There are many practical actions that we can all take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of these actions can also save money. Start by considering the changes you can make at home, on the road, and through the purchases you make. You can also use the carbon calculator to see how some of these actions can reduce your carbon footprint. In the home:
Improve your personal energy efficiency Most home energy is used for heating and cooling and cost savings and CO2 reductions of over 10% can often be made simply by adjusting heating controls to reduce overheating, sealing gaps and using natural ventilation more effectively.
Electrical appliances waste energy if not used thoughtfully: leaving equipment such as televisions and phone chargers on “standby”, running washing machines at higher than necessary temperatures, leaving lights on when not needed and over-filling pans and kettles are all examples of wasted energy and unnecessary carbon emissions.
Recycling materials can help to reduce carbon emissions by avoiding the need to extract and refine new raw materials. For example, the recycling of one kilo of aluminum can avoid the emission of up to 11 kilos of CO2. Recycling organic materials such as paper and cardboard can avoid emissions of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) from landfill sites.
To see how changes in your home energy use affect your carbon footprint select different options on the “personal energy use” section of the carbon calculator. Choose Efficient Appliances and Fittings When purchasing a dishwasher, television, or other appliance, look for a model that’s highly efficient. If possible, choose an appliance that has an official label, such as The Energy Star in the US or A/A rated in Europe. Modern condensing water boilers are about 20% more efficient than traditional boilers.
Efficient “fluorescent” light bulbs use less than half the energy to produce the same amount of light than traditional “incandescent” bulbs. The US Department of Energy has estimated that over 1 trillion pounds (400 million metric tonnes) of CO2 emissions could be avoided by switching to efficient lighting in the US alone.
Good thermal insulation and draught-proofing are some of the most cost-effective means of reducing energy costs and carbon emissions. Check out the quality of insulation in lofts and cavity walls. Check for gaps around doors and windows.
To see how efficient appliances, fitting and insulation affect your carbon footprint select different options on the "household energy" section of the carbon calculator. Use Green Technologies New and renewable technologies can radically improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions associated with the energy we use. Solar energy can be used both for heating water and generating electricity. New small-scale wind turbines are also becoming available for household electricity generation.
To see how various new and renewable technologies can reduce your carbon footprint select different options on the “green technology” section of the carbon calculator. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s “Home Energy Saver” (US only) Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (US only) Energy Savings Trust (UK only) On the road:
Think Before You Drive About 20% of global carbon emissions are produced by transport. Every litre of petrol burned produces about 2.7 kg CO2 (22 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gasoline). Choose a fuel-efficient car Vehicles that are fuel-efficient produce less CO2 per mile. The most efficient vehicles, such as compact hybrids produce under 0.4 pounds of CO2 per mile (110 g CO2 per km) whereas most large SUVs and high performance cars produce at least twice this figure. The US Department of Energy provides fuel economy and CO2 figures for nearly all makes of cars and trucks. Fuel economy and CO2 figures for cars and trucks (US) Regular Maintenance Ensure your car is properly maintained. In particular check tyre pressures and engine lubrication. Advanced synthetic lubricants such as Castrol’s SYNTEC (in USA), GTX Magnatec or EDGE (in Europe) can improve engine efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by about 5%. De-mount roof racks or roof boxes when not required, since these can reduce vehicle efficiency by over 10% Take Public Transportation Instead of driving your car to work or for quick errands, take the train or bus. Some employers even offer incentives to employees who take public transportation. Public transportation systems throughout the US Journey planning by public transport within the UK Carpool Every time you carpool you’re taking another car off the road. Carpooling is also an excellent cost saving arrangement, particularly for those individuals who commute long distances to and from work each day, have limited access to public transit and few transportation options available to them. Twenty states in the U.S. now reserve entire lanes of their highway systems for carpoolers.
To see how changing your car and transport options can reduce your carbon footprint select different options on the “car and travel” section of the carbon calculator www.erideshare.com - carpooling in the US www.car-pool.co.uk - carpooling in Europe At the store:
Buy Recycled Products In many cases, products made from recycled materials require less energy to produce as compared to those made from original materials. For example, it takes 75% less energy to make items from recycled steel than it does from new steel. When shopping for office paper, don’t just look for a recycled label, make sure the paper uses a minimum of 30% post consumer waste. In general, purchase goods that are sold with less packaging. This means less energy to produce the package, less waste that goes to the landfill, and fewer trips to the curb to dispose of your rubbish.
Personal CO2 calculator: http://www.bp.com/extendedsectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9006010&contentId=7012265