recycle bin, so I save my recyclables and take them to a friend’s.
Recycle clothing to a local thrift store, not a huge chain. This helps to lower carbon emissions associated with the transport and disposal of goods.
You can also find out if any craft circle near you takes clothes/rags/material pieces for rug braiding, quilting, or other crafts.
Patronize local fruit stands, and vegetable markets. Ask at your local supermarket where the fresh produce, dairy produce, and fresh meat come from, and choose the most local.
This is how you “vote with your dollars”. Legislators are slow moving and often have interests to serve that don’t help you or your area.
Save water – catch water that runs for a few minutes while the shower warms up. You can water plants with it, or if filtered by a whole house system, use it for drinking and cooking.
When it’s time, replace your water heater with a tankless water heater.
Stop using plastic water bottles – filter your water at home and carry water with you in glass or aluminum bottles.
HERE are some ideas for the best water filters for home use.
Updated to add: switch to bar shampoos and stop buying those plastic bottles altogether! And here’s a real story about an attempt to get rid of huge plastic bottles:
In the mid 80’s I was going to focus groups for some extra cash. Student days ha ha. One night we were shown these little pods with laundry detergent in them. Like we get now for automatic dishwashers.
We were told “those huge plastic bottles for laundry detergent and fabric softeners are going to disappear! Companies are going to save millions on plastic containers!”
Really? This is 35 years ago and I still see a whole aisle at the store with rows and rows of – big plastic bottles!
Anyway, now you can get shampoo in typical bar soap size bars, in many delicious herbal fragrances. No plastic!
They look like this:
There are many varieties to choose from! Conditioners in the formula. So easy to use, store, and no plastic!
Back to lowering your carbon footprint ideas…
Fix running toilets and leaks immediately. Make sure your garden sprinklers or drip systems are working properly.
Compost – many cities hold free composting classes and some offer a savings on bins.
The following products will help you produce less emissions from your own home or small business.
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Tankless Water Heaters
Rinnai RL Series HE+ Tankless Hot Water Heater: Outdoor Installation
This water heater is for outside installation, and uses propane.
Rinnai RLX Series HE+ Tankless Hot Water Heater: Indoor Installation
This unit is for indoor installation and uses Natural Gas.
Stiebel Eltron 232886 Tempra 36 Tankless Electric Water Heater
This is a whole house water heater which will replace your 50-55 gallon tank. This product came in at Number One for popularity on consumer surveys.
Why get a tankless water heater? Hot water on demand is a huge energy saver. Think about it – your electric 50 gallon tank uses energy all day, even when you’re away on vacation. It keeps that water to the set temperature all the time!
This unit can have you running two showers at once, and one may have slightly reduced water pressure.
You will have to add some amperage to your breaker box. Most buyers will need a plumber and an electrician to set this up properly and without injury. Here is a video with some tips.
EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 27 KW at 240 Volts, 112.5 Amps with Patented Self Modulating Technology
Professional installation will give you a lifetime warranty for this unit. It comes in different sizes.
The vendor states: “The most advanced self modulating technology available, meaning the ECO 27 will adjust how much energy needs to be input based on how much hot water is needed“.
Your home size and where you live makes a difference as to how much hot water you get. In colder climates, the incoming water is colder, so this unit may well provide a couple of showers running simultaneously. In a warmer region you may run two showers, the dishwasher, and do laundry at the same time.
This unit is designed to be used in the northern US and Canada.
When you click the image above, you will end up on the page for the product and in the specs section below you will see a home size/climate chart to guide so that you can purchase the best unit for your home’s needs.
Tankless Water Heater, Gasland BS158 1.58GPM 6L Outdoor Portable Gas Water Heater, Instant Propane Water Heater, Overheating Protection, Easy to Install for RV Cabin Barn Camping Boat
This handy small unit can be mounted on an RV, out in the back yard, or in your stable area. It is perfect for a tiny house or summer cabin.
You can have hot water on demand for low energy costs.
Customers rate this at 4 Stars for performance, convenience and vendor service.
Outdoor Solar Power
TOPENS A3S Automatic Gate Opener Kit Light Duty Solar Single Gate Operator for Single Swing Gates Up to 12 Feet or 300 Pounds, Gate Motor Solar Panel
This solar powered motor opens light duty single swing gates up to a maximum of 12 ft. long or maximum of weight of 300 lbs.
It is suitable for entrance gates made by steel, wood, vinyl, and typical panel, tube, and chain-link designs. Use this for your city home, farm entrance and pastures, and country properties.
The solar panel charges two 12V batteries which are purchased separately.
Medium and heavy duty kits are available. One buyer noted that in an extremely windy area, heavy duty is best, even for a light gate.
Extra remotes can be ordered, the kits come with one included.
Topens will sell parts as needed, separately, and for this customer appreciation is noted.
Broan 345CSOBK Curb Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator, 28-Watt, Black
Broan Solar Powered Attic Ventilators operate without fuel, without waste, and without pollution.
They will replace your standard wired ventilators.
Attic vents are important for:
- Reducing the running time of your air conditioners
- Preventing shingle distortion from heat
- Giving you the advantage of solar power/lower carbon footprint
Lower your attic summer temperature up to 20 degrees. A one time cost, no additional electric bill.
Primus Wind Power 1-AR40-10-12 Air 40 Wind Turbine 12V
Today, this is the best rated (5 Stars) of the wind turbines for home use. It is an off-grid product.
There are larger windmills, yet they don’t get the same top rating.
This one is used for:
- Off-grid homes
- Water pumping
The vendor states:
“The AIR 40 is an ideal wind turbine for hybrid systems with solar to offset those cloudy or wintery periods. AIR 40 is built and backed by the worldwide leader in small wind.”
2PACK 200W Solar Flood Lights Outdoor,Street and Area Lighting,Dusk to Dawn 400LEDs IP67 Outdoor Waterproof,8000,Lumen Light Sensing,Remote Control Safety floodlight
These floodlights are perfect for:
- Yard/side of house
- Property entrance gates
- Property walls
The lights are waterproof. The sensors will turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn. You can also use the remote as needed. Six hours charging time with ten hours of illumination will keep your property’s darker spots well lit for security and safety.
Life is changing, isn’t it?