Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Sulabh Gupta

There is no denying climate change and although no one person can change the environment singlehandedly, every small bit matters. No effort is small and even if we take small steps to go green, they would add up slowly but surely.

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Here are ten easy ways for you to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute your bit to the environment.

1. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs: The most energy-efficient light bulbs are compact fluorescent light bulbs also known as CFLs and LED Bulbs. These light bulbs produce the same light output and warm colors as incandescent bulbs and are very energy efficient. While they may be a tad expensive than your normal light bulb but the cost can be recovered through the energy savings through your electricity bill. So the next time you are changing a light bulb or a light in your house, try to buy responsibly.

2. Shut Down your computers at night: Even if your computer is in the energy-saving mode at the night, it still uses some energy. While not shutting down your computer may save you 2-3 minutes in the morning but remember every small step counts and shutting your computer down every night is an easy step to follow. However, if your work doesn't allow you to shut your computer down at the end of the day then you can shut it down on the weekend.

3. Turn off lights in the home when not in use: When the room is not in use, try to switch off the lights and fans in the room. This small thing will save energy and also your money by reducing the cost of your electricity bills. Also, if you don't go out too much try to soak in some daylight by opening your curtains and soaking in some natural light. Nowadays there are motion sensor lights for homes that can switch off automatically when the room is empty.

4. Switch to Energy Efficient appliances: There have been some great innovations in the home applicance industry over the past few years with focus being on efficiency and energy saving. While you would pay a little extra for the convenience and the time you save, the extra cost can be made up by saving a lot of money on electricity and hydro bill. So the next time you are replacing an applicance, consider the more energy efficient options.

5. Wait for a full load before using your washing machine/dishwasher: Don't use your washing machine or dishwasher unless you have enough to justify a full load. This is especially important for people whose utility bills are sometimes included in their rent. Doing so will save both water and energy, and a lot of money on utility and hydro bills. Another option is to try to wash laundry in cold water saving energy used for heating the water. Also, try to skip the heat-dry settings for your dishwasher. Let the dishes air dry in the night. Similarly, try to hang dry your laundry when possible and save tons of energy.

6. Turn Off water when shaving or brushing your teeth: This can reduce your water usage by up to 15% saving on your utility bills and contribute to the environment. Also, don’t brush your teeth in the shower as it will water while you are brushing your teeth. This simple step can save a lot of water wastage that we don't realize we do every morning.

7. Switch to paperless bills: Gone are the days when we used to get all excited for our mails. Spend some time to switch your paper bills to e-bills. You can easily go to your bank's website and switch to a paper bill for all your accounts and even the promotional mails. Also, pay your bills online can save you time and the hassle of managing the paper.

8. Cover your foods and drinks in the refrigerator: When we keep the food uncovered in the refrigerator, it releases moisture and then the compressor has to work harder to keep the unit cold. You can use reusable containers with a lid to keep your leftovers and other food items covered and change the setting on your fridge and freezer to its ideal temperature. The fridge should be between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius and the freezer should be at -18 degrees Celsius.

9. Fix leaky faucets: Ensure no faucet in the bathroom or kitchen is leaky. Even a small leak for a full day can waste a lot of water. We should avoid unnecessary wastage of water and be mindful of our water usage. There are several YouTube videos and websites that can help you with the do it yourself (DIY) steps to fix leaky faucets or any kind of minor plumbing needed.

10. Consider purchasing a dual-flush toilet: The dual flush toilets can help in taking an extra step towards water conservation. They have different buttons to flush for solid and liquid waste and according to waste type, the amount of water is released during the flush. In a household with 2-3 adults, the amount of time flush is used really adds up and having a dual-flush toilet to reduce the water used when you flush your pee can save a lot of water.

While reducing your carbon footprint can be a little bit more expensive than sticking to your usual routine but most of the modern applicances recoup your costs in a few years through the reduced electricity bills. Not everyone can afford to spend extra money in order to go green but the least we could do is to avoid wastage and simple steps like closing the light or the faucet when we don't need them comes a long way to reduce our carbon footprint.

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