How much are you really affecting the atmosphere? Can you find out what kind of carbon footprint your home is making? Actually, not only are there ways to calculate your home’s carbon footprint; there are ways to reduce it, too. If we each make an effort to reduce our emissions, overall it will have a positive impact and we can make progress towards achieving our goal of 350 or less, in which 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in “Parts Per Million” in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it’s the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has a carbon calculator on its website, Household Emissions Calculator Here. Various other calculators are available online to determine your carbon footprint. It is relatively simple to use, and here are some instructions to help you find and use it:
You enter the location of your home, usually by providing a zip code. The calculator will ask what method or methods you use to heat and cool your home. Then, it will ask you what your utility bills cost. The calculator then tells you how many pounds of carbon dioxide, or CO2, your home produces per year.
It can actually be a rather stunning amount – an average home in South Carolina, for example, that uses electricity and gas for heating and cooling, produces more than 28,000 pounds of CO2 per year. And that’s just one house.
Basically, how much CO2 your home produces has to do with your energy consumption. If you calculate your home’s carbon footprint and are dissatisfied with your score, here are some ways to reduce your CO2 production.
1. Reduce electricity by hanging out your clothes to dry, or using an indoor clothes drier rack for winter months or rainy days.
2. Insulate your home, especially the attic. Seal cracks around doors and windows with caulk and weather stripping.
3. Open curtains and shades on cold, sunny days to let the sunshine help warm your home. Draw drapes and shades at night to keep cold air from leaking in. In the summer, keep drapes closed to keep the hot sun out, so your air conditioner won’t have to work as much if you use one.
4. Turn out the lights when you leave the room. And if those lights are compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), then you are
on the right track. CFLs provide more light for less electricity.
5. Buy Energy Star appliances when you need to upgrade.
6. Turn down your thermostat in the winter and turn it up in the summer when you leave the house and at night.
7. Consolidate cooking whenever you can – if you are baking, bake several items at once and use residual heat when you
8. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine if they are full.
We hope that our article on How to Calculate Your Household Carbon Emissions and Total Carbon Emissions helps you to be more aware of your carbon impact and to limit the amounts of co2 you contribute to the atmosphere as an individual.