According to the National Resources Defense Council, the two biggest offenders in the global warming problem are cars and power plants. In particular, coal-burning power plants are the largest U.S. source of carbon dioxide pollution, producing 2.5 billion tons every year. Cars, the second largest source, are responsible for generating almost 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year. Carbon dioxide and other air pollution collect in the atmosphere and trap heat from the sun causing the planet to warm up. The good news is we don't have to wait for technical solutions to reduce the impact of these big offenders. Solutions exist now to allow us to reduce our dependence on power plants and use cleaner transportation options. We just have to start using them. Here are 10 simple ways to do your part to start making a difference now. By saving energy, you’ll also save money.
(Note: According to the EPA, a typical U.S. household of two people generates 60,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.)
1. Power Down and Clean Up
If you replace your current washing machine with a low-energy, low-water-use machine you will be able to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 440 pounds per year. For even more savings wash your laundry in warm or cold water, instead of hot. That will bring in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of about 500 pounds per year.
2. Keep Your Water Heater Cozy
For a water heater more than five years old, wrapping it in an insulating jacket will result in a 1000 pounds per year reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Keep your water-heater thermostat no higher than 120 degrees F and you can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 550 pounds per year.
3. Put the Freeze on Inefficient Appliances
Get rid of old, energy inefficient appliances and replace with newer energy-efficient models. For example a high-efficiency refrigerator will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 450 pounds a year. To get more information on high efficiency appliances, visit the Energy Star web site (www.energystar.gov).
4. Reduce and Recycle
Reducing your garbage by 25% will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 pounds per year. Recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic, cardboard, and newspapers can reduce your home's carbon dioxide emissions by 850 pounds per year.
5. Don't Give Energy Away
If you caulk and weather strip around doors and windows to plug up leaks you can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 pounds per year.
6. Take the Green Way
Leave your car at home two days a week (walk, bike, take public transit) and you can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds per year.
7. Slow the Flow
If purchasing a new vehicle, consider finding a car that gets more miles to the gallon than your current vehicle, and match the vehicle to your needs. The potential carbon dioxide reduction for a car that gets 32 miles per gallon is 5,600 pounds per year. To get more information about finding and buying a fuel efficient car visit AOL Autos.
8. Make the Right Move
If you spend hours on the road every day to get to work you could save some significant time and money by moving closer to work and reducing your commute. The carbon dioxide emissions you save are icing on the cake.
9. Be a Turn Off
Turn off your TV, video player, stereo and computer when you aren't using them. Turn off your lights when you don't need them and you start saving within a minute or two.
10. Trim Your Load
When you do drive, keep your car tuned up and its tires properly inflated to save on fuel costs as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions. . A tune-up could boost your miles per gallon anywhere from four to 40 percent; a new air filter could get you 10 percent more miles per gallon. Take your roof rack off your car when you aren't using it for more savings.
Sources: EPA, NRDC, Keepwintercool.org, WWF