One way to encourage all of us to take this responsiblity is by spreading information and awareness. The media and many groups advocating environment conservation are already doing this just like during the last Earth Hour. But as a personal contribution in sharing to you, my dear readers, about saving the environment, I would like to write in this article how we can lower carbon emission and save the environment.
When talking about carbon emissions, it refers to the emissions of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases influence the global energy balance of the Earth, resulting in the popularly known greenhouse effect. Almost everything we do have something to do with carbon emissions. When we use petrol or diesel in our cars, in buses or trains; when we use fuel or LPG at home for electricity and cooking; when food, shelter, household goods are produced in manufacturing companies - carbon emissions take place.
So, how can we help reduce carbon emissions and save energy and the environment? Let me talk about 5 ways.
1. Telecommuting. Greenhouse gas emissions related to travel is reduced when people telecommute since they don't have to go to and from the office using their own cars. Since telecommuting also reduces the need to maintain a physical office, it is an opportunity to conserve energy and lower carbon emissions related to the use of electricity, heating and air-conditioning and lighting the office. If you can't telecommute, just plan to use your car less.
2. Develop eco-friendly buying and eating habits. There are now many energy efficient products available to consumers. Consumers can use ecolabels and green stickers as a guide to shopping for more energy efficient products. Ecolabels tell consumers either of 2 things: (1) the product was produced in an energy efficient way or by using renewable energy; or (2) the product is highly energy efficient so you save energy when using them.
An example of an ecolabel is the Energy Star label. Appliances like televisions, computers, audio-visual equipment and electronics, office equipment, heating and cooling equipment that meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are eligible for the blue ENERGY STAR label.
|Energy Star Ecolabel|
Another example is the EU Ecolabel. It is a product label seal that makes it easier for consumers to identify and choose green products. For example, eco-labels will be awarded to products that do not contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which damage the ozone layer, to those products that can be, or are, recycled, and to those that are energy efficient.
|EU Ecolabel. Image from Wikimedia Commons|
3. Practice effective energy conservation. Aside from reusing and recycling products in the home, we could take action in conserving the use of energy in the home. Some ways to do this is by
- Replacing light bulbs with more energy efficient ones as well as CRT monitors with LCD/LED monitors to reduce amount of electricity used.
- Turning off appliances and unplugging them from the power source.
- Drying your clothes outside
- Changing thermostats on your air conditioner(s) and heater(s)
4. Green Building. This refers to constructing houses and other buildings that would promote energy efficiency, water efficiency, materials efficiency and waste and toxics reduction. Some ways to promote green building is by
- Daylighting - it is the effective window placement so that more natural light is used and the need for electric lighting during the day is lessened.
- Using renewable energy through solar power, wind power, hydro power, or biomass.
- Using plants and trees as green roofs and rain gardens. Rain gardens reduce rain runoff by allowing storm water to soak into the ground instead of flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, and flooding.