January 25, 2024
Reduce Carbon Footprint

By Shelley Navari

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by scary headlines about climate change. You may think the problems are too big for individual actions to matter.

Don't despair. There are numerous small steps you can take that can add up to significant reductions in your carbon footprint, helping the planet. How many of these are you already doing?

  1. Button up your home. Fixing leaks and air-sealing your home is the "low hanging fruit" of home energy efficiency. Make sure the heat you generate in winter stays inside and that hot summer air stays outside where it belongs.
  2. Upgrade your heating and cooling system with a heat pump. By now, you've heard about how heating and cooling with a heat pump can save energy and money. Read our blog to learn if a heat pump is right for your home.
  3. Upgrade your water heating system with a heat pump. Efficient electric heat pump water heaters can save you significant energy and money, while ensuring you'll have hot showers when you need them.
  4. Switch to electric cooking. Many homeowners love their gas ranges, but if you are upgrading your appliances, be sure to check out induction cooktops. If you have a gas stove, VENTILATE and check to see that your kitchen exhaust Is vented to the outside.
  5. Install a smart thermostat. Not only are they inexpensive to install, but smart thermostats save energy by automatically adjusting your thermostat setting at night or when there is reduced activity in your home.
  6. Reduce your use of plastic and harsh chemical cleansers. Consider solid shampoos and conditioners. Give those low-waste detergent sheets a try instead of purchasing laundry detergent in large plastic bottles. Experiment with natural cleansers like vinegar, baking soda and lemon.
  7. Rake responsibly! Under certain conditions, letting leaves cover your lawn over the winter is both good for the yard and your back. Like most suggestions, this one comes with some caveats, so learn a little more before you attempt it.
  8. Plant pollinators – If you haven't tried planting things like cosmos, verbena, zinnias or milkweed, you're missing out on an easy and delightful opportunity to create a drought resistant garden that attracts pollinators like butterflies and bees to your yard.
  9. Check your commute – If you have public transportation options or can bike to work, take advantage of it. In rural areas, consider ride sharing or negotiating one or more days a week of working from home. Of course, everyone can consider an EV or Hybrid vehicle the next time a car purchase is in the cards.
  10. Consider the "holy grail" of solar. Yes, solar can be an expensive option. But after installation costs, the fuel needed for generating electricity with solar is free forever! If you don't have room for a ground mounted system or your rooftop isn't well situated, consider options for community solar or group net metering that are available in Vermont.

Remember, you're not alone! In our "brave little state" numerous resources can connect you with contractors or suppliers promoting sustainability to support your quest for positive climate change action.

Here are a few that might be helpful:
Efficiency Vermont
ReSource Vermont