As an environmentally conscious, self-aware human being, you know that climate change is one of the biggest threats ever posed to humankind. To begin to stall and then reverse the effects of climate change, you need to understand how your carbon footprint impacts society and what you can do to mitigate adverse behaviour in your daily life. 

But, what is a carbon footprint?

Simply put, a carbon footprint is the carbon dioxide emissions you generate through your daily activities. Driving a car, air travel, the products you buy, and turning lights on or off are activities that can be modified to help reduce CO2 emissions. 

They say that charity begins at home, and your carbon footprint mitigation plan can begin there as well. Before you buy new windows or doors, know that they should be ENERGY STAR certified, which means that the government has established that they are energy-efficient products that protect the environment.

Installing windows or doors that carry the ENERGY STAR designation will be one area where saving energy will mean saving money. Depending on the climate in your region, you can save as much as 20 per cent on your heating and cooling bills by installing certified energy-efficient doors, windows, and skylights.

In the summer, you can shield your home from the sun’s rays with a coated ENERGY STAR sliding backyard patio door or casement windows. A standard double pane window allows 75 per cent of the sun’s rays penetrate your home in the summer and can cause some rooms to feel like a sauna. Low E coating on windows and doors reduces the UV ray penetration.

The right energy efficient doors and windows help you burn less fossil fuel to heat and cool your home. In turn, the reduction runs along the entire supply chain. Less energy use means fewer emissions at home, and less strain on provincial generators, all of which leads to a smaller carbon footprint all around.

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to commute to work by bicycle or via public transportation rather than taking the car. If you do drive to work, avoid drive-thrus; enter your local coffee stop before you make the trip to work.

You may want to also invest in energy-efficient appliances that are modern and up to date – that old refrigerator might be costing 10 per cent of your entire energy bill because it is inefficient.

Planting a garden for vegetables and eating locally is another way to save the planet – you limit transportation costs eating locally and your garden can be an abundant source of home-grown fruits and veggies. 

Better yet, plant a tree! Planting a tree can be an excellent way to help the atmosphere as trees will absorb carbon and release oxygen that will literally clean the air we breathe. 

There are a great many ways we can contribute to the reduction of global climate change by reducing your carbon footprint, and these are just a few to help you get started.