EPA Gives Us 25 Ways to Limit Climate Change

The earth is getting warmer.  There’s no doubt about that.  The average temperature of our planet rose 1.4°F over the last 100 years, and is expected to continue on that path over the next 100 years.  Some are even predicting an increase by as much as 11.5°F, and with these temperature changes come environmental changes.  Droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels, and melting ice caps are slowly becoming the norm, taking a permanent residence on the back burner instead of where they should be…front and center!

As residents of the earth, it is our responsibility to keep it healthy and inhabitable.  The Environmental Protection Agency has simplified this by doing the research and giving us 25 lifestyle changes that are sure to reduce climate change.

At Home

  • Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures with energy efficient bulbs.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing appliances, heating/cooling equipment, and electronics.
  • Improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by changing your air filters regularly, installing a programmable thermostat, and performing regular maintenance to your equipment.
  • Reduce air leakage by caulking, weather stripping, and insulating your home’s envelope.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Newspapers, plastic bottles, and junk mail can all be recycled.
  • Conserve water wherever possible. The EPA states that “three percent of the nation’s energy is used to pump and treat water.”
  • Build a compost pile in your backyard to limit the amount of trash you send to landfills.
  • Purchase green power or invest in renewable energy by installing solar panels.
  • Calculate your home’s carbon footprint to understand where your emissions come from and how to eliminate them.
  • Spread the word about your green initiative to your family and friends, and help them get started with their own projects!

At the Office

  • Adjust the settings of your computers, laptops, and other equipment to power down when idle.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified printers, copiers, and computers.
  • Tell your facility maintenance department about the ENERGY STAR buildings program, which will further assist your building’s performance.
  • Become the office socialite and organize a carpooling program.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Always remember to print double sided, buy supplies made from repurposed materials, and recycle all batteries and printer cartridges.

On the Road

  • The next time you shop for a new car, take a look at hybrid and electric models that will increase your fuel efficiency (watch out for smart car tipping though!).
  • To improve fuel economy, avoid hard accelerations and fast stops, limit the amount of time spent idling, and get rid of any unnecessary weight.
  • Schedule regular maintenance visits and use the recommended grade of motor oil to extend the life, and fuel efficiency, of your vehicle.
  • Remember to keep your tire pressure at the correct level to avoid drag.
  • Give your car a rest and opt for biking, walking, or taking public transportation to work.
  • If it’s compatible with your car, use renewable fuels such as E85 and biodiesel.

At School

  • Track your school’s greenhouse gas emissions using EPA’s Climate Change Emissions Calculator Kit.
  • College students can reduce emissions by controlling the energy used in their dorms and working with administrators to develop an efficiency plan.
  • Teach students about climate change and its harmful effects on nearby ecosystems.
  • Encourage faculty, staff, and students to limit energy usage and, of course, reduce, reuse, and recycle!

If you classify yourself as a go-getter, then set your goal high and work to accomplish all of these tips!  If you’re just getting started with saving the planet, take it one step at a time and begin with a few.  Either way, you’ll be helping to limit climate change, and that’s really what it’s all about.

For more information on any of these quick tips, visit epa.gov.

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  • http://www.enviroequipment.com/blog/ Ken Glick (EEI)

    Excellent job at putting all these tips together and separating them into different sections, (i.e. “At home”, “At the office”, etc.)

    However, I wish you would be more specific on things students can do t to combat greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, your advice “College students can reduce emissions by controlling the energy used in their dorms and working with administrators to develop an efficiency plan” is rather unspecific as it doesn’t mention specific things a college student can do to get an administrator (whenever that is) to develop a climate-change-fighting plan of action. A more specific suggestion would before college students to to monitor environmental settings so as not to have it warmer than 68° in the winter and cooler then 72° in the summer.

  • Sarah Battaglia

    Hi Ken- You make a great point, and an excellent suggestion for our other college students. Monitoring your thermostat is a great way to limit your energy intake. Some other suggestions I would make include:

    – Unplugging your laptops and power cords when not in use since energy is still being consumed even if your electronic device is not connected.

    – Recycle everything! Pop cans, water bottles, junk mail, old menus, and beer bottles (obviously, you’re in college) can all be recycled.

    – Limit your paper use. If you haven’t already, go digital when it comes to paying your bills, and remember to always print double-sided.

    – Switch from plastic to glass. Even though paper plates and plastic cups make for easy clean-up, they can really take a toll on the environment. (You can get by without those red Solo cups.)

    – Try to limit the amount of water you need. Take shorter showers, turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth, and make sure the dishwasher is full before you run it.

    Please feel free to post any other suggestions you have. I’d love to hear them all!

  • James Cleland

    We could also turn off or dim unneeded lights .Lighting accounts for 25% of used electricity.Many lights are left on all night to help with security issues.How effective is this when you consider that we use 50 to 60 times more light now than in 1950 and have only reduced crime and violence slightly since 1950. This is all the more important since we are now finding that light at night is toxic to animals and plants.In humans it is implicated as a possible cause of breast cancer,prostate cancer ,depression and obesity.

  • Sarah Battaglia

    James – You are correct in saying that lighting accounts for such a hefty amount of electricity. Many people do feel safer at night with the porch light on, or even the kitchen light, but these lights should be limited. I would suggest to anyone who keeps an outdoor light on to install a motion sensor. That way, they’ll save electricity and still know if someone or something is approaching their house.

    Thanks for commenting!