Save Money and Cut Carbon
American households are one of the largest sources of green house gas emissions on the planet. Households account for over a third of national greenhouse emissions and almost one tenth to global totals. If they were their own country they would come in second behind China as the largest polluters. A recent study undertaken by a joint effort of Vanderbilt and Michigan State University highlighted seventeen inexpensive "household actions" that can reduce these massive emissions without requiring individuals to drastically alter their lifestyle.
By implementing these simple fixes over a period of ten years, the reduction in U.S. carbon emissions would be 7.4%, or the equivalent of the yearly carbon output of France. For example, if everyone did something as small as turning down the thermostat, the emissions reduction would be equivalent to the total emissions of the steel, aluminum, iron, and petroleum refining industries in the United States combined.
Many of these fixes such as basic home weatherization have been around for a long time but many people still haven't weatherized their homes. To this end, the authors of the study attempted to understand how to encourage individuals to change their habits. Their tests indicated that the easiest and most inexpensive way was to simply use social pressure - like good ole fashioned ad campaigns that mildly ridicule those who waste were found to be very effective.
To aid the transition from the bigger is better mentality a government incentive program could be used. For instance, something relatively inexpensive but which would make it cheaper for homeowners to update their fixtures much like the Cash for Clunkers program which spurred many people to turn in their older more polluting cars for updated fuel efficient ones.
We here at New Dream have always pushed for this type of grass roots action and have created an energy saving tips page with simple solutions to save money and cut emissions. This page also contains numerous links to various government sites with easy tips and tricks on how to save energy as well as how to go about updating your house in an eco-friendly manner.