Simple changes to your daily routine can lead to a greener future

Sustainability |  2 min. read

So you keep the tires on your car properly inflated – you’ve cleared all that extra junk out of the trunk – you drive at a steady speed, not jackrabbit starts or stops – you keep your car tuned up and your air filter clean.  Your car is a lean, mean, green machine.

That’s good.  But like a lot of us, maybe you want to do more to reduce your “carbon footprint” and fight global warming.

Well, there IS plenty each of us can do, some easy things to change, some things maybe more of a challenge.  Here are a few suggestions:

Wash your clothes in cold water.  Today’s detergents and machines are made to handle that – and it turns out that THREE-QUARTERS of the energy your washer uses, and the greenhouse gas emissions that it creates – comes just from heating the water.

Got a dishwasher?  Use it, but use it only when it’s full.  That could cut 100 pounds of CO2 emissions every year (and you’ll save money too).

And speaking of water, if you turn down the temperature on your water heater from what it usually is (140 degrees Fahrenheit), to 120 degrees – you can knock off another 550 pounds of CO2, each year.

Here’s a different energy saving tip for the house – change out those old incandescent light bulbs for CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) – the twisty bulbs.  Yes, the old CFLs were not so great – but today’s bulbs are quiet, come in almost every size and shape you could want, and the quality of the light is good (“warmer”, in the trade).  The typical CFL bulb uses just TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT of the electricity the old incandescent bulbs use – so if every household in the country made the switch, we’d cut 62.5 million tons of CO2 emissions each year.  (They last longer too, a lot longer – so you’ll save money on light bulbs as well.)

Now, if you want more of a challenge (or if you’ve already done all that), here’s something a little more demanding, for most of us.

One day every week when you would be having a burger or something else with beef – eat something with chicken instead.  Yes, it’s the cow “f__t” thing.  Cows are a serious source of methane (a greenhouse gas).  Switching one day a week, keeps the equivalent of 730 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere, every year.  And if all of us in the U.S., had a “no meat” day once a week – well, that’s a lot greenhouse gas that never gets into the air.

Maybe none of that seems like such a big deal when you do it, or your neighbor does it – but when everyone does – the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions adds up to a lot.  And of course, there are more changes we can make too – you may have your own list – and everything any of us does, helps.  (And while you’re doing everything else, don’t forget to take care of your car  too.)