Durango Telegraph - Top things you can do to reduce your impact
Top things you can do to reduce your impact

• Drive less. Walk, bike, take a bus, carpool and combine errands.

• Drive smart. Keeping your car tuned and tires properly inflated can save up to 250 pounds of CO2 per year. Don’t idle for more than 15 seconds, make jack rabbit starts or drive over 60 mph on freeways.

• Drive a fuel efficient car. Not only will you save money, but driving a car that gets at least 32 miles per gallon leads to a real reduction in climate pollution.

• Change your air filter. On average, keeping your car’s air filter clean will save 800 pounds of CO2 a year.

• Reduce, reuse, recycle. Choose products that have been pre-owned, have recycled content or are sold with less packaging. It takes 70 percent to 90 percent less energy to make recycled paper products than new ones.

• Use a push or electric mower. Gasoline mowers are one of biggest polluters in the neighborhood. Go manual or electric this season.

• Conserve hot water. Set your tank at about 120°F, take shorter showers, use water-efficient washing machines and wash clothes in cold water. You’ll save energy, water and money.

• Insulate your water heater. A hot water tank is the second largest user of energy in a home. Wrapping an insulation blanket around your hot water heater can help your energy bills and save around 1,000 pounds of CO2 a year.

• Buy ENERGY STAR. Look for the ENERGY STAR label, an EPA rating system

awarded to only the most energy-efficient appliances. If every US household switched to the most energy efficient appliances, 178 million tons less of CO2 would go into the atmosphere each year.

• Turn down, turn off and unplug. Set thermostats at 68°F when you’re home and 55°F or lower when you’re away or at night. By moving your heater down two degrees in the winter, and up two degrees in the summer, you can keep around 2,000 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere. Turn off lights in empty rooms and use compact fluorescent bulbs in place of standard bulbs. Unplug electronics such as DVD players and cell phone chargers that aren’t in use. Bring back the clothes line to dry your wash.

• Buy local products. The less distance products travel, the less they pollute. And buy organic when you can. Most chemical fertilizers are derived from petroleum or natural gas.

• Plant a tree. A single tree will absorb up to 2,000 pounds of CO2 in its lifetime. And shading your air conditioning unit with trees and shrubs can reduce its energy usage by 10 to 15 percent.

• Befriend your utility. Your local utility company has energy-conservation programs and can provide more information, technical assistance and even some rebates.

• Shout it out! Start by taking the steps above and then let others know of your commitment. Tell the people where you shop and where you work that climate protection matters.