Did you know that California is ranked 38th in the country on the air quality index? That means we are more vulnerable than 37 other states to asthma, respiratory disease, and other ailments caused by air pollution.
The good news is our actions can have a direct impact on the quality of the air around us. All it takes is going through our daily actions with a higher level of consideration. By being mindful of our transportation choices, watching our thermostats, and monitoring energy use in our apartments, we can all contribute to cleaner air quality.
Getting around in Southern California can be challenging without a vehicle. (Just look at Los Angeles, which averages 1.62 cars per household.) However, the burning of fossil fuels makes our vehicles a significant contributor to harmful nitrous oxide emissions. By working from home, carpooling, taking public transport, walking, and riding bicycles, we can decrease our contribution to the amount of pollution in the air.
Heating and Air
The convenience of modern HVAC systems means that year-round comfort is only a thermostat away. While we can get the exact temperature we want with the turn of a dial, heating and cooling account for 43 percent of the total energy used by households. Putting on a sweater when it’s cold or opening windows and using strategically placed fans when it heats up are good ways to lower your bill and reduce air pollutants.
Light and Electricity
Another bright idea is to take another look at your lightbulbs. Consider switching to Energy Star LED bulbs, which are 90 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. While they cost a few dollars more to purchase, these LED bulbs last 15 times longer and can save you approximately $55 over the life of your electricity bill. Considering that the production of energy can result in excessive greenhouse gases and acid rain, every reduction in energy waste is worth it.
Heading outside and filling your lungs with clean air is a beautiful way to refresh your body, mind, and spirit. Taking the time to make environmentally safe decisions when it comes to transportation, heating, and cooling, and our energy use can make that deep breath all the more satisfying.