3 Low-Stress Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Going green doesn’t have to mean living off the land and foregoing any or all modern conveniences. It also doesn’t require drastic steps or home improvements to save a few bucks while lessening your environmental impact. When it comes to reducing your personal carbon footprint, small steps can lead to big results. You might not save the world or even thousands of dollars, but by making a few small changes you can reduce your waste contribution and save money while doing it.

Kill Energy Suckers

Look around your house. What’s plugged in? If you count, you might surprise yourself when your number tops-out above 20. Between kitchen appliances and personal devices, the average American home is filled with multiple sources of power suckers. But as long as equipment is turned off, you’re good, right? Wrong. Though convenient for items like clocks and remotes, standby power often leads to wasted energy—100 billion kilowatt hours a year. On a national basis, that’s $10 billion in annual energy costs, according to Energy Star.

OK, you’re convinced, it’s time to start unplugging. Instead of going around individually unplugging chords each night, group chargers together with an easy-to-reach power strips. Make a habit of flipping the switch each night before bed.

Be Smart in the Backyard

It’s your backyard ecosystem—you may as well be in charge of it. Start with the natural habitat. If you give birds a place to build a nest and a source of food and water, they’ll stick around and eat bugs. Planting carrots and alfalfa can attract a host of beneficial insects, including assassin bugs, damsel bugs, lacewings and lady beetles. Certain plants, such as garlic and basil, repel harmful insects such as ants, flies, ticks and mosquitoes. And those aren’t the only benefits of a well-thought-out garden, you’ll also enjoy the benefits of fresh vegetables.

Next focus on the man-made side. If you’re planning to build an in-ground pool, consider energy-efficient equipment you can use once it’s finished. Energy.gov estimates that the right pool cover can reduce pool heating costs between 50-70 percent. Some even act as solar panels, which can reduce your reliance on gas or electric heaters while preventing chemical evaporation—win-win.

Consider Carpooling

We’ve all heard how emissions are damaging the ecosystem, yet we continue to drive on. The average American commute time is nearly 30 minutes a day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Around 600,000 American workers travel 90 minutes or more to the office each day.

Is it out of convenience, necessity or because we haven’t considered other options? If you’re a daily commuter, chances are your coworkers are in the same boat (car), at least figuratively. Why not make it literal? Apps like Carma Carpool allow you to share seats for a greener, more affordable commute. Carpooling doesn’t have to be an everyday occasion. Have an out-of-town business trip coming up? Use an app like Group Carpool to share a ride with co-workers, chat about departing times, meeting locations and trip costs.


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