Help Reduce Your Home’s Hunger for Energy
Becoming more environmentally astute and reducing our reliance on dwindling fossil fuels is the responsibility of all of us, young and old. In almost every phase of daily life, our carbon footprint can be reduced to help maintain our limited resources and the best place to start is in the home.
Basically, our carbon footprint measure the impact human activity has on the environment as a whole, which is both directly and indirectly measured in emissions of carbon dioxide.
This can encompass virtually everything from how much electricity we use, how much fuel our cars consume and even what brands of toiletries we buy. At home families can, to an extent, take control and reduce consumption of energy, which can also reduce household bills considerably with little extra inconvenience.
Steps To Creating Sustainability at Home
In many homes, the heating and air conditioning systems account for nearly half of the household’s total energy consumption. This is a good place that you can begin to save money and become more environmentally friendly. The general rule is that for every degree that you raise the temperature that your thermostat is set to, you will save three percent on your energy bill. Another good tip is to keep curtains closed during the hottest part of the day, and open a window to allow cooler air in at night.
You can also utilize ceiling fans in areas of your house that you don’t use all the time, and that can produce a lower energy bill each month. One way to save an average of two hundred and fifty dollars a year on your electricity bill is to make sure that you unplug electronic devices such as televisions, computers, and cell phone chargers when they are not in use.
Purchase compact fluorescent light bulbs for the home, they last much longer and offer much better energy efficiency. For example a 13-watt florescent bulb has the same ability to light your home as a 60-watt old style incandescent model. Other easy steps that can greatly reduce your need for energy include using sunshine and cool breezes to dry your laundry. Is that energy sucking tumble dryer necessary day in day out? How about foregoing that long soak in the bathtub for a quick and refreshing shower every once in a while?
Your Garden can be Ecologically Balanced as Well
To make your back and front yards more environmentally friendly, plant trees. Not only are trees a great source of shade, but they also reduce carbon dioxide while producing oxygen. Neighbors, friends, and family members can be encouraged to plant trees as well, therefore making a larger global impact on the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Trees can also add value to your home, as many buyers prefer a mature yard with trees.
Monitor your sprinkle system to make sure it is efficiently watering targeted areas, and not squandering water on streets or sidewalks. Consider exchanging your gas or electric lawn mower for a manual mower. These manual mowers will help you get more exercise while lessening your dependence on fossil fuels. Planting a garden full of home grown vegetables and herbs will lower your food costs and make your yard more environmentally friendly as well.
Although some new homes are being built to utilize solar and geothermal generated energy, the average household does not have to purchase equipment like that to begin to lessen their own environmental impact. Small steps can go a long way toward lessening your overall environmental impact and your household’s carbon footprint.
Since an average American emits 20 metric tons of carbon annually, a reduction is needed so that the United States does not continue to be one of the world’s largest polluters and consumers of energy.
In order to reduce global emissions we all must reduce as many carbon producing activities as possible, and offset the emissions we cannot eliminate by purchasing carbon credits. There are many motives attracting companies and individuals to the carbon market. Many participants are attracted solely by their corporate and private contribution to the impact of global climate change, although public perception of corporate environmental responsibility has become increasingly important.
Additionally, a noticeable trend is developing for speculation in the future value of carbon at both corporate and private levels through carbon offset holdings in various registries.
Both the compliance and voluntary markets have seen substantial growth in recent years with recent downward pressure perceived as a direct correlation between carbon prices and reduced industrial output during the recent global economic downturn. As many economies are now coming out of the recession and with ever stringent UN emissions targets coming into force, most experts expect the emissions markets to experience significant growth. Businesses are now more aware of their public perception and social responsibility and are extremely motivated to announce their green credentials.
Many investment banks such as JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Goldman Sachs have all entered the market place. Nearly every investment bank has set up an environmental markets division and there are now a host of funds that are dedicated to the sector.
There are also a number of exchanges where carbon credits are traded and this part of the industry is expected to show huge growth as is the outright sale of credits.Expectations are high, and estimates of the potential size of a U.S. cap and trade market range from $300 billion to $2 trillion.
SBI Energy claimed in their 2009 report that the value of the carbon market has grown from $727 million in 2004 to $118 billion in 2008 globally. One thing is certain and that is that the overall size of the market will continue to grow, especially if the three major countries that are now not part of the Kyoto Protocol, America, India and China, eventually sign on the agreement. The carbon markets offer a number of enticing factors.
If you would like to offset emissions personally or professionally, you can use a carbon calculator to anticipate the amount of CO2e offsets you would require to reach carbon neutral status. Many carbon websites have these on their home page so it is easy to figure out what your carbon footprint actually is. Alternatively, you may be searching for an ethical investment that may provide potential profits yet ultimately offers many positive effects to our environment.
Although U.S. cap and trade may become the catalyst that drives the future of carbon, one should be aware that investment in the carbon markets is highly speculative, and that the prime motivation should always be the environmental benefits.
Whatever your interest, there is one thing that you shouldnt ignore and that is the opportunity to make a substantial profit from this burgeoning market while at the same time doing something to help the planet.Source:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Aikins is a Bangkok-based consultant specializing in search engine optimization and internet marketing at http://www.seonorthamerica.com. He regularly presents seminars on these subjects and also writes about the carbon offset industry for the website http://www.carbonoffsetstandard.com.