4 Ways to Address Your Home’s Carbon Footprint

April 21, 2020 |

By Drew Page, Content Marketing Lead, Siege Media

Special to The Digest

After many studies and drastic changes in the environment, scientists are certain that human pollution, especially in the last 50 years, has had a significantly negative effect on the planet.

In less than 150 years, greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane have been released into the atmosphere at rates the planet cannot keep up with. The threat this poses is much larger than the average person might realize, as it puts life as we know it on this planet at risk. Not only can air pollution lead to natural disasters, but it can also change the entire climate of a state or region.

American households alone have a huge impact on how greenhouse gasses get released. From our frequent transportation needs to the food we eat and the appliances we use to cook them, Americans are contributing greenhouse gasses all day. Humans must find a way to reduce their emissions, and fast. Here we will dive deeper into how American households are creating pollution, and how to reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

1. Clean-up your diet

Food can contribute 30% of an American household’s carbon footprint depending on your lifestyle. 75% of that comes from just Meat and Dairy Products alone. Making a household switch to a vegan, vegetarian, or simply less carnivorous lifestyle can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. 

The biggest greenhouse gas contributor from meat and dairy isn’t just food waste, but the energy required to produce these foods. On the contrary, fruits, vegetables, and other plants take much less energy to produce.

Nonetheless, if you don’t want to make such a dramatic lifestyle change, you can focus on changing the kind of meat you buy. Switching to eating chicken for one year, rather than beef, can bring down your greenhouse emissions by 882 pounds. This is also equivalent to driving your car over 1,000 miles less in a year.

2. Improve your HVAC systems

To heat their homes, most people need to use natural gas that comes from fossil fuels. During the winter this can produce a lot of emissions while people are constantly running their heater. In fact, HVAC services in residential communities are responsible for 41% of all home energy use in the United States. Unfortunately, many of the clean electric furnaces that are on the market also produce a fair amount of emissions.

Try reducing your carbon footprint by getting a high-efficiency furnace, which is capable of reducing energy usage by 36% of a regular furnace. You can also try using a smart thermostat. These new and improved tools allow you more control over the energy use in your home with adjustable settings.

3. Shop Smart

One more way that you can reduce your household’s carbon footprint is by living a more simple lifestyle when it comes to retail shopping. It is estimated that more than 29% of household emissions come from the consumer goods we purchase.

Much like meat and dairy, the majority of the emissions from consumerism come from the extraction of raw materials and the manufacturing process to produce the final product. There is also a significant amount of energy used to transport them to the store and waste created when they are thrown away.

Try to do your part by purchasing products that have less packaging, renting when possible, and repurposing used goods.

If we all work on these things together then we have a chance to lower our carbon footprint. Many young adults who now want to purchase a home grew up being taught to reduce, reuse and recycle. With this in mind, we should continue to practice and preach this with younger generations until we can eliminate a majority of greenhouse gasses.

4. Drive Smarter

As you can see below, transportation is the number one contributor to the average American’s greenhouse gas emissions:

There are alternative forms of transportation that can help reduce carbon emissions, from electric vehicles to biofuels.

Unfortunately, electric vehicles in many cases, do not help reduce carbon emissions much, and they certainly have not achieved the “zero emissions” that many tout. Many countries, for example, still use fossil fuels to power their grid. This means that charging electric vehicles actually has a negative impact on the environment.

Consider buying a vehicle that uses biodiesel, ethanol, or another biofuel source. Iowa, for example, has been making progress on the biofuel front, revealing that 70% of on-road diesel fuel contains biodiesel.

If you and your fellow Americans can implement some or all of these strategies, together we can reduce our cumulative carbon footprint.

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Category: Thought Leadership

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