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September 2007

Cut Your Carbon in Half

A hiker's guide to fighting climate change

26. Reduce your energy usage 20% by downsizing when choosing your next home. 5,400, $$$$

27. Use locally appropriate, locally fabricated materials when building or renovating to avoid the carbon cost of transporting heavy materials. 7 per hundred lbs. not transported from out of state, $$

28. Buy green power, or ask your utility to offer it. The typical United States home uses about 10,000 kilowatt hours a year. 22,000, $$

29. Use recycled-content toilet paper. If every U.S. household replaced one roll per year, 424,000 trees would be saved. 0.4 per roll, $$

30. Repair, don’t toss appliances. Each fix means you won’t buy a new one. blender: 13, refrigerator: 690, washing machine: 410, $$$

31. Buy energy-efficient appliances. Energy Star appliances use 10 to 50% less energy and water, and meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy. The appliance’s yellow EnergyGuide label cites its annual power consumption and operating cost, and compares it with similar models. 340 (dishwasher), 780 (refrigerator), 1200 (washing machine), $$$$

32. Dry your dishes on a rack, or use your dishwasher’s air-dry cycle. 660, $$$$

33. Use a microwave, not a conventional oven, to heat small quantities of food. 1 per meal, $$$

34. Buy secondhand at tag sales for household items and save the carbon cost of new production. 55, $$$$

35. Recycle household paper, plastic, and metals. 1,300, $$$

36. Reuse jars, bags, and food containers. 4 , $$$$

37. Set your water heater at 120°F. 1,200 (electric water heater), 880 (natural gas), $$$$

38. Adjust your thermostat down 2°F in winter and up 2°F in summer. 420, $$$$

39. Upgrade your furnace to a more energy-efficient model. 2,400, $

40. Eliminate drafts by caulking and weatherstripping, installing storm windows, upgrading insulation, and removing window AC units in winter. 800, $$$$

41. Use passive solar to capture heat in your home and office: Open curtains during the day and close them at dusk, except in summer, when you should close curtains during the hottest hours of the day. Besides carbon, you’ll save 25 to 75% on your heating and cooling bill. 2,700, $$$$

42. Clean AC filters or replace them. 350, $$$

43. Run ceiling fans instead of AC. In hot climates, this can easily save more than a ton of CO2. 2,700, $$$$

44. Use cold water to wash and rinse clothes, not hot or warm. 27, $$$$

45. Hang laundry to dry, eliminating one dryer cycle per week. 200, $$$$

46. Take a Navy shower: Turn off the water when you’re soaping up. 35, $$$$

47. Go for a low-flow showerhead. 1,800 (electric), 430 (natural gas)

48. Shave in the sink, not the shower.

50, $$$$ 49. Don’t overfill your kids’ bathtub. 50, $$$$

50. Say no to carpeting. 4,000 per 800 sq. ft., $$

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