A letter from Michael Bucierka on reducing his home’s carbon emissions:

Keep heat at around 69 degrees during the winter and 79 degrees in the summer. Our house was designed for passive solar: lots of solar gain in the winter. We wear heavy clothing in the winter rather than turning up the heat. In the summer, we have exterior seasonal solar screens to cut down on summer solar gain, which will increase the efficiency of our energy certified portable air conditioner. All ground level windows/doors have interior shades with the newest including interior energy shields. And we have ceiling fans in all rooms. Additionally, we used 100 tubes of premium latex silicone caulk to set all doors, windows, and internally caulk all penetrations to the sheathing. In all seasons we compartmentalize rooms in our home by closing interior doors.

Set hot water heater to 115 degrees and take shorter showers. I personally use the “travel trailer” method, (our trailer had a 6 gallon hot water tank): wet down, shut off water, soap up turn on water and rinse off. Leave enough water for others. Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving. We installed water restrictors on all of your faucets and shower heads and Installed recirculation pumps on water line. When doing laundry or using the dishwasher, we use with full loads only. Use warm water for the former hot water for the latter. When hand washing dishes or hands never open faucet fully. 50% or less is adequate for all of my needs. Fix any leaky faucets or toilets. Installed water meter on mainline to ascertain water consumption and look for water leaks. Not necessary to flush toilet after each use: If it’s yellow let it settle, if is brown flush it down. We have a community well and are limited to gross water use. My data shows our personal water use is less than 50% of our allocation.

Lights & Electricity
Installed a 6 KW solar panel system. We generate approximately 42% of our electricity and have generated over 73,300 KwH since installation. Installed LED lights. Currently 90% LED. Turn off lights that are not needed. Installed motion detectors around house, instead of keeping lights on all night. Use an interior drying rack for clothes and have and exterior clothes line. Turn OFF your computer and TV/entertainment when not in use and overnight. Set proper fridge and freezer temperatures. You do not want condensation or dripping in the fridge.

Other Tips Outside the Home
Keep correct auto tire pressure, maintain vehicle properly and consolidate trips. Use the car wash (they recycle the water). Bring reusable bags to all stores. Compost food waste and yard waste, including the Christmas tree. Purchase energy efficient products only. Recycle what can be recycled, such as donating clothes/household items.