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Immediate steps you can take to reduce your carbon contribution

  1. Install CFLs:
    Replace your regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). This is the easiest and most important thing every American can do today. Each bulbs saves 75% of the energy. They also last 10 times longer. CFLs use less energy to provide the same amount of light.

  2. The car you drive:
    - Buy a car that gets more than 35 miles per gallon.
    - Keep your car well tuned. Change oil & air filters regularly.
    - Keep your tires inflated. – it can save over $700 per year in gas
    - Don’t keep any extra weight in your car.

  3. Think before you drive. Why not walk, bike, bus, carpool or telecommute.

  4. Turn down your water heater to 120˚ If you have to add cold water in the shower, it’s too hot. Also, wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket to keep the heat in.

  5. Buy a Tankless water heater next time you replace your system. You only heat what you need. It saves nearly $400 per year on gas.

  6. Use cold water to wash white and dark clothes. 35 gallons per cycle have to be heated each time a load is washed in hot water.

  7. Conserve water. The more hot water you use to shower, wash dishes, etc… the more hot water needs to be boiled. Install low flow showerheads and air dry your dishes.

  8. Buy products locally. The average product travels 1,200 miles to get to its destination, with corresponding energy used.

  9. Do things by hand again. From mowing your lawn with a push mower to opening a can with an old-fashioned can opener, unplug wherever you can and build those muscles.

  10. Look for Energy Star label in the appliances you buy. They use less electricity to run. Check out the Energy Star
    This is especially important when purchasing large appliances such as refrigerators or washers.
    -Start using energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers.

  11. Unplug unused appliances: From your extra refrigerator to your VCR or DVD player, cable box, coffee maker with clock, and all your gadget-charging devices. These products use significant electricity even when they are not being used.
    - Put your computer to sleep or turn it off when it's not in use.
    - Don’t use the screen saver. Program your computer’s screen to go dark instead.

  12. Get a home energy audit. Take advantage of the free home energy audits offered by many utilities. Simple measures:
    -Start with caulking and weather stripping on doorways and windows. Sealing your ducts can save up to $140 annually on energy bills and help to consistently heat every room.
    -Install double-pane windows and can save approx. $450 per year.
    -Install a programmable thermostat and adjust your heat down to 65 or your AC up to 78. -Use a ceiling or wall fan to circulate air. Avoid using space heaters (electric or oil).
    -Seal and insulate heating and cooling ducts. Add attic insulation where needed and consider blown-in cellulose (shredded newsprint) for wall insulation.
    -Wrap a insulating blanket around your water heater. Insulate the hot water pipes.
    -Change your air filters regularly
    -Vacuum your refrigerator coils. (found behind front grill or in back of refrigerator)

  13. Passive Cooling.
    -Planting shade trees around your house absorbs greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and reduces air conditioning bills.
    -Similarly, you can install retractable awnings to shade your house in the summer or warm it in the winter.
    -Change the color of your house and roof to save energy - light colors reflect more sunlight, dark colors absorb it.

Use the following calculator to find out how much carbon you contribute and what it would cost to offset it. By paying to offset your personal carbon you can join other Americans who are combining their purchasing power to create new clean energy projects that will eventually offset the carbon you created.

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