CO2 Smackdown: How to Lose 10 Tons of CO2 in 12 Cash-Saving Steps

It may seem hard to believe but each of us is responsible for over 20 tons of heat-trapping pollution being emitted into the atmosphere each year.  However, changes in our home and daily life can trim tons off of our personal output and save us money along the way. With Smarter Living, you can be the biggest loser on your block (and we mean this in the best way possible). In our 12-step plan, we’ll show you how to save and show you how to get help—including financial help when there are upfront costs to consider.

We focus on the household because some of the biggest savings you can make come from insulating, sealing, upgrading your furnace and appliances—all choices that will improve your home’s efficiency and save you money in the long run. And with Congress considering incentives for home-efficiency improvements, as well as services and incentives that states and municipalities are offering, there should be many opportunities for rebates, loans and other ways to defray upfront costs and get help when you need it.

So why 10 tons? And why 12 steps? Because 10 tons is a realistic sum for a household to shed, and some of the steps will involve an investment of time and resources and it's good to spread these out over a few months or a year. Also, this plan will go beyond the household to look at ways your transportation, eating and other habits can be tweaked to reduce your emissions. Changing habits doesn't happen overnight!

Start with our first step: a home energy audit.

12 Step Overview

Each month, we will take you through a new step, with a concrete plan, cost reduction strategies and alternatives if you’ve already taken a given action or it doesn’t apply to your situation.

  1. Conduct a home energy audit
  2. Seal and insulate your home
  3. Upgrade your furnace
  4. Improve your commute
  5. Cool your home for less
  6. Trim out beef and pork
  7. Treat water right
  8. Skip one flight
  9. Reduce waste
  10. Improve appliances
  11. Make your electronics more efficient
  12. Build on Your Gains

Tax Deductions, Rebates and Assistance Programs

There are many options out there to help pay for home improvements and efficiency upgrades. Check these out ahead of time and you might find you'll be able to accomplish more than you thought possible.

Utilities: Check with your energy provider for rebates and assistance programs

State Incentives: The Alliance to Save Energy provides state-by-state listings of incentives

Federal Government: See the Tax Incentives Assistance Project for information about home-improvements and energy-efficient upgrades that qualify for federal income tax deductions. Depending on your income, you may qualify for a free audit and other weatherization services through the Weatherization Assistance Program. This service is also available to renters.

Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr


it is great good blog ,thank you share it with us.It's wonderful to focus on the household because some of the biggest savings you can make really come from insulating, sealing, upgrading your furnace and appliances all choices that will improve your home’s efficiency and save you money in the long run pandora
hm... well, it would have been nice if each and everyone of us would take responsibility and would take care a little more of the nature, but unfortunately, there are very few guys that do this. anyway, all that you said here involve spending some money, and 99% of us would like to spend them on other things, like leisure or stuff:) Greetings from Sammy, the yacht charter guy
Great tips, I noticed you include some money saving ideas aswell which is great. I have just recently added solar panels onto my property and I am experiencing the benefits first hand as my airs pollution level has decreased and my energy bills are no longer bills as they are now payments from the grid. The most influential out of the 10 for me is to treat water right as we all take it for granted. Thanks for the quality detailed post my friend. website value
I know that here in Florida there were large incentives for using solar power to generate power for you house. The Government provides something like 95% cash back for any investment into solar power for your house. Sounds like a good deal to me! Car Transfer
That's good. Nice post. Thanks.
The biggest pollutant in our house (fairly new, well insulated) is the amount of paper waste from junk mail & solicitations and from wasteful packaging--just tons of shrink-wrap and bags or boxes-inside-boxes, unsolicited stick-on labels that can't be shredded, unrecycleable bottles, undegradable food containers, etc., etc. Our recycling center is "conveniently" located where it takes a gallon of gas to drive to and the city recycling never comes because nobody on our block ever puts anything out for that huge truck which comes separately from the garbage truck and sometimes doesn't come at all because no one ever puts anything out, vicious cycle. Why don't we get after these public nuisances, especially the cheap mail which seems like an invasion of privacy in addition to pollution! These problems are getting worse and nobody seems responsible. It's self-evident that you need to stay warm or cool as cheaply as possible, but not so evident that "freedom of advertising" is polluting our lives as well as our environment.
Our county commissioners let Saddle Creek Corp and CSX blend and now the home owners are coming down with cancers. The freight trains sits in our back yard for hours and nobody will do anything about it in the past 15 years. We are told by lawyers to just make a noise on facebook. Everything they do is legal. So all the diesel fumes that we breath in are not monitored by the EPA. So these companies are getting away with whatever they want to.
As I sit here in my living room on a 90 degree day where my a/c has been on all day I am very interested in the May cool your home for less. The ceiling fan information is right on. Thanks! Go Green Blog
Unsulating, sealing, upgrading your furnace and appliances cost money, but this waste will return to you in few months
Homeowners in CA and AZ can win this contest handily if they take advantage of the opportunity to lease solar panels from installers like and others. These companies will install for zero-down and you pay monthly the same or less than you used to pay for electricity--you'll be smacking down not just your carbon emissions but your electricity bill--bigtime! I'm doing it for my home and for a rental property I own, total no brainer for me and my tenants.

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