Summer is a great time work on projects around the home that reduce your environmental impact. Even if you are not making big changes, such as replacing old leaky windows or installing ceiling fans, there are still small things that can be done around the house to minimize energy consumption and reduce your carbon footprint. Read on to learn more about how to make simple, sustainable adjustments to your home.
•· Plug household appliances such as computers, printers, televisions and microwaves into a power strip that can be turned off at night. Even when these items are not in use their "standby" consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.
•· Use the dishwasher. Newer dishwashers typically use only 4 or 5 gallons of water, while washing a sink full of dishes by hand can require up to 15 gallons of water. Not only will you avoid wasting water, you'll also save the energy your water heater would have used on those additional gallons.
•· Adjust your thermostat. A difference of just two degrees you could reduce your household's carbon dioxide emission by 2,000 pounds, in addition to providing significant savings on your utilities bill. In the summer, keep your thermostat at 78° or higher.
•· Keeping household appliances clean and up to date can significantly curb your household's energy consumption. Schedule your heating and cooling system for a checkup every 2 years. Be sure to clean the filter or coils monthly on your air conditioner and refrigerator to ensure they are working efficiently.
•· Prevent leaks. Insulating your water heater and weather-stripping or caulking around windows and doors in your house could save up to 420 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions a month.
•· Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs. CFLs use significantly less energy and can last up to ten times longer then standard incandescent bulbs. Replace five of the most-used lights in the house with CFLs and enjoy reductions in heat production, energy use, and electricity bills!
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