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Save Energy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Global Warming Whenever we save energy- or use it more efficiently- we reduce the demand for gasoline, oil, coal, and natural gas. Less burning of these fossil fuels means lower emissions of carbon dioxide, the major contributor to global warming. In 2012 the United States released about 17.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person. If we can reduce energy use enough to lower greenhouse gas emissions by about 2 percent per year, in 10 years we will "lose" about 3.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person.

Here are some simple steps that can help cut annual emissions of carbon dioxide.

Home Appliances

  • Run your dishwasher only with a full load. Use the energy-saving setting to dry the dishes. Don't use heat when drying.

  • Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.

  • Turn down your water heater thermostat; 120 degrees F. is usually hot enough.

Home Heating and Cooling

  • Don't overheat or overcool rooms. Adjust your thermostat (lower in winter, higher in summer).

  • Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5 percent of the energy used.

Small Investments That Pay Off

  • Buy energy efficient compact fluorescent for your most-used lights.

  • Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket.

  • Install low-flow shower heads to use less water.

  • Caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows to plug air leaks.

  • Ask your utility company for a home energy audit (Exit DNR) to find out where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient.

Getting Around

  • Whenever possible, walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit.

  • When you buy a car, choose one that gets good gas mileage.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Reduce waste: buy minimally packaged goods; choose reusable products over disposable ones; recycle.

  • If your car has an air conditioner, make sure its coolant is recycled whenever you have it serviced.

Home Improvements

  • Insulate your walls and ceilings; this can save about 25 percent of home heating bills.

  • If you need to replace your windows, install the best energy saving models.

  • Plant trees next to your home and paint your home a light color if you live in a warm climate, or a dark color in a cold climate.

  • As you replace home appliances, select the most energy efficient models.

Schools, Businesses and Communities

  • Reduce waste and promote energy efficient measures at your school or workplace. Work in your community to set up recycling programs.

While your students might not be in the market to buy new refrigerators for their homes, there are some things on this list that they can do. Have your students make a list of the things they can do to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Then, have them do a home energy check-up.

Link to energy saving resources:


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