A few simple tips for reducing your carbon footprint and gas consumption

September 23, 2015

The chances are that your carbon footprint is too large, and there are always easy ways to make it smaller. Check out these great tips to reduce your energy consumption. You'll help the environment and save yourself some cash!

A few simple tips for reducing your carbon footprint and gas consumption

Reduce your carbon footprint

The term "carbon footprint" is a measure of the total greenhouse gases that a person or organization produces, usually given in terms of tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. A carbon footprint is complicated to calculate, but there are websites that estimate your footprint through an online questionnaire.

Easy ways to cut back:

  • Most simply, this means using less fuel and energy in your daily life.
  • Insulate your house well, especially your roof, to cut down on energy used for heating.
  • Turn your heating down a notch or two — you'll hardly notice.
  • Boil only as much water as you need in your kettle — don't over-fill.
  • Wash clothes at 30°C (86°F) rather than 40°C (104°F) or more — they will still get clean.
  • Recycle as much as you can; this requires far less energy than creating every product from scratch.
  • Cycle as much as you can; ride a bike (or walk) rather than taking the car whenever possible.
  • Holiday close to home rather than fly; trains are ten times more carbon-efficient than airplanes

Food impact:

  • Small changes to eating habits can make a big difference.
  • Avoid buying fruit and vegetables that have been imported; "food miles" are one of the hidden factors in your overall carbon footprint.
  • Eat less meat and dairy foods because flatulent methane emissions from livestock are one of the main contributors to greenhouse gases.

Cut down on your fuel consumption

There are lots of small things you can do to make your car more fuel-efficient, but the most significant is to drive smoothly. Going fast then braking hard wastefully burns fuel, which both affects the environment and costs you money.

  • Check your tire pressures at least once a month. Tires only have to be a little bit under-inflated for fuel consumption to rise considerably.
  • Don't use your trunk as a cupboard. Take out the toys, the toolbox, and anything else that doesn't have to be there. Extra weight costs fuel.
  • Keep short trips to a minimum. Cars use more fuel when they are running cold, so if you're taking the car out, run as many errands as possible with each trip.
  • Plan your route. There's no more pointless waste of gas than driving round looking for your destination because you didn't look at a map before you set out.
  • For standard transmission, use the gears to slow down gradually, and the brakes only to bring your car to a stop. Try to change gear up at 2,000 to 2,500 revs to make the best use of your fuel.
  • Negotiate traffic-calming obstacles at a constant speed rather than braking suddenly and then accelerating.
  • Use air-conditioning sparingly as it burns a lot of fuel. At low speeds an open window is better. Don't open windows at high speeds, though, as this increases drag on the car and increases fuel consumption.

There you have it -- a few simple tips that you can integrate into your everyday life to reduce your energy consumption and save yourself some money.

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