Ways to reduce your environmental footprint

Last updated March 17, 2023
Reading time: 3 min

Here are a few easy ways to reduce your energy consumption and your greenhouse gas emissions.

Getting around in an eco-friendly manner

  • Opt for alternate means of transportation instead of driving alone for short trips near your home. The reason is simple: the first few kilometres of a car trip are the most polluting. Cycling or walking is therefore a better option, in addition to giving you the opportunity to be physically active! 
  • Take the bus, train or carpool for long trips. When it comes to carpooling, it’s an economical option because you can share the cost of gas.
  • Choose an electric vehicle instead of a gasoline-powered one. Driving 150,000 km in Québec, your 100% electric car will cause 32 tons less CO2 emissions than a gasoline vehicle.
  • You have to fly? Be aware that you can offset the greenhouse gas emissions of your trip. In fact, many Québec and Canadian sites enable you to contribute towards improving the ecological footprint of your trip.

Conscious eating

  • Reduce meat consumption, especially red meat, which requires more resources. For example, the meat industry is the largest greenhouse gas emitter, ahead of the transportation industry.
  • Buy local, opting for what’s in season and unprocessed. In this way, you encourage both local producers and the local economy, limit greenhouse gas emissions caused by the transportation of goods, and reduce packaging and overpackaging.
  • Grow your own vegetables. Not only do you ensure that you eat quality produce, but you will also have the satisfaction of growing them yourself or with your family.

Reducing energy consumption for a greener home

The actions we take right at home do have an impact on the environment.

  • Replace your oil heating system with one that uses renewable electrical energy. Your new heating system will produce 160 times less pollution. And, thanks to the Québec government’s Chauffez vert program, you could receive a subsidy for making this change.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath. You will use 4 times less water on average! 
  • Lower the temperature of your home by one degree Celsius. Your budget will thank you, because reducing your energy consumption will reduce your electricity bill by an average of 7%.
  • Replace halogen bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Yes, they are more expensive, but there’s a reason: they use 5 times less electricity and last 6 to 8 times longer! 
  • Cover the pot to boil water. Reducing the cooking time means reducing energy consumption.
  • Turn off the burner on the stove a bit before the end of the cooking time. This way, you will stop using electricity, but your food will continue cooking for a few minutes more.
  • Defrost the refrigerator regularly. Frost can increase the energy consumption by 5 to 30%. 
  • Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby. If your appliances don’t have their own switch for total shutdown, simply unplug them or plug them into a power strip with a switch. On average, 24 hours of standby time for an appliance is equivalent to 1 hour of normal use.
  • Dry your clothes in the open air. In addition to saving energy, this will greatly reduce premature wear and tear on your clothes.
  • Ventilate the house. Just 5 to 10 minutes of airing per day will considerably improve air quality by eliminating pollutants, odours and excess humidity. You will have a healthier environment!
  • Plant a tree in your yard. The shade it provides in the summer will save you $12 per year on your air conditioning costs. In addition, the city’s Un arbre pour mon quartier program allows you to purchase a tree at low cost.

Consume less, consume better! 

  • Opt for second-hand purchases whenever you can. For example, clothing is responsible for 20% of the world’s wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions. 
  • For new clothing, limit “fast fashion” purchases and opt for local purchases instead. The purchase price will be higher, but the quality will help increase the lifespan of the clothes and encourage a local shopkeeper. 
  • If your budget allows it, favour natural, organic and/or recycled fibres.

Volunteering your time

  • You care about the environment and would like to get involved? Many organizations will be very happy to welcome you and to offer you a chance to carry out various tasks, including tree planting, organizing clean-up operations, awareness raising, etc. Contact your Éco-quartier for more details.

This article was written in collaboration with Éco-quartier LaSalle.