Your family's carbon footprint impacts the environment much more than you may realize. If you're looking for easy ways to reduce your family's contribution to climate change, try these year-round tips to shrink your footprint and be kind to the planet.

Why not use public transit where possible? 

Public transit allows you to get from point A to point B in a much more environmentally friendly manner by spreading out carbon emissions among many passengers. If your town has a bus system, light rail, tram, or subway, consider using these systems on your next trip to the beach, the park, or even the grocery store. 

While you may not be able to use them on a daily basis, try to at least use them on weekend errands that are not time-sensitive.

Take advantage of grocery delivery

Some of us go to the grocery store on an almost daily basis, and the trip there and back in the car can generate significant carbon emissions. Many grocery delivery programs have drivers who use the shortest routes possible, making multiple stops along the way. 

They'll generate less carbon on the delivery trip than you would going to the store and back, and getting delivery means you'll cut back on the number of times youneed to use your own car, further reducing your carbon footprint. 

Properly maintain your home appliances

Regular home appliance maintenance keeps your utility bills down. Properly maintained refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and HVAC units work more efficiently, using less energy than units that haven't been looked after regularly. In particular AC maintenance and repair can significantly reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint. Spring is a good time to check your air conditioner as you can anticipate and head off problems before the summer heat waves roll in.

To make maintenance simple, consider purchasing service contracts and extended warranties on all new appliances, and always check the energy rating on any appliances you're thinking of buying. If you encounter issues, don’t try to fix them yourself, as this might lead to injury. Always consult a pro to assess the problem.

Bike or walk to your destination

If the weather permits, consider biking or walking to work, the store, or other places you regularly visit. This enables you to reduce the carbon footprint of your trip to zero. Even doing this for one or two trips a week will have an impact. It’s also been proven that your kids will learn from this behaviour and adopt these habits themselves as they grow older.

Conserve water wherever possible

Conserving water is an easy way to shrink your carbon footprint. To start, make sure you use energy-efficient shower heads and toilets, and consider taking showers instead of baths. If you can, try to limit your showers to 10 minutes or less on at least a few days out of the week. 

Also ensure that your faucets function properly, and consult a plumber if you notice any drips or leaks.

If you take the time out of your busy week to focus on the above, your family will be reducing its carbon footprint — and its utility bill and fuel costs — significantly, all of which will lead to a better future for future generations.