Fighting Climate Change At Home

| September 8, 2023

By Peter Aronson

With fall almost here, it’s a great time to fight climate change at home with energy efficient changes and upgrades.

Even small adjustments made by renters, homeowners and businesses, when added up town by town and city by city, can make a significant difference in reducing our collective carbon footprint. 

The Inflation Reduction Act and state and local governments offer financial incentives for a variety of energy-saving changes, such as installing solar and upgrading insulation to buying energy-efficient appliances.

Let’s start with some basic suggestions to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions at home:

  1. In winter lower your thermostat and in summer raise it;
  2. Change to smart thermostats, which allow for easier and energy-efficient heat and cooling regulation;
  3. Repair air leaks in windows and doors (This often can be done by installing weather stripping);
  4. Install energy efficient windows if you are a homeowner or ask your landlord to do it, if you rent;
  5. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs;
  6. Switch to energy-efficient electric appliances;
  7. Wash laundry in cold water and hang dry whenever possible;
  8. If a homeowner, install a solar roof;
  9. Use green cleaning products;
  10. If you don’t already do so, start recycling and composting. (NYC is in the process of rolling out its citywide composting program); 
  11. If a homeowner, replace an oil or gas furnace with an electric heat pump, or if a renter, encourage your landlord to do so; and
  12. And do a little spring cleaning in the fall. Go through your closets. If you don’t need certain items, donate it to charity, instead of throwing it in the garbage, where it will end up in a landfill. If you need something, buy something gently used at a vintage shop. 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides financial incentives in the way of tax credits for many of the changes listed above. 

“New York homeowners can use IRA tax credits to reduce the cost of home energy efficiency improvements, energy-saving renovations, and installing efficient heating and cooling systems,” according to the New York State Website outlining the IRA options. 

NYLCV has compiled a set of IRA consumer guides, and a second New York State website lists myriad financial incentives for energy-efficient changes in homes and businesses in counties and regions all across the state.

Other Resources

  • Con Ed also explains financial incentives attached to some of the improvements.
  • The UN provides Act Now tips for greening your home and life and helpful renewable-energy info.
  • GreenAmerica provides links for how to make many of the changes listed above and where to buy certain green products.
  • NPR offers a 20-minute tutorial on how to green your home.
  • If you want to calculate your families’ current carbon footprint, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a carbon footprint calculator.

And our final thought. Always remember the four Rs, because they apply to your home, as well as every aspect of life (and it can stand as your mantra for the week): Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.  

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