Summer is here and it’s a perfect time of year to make efforts to reduce your carbon footprint. Do your part to protect the planet and consider working the following seven tips into your routine this summer.
1. Utilize energy-efficient methods to repel heat indoors
The more heat your house is exposed to, the harder your cooling system has to work to keep your home at a pleasant temperature, which requires a higher level of energy usage that ultimately leads to more greenhouse gases being emitted into the environment.
One way to combat this is to ensure that your home is properly insulated, particularly in the attic and around doors, windows, baseboards, and electrical outlets. Make sure that the insulation in your attic is evenly distributed with no low spots, and add more insulation if necessary. In addition, take a few minutes to check for spots where air could be leaking out of your home. A simple way to do this is by holding a string or feather around door frames, window frames, baseboards, and outlets and looking to see if it moves. If it does, sealing those spots with expanding foam, caulking, weather stripping, or insulation pads will do wonders for keeping cold air in your home and reducing the pressure on your cooling system.
Installing thermal blinds or shades is another way to maximize your home’s energy efficiency, as they will help to reduce heat from sunlight entering into your home, as well as keep cool air from escaping through windows.
2. Be strategic about appliance use
Not only will utilizing appliances increase your home’s internal temperature, but many of them require a significant amount of energy to do their job. To conserve energy, look for ways to avoid using appliances when possible, such as taking advantage of the sun to dry clothes outside rather than throwing them in the dryer or eating cold foods that work to cool down your body temperature and do not require use of an oven, stove, or microwave. In the event that you do need to use an appliance, try to do it at early in the morning or at night rather than during the heat of the day so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to combat the warmth it produces.
Additionally, unplugging your TV, computer, and other electronic devices can help to reduce your home’s carbon emissions. After all, summer is the perfect time to disconnect from technology, get outside, and enjoy the warm weather with family and friends.
3. Make the most of your backyard
Your backyard is a perfect spot to implement a variety of green living techniques during the warm summer months.
For example, planting and growing fruits and vegetables in your yard rather than purchasing them from the store is great for the environment and reduces your carbon footprint because it helps cut down on greenhouse gases that are emitted when food is shipped to your local grocer. Plus, eating home-grown seasonal fruits and veggies can have positive effects on your health.
Landscaping your yard with trees and other beneficial plants is another great way to positively impact the environment. Trees not only work to shade your yard and home from direct sunlight, which will help to keep you cool during the summer, but they also fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, which purifies the air.
In addition, starting a compost pile in your yard will reduce the waste you send to the landfill as well as provide you with fertile, nutrient-rich organic soil that can be used on your lawn or in your vegetable garden.
4. Install solar panels
Purchasing or leasing a solar energy system is beneficial to the environment because it can help to offset your household’s electricity use with clean, renewable energy, and summer is the perfect time to have a system installed; in many areas, solar panels produce their largest energy output of the year during sunny summer months.
In addition to the positive environmental impact, installing a solar system is also be financially beneficial in several states and can help homeowners save money on their electricity bills. Speaking with a local solar company will give you insights into solar options and savings in your area.
5. Take advantage of eco-friendly modes of transportation
Warm summer weather provides a great opportunity to reduce fuel consumption and pollution and get around town in more environmentally friendly ways than driving your car. If you need to go somewhere close to home, consider walking or riding a bike. If you’re looking to go somewhere a little further away, look into public transportation options, such as trains or buses.
6. Minimize waste at picnics, BBQs, and other get-togethers
Summer is perfect for festivals, BBQs, picnics, and other fun get-togethers with family and friends. However, these activities often produce quite a bit of waste. Instead of purchasing disposable dishes and utensils, use reusable plates, cups, and silverware. Additionally, utilize cloth napkins and dish towels rather than paper. When the event is over, pick up any trash, recycle what you can, and collect food scraps to add to your compost pile.
7. Go on a green vacation or staycation
Many people travel during the summer, but tourism can have negative impacts on the environment due to carbon dioxide emissions from airplanes, increased waste, and pollution. To minimize harmful environmental effects, consider a vacation closer to home. If you already have your heart set on visiting a faraway destination, be a little more eco-friendly on your trip by packing as light as you can, traveling in the most economical way possible, and staying with a local or in a green hotel.