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5 Ways to reduce CO2 emissions and put money in your pocket

Unplug your phone chargers
Unplug your phone chargersFrank Maccioli

Climate change has been in the news a lot lately, what with the increasing frequency and duration of droughts, such as that being experienced here in the San Joaquin Valley and the rest of California. Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently released its latest reports that summarize what we know about climate change and what the world needs to do about it

Much of the discussion about what to do focuses on replacing fossil fuel energy sources with renewable sources such as wind and solar power. But did you know that there are things you can do right at home that will help to reduce your carbon footprint? Not only that, by implementing these simple changes, you can save a lot of money as well!

Here are five changes you can make around your home to do your part to save the planet. For more information and additional tips, try the California Air Resources Board (ARB) website.

Suggested further reading by the author:

5 Endangered or threatened California fish

2 California cities are in top 5 of 2014 Energy Star certified buildings list

ARB approves first carbon offset forest project under its cap-and-trade program

5 California fishing streams closed due to drought

Unplug your phone chargers
Unplug your phone chargers Frank Maccioli

Unplug your phone chargers

Most people don't realize that most of the chargers used to power our phones, cameras, and other equipment are still drawing electricity even after we remove the item being charged. Notice the power light that is still on in the picture, even though the cell phone is disconnected? You
could save 6–26% on your average monthly electricity bill by disconnecting these chargers and turning off other devices when they aren't being used, like cable tv boxes for example.

Change your A/C filters
Change your A/C filters Frank Maccioli

Change your A/C filters

Did you know that you can save up to 350 lbs of CO2 and $150 per year at home by simply keeping air filters clean? As the filters get clogged with dust particles (and San Joaquin Valley residents are VERY familiar with dust in the air), the air conditioning/heater system motor has to work harder to pull air through the filters, thus using more energy. Replacing the filters regularly helps to keep the system operating efficiently.

Adjust your thermostat
Adjust your thermostat Frank Maccioli

Adjust your thermostat

One easy way to reduce energy usage is to adjust your thermostats according to the season of the year. By setting your thermostat in winter to 68°or less during the daytime, and 55° at nighttime or when no one is home, you can save 5-20% on your heating bill.

You can achieve similar savings on your air conditioning bill in the summer by setting the thermostat to 78° degrees or more. To make these changes even easier, you can purchase a programmable thermostat that makes the changes for you.

Replace light bulbs with CFLs
Replace light bulbs with CFLs Frank Maccioli

Replace light bulbs with CFLs

Many people still have incandescent light bulbs in their homes. Try replacing them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Although their price at the store is higher than the older style (if you can even find the older ones anymore), the energy savings of $30 or more in electricity costs over its life more than make up for it. 

Cancel junk mail
Cancel junk mail Frank Maccioli

Cancel junk mail

According to the ARB, junk mail production in the US consumes as much energy as 2.8 million cars. If everyone stopped their junk mail, think of the potential energy savings and CO2 reductions that would result.

Go to these websites to stop junk mail and catalogs:

Junk Mail          Catalogs