Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (And Save Money)

“Carbon footprint” is the term used to describe the total impact we each have on the environment in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) we produce and is measured in pounds (or metric tons) of carbon emitted into the air. Many daily activities (such as heating a house, driving a car, and using electricity) emit some amount of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emitted into the air is the primary cause of climate change.

Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the pounds of carbon dioxide you or your household emit, and the whole earth will be healthier!

5 easy ways to reduce your carbon emissions and save money too

1) Take 5-minute showers. Reduce your shower time to 5 minutes and reduce your carbon emissions by 300 pounds per person in your household per year. You will save money because you will use substantially less hot water. If you also install low-flow shower heads, count yourself in for an additional carbon reduction of 250 pounds per person annually.

2) Eat one less meal with meat a week. Be a vegetarian for one or more meals per week and knock off another 700 pounds of carbon annually for each regular day switched. Because meat is one of the most expensive regular food items we buy, you are likely to save money each time you substitute vegetables for your main course.

3) Run your dishwasher one fewer time each week. Load it up! If you eliminate just one dishwasher run a week, you reduce your household carbon emissions by 100 pounds per year for each load less. The money savings are obvious—less energy and less water used to run the machine.

4) Install energy-efficient light bulbs. If you change just 5 of your regular light bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) you will lose 500 pounds of carbon emissions annually. CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than regular bulbs and last 10 times longer, so you also save money. Over a CFL’s lifetime, you save approximately $30 to $40.

5) Turn off your computer at night and unplug your television when not in use. Many electronic devices continue to use energy even when you think they are off because they are actually not fully shut down. Credit yourself with a carbon-emission reduction of 600 pounds annually if you unplug the TV whenever it is not being used and if you turn off your computer at night (don’t just put it to sleep). Obviously these items are costing you money if they are not being used but are not fully shut down, so you will save on your electric bill by making sure they are really off.

Source for carbon numbers: Low Carbon Diet by David Gershon (click here for more information)