How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home

Not only will these basic changes help you save money, but they will also significantly reduce your energy consumption.

According to reports from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans have among the worst carbon emission rates per-person. Approximately one-quarter of the energy used in the standard American household is used for ambient heating. Roughly 13 percent is used for heating water, and just over 10 percent is used for air conditioning. The remainder is used to power household appliances. By making even minor changes to our home heating and cooling habits, we can make a significant difference in the amount of energy we use, and therefore the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere. Here are a few ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home. (If you want to learn how much energy you use before you implement the following adjustments, this energy use calculator can help you estimate your output.)

  • Lower your heat. If you have a thermostat that you can program to maintain a particular temperature, keep it set at a level that keeps you comfortable, though not necessarily able to lounge around in a t-shirt and shorts. Make sure your windows are closed to minimize temperature fluctuations.
  • Lower your water temperature. Reduce the heat on your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Always keep the lights off in rooms you aren’t in. If you’re not using a room, shut off the lights.
  • Unplug appliances you don’t use. Lots of home appliances continue to drain energy when turned off. If you can’t unplug them, switch them to sleep mode, if possible.
  • Don’t stream content using your game console. Game consoles use ten times more energy to stream media than smart TVs and plugins.
  • If you’re in the market for a new computer, buy a laptop, not a desktop. Laptop computers use significantly less energy to operate and charge than desktops.
  • Change your energy-draining lightbulbs. If you’re still using incandescent lights, switch to LED lights instead. LED lights last approximately 25 times longer than their incandescent forebearers, and they use 85 percent less energy!

Reducing your carbon footprint might require a holistic set of lifestyle changes, but not only will you help lower the volume of greenhouse gasses you generate, but you’ll also save money.

Forest Founders is committed to reversing the devastating of climate change through comprehensive action, including raising awareness of our role in creating the climate crisis, supporting organizations that help us reduce our carbon footprint, and advocating for global reforestation initiatives. To learn how you can help protect and restore global forests, please visit our information center.