How to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We hear a lot about greenhouse gas emissions and how we need to be careful with them, but what exactly are they?  What does it mean to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions?

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Image: earthtimes.org

Greenhouse gases or GHG are naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation.  Earth’s greenhouse gases are comprised of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.   Our earth needs a certain amount of greenhouse gases to keep our temperature right.   Too little GHG, the earth cools while too much leads to a hotter planet.  We need to stay as balanced as possible to maintain the ideal temperatures earth needs to produce crops for food and keep our oceans and waterways healthy.

Since the industrial revolution, we’ve added approximately 40% more carbon dioxide to the GHG in our atmosphere.  We want to be thoughtful regarding the use of certain energies that add even more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as eventually it may tip the scale of balance out of sorts and cause all manner of problems including extreme temperatures, bad weather and unhealthy air and water supply.

While some of the changes in greenhouse gases are natural and cyclical in nature, we humans have been adding carbon dioxide for years.  With developing countries such as China and India coming into play as world powers and users of energy, we need to examine how we use energy and look for efficient methods of power without destroying our lifestyle.   But while that is underway, we can also do our bit in our own homes to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.  It isn’t difficult as these tips will prove and the payback could be huge if everyone participates.

CUTTING ELECTRICAL USE

There are so many simple ways to save electricity with the most basic being to turn off lights if not in the room.  The same can be said for appliances such as the television, game systems and computers.

Replace high energy burning light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs or LED lights.  LED lighting is becoming very popular in a variety of settings and may cost a little more up front but typically lasts for years with no need or replacement.  They pay for themselves quickly in electricity savings making them popular for decorating as well as being environmentally friendly.

Keep those thermostats set to maintain maximum efficiency with minimum energy use.  A little higher in summer and a little lower in winter by just two or three degrees can make a difference.

Use your ceiling fans to help with the comfort level in your home.  Counter clockwise blade rotation in summer works by creating a wind chill effect while a clockwise rotation in winter pushes warm air back down from the ceiling.

ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS

When buying new appliances such as a washer or dryer, look for the highest energy efficient style possible that will meet your needs.  You may not need the most expensive washing machine that can handle 16 pairs of jeans or 20 towels at once but do take into consideration the energy efficiency of the style you’re looking for and choose accordingly.

Bamboo is an excellent renewable resource and is showing up in products from linens to furniture to flooring.  Bamboo cotton is popular for clothing and linens because it’s soft and comfortable while being strong and durable through many washes.

THE FOOD WE EAT

Consider buying food from your local farmer’s market.  You’ll be getting fresher healthier food that isn’t processed or shipped across the country in diesel guzzling trucks.

Compost waste and use it to fertilize and grow your own garden.  If you don’t have a lot of property for a big garden, consider a container garden and grow tomatoes, strawberries, green onions, herbs and such.  This will save money as well as provide fresh and tasty additions to your menu.  A home with plants is a home with a healthier air supply as well.

DRIVING

Reconsider jumping in the car and driving to the store.  If you’re within walking distance, go on foot or by bicycle.  Carpool to work or for school drop-off and pick-up.  You’ll save a lot of energy and money at the gas pump, not to mention wear and tear on your car.

The tips mentioned are just a few ways to save on our greenhouse gas emissions and none are difficult.  There is the added bonus of saving money to consider with the cost of goods and services going up.  So whether you’re motivated by saving our planet or saving money doesn’t matter.  Basically, both the planet and your savings account will be winners.

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