Three ways to reduce your carbon footprint

We all want to live in a cleaner, more sustainable, and economically stable world, but addressing climate change can feel like an impossible task.

Treading more lightly on the environment is not an all-or-nothing proposition: there are a few small things we can collectively do to introduce some eco-friendly habits into our lives. When it comes to low-carbon living, the following small shifts can make a significant environmental impact.

Reduce energy consumption

One of the easiest things you can do to live more sustainably is to reduce your day-to-day energy consumption. Turning off lights and unplugging electronics when you’re not in the room or adjusting heating and cooling systems by a few degrees are good first steps. Programmable thermostats, which can detect when you’re out, can even be set to accommodate your daily routines. They can automatically adjust the temperature so you’re not wasting energy on an empty house. 

For even more energy savings, invest in some equipment so you don’t even have to think about daily consumption reductions. Installing energy-efficient LED or CFL lightbulbs can make a real difference over the course of time. So can upgrading to ENERGY STAR® washing machines, refrigerators, and other household appliances.

Of course, energy isn’t the only thing you should focus on conserving – you can regulate your water use by switching to low-flow showerheads, toilets, faucets and monitoring for leaks before they get out of hand. Not only will these small changes spare the environment, but they will also save you money. Even better, you likely won’t even notice these changes once they’re put into practice.

Make the switch to renewables

Everyone can reduce their energy use, but if you really want to commit to slashing your carbon footprint, consider incorporating renewable energy sources into your life. The ease of upgrading energy sources can vary based on where you live, but, if it’s accessible, choosing renewable energy providers in your area will put you on the path toward greener living.

If switching providers isn’t an option, renewable systems developed for home use are becoming more common and easier to implement. Rooftop solar panels are one of the easiest and more affordable ways to power a home with renewable energy. Solar solutions are also becoming more accessible as people increasingly adopt these technologies. Home wind turbines and hydro systems are being developed for private use too, while solar ovens and heating/cooling systems are available for homeowners who want to go at least partially renewable.

Reduce transportation emissions

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or driving to work every day, transportation can be a major source of carbon emissions. Leave your car at home when you can, and instead walk, cycle, carpool, or use public transportation to get around. When using a personal vehicle is necessary, environmentally savvy drivers can invest in electric or hybrid vehicles or fuel-efficient cars. Also consider choosing routes with low traffic to reduce idling or run multiple errands on a single trip to burn less gas or electricity.

Air travellers should also plan trips wisely – direct, non-stop flights are not only more convenient, but are also much more environmentally friendly, as is daytime flying. It’s also not just when you fly, but the plane you fly on. Some airlines use more efficient planes than others, so if you’re committing to reducing your carbon footprint try researching airlines’ environmental policies to determine which sustainable options or carbon offset programs they have.