Minimizing Your Carbon Footprint At Home

There are several steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint at home. Some involve making small adjustments in your lifestyle. Others may require you to purchase new appliances that are more efficient than your current devices.

Research your choices when it comes to electricity. Most utilities generate electricity through burning fossil fuels. However, some utility companies offer consumers the chance to purchase power from green, renewable sources such as solar or wind power.

Much of our energy consumption goes to heating and air conditioning. Make sure you replace your air filters often so that your heater and air conditioner will work efficiently. Draft-proof your windows and doors, too. When heating your home, try to maintain a lower temperature to conserve energy. Wearing a sweater or thicker socks is a more environmentally friendly choice than cranking up the heat.

When cooling your home, try using fans when possible. Fans tend to consume less electricity than air conditioning units. But if you're going to use an air conditioning unit, make sure it's the right size for the area of your home.

Because appliances can draw power even when they're turned off, it's a good idea to either unplug them when they aren't in use or purchase special power strips that kill all power after a period of non-use. This will prevent vampire power consumption. When purchasing a new appliance, shop around for energy-efficient models. Look for Energy Star ratings or similar standards.

Use fluorescent bulbs rather than incandescent bulbs. They use significantly less electricity. But be careful when disposing used fluorescent bulbs -- they contain dangerous chemicals. Also, make sure to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Try to wash clothing in cold water whenever possible. It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Hanging clothes to dry will also conserve energy. On a related note, try to drip dry dishes. Avoid using heated dishwasher settings to dry them.

If you maintain your own lawn, consider purchasing a reel mower instead of a gas-powered lawnmower. They don't emit greenhouse gases, because these machines rely on physical work provided by you rather than by a motor.

Other good habits to develop including conserving water, composting organic garbage and recycling as much as you can.