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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

When buying new appliances or updating your old appliances, research energy-efficient appliances such as Energy Star certified products including 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

By replacing traditional light bulbs such as halogen incandescents with energy-efficient bulbs such as LEDs, it can last you 3-25 times more which further reduces the hassle to buy a few every month. In addition, as 25-80% less energy is utilized in energy-efficient bulbs, you are saving more money in the long run even with a higher initial value price. Furthermore, replacing traditional light bulbs with LED motion sensor lights may be beneficial for outdoor circumstances such as your garage porch.

3. Turn off and/or unplug appliances

As many appliances and devices have stand-by power, it leads to the use of energy 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 such as toasters, chargers, lights, coffee makers, microwave, computers, etc. Additionally, turning off your lights when they are not necessary will also save the most energy and will cost you less on your electricity bill.

4. Improve your house insulation

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

5. Switch to a green energy provider

According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. residential sector accounts for 21 percent of all energy consumption and 20 percent of our country’s carbon emissions. Therefore, switching your household energy provider to be from 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. Additionally, you can invest and install your own solar panels if feasible.

6. Maintain your furnace and/or air conditioner filter

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. As natural pollutants such as dirt or dust can accumulate in the coil, it can further reduce the overall efficiency by 21%. Therefore, to extend the lifetime of your furnace and/or air conditioner, researching the manufacturer for the size and shape of your filter may be essential.