5 Foolproof Hacks To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home

5 Foolproof Hacks To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home

The following contribution is from another author.

You know you should be doing more to reduce your carbon footprint, but it may be unclear where to start. The good news is you don’t have to give up your daily latte or go live in the woods – although those are both appealing options. So here are five tried and tested ways that will help reduce your carbon footprint at home

Opt for a Renewable Source of Energy Like Solar Panels

Electricity production is by far the biggest factor in carbon emissions.  In fact, it produces about 40% of U.S. greenhouse gases, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

A solar panel system can be a fantastic way to reduce your overall carbon footprint for several reasons. First, it’s an investment that will pay for itself over many years. Second, you’ll generate the power you use at home directly rather than buying it from your utility company with extra fees and markup.

It’s a large-scale solution that will help you reduce your overall carbon emissions for many years.

The biggest barrier to consider is the initial cost, as installing solar panels can take hundreds of dollars out of your pocket and require a lot of time and know-how. However, if you’re comfortable with both DIY projects and technology, this shouldn’t deter you.  

There are plenty of companies willing to finance solar panel systems over 5 or 10 year periods (like SolarCity), so you don’t have to pay any money upfront.

Take Alternative Means of Transport To Run Daily Errands

This one is not always easy, but there are ways to make it work.  If you have access to a carpool group at school or work, try joining and see if there are any places on the way that you can cut from your route.  

Also, consider commuting via public transportation, biking, or using electric scooters for adults to cut down on energy used in the trips you make. Carpools and public transportation are a great way to save yourself carbon emissions while saving time and money.

Set Up a Compost Bin for Food Scraps

One website says it best: “Food waste is one of the easiest ways we can help our environment on a daily basis.” That’s right. It continues, “A single person living in the United States produces about 1/2 ton of solid waste per year and almost 400 lbs of food per year.”

Food scraps account for a lot of wastage, so switching from sending your food scraps to the landfill to a compost bin can make a difference.  Not only will you feel good about saving the earth, but you may also save yourself some money on your garbage bill since it doesn’t cost as much to throw food scraps (compost them!) as it does to dump waste.

Recycle Leftover Water to Water Plants

Recycling products is excellent for the environment – but did you know you can recycle water?

Seems counterintuitive, right? But if you think about it, the plants do not care what their source of water is.  They just need hydration to thrive and grow. So setting up a system to convert your greywater into plant-friendly recycled rainwater can help your drought-tolerant plants. 

Did you know that in most Western countries like the U.S. lost residential water is due to distribution, pressure, leaks, or even theft?  So when you’re not using it for drinking or cooking, consider using it to water your plants.  This is an excellent way to save water and energy!

Open a Window Instead of Running an A/C

Air conditioners are great on hot days, but they also produce greenhouse gases as a byproduct of their operation.

Ways to keep your home cool and well-lit include keeping shades drawn during the day or, better yet, using curtains or blinds and opening windows at night to let in the breeze.  If you need that extra layer of cool breeze, go for a fan instead of an air conditioner.

If you can stand the heat, you can open a window during the day and let in fresh air to keep your home cool instead.  If you must run an A/C (and it will likely be necessary at some point), set it to 55 degrees F or lower and shut it off when you leave for the day.

It’s tough to live without an air conditioner in this day and age, especially if you are working hard at school or a job that keeps you indoors all day long.  But for people who can manage without one, it’s well worth the effort.


Reducing your carbon footprint is easy and rewarding.  Try taking the above steps today to reduce yours.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).