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Sometimes reducing your environmental impact can be a little overwhelming. There is a lot of new information and sometimes it changes very quickly from new research or developments. Start off small and take it a day at a time and soon you'll be able to incorporate a lot of these ideas into your daily life. Here are 10 ways to get started reducing your impact at home.
1. Sign up for the SCPW Challenge- Park City worked with Summit Community Power Works to bring this online resource to life. Here you will find 70 actions you can do at home to conserve, with all available rebates and incentives, and step-by-step instructions on how to complete each action. It's even more fun when you get your neighbors to participate and form a team to win prizes and recognition!
2. Conserve Energy - Start off by being conscious of the energy you use at home, noticing what lights are on, when the TV is on, etc. Then make a concerted effort to turn off lights and electronics when they are not needed. Conservation is not about doing without, but about using energy wisely.
Many Park City residents use snow melt products, such as heat tape, to prevent ice dams on their roofs. These snow melt systems are needed for certain roofs, but they also use a huge amount of electricity and often times we forget to turn them off when it gets warmer. In fact, some systems use as much electricity as the entire home. Make sure your snow melt system is turned off during warmer months - some systems have been found to be operating during spring/summer, costing lots of money and inflating the community's carbon footprint. If you find yourself forgetting to turn off your heat tape, you can purchase a timer that will do it for you.
4. Replace Inefficient Bulbs - Your energy audit will likely reveal that you have some inefficient bulbs in your home. Make sure to replace those with more efficient lighting options like LED bulbs which use a fraction of the energy and last much longer than older lighting technologies. You'll begin saving money immediately with this low cost and easy upgrade.
5. Unplug - Avoid phantom loads that come from gadgets and electronics that draw power even when they're off. Unplug chargers, printers, gadgets, coffee makers, toasters and other similar electronics to avoid wasting unnecessary energy. You can also plug these devices into a power strip and shut off the power strip when not being used.
6. Improve Indoor Air Quality - Sometimes your home's indoor air quality is worse than the air outdoors due to inadequate ventilation and the release of toxins indoors from furniture, chemicals, equipment and more. Learn more about the sources of indoor toxins and how to reduce them to make your home safer.
7. Upgrade Inefficient Appliances - Reduce both water and energy use by upgrading to more efficient appliances. Look for ENERGY STAR labeled appliances that are guaranteed to be more efficient. While the initial cost of the appliance may be slightly more than a regular one, the money you save on energy will more than cover the cost of the upgrade.
8. Clean Greener - Cleaning solutions in your home may actually be toxic and causing you harm. Start cleaning your home with more natural cleaning supplies that are safer for your family, pets and the environment. Look for all natural, biodegradable and non-petroleum based products.
9. Buy Green Power - One of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions is to support renewable energy from your electric utility. Our very own Rocky Mountain Power has a program for exactly that called Blue Sky. Sign up today!
10. Install a Programmable Thermostat - Making sure you don't heat or cool your home when you're not there (or when you're asleep and cozy under covers) is one of the easiest ways to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Programmable thermosats allow you to control temperature settings for when you are at home, away, and asleep.