...and Reduce Global Warming
Whenever you save energy--or use it more efficiently--you reduce the
demand for gasoline, oil, coal, and natural gas. Less burning of these
fossil fuels means lower emissions of carbon dioxide, the major
contributor to global warming. Right now the U.S. releases about 40,000
pounds of carbon dioxide per person each year. If we can reduce energy use
enough to lower greenhouse gas emissions by about 2% a year, in ten years
we will "lose" about 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per person.
Here are 20 simple steps that can help cut your annual emissions of
carbon dioxide by thousands of pounds. The carbon dioxide reduction shown
for each action is an average saving.
1. Run your dishwasher only with a full load. Use the energy-saving
setting to dry the dishes. Don't use heat when drying.
dioxide reduction: 200 pounds a year.
2. Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
reduction (for two loads a week): up to 500 pounds a year.
3. Turn down your water heater thermostat; 120 degrees is usually hot
Carbon dioxide reduction (for each 10-degree
adjustment): 500 pounds a year.
HOME HEATING AND COOLING
4. Don't overheat or overcool rooms. Adjust your thermostat (lower in
winter, higher in summer).
Carbon dioxide reduction (for
each 2-degree adjustment): about 500 pounds a year.
5. Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Cleaning a dirty air
conditioner filter can save 5% of the energy used.
reduction: About 175 pounds a year.
SMALL INVESTMENTS THAT PAY OFF
6. Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for your most-used
Carbon dioxide reduction (by replacing one
frequently used bulb): about 500 pounds a year.
7. Wrap your older water heater in an insulating jacket (the water
heater should be more than five years old and have no internal insulation;
otherwide it could dangerously overheat).
reduction: Up to 1,000 pounds a year.
8. Install low-flow shower heads to use less hot water.
dioxide reduction: Up to 300 pounds a year.
9. Caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows to plug air leaks.
Carbon dioxide reduction: Up to 1,000 pounds a year.
10. Ask your utility company for a home energy audit to find out where
your home is poorly insulated or energy-inefficient.
reduction: Potentially, thousands of pounds a year.
11. Whenever possible, walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit.
Carbon dioxide reduction (for every gallon of gasoline you
save): 20 pounds.
12. When you buy a car, choose one that gets good gas mileage.
Carbon dioxide reduction (if your new car gets 10 mpg more
than your old one): about 2,500 pounds a year.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
13. Reduce waste: Buy minimally packaged goods; choose reusable
products over disposable ones; recycle.
reduction (if you cut down your garbage by 25%): 1,000 pounds a
14. If your car has an air conditioner, make sure its coolant is
recycled whenever you have it serviced.
Equivalent carbon dioxide
reduction: Thousands of pounds.
15. Insulate your walls and ceilings; this can save about 25% of home
Carbon dioxide reduction: Up to 2,000 pounds
16. If you need to replace your windows, install the best energy-saving
Carbon dioxide reduction: Up to 10,000 pounds a
17. Plant trees next to your home and paint your home a light color if
you live in a warm climate, or a dark color in a cold climate.
Carbon dioxide reduction: About 5,000 pounds a year.
18. As you replace home appliances, select the most energy-efficient
Carbon dioxide reduction (if you replace your old
refrigerator with an efficient model): 3,000 pounds a year.
SCHOOLS, BUSINESS, AND COMMUNITIES
19. Reduce waste and promote energy-efficient measures at your school
or workplace. Work in your community to set up recycling programs.
Carbon dioxide reduction (for every pound of office paper
recycled): 4 pounds.
20. Be informed about environmental issues. Keep track of candidates'
voting records and write or call to express concerns.
dioxide reduction (if we vote to raise U.S. auto fuel efficiency):
Billions of pounds.
Updated to December 2000