How to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions at home

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - Mak­ing more ef­fi­cient use of home heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems is one way home­own­ers can re­duce green­house gas emis­sions at home.

Green­house gases are gases in the at­mos­phere that ab­sorb and emit ra­di­a­tion. Wa­ter va­por, car­bon diox­ide, meth­ane, ni­trous ox­ide, and ozone are the pri­mary green­house gases in the Earth’s at­mos­phere, and ac­cord­ing to the United States En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, th­ese gases are sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tors to cli­mate change.

While cli­mate change poses a con­sid­er­able threat, it’s im­por­tant to note that much of the in­crease in green­house gases over the last 150 years can be traced to hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties. By chang­ing cer­tain be­hav­iors and prac­tices, men and women can help to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions. The fol­low­ing are a few sim­ple changes men and women can make in an ef­fort to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions in their homes.

Buy EN­ERGY STAR® prod­ucts. A 2012 re­port from the United States En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion noted that elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion gen­er­ates the largest share of green­house gas emis­sions. The EN­ERGY STAR® la­bel in­di­cates prod­ucts have been tested and ap­proved as en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient, mean­ing they con­sume less elec­tric­ity than other sim­i­lar prod­ucts. The EN­ERGY STAR® la­bel can be found on a host of home ap­pli­ances, in­clud­ing light­ing, heat­ing and cool­ing equip­ment and elec­tron­ics. Home­own­ers who want to pitch in to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions while also low­er­ing their util­ity bills should only con­sider those prod­ucts that have earned the EN­ERGY STAR® la­bel.

Re­visit your cool­ing and heat­ing habits. Home cool­ing and heat­ing sys­tems con­sume a con­sid­er­able amount of en­ergy, and in­ef­fi­cient use of th­ese sys­tems is a sig­nif­i­cant contributor to green­house gas emis­sions. But cut­ting back on th­ese emis­sions does not mean you have to sweat out sul­try sum­mer af­ter­noons or hide un­der the cov­ers upon the ar­rival of win­ter. Re­plac­ing air fil­ters ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer guide­lines and us­ing pro­gram­mable ther­mostats so you aren’t heat­ing and cool­ing your house when no one is home are some easy ways to dra­mat­i­cally re­duce the green­house gas emis­sions that em­anate from your heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems. Such ef­fi­cient use of th­ese sys­tems also saves you money on your monthly en­ergy bills.

Re­cy­cle. Re­cy­cling can greatly re­duce your home’s green­house gas emis­sions. Many com­mu­ni­ties now man­date that res­i­dents re­cy­cle plas­tics, glass con­tain­ers and pa­per goods like news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines. Re­cy­cling can be so sim­ple that it’s easy to for­get just how ben­e­fi­cial it can be. When prod­ucts are re­cy­cled, that re­duces the need to ex­tract re­sources, man­u­fac­ture re­place­ment goods and dis­pose of prod­ucts, each of which con­trib­utes to pol­lu­tion and green­house gas emis­sions. If you and mem­bers of your house­hold have yet to embrace re­cy­cling, you’re not only in­creas­ing green­house gas emis­sions, but also you may even be break­ing the law. If your com­mu­nity spon­sors a re­cy­cling pro­gram, sim­ply sep­a­rate re­cy­clable items from the rest of your trash and leave them out on the curb on des­ig­nated pickup days. If no such pro­gram ex­ists in your com­mu­nity, sep­a­rate items to re­cy­cle and pe­ri­od­i­cally bring them to your lo­cal re­cy­cling cen­ter, which may even pay you for cer­tain items.

Com­post food waste. In­stead of dis­card­ing leftovers in the garbage can, com­post that wasted food so it does not end up in land­fills, where it will con­trib­ute to meth­ane gas in the air. Com­post­ing food waste can im­prove the soil in your yard and re­duce green­house gas emis­sions, and it also makes you feel bet­ter that you’re mak­ing use of wasted food that would oth­er­wise go straight into the garbage can.

Re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions may seem like a mas­sive un­der­tak­ing, but con­cerned men and women can em­ploy sev­eral sim­ple strate­gies to do their part to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

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