Sunday, February 25 , 2018, 7:42 pm | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 

“My Carbon Footprint …?  What Does that Even Mean?”

Take these eight simple steps to get your environment on better footing.

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases — primarily carbon dioxide — produced from your day-to-day activities. These emissions are harmful to the environment, and include anything from driving to work to doing your laundry. Carbon is not just a product of driving cars but also relates to everyday electricity use as well.

In reality, the concern is not so much what your carbon footprint rating is, but what you can do on a daily basis to lower it. For example, electricity is one of the leading producers of carbon emissions, so each time you flip on that light switch or turn on the television, you are adding to global warming.

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Here are some simple things you can do to minimize your footprint:

» Conserve electricity. This means turning off unnecessary lights, running your dishwasher and washing machine with a full load, minimizing the use of your dryer, microwave and other large appliances.

» Unplug electronics. Standby mode still sucks up energy — cell phone chargers, laptops, televisions, DVD players and stereos should all be unplugged when not in use.

» Tip: Use a power strip for these items — one simple switch and they’re all off!

» Reduce, reuse and recycle. This means buy less, fix and reuse things when you can, and remember to recycle at home and at work. It’s that easy!

» Use cold water. It takes up a lot of energy to heat water, so use cold for your laundry and other items whenever possible.

» Turn down your central heating. Lowering your thermostat 1 or 2 degrees will save energy and money.

» Turn down your water heater. A few degrees will make a difference. Also, if you’ll be leaving the house for two or more days, remember to lower the water heater or even switch it off until you get back.

» Drive less. Do your weekly shopping in a single trip and try riding your bike to work or taking the bus to the gym. Schedule your errands so you can run them in one trip and reduce your traveling.

Click here to learn more about how your daily activities affect the climate, to calculate your carbon footprint or to start reducing your impact on the environment today.

The South County Energy Efficiency Partnership is a collaboration between Southern California Edison and the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara County — helping save money, energy and the environment. The program is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

For more energy-saving tips and information, visit www.sceep.org.

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