Tips for a Carbon-Neutral Home
Updated: Sep 15
Housing and transportation make up over 50% of a household’s carbon emissions. Explore easy tips for how to decrease your home’s carbon footprint.
At Ennuity Holdings, we strive to create a world where each household can have a meaningful impact on preventing climate change. That starts with reducing emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which is the greenhouse gas that contributes the most to climate change. According to NASA, humans have increased atmospheric CO2 emissions by 47% since the Industrial Revolution began.
Household consumption directly accounts for approximately 20% of all U.S. emissions and indirectly accounts for almost 80% according to PBS. These emissions are generated by housing, transportation, services, food and clothing - with housing making up 33.6% of total emissions.
Now that you've seen the numbers, what can your household do to help move towards a zero-emission world?
The largest driver of increasing carbon emissions from 1995 to 2014 has been transportation. Households own more cars, drive with less people in each car, and travel via plane more frequently. Decreased tailpipe emissions and increased fuel improvement have helped slow the growth, but not enough. For the first-time in 2016 emissions from the U.S. transportation sector surpassed those from the power sector.
Households can reduce their carbon footprint by thinking twice before driving somewhere. If possible, plan ahead so that you take less car trips and drive a fuel-efficient route. Also, consider switching to biking, walking or taking public transportation. In addition to cars, people are flying more and more often for both work and fun. But a round-trip flight between New York and London generates ~986kg of CO2 per passenger – the equivalent of charging your phone 126,000 times. One option for those who have to fly for work or other reasons, is to buy carbon offsets through companies such as Terrapass. Carbon offsets work by funding a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, such as improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
Speaking of buildings, households have multiple options for reducing their carbon emissions, and many of these options also save money! The simplest solution is to turn off all appliances when you’re not using them. Consider connecting multiple of your appliances to a power strip and turning off that power strip every night before you go to bed to quickly and easily shut off all power.
It is also recommended to do an energy efficiency audit of your home, which you can hire someone to do or even do yourself (check out this guide here). Then, depending on your budget, you can seal air leaks, add insulation, install more energy efficient doors and windows, upgrade your heating and cooling, and more. Making these home improvements decreases your consumption of natural gas and electricity, so both the environment and your wallet benefit.
Beyond reducing your electricity consumption, households should consider the source of their electricity. As of 2020, consumers in 16 states can shop for their electrical supply, meaning they can choose to buy their power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Home’s with suitable roofs can also explore installing rooftop solar panels to both lower their electricity bill and decrease their carbon footprint.
Ennuity Holding’s is bringing a new product to consumers in Texas that eliminates a household’s carbon emissions from electricity, while not increasing their average electricity bill. The way it works is that the customer purchases (or finances) a long term offsite solar panel subscription that matches the amount of electricity their household consumes. We use the money to partner and build a solar farm that will produce the equivalent amount of electricity. The customer receives their electricity as usual and pays one low monthly bill. They’ll have their own virtual solar panels and save money on their utility bills!
It wouldn’t be right to wrap up this blog post without mentioning the huge impact that industries also have on carbon emissions. Next, we will dig into the largest polluters and what corporations are doing to dramatically reduce their carbon footprints.