You’ve probably heard the term “carbon footprint.” You may have even been encouraged to limit your carbon footprint. But what exactly does this mean, and why should you reduce it?
The Spring Power & Gas team has got you covered. Learn why reducing your carbon footprint is important and practical lifestyle shifts you can take to fulfill that.
What Is a Carbon Footprint?
Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by a person, group, product, or organization.
For example, let’s assess the carbon footprint of an individual—you. Think about lifestyle and household factors such as:
- Your daily commute
- Foods you eat
- Clothes you buy
- Items you throw away
All of these components impact your carbon footprint. The smaller your footprint, the less impact it has on the environment and vice versa.
Why Should Carbon Footprint Be Reduced?
There are six key reasons why it’s essential to reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Limit Climate Change
Feeling hotter lately? It’s not just you. Global temperatures are increasing:
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average temperature across 48 states has risen at an average rate of 0.17 degrees Fahrenheit each decade since 1901. The increase is due to the rise in greenhouse gases.
- The average global carbon footprint per individual is four tons. Experts note that to avoid a 35.6-degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperature, the average footprint each year must dip under two tons by 2050. Taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint can help make this goal a reality.
2. Lower Sea Levels
Limiting climate change via carbon footprint reduction can positively impact other environmental areas like sea levels.
Here’s what’s happening—higher temperatures are causing a rise in sea levels, which have increased by eight inches over the past century.
Climate change drives higher sea levels in two ways:
- Expansion of ocean water as it warms
- Melting of glaciers and ice sheets
Higher sea levels can cause:
- Erosion and flooding (higher sea levels bring in higher amounts of seawater inland)
- Loss of habitat for fish, plants, animals, and humans
3. Minimize Changes in Water and Purity Levels
Water temperatures and purity levels change when climate temperatures rise, and ocean waters expand. These shifts can disturb ecosystems, making some species vulnerable to illness.
4. Avoid Melting of Ice at the Poles
Another reason why you should reduce your carbon footprint is the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and temperature changes are impacting our glaciers. The Greenland ice sheet is disappearing four times faster than it did in 2003. This is also contributing to 20% of the current sea level rise.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is key to lowering sea levels and minimizing changes to Earth’s oceans and glaciers.
5. Improve Air Quality and Health
Outdoor pollution is considered a carcinogen. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the reduction of air pollutants can reduce diseases from stroke, heart disease, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases.
Air pollution and greenhouse gases are often released from the same sources. Thus, reducing your carbon footprint can help minimize the toxins released into the air and, more importantly, improve air and life quality.
6. Reduce Energy Bills
Last but not least, reducing your carbon footprint can help you save money. By practicing an eco-friendly lifestyle that reduces emissions, these efforts will show up on your energy bills.
Let’s look at it this way—you can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs by adjusting your thermostat seven to ten degrees from its normal setting.
What Are Some Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
How can you take action to reduce your carbon footprint? Start with these eight household and lifestyle recommendations—simple yet effective tips to help you make a difference in today’s world and the future.
After all, we only have one Earth. Let’s take care of it together. Small adjustments lead to significant results.
1. Switch off & Unplug Unused Devices
Switch off lights and appliances when you’re not using them. And don’t forget to unplug them! This can save you up to 20% on your electricity bill.
2. Launder with Cold Water
Around 90% of the energy used in the washing machine during laundry goes toward heating the water. A household using cold water for laundry can eliminate roughly 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly.
3. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances/Products
These appliances and products may include:
- Light bulbs: Switch your incandescent light bulbs for Energy Star-certified light-emitting diodes (LED) or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). These bulbs use 25 to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs, and they last three to 25 times longer!
- Window shades, shutters, and screens: Did you know window air leaks make up 25 to 30% of residential heating/cooling energy use? Use window shades, shutters, and screens to help cover up the leaks. Weatherize or install energy-efficient windows.
4. Enroll in Eco-Focused Utilities
Eco-focused utility programs allow you to contribute funds toward sustainable projects.
For example, when you enroll in Spring Power & Gas’ utility plan, we match either 50% or 100% of your electricity usage with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Learn how to enroll.
For more tips, read Why There’s Increased Energy Costs and What You Can Do to Save Energy.
1. Walk, Bike, or Carpool
We’ll let these statistics do the talking:
- Going from a car to a bike decreases commuting emissions by 67%.
- Research notes we can save 7.2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions if there’s one extra passenger in every 100 vehicles.
2. Adjust Your Diet
Cutting out dairy and meat as much as possible is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. Studies show life without meat and dairy can eliminate over 75% of farmland and 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Reduce Single-Use Plastics
Around 98% of single-use plastics are created from fossil fuels. Reducing these plastics can decrease greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and help limit climate change.
Look around your home—what are some plastic items you can swap out for reusable ones?
4. Donate Clothes
Prevent clothes from going to landfills by giving them a second life. By doing this, you’re preventing more methane and carbon dioxide from being released from landfills. Look for your nearest donation center today!
Learn More with Spring Power & Gas
We hope you know more about why reducing carbon footprint is important and have gained the confidence to reduce your own carbon footprint. Every step you take today builds a better and healthier life that’s less reliant on fossil fuels.
For more guidance and information, read all about how living a sustainable lifestyle can make the world a better place and improve your physical and mental health.