What You Can Do
- Get to Know (and Understand) Your Carbon Footprint
“Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.” carbon footprintsTM
Want to know how large your footprint is? Gather your household utility bills from the past year and then visit the Carbon Footprint Calculator.
- Simple ways to REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
|Insulating your home can help reduce energy consumption.|
- Purchase Green Energy - Most Massachusetts electric utility companies allow a customer to pay an additional amount on the electric bill to purchase "green" electricity, i.e. electricity from renewable energy sources. NStar, National Grid and the Cape Light Compact all provide this option. If that is not an option, you can make a tax-deductible contribution through the New England Wind Fund to support renewable energy production.
- Reduce Petroleum Use - Transportation is the single largest source of carbon emissions in the Northeast. When purchasing a new vehicle, buy one that gets better gas mileage than your current vehicle. Carpool, use public transportation, walk, or ride your bicycle when possible.
- Be Water Wise - The energy used to heat or pump water releases CO2 into the air. Wash clothes in cold water. Set your mower at its highest setting to keep your lawn green with minimal or no watering during the summer. Install water efficient toilets, showerheads, and fixtures. Conserving water also helps to protect our aquatic habitats, which are often stressed by water withdrawals. Check out the EPA's Watersense website at www.epa.gov/watersense.
Get an Energy Audit - An energy audit can help you pinpoint air gaps from windows, doors, and foundations, and prioritize the most cost-effective energy-efficient improvements to make. Conserving energy will reduce CO2 emissions and save you money. Contact your utility company, Mass Save, or Next Step Living to find out if you are eligible for a no-cost energy assessment.
- Eat Locally Grown Food -
The impact of food transportation around the country is massive. Eating foods grown locally reduces CO2. Other benefits? You'll consume fresher, more nutritious food and help support your local economy. Grow your own produce, shop at farmer markets, or join a community-supported agriculture program (CSA). Mass Audubon runs CSAs at our Drumlin Farm and Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- Buy ENERGY STAR Appliances (washers, refrigerators, and dishwashers) - An ENERGY STAR appliance costs more initially, but you'll pay less over its lifetime in reduced energy costs. Many utility companies give rebates to help offset the initial extra cost. Visit www.energystar.gov.
- Buy Green Auto Insurance – The Environmental Insurance Agency (EIA) is the only auto insurance in Massachusetts that rewards customers with lower rates for driving fewer miles. Studies show that if auto insurance was price by the mile, drivers would reduce their mileage by 5 to 10% – significantly cutting fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions, and traffic congestion. Each policy purchased helps support critical environmental advocacy in New England, and Mass Audubon members save 10% on auto insurance from EIA.
- Reduce or Eliminate Air Conditioner Use - Turn the AC down when away from home, compromise when setting the temperature, and use ceiling fans to get better circulation. Install a whole-house fan in your attic to draw out the heat. Replace older air conditioners with ENERGY STAR models (often eligible for rebates from electric companies).
- Install a Programmable Thermostat - Automatically adjusting your heat to a lower temperature when you're away or sleeping will reduce your carbon emissions. You can also save money-about $150 per year, on average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Many utilities offer rebates if you buy and install a programmable thermostat.
- Use Lighting Efficiently -
Turn off lights when you leave the room. Use compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs to save energy and money. Each CFL uses 66% less energy than a conventional incandescent bulb, lasts up to 10 times longer, and saves more than $30 per bulb in energy costs over its lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Reduce “Phantom Energy” Consumption -
Cell phone chargers, microwaves, digital clocks, DVD players, televisions and other electronic items continue consuming energy when left plugged in. Own objects with a glowing light? Unplug them when not in use.
- Be Energy Wise With Computers -
Purchase an ENERGY STAR computer and monitor. Adjust your computer's control panel to automatically revert to "sleep" mode when idle after a few minutes. Turn off your computer when not in use. Check out www.epeat.net for help in evaluating, comparing and selecting electronic products based on their environmental attributes.
- Update Your Furnace - Older models are extremely inefficient. Upgrade to energy-efficient furnaces to reduce carbon and save money. Check with your utility provider to find out if rebates are available for purchasing energy-efficient models.
- Buy Offsets -
As a last resort, after you have lowered your footprint through conservation measures and life style changes, you can offset your carbon output by purchasing offsets that support carbon-reduction initiatives, such as planting trees or supporting renewable energy projects. Not all offset programs are equal and not all environmentalists support the use of offsets. Look for offsets that are Green-e certified.
- Minimize Roof Exposure to Sun - By planting trees to provide shade for your home you can reduce the amount of heat that enters into your home. This step will help minimize air conditioning and fan usage. Reflective paint can also reduce roof heat intake.
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- Get Involved Locally and Nationally
- Encourage elected officials at the state and national level to support a cap on carbon emissions and
the development of responsibly sited and operated
renewable energy. Vote for candidates who support these initiatives.
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Massachusetts
- Learn more about recent changes to Massachusetts and federal policies that are promoting clean energy and energy conservation by visiting our wind energy and oceans pages and find out about biomass by visiting forest and parks.
- Support Mass Audubon
- If you are not already a Mass Audubon member, please join today. Membership dues provide important support for Mass Audubon's efforts to reduce the threats of climate change.
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