Summer with its hot temperatures and air conditioning is almost here. The three main sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from homes are energy use, heating, and waste. The average home emits about four metric tons of carbon (nearly 9,000 pounds) per person every year. Energy use accounts for 7.4 metric tons (about 16,290 lbs.).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlined ways people can reduce their carbon footprint this summer. The first thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint this summer is to buy a programmable thermostat if you do not have one. Set the thermostat at energy saving temperatures when you are not at home or at night. Energy Star thermostats have pre-programmed settings. Keep in mind that when you override the pre-programmed settings you use more energy. Turning the thermostat down one degree will reduce your home’s carbon emissions by 220 lbs. a year.
Install the thermostat on an interior wall away from appliances, doorways, skylights, and windows. There is an added bonus to using Energy Star thermostats properly: you can save up to $180.
Inspect your home’s duct system for leaks and disconnections. Most homes leak 20 percent or more. Seal all leaks with foil tape or a special sealant called “duct mastic.”
Seal all air leaks in your home. Keep in mind that the majority of air leaks occur in the attic, basement, around doors, windows, vents, pipes, and electrical outlets. Seal the leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping. Sealing air leaks will save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10 percent on your total energy bill.
Add insulation to block your home’s heat gain in summer, and heat loss in winter. Proper insulation can reduce your homes carbon emissions by 1,760 lbs. a year.
Check the air filter on your home’s cooling system monthly, and change it every three months. Clean and adjust your cooling system’s blower components so air flows properly. If you have a central air conditioner, check its refrigerant charge and adjust it if needed so it meets the manufacturer’s specifications.