Cool Solutions

Our Carbon Footprint


January 1, 2010 12:00 am





We are at a time where we need to conserve. Even the wealthy are cutting back on extra spending. All of us are staying home more now and choosing not to eat out as much. My family and I have cut back and limited ourselves to eating out only once a week now. I have the ability to work at home so I have chosen to work 3-days a week at home to conserve time and fuel. I have felt this recession crunch more than any of the other ones through the last 20 years. I think this is because I am older now and more in tune with my surroundings. I pay more attention to world news and events than I use too. I think we need to start conserving and doing our part from now moving forward, financial/world crisis or not. This has been a wake-up call for me.

One thing my family and I are doing this year is to for go our family vacation and spend the extra time using our swimming pool. I am going to plan some extra curricular activities including volleyball and basketball tournaments in the pool. I am just going to center some extra fun activities so our kids, their friends and us can have loads of fun.

Reducing our carbon footprint is another way of saying “conservation”. Most of our energy needs are directly related to fossil fuel consumption, which is a carbon-based product. It’s going to be that way we live for many more years. We have build and live in a world, creating an infrastructure with oil that we can’t unravel easily. We use it for all of our transportation needs. Its how we drive to work, how we transport all of our consumables. We heat our houses, lubricate all of our machinery, and manufacture all of our plastic products. This list can go on and on. We are a carbon-based society and cannot get away from that fact….

So this is why we need to conserve, to reduce our carbon emissions. Things that we can do that can make a direct difference.

Replace all of your incandescent bulbs with compact florescent bulbs. Start with replacing one or two every week. They use a 1/3rd the energy of incandescent bulbs, so imagine the saving throughout your whole house. I have them inside and out.

Make sure you get a programmable thermostat. I turn down my thermostat 5 degrees during the days when I am not at home, and at night when I am sleeping. 1 degree of temperature reduction equals 5% cost of heating your house according to the “Alliance for Energy”.( )

Make sure all your storm windows are closed. I live in an older home, so when Halloween comes around, mine are checked and buttoned down.

Most of our appliances run on low voltage and require step-down transformers to run. You notice this when you plug in the appliance with the plug end being square and bulky. When you are not using that appliance, unplug it. Obviously we can to that with everything (ie alarm clocks), but I bet many of us can unplug a many of them.

Insulate your water heater if it is older than 2004. The newer ones have a sufficient amount of the stuff.

Cover your hot tub when not in use. We all have those hard covers that we purchased or came with when we bought. But those floatable plastic solar covers we use on our pool work great on hot tubs underneath the hard cover. You can cut your energy used to heat that by a 1/3rd if you do this.

Make sure your furnace is serviced every two years will cut down helping you save up to 1250 pounds of carbon emissions per year. WOW

Set your clothes washer to cold and leave it. A 50% energy savings can be seen if you use only cold water to wash.

Dim the lights when you don’t need the brightness. Cuts electricity by the same percent of the lower light.

Fell for any drafts around your windows and doors. Install weatherstrip where needed. On a few of my windows I install that clear plastic film which is transparent and comes off easy for spring and summer.

Lower you hot water heater, 120 degrees is ideal.

Insulate all of your exposed hot water pipes. Keep all of that heat generated to stay there until it comes our your faucets.

Use timers on lighted areas that you only use occasionally including exterior lights.

These are a few things that I do that save a lot of money and help to conserve and contribute to our great world. It’s not hard at all, it just take a little conscience effort on our parts.

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