Cookouts, camping, stargazing – despite the heat many of summer’s most popular activities take place outdoors. All the outdoor activity is a stark reminder that the climate is changing and we have to do what we can to preserve our earth so future generations can have their own summer fun.
Summer is the time for relaxation so we’re giving you super simple, easy ways to significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Use That Programmable Thermostat
The single most important thing you can do in the summer to reduce your carbon footprint is to use your programmable thermostat. You’ve used it to adjust the temperature, but that’s just a basic functionality. You can program the thermostat for maximum efficiency by setting a schedule that automatically increases the temperature when no one is home.
The rule of thumb is to set the thermostat to 78 degrees when you’ll be gone for at least four hours. You should be able to create a unique schedule for each day, or you can set a weekday/weekend schedule.
You can go a step further by investing in a smart thermostat that does the programming for you and provides additional features like sensing when people are at home to automatically make adjustments.
Spend More Time Outside
Sure it’s hot outside, but if you’re outdoors there’s no need to run the AC. Space cooling is the biggest energy use in homes. Spending just an extra hour outdoors a day can help lower your energy bill and carbon emissions. One idea you may want to try is going for a walk after work instead of going straight home.
Bike Around Instead of Driving
The EPA estimates that the average vehicle in the U.S. emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. In total vehicles account for 26% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Doing whatever you can to reduce drive time makes a big difference. During the winter trading the car for your bike isn’t always possible, but in the summer it’s much more doable. Try biking to work once a week, or bike during the weekend once a month. Another strategy is to bike to locations that are within a few miles from your house.
Properly Inflate Your Tires
Even though the weather is beautiful, summer is when people tend to drive the most. If you do choose to drive, try to get the best fuel efficiency possible. One way to get better MPG is to make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Under inflated tires require more energy to get going and keep going. The experts at fueleconomy.gov note that under inflated tires can reduce gas mileage by 3.3%. That might not sound like a lot, but the miles add up. Every gallon of gas that’s saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air.
How do you know if your tires are under inflated? Many newer vehicle models have a tire pressure monitoring system that will alert you if the pounds per square inch (PSI) gets too low. You can also check the PSI manually with a tire pressure gauge. It should match the tire manufacturer’s recommended PSI rating.
Take a Stay-cation
Vacations are great experiences that can broaden your horizons and lead to lifelong memories. Unfortunately, tourism accounts for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions. Worse still is a study from the University of Sydney found that if global tourism trends continue emissions are going to grow from 4.5 gigatonnes a year to 6.5 gigatonnes by 2025.
Taking a break from the daily grind is important for mental health and productivity, but you don’t have to travel far to unwind. A stay-cation at home can be just as entertaining without adding to the tourism emissions. The key is to try new things. Eat at a restaurant you haven’t tried yet, go to see the new exhibit at the local museum, catch the latest release at the movie theater. Whatever you’ve always wanted to do in your hometown but haven’t gotten around to doing should be on the stay-cation itinerary.
Switch to a Green Energy Plan
Every kilowatt you use this summer can be cleaner if you have a green energy plan. If you live in a deregulated area you have the power to choose your energy provider and plan. Switching to a plan that’s powered by 100% renewable energy can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint without making any other changes. You can keep using electricity the way you always have and feel better knowing that it’s not adding emissions to the environment.
Verde Energy is helping over 250,000 customers reduce their impact with green energy plans. Check to see if there are competitively priced renewable energy plans available in your area.