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SUSTAINABILITY

CALCULATOR GUIDE

How can you become more sustainable in your everyday life? Click on any section to find out how you can be more sustainable in that category.

HOME ENERGY USE

Household appliances produce 31% of global greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This section leads you to look at your personal usage of electricity and allows you to see how you are doing, and what changes would help to increase your sustainability. Throughout this section, there may be some questions that you may not know the exact answers to, but we suggest rounding up when in doubt!

1. Look for energy efficient appliances

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    - When buying new appliances or updating your old appliances, consider energy-efficient appliances, such as Energy Star certified dishwashers, fridges, furnaces, AC units, water heaters, smart thermostats, home energy monitors, etc.
    - This leads to not only reducing carbon emissions but also saving your own money in the long run, as energy-efficient homes are at least 10% more effective than homes built to code.

2. Replace traditional light bulbs

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- Replacing traditional light bulbs such as halogen incandescents with energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs, which can last you 3-25 times more, further reduces the need to spend more on light bulbs.
- Although energy-efficient bulbs have a higher initial value price, 25-80% less energy is utilized, so you are saving more money in the long run.
- Replacing traditional light bulbs with LED motion sensor lights may also be beneficial for outdoor circumstances.

3. Turn off and/or unplug appliances

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- Because many appliances and devices have stand-by power, energy is used even if the appliance or device itself is not in use.
- Therefore, try to unplug or turn off any appliances/devices when not in use. Examples include toasters, chargers, lights, coffee makers, microwave, and computers.
- Additionally, turning off your lights when not in use will save the most energy and will cost you less on your electricity bill.

4. Improve your house insulation

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- Poorly insulated housing requires large quantities of energy to heat and cool. Therefore, improve the insulation in areas such as the walls, attic, basement, as well as purchase well-insulated windows.
- Specifically, if your furnace or boiler depends on non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels, it is important to limit the amount of heating/cooling due to high carbon emissions.
- If you are on a budget, try wearing more layers and using more blankets during the winter, and open windows and use ceiling fans during the summer.

5. Switch to a green energy provider

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- According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. residential sector accounts for 21% of all energy consumption and 20% of our country’s carbon emissions.
- Therefore, switching your household energy provider to a renewable energy source can save vast amounts of energy as well as cost. Check the utility green power services in your state to join the renewable energy program.
- If feasible, you can invest and install your own solar panels.

6. Maintain your furnace and/or air conditioner filter

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- In addition to replacing old and inefficient appliances, it is recommended to clean or replace any filters on your furnaces and/or air conditioners at least once a month.
- Natural pollutants such as dirt or dust can accumulate in the coil, further reducing the overall efficiency by 21%.
- Therefore, to extend the lifetime of your furnace and/or air conditioner, try to research the manufacturer for the size and shape of your filter.