Actions

I will! Will you?

In addition to getting involved in the ongoing activities of any of the various local groups working on climate change issues (see Partners), there are many actions that you and your family can take to slow climate change or to prepare for it. But individual actions multiply quickly if you also get your friends, relatives, neighbours and co-workers involved.

Here is our “I will! Will you?” challenge:

Take one or more actions to reduce your carbon footprint. If you need ideas, a list follows. But don’t keep your efforts to yourself. Let others around you know what you are doing and why. Challenge them to find something that they can do of equal or greater significance. Challenge them to pass this challenge on to their friends, relatives, neighbours and co-workers. Let us know how you succeeded and we will put your story on this website.

Actions to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Note: This list is incomplete because that is the nature of lists. What are we missing? Let us know and we will add it. E-mail: AClimateResilience@gmail.com

Eating

  • Choose foods that are local, organic and low on the foodchain
  • Avoid overly processed and packaged foods
  • Avoid wasting food

Getting Around

  • Switch off your car if you plan to be parked for more than 15 seconds
  • Try to carpool, take public transit, or use other forms of transportation
  • Avoid drive-throughs
  • Slow down! For every 10km over 100km/h, you lose approximately 10% of your fuel efficiency
  • Have regular maintenance checks on your vehicle and keep tires inflated
  • When taking shorter trips, avoid flying on a plane and take a train instead
  • For very short trips, walk or bike – your heath will benefit too
  • If possible, try working from home
  • Monitor your fuel consumption

Space Heating/Cooling

  • Clean radiators and baseboard heaters once a year to keep them running efficiently
  • Regularly service your HVAC systems to keep them running efficiently
  • Turn down/up thermostats to reduce heating and cooling requirements seasonally or while buildings are unoccupied
  • Plant evergreen trees near the north facing walls of buildings to help protect from wind and cold temperatures
  • Close fireplace dampers (except during use)
  • Close doors and stop heating/cooling rooms that are unused
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows
  • Close curtains at night during the winter and on hot days in the summer
  • Open curtains during the day on sunny days in the winter
  • Use area rugs on cold floors and wear sweaters

Water Heating

  • Turn down the temperature setting on your water heater to cut energy consumption. It’s usually set to 60 degrees Celsius and can safely be reduced to 54 degrees Celsius
  • Insulate old hot water tanks and piping
  • Take shorter showers to save energy and water as well
  • Always completely fill your laundry machines and dishwashers before turning on a load and use energy-saving cycle settings

Appliances

  • Change printer and computer settings for energy efficiency
  • Turn off equipment and unplug when not in use to discourage phantom power usage. If you can’t turn off your computer, just turn off the screen as it uses over 50% of the total energy needed to run a computer
  • Turn on energy efficient settings on equipment ex. Eco Print, EnergyStar setting for monitors, air-dry setting on dishwashers, etc.
  • Use laptops instead of desktops when possible
  • Always completely fill your laundry machines and dishwashers before turning on a load and use energy-saving cycle settings
  • Rinse and wash clothes with cold water
  • Hang clothes to dry
  • Set refrigerator temperature around 3°C and freezer temperature to around -18°C

Lighting

  • If you still have incandescent or halogen light bulbs, switch to compact fluorescent light (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs (Efficiency Nova Scotia offers a free “product installation” service and will come to your home to do this and to make other energy efficiency upgrades)
  • Turn off lights when not needed or use timers, occupancy sensors, or natural light when possible

Some other best practices to manage your energy consumption include:

  • Monitor your energy bills (all Nova Scotia Power customers can get an instant online assessment of their electricity consumption, and advice on how to reduce it, by signing up for Efficiency Nova Scotia’s Home Energy Report)
  • Monitor fuel consumption in your vehicle
  • Add a solar power plant to your roof, lower your power bills, and get paid for any surplus electricity you produce (the Antigonish Community Energy Cooperative makes this option relatively inexpensive)