UPDATED: Friday, May 17, 2013 - 1:40pm
(StatePoint) Whether you are motivated to help the planet or simply want to slash home energy and water bills, there are easy steps to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
“Today more than ever, we see the environmental impact we have on our communities by the choices we make daily -- from the food we eat to the way we run our homes. While it’s easy to pretend these choices don’t matter, it’s even easier to take steps to live more sustainably and feel good about it,” says Brett Beitzel, a brand manager at Amana, a household appliances manufacturer focused on encouraging consumers to reduce their carbon footprints.
There are several places in your home where you can take small steps toward a smaller carbon footprint.
Become more aware of what you put in your shopping basket. Include more locally- and organically-grown and raised produce and meat in your diet. Avoid overly-packaged products and eat sustainably caught or farmed fish. These choices are often healthier, too.
You can also make a substantial impact by replacing your old refrigerator with a newer energy-saving model. Compared to pre-2000 models, newer refrigerators can use up to 41 percent less energy. As one of the few appliances that run constantly, that means a lot of energy and cost savings.
Luckily, environmentally conscious home appliance manufacturers, such as Amana, are going above the Department of Energy’s current usage guidelines by making energy efficiency  a priority with newer models.
You can also find efficient dishwashers that save water and energy. But even with a newer model, you’ll want to be sure you’re only running the machine when full. For maximum savings, look for ENERGY STAR qualified models on all appliances.
Cars that don't have properly inflated tires account for a 10 percent increase on fuel costs. Check tire pressure regularly to ensure optimum performance. And tune up your bike so you can use it more often!
Unfortunately, the garage is also where many send their old refrigerators to store extra soda. Research shows that 10 million “second” refrigerators cost consumers an average of $1.62 billion yearly in energy costs. For a cool move, make all your refrigerators energy efficient.
The way you launder your clothes can impact local waterways. Look for eco-friendly detergents and opt for the concentrated form to reduce plastic consumption. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible and don’t leave them in the dryer longer than necessary.
Consider replacing your washer and dryer with newer energy-saving models. Not only may this qualify you for rebates from state or local utility companies, your water savings and energy savings will add up. Front load washing machines are great choices, as conventional top-load washing machines built before 2004 use 81 percent more energy and 77 percent more water than some newer models.
You can learn more about how to save energy and money by using eco-friendly appliances at www.Amana.com .
It’s your planet and you have the power to treat it well, starting at home.