Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fight global warming with lifestyle change

Detroit Free Press

August 12, 2006

Whether or not you blame global warming for this hot summer, you can do something about it -- just a bit.

How much you do depends on your effort and the amount of sacrifice you are willing to make.

Carbon dioxide, the biggest contributor to global warming, is spewed when we use energy while traveling or at home. It stays in the air for a century or so.

Some ways you can fight it:

Cheap and easy

# Replace traditional light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

# Use microwave ovens more. Because they cook faster, microwaves use one-third the energy of conventional ovens.

# Check for air leaks around your home and insulate them. Insulate attics and hot water heaters and pipes that carry hot water.

# Recycle more.

# Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer. Reducing your heating by just 2 degrees in the winter can save 6% of your household's annual carbon dioxide emissions, about 420 pounds per year for the average home.

# Check the settings on household appliances. Refrigerators should be set at 37 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers at 3 degrees. Use cold or warm water, not hot, in washing machines. Use energy saving cycles on dishwashers and set the hot water heater to about 120 degrees.

A harder hit on the wallet

# Buy a more fuel-efficient car, such as a hybrid -- and drive less. Every unused gallon of gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 22 pounds.

# Buy more fuel-efficient Energy Star appliances. Replacing a 33-year-old refrigerator with an energy-efficient one can save 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

For the truly committed

# Move into the city to drive less. Bike and walk more.

# Live in a high-rise apartment building. There's less heating and air-conditioning per person.

# Don't fly often or take long car trips.

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