3 Ways Homeowners Can Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

by Guest Author on April 15, 2013

Most modern families and individuals spend more time thinking about their high utility bills and household expenses far more than any notion of reducing their carbon footprint. Just using an HVAC system in those chilly winter months or that sweltering summer season can nearly break the bank. What many people don’t know is that they can reduce these exorbitant utility bills while reducing their carbon footprint in the process.

The idea is hardly revolutionary. All average folks need to do is make a few simple upgrades and follow a few simple guidelines and they can expect to see savings of hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually.

Upgrade to Energy Star Qualified Appliances

The notion of spending money to save money isn’t a practical idea for many people. But this isn’t a matter of saving pennies with a slightly more efficient appliance. Older appliances, from blenders to refrigerators, simply weren’t manufactured with energy efficiency in mind. And those who do have mostly older appliances in the kitchen and laundry room can draw a direct line from these energy suckers to their high utility bills.

Energy Star is the answer. It is federal standard overseen by the Department of Energy and statistics show that those who upgrade to Energy Star qualified appliances save between 10-30% on their overall energy consumption. This translates to big savings when it comes time to pay the bills.

One example is the refrigerator. This appliance is one of the biggest energy users in the home. And according to a study by the Washington Post, the average household only upgrades their refrigerator once every ten years or so. That means most people are still using inefficient models. By upgrading to an Energy Star fridge, on the other hand, people can expect to save 100 dollars or more per month on their energy costs.

Manage heating and cooling

The HVAC system accounts for over 50% of the average household’s utility bills. Indeed, when the cold or heat comes rolling in, most people opt for quick comfort and crank up the heat or AC. By adopting more moderate habits – and avoiding using the HVAC system during peak hours – people can see a drastic reduction in energy costs. That means keeping the home at an average temp of 77 degrees.

Change kitchen habits

Between water usage and electricity consumption, the kitchen uses more energy than any other area in the home. After upgrading to Energy Star qualified appliances whenever possible, it’s time to change some basic kitchen habits. That means avoiding hand washing dishes whenever possible. Modern dishwashers come with sensor technology that regulates water flow, so utilizing these washers is always preferable to washing dishes in a sink. As far as the stovetop is concerned, it’s best to ensure no heat waste occurs by only using pots and pans with a surface area that matches that of the burner. A pan or pot that is too small for the burner means all that extra heat escapes.

By taking these tips to heart, the average person can save hundreds or possibly even thousands of dollars on his or her annual utility bills.

About the Author: Phillip Rogers is an active green blogger passionate about detailing Australia’s shift to renewable energy and helping people answer the question “How does solar power work?”

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