Reduce Your Carbon Emissions this Fall

By Daniel Weber, Ph.D
 
Here some additional changes you can make to reduce your personal CO2 emissions. Fall is the perfect time to save energy. Leave the windows open and take longer walks, now that the heat from summer is fading. You’ll save energy, save money, and reduce your impact on the environment.
 
WALK. By reducing the amount of time spent in your car by using your feet, bike, or mass transit you reduce CO2 emissions, as well as ozone-producing nitrous oxides and cancer-causing polyaromatic hydrocarbons. How many of us have seen members of our community drive two blocks to get to the Sunday morning minyan? If you can walk on Shabbat, you can walk on Sunday! If you need to purchase a new car, get the most gas-efficient model available. Consider hybrid cars, too.
 
IMPROVE YOUR HOME. This fall, leave the windows open. As the cooler days approach, prepare your windows by installing weather stripping and plastic sheets to cut cold air drafts and keeping the blinds/shades closed in the daytime will keep the house cool. Use fans. (Ceiling fans can even be used in the winter, if you change the direction of the blades to bring the cold air up to the warmer ceiling areas, and that will decrease your heating needs.) Plant trees around the house to prepare for next summer. If you live in a cold climate, use dark paints or siding to keep the heat in this winter.
 
USE YOUR APPLIANCES EFFICIENTLY. If you have a dishwasher, run it only when you have a full load and use any energy-saving settings when drying. A temperature of 120o F for your water heater is just fine; turn it to vacation mode when gone for a few days or more. Set your thermostats mildly, as hundreds of pounds of CO2 are used/saved each year for every 2-degree adjustment. Clean your furnace filters; the harder your furnace needs to work to circulate the air, the more energy is used. Unplug your TV, and other appliances, when not in use. Many modern appliances are really using energy even when “off” – you can tell because they are still warm even when they aren’t in use.
 
SAVE ENERGY ON SHABBOS. On Shabbos, use warming trays and crock pots with a timer, if possible, rather than having your oven on for 25 hours. Use timers on lamps that plug into the wall. There are also now moderately-priced timers that connect into your ceiling lights and fans through your wall switch. By programming what hours you need the lights on or off, you don’t need your lights on all Shabbos.
 
Originally posted in “On Eagles’ Wings” September 12th 2003

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