Is Your House Causing Global Warming?


It was a scorcher yesterday, so I crankedthe air conditioning but then I started getting chilly, so I got under my electric blanket.It’s possible there’s a better way… Howdy domicile dwellers, Trace here for DNews.When you’re puttering around the house you’re probably not thinking of melting ice capsor changes in rainfall patterns. You probably just want the temperature right and the lightsbright enough to avoid shin-high furniture. And this is a huge challenge for climate scientists.Climate change is such a massive, world-changing issue, that it’s difficult for any one ofus to feel responsible. “No raindrop blames itself for the flood.” But part of that is putting it in perspective,right? A third of U.S. homes still use coal to generate those kilowatts; 36 states useit either as the main source of power or electricity.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,the average consumption for a residential home was 15,497 kWh. To generate 1 kWh witha coal plant requires about 1.04 pounds of coal (0.47kg) — which produces about 2.13pounds of CO2. So for every kilowatt hour you can cut, you’re saving 2 pounds of harmfulgreenhouse gas, not to mention other pollutants from entering our atmosphere! So, if we limitthe amount of energy we’re wasting at home, we all save money AND help the environment!Win-win! And there are a TON of ways to do this… For example, about 45 percent of that is usedfor air conditioning, heating, lighting and water-heaters! Obviously, the easiest wayto cut your use is to keep the temperature set below 68 in the winter and wear a sweater,or above 78 in the hot summer months and go au natural. All this will let your home heatitself more efficiently and remove over 1000 pounds of CO2 from the air annually. Remember when your mom shouted, “Shut thedoor, you wanna heat the whole outdoors?” She is right, but the windows were likelyworse culprits; 10 to 25 percent of all energy loss from a house come from windows! Simplestuff like simply using curtains to keep the hot sun out in the summer can make a big difference.

Double-paned windows are help too. They have two panes of glass, with air in between. Believe-it-or-notair is a poor conductor of heat, so they insulate the house better, like a transparent downjacket. And if you’re one of those — go big or gohome types — look at your light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs waste 90% of all the energy it takesto make the light as heat. Swapping just one for a more efficient alternative would reducegreenhouse gases by 400 pounds over the bulbs’ lifetime. 400 pounds from one measly bulb!There are a couple choices now: the crazy spiral tube-y ones called Compact FluorescentLamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). If every household in the US swapped out onlyone of Edison’s old-school bulbs that would be the equivalent of taking 800,000 cars offthe road. LED bulbs ARE more expensive but last 8 to10 times longer than a CFL (and 50 times longer than old-school bulbs) and, unlike CFLs, theydon’t use mercury. To put it in perspective a 100w lightbulb used for 1,000 hours (onelifetime) will require 100,000 watt hours — or 100 kilowatt hours.

The LED equivalentover that same time would only be 25 kWh — cutting another 160 pounds of CO2. In the US the EPA gives appliances an EnergyStar label, telling us all how much energy they’ll using in a year. Using efficient appliances,AND living smartly, will save thousands of dollars in energy costs and can cut greenhousegas emissions by 65 tons per year PER PERSON! Helping the planet is like putting money backin your wallet. I kind of love that. Another way to help save energy is by usingsmarter appliances. “AT&T Digital Life smart home security helps keep you connected toyou home, so there are no more what ifs.” I know the internet likes to argue about itbut in the scientific community there’s no contest: climate change is real. So whyis it so hard to get people to care? Part of it, is not calling it climate change…I explains why, here. Let us know what steps you’ll take or howmaking a change worked out for you in the comments, subscribe for more and I’ll seeyou next time on DNews.