There 's a lot of talk in the news these days about our country’s role on the global stage when it comes to the environment. It’s a hot topic that’s particularly hard to explore given diverse political agendas and the hunger of a 24-hour news cycle. So let's take a different approach and explore this topic from the perspective of the individual.
There’s some genuinely good news emerging from all the politically-charged environmental hubbub: Americans are more aware of environmental issues and the direct impact of our changing climate. Most importantly, there’s a growing understanding that every person has a role to play, not just world governments and corporate titans.
In that spirit and with Earth Day right around the corner, we’d like to offer the following five tips for reducing your personal environmental footprint while living a “greener” and hopefully healthier lifestyle.
1. Buy seasonal groceries from local farmers
It has been estimated that 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food. Buying local, naturally-grown produce while eating a diversified diet that includes less meat and more in-season vegetables will dramatically reduce the carbon emissions produced from fertilizers and pesticides. This approach will also reduce the gas required to produce and transport your “anything you want during any season” dietary habits. Buying locally also feeds your local economy!
2. Dry your clothes outside
Electric dryers are electricity gluttons. Maybe not the biggest in your home (are you listening, AC?), but the clothes dryer is one of the easiest to avoid. The average electric dryer uses about 550 kilowatt hours of electricity every year if ran an average of one hour every other day. Depending on where the energy in your home comes from, that’s the equivalent CO2 output of burning more than 400 pounds of coal. Install a simple clothes line or use a portable drying rack. Our abundant sunshine will dry clothes faster than a typical cycle, and you’ll dramatically cut your annual CO2 output while also saving money on your power bill.
3. Reduce your water usage
It takes a lot of energy to pump, treat, and heat the water that’s readily available in your home. You can save a lot of energy and reduce waste by washing your car less often (get a California duster), choosing climate-appropriate plants, installing drip irrigation so your plants receive only what they need, and opting for water-efficient options when purchasing shower heads, faucets, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines.
4. Change your driving habits
Getting an alternative fuel vehicle is an obvious solution, but did you know that simply keeping tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by up to 3%? Also, keep your engine tuned up because some of the most basic maintenance tasks can increase fuel efficiency by up to 40%. And finally, drive the speed limit. Speeding and excessive acceleration can reduce gas mileage by up to 33%. The best part is that all these fuel saving tips will also save you money. It’s a genuine win for you and a win for Mother Earth.
5. Go solar
A modestly sized residential solar array can easily produce more than 21,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year for the average Arizona home. In terms of CO2 emissions, that’s equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions of more than 15,000 pounds of burned coal every year, all while dramatically reducing the amount of money you spend on your monthly utility bill. Cleaner AND more affordable electricity—what’s not to like?
If you've been thinking about making the switch to solar, now is the time to act! With the 26% ITC coming to an end, going solar now will ensure the biggest and fastest return on your solar investment. Contact one of our qualified solar integrators to start your solar project today!