5 Ways to Decarbonize Your Household

Looking to reduce your household's carbon footprint? These five steps will help get you there.


Decarbonization may sound like something out of science fiction, but it can have a positive impact on your community and the planet. Carbon dioxide emissions are harmful for the environment. Decarbonizing simply means reducing the amount of carbon emissions your household creates. Here are steps you can take to decarbonize your home — it's a task that will pay off for the planet and your energy budget.

1. Conserve energy

Creating and using energy generates carbon emissions, so the place to start is to use less energy. Here are some simple actions you can take:

  • Turn off lights and other energy-using devices when you're not using them.
  • Adjust the thermostat at night or when you're not at home to save energy on heating and cooling.
  • Take shorter showers and turn off the tap when shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Scrape dishes instead of rinsing them, and wait until you have a full load before running the dishwasher or clothes washer.

2. Upgrade for energy efficiency

Your next step is to replace energy-using equipment in your home with more efficient models. Here are some of your best upgrade options:

  • Replace traditional incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents (CFLs) with high-efficiency LEDs. LEDs use far less energy and last longer.
  • Install a smart thermostat, which can automatically adjust temperatures based on your schedule, optimizing savings and comfort.
  • Replace aging appliances with ENERGY STAR®-certified models, which are independently tested to use less energy.

3. Electrify your home

Fossil-fueled equipment emits carbon dioxide directly. Replace fossil-fueled devices with electric-powered devices for space heating, water heating, cooking and lawn care.

  • Air-source heat pumps provide high-efficiency space heating and cooling. They're a perfect replacement for a natural gas furnace,
  • Electric heat pump water heaters can provide high-efficiency and emissions-free hot water for your home.
  • Electric induction cooktops combined with convection ovens can provide high-efficiency cooking and precise temperature control.
  • Gas-fueled lawn equipment gets the job done, but they're noisy and smelly. Electric battery-powered units provide quieter operation, less maintenance and no on-site emissions.

4. Take advantage of renewable energy

Installing renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, can reduce your energy bills and further clean up your carbon footprint. Federal tax credits are available that will cover up to 30% of the cost of installing eligible renewable energy systems. State or local financial incentives may also be available in your area as well.

If installing a renewable energy system isn't an option, consider joining a community solar program. You buy into a solar energy project in your area and then receive credit on your electric bills for the energy produced. See the directory of community solar projects from EnergySage to look for projects that may be available in your area.

5. Electrify your transportation

Take decarbonization beyond your home by switching to an electric vehicle (EV). Today's EVs offer quiet, low-maintenance transportation with no tailpipe emissions. And, most models offer driving ranges on a single charge that go far beyond your average daily commute. Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for the purchase of eligible EVs are also available.

By taking these steps, you'll be well on your way to minimizing your carbon footprint.