The Climate Program leads City efforts to address the challenges of climate change for Austin.
Goals that guide this work
- Net-zero community-wide greenhouse gases by 2040.
- Effective strategies for resilience in the face of climate-related threats.
It’s going to take more than City action to protect and preserve what’s best about Austin. Everyone has to do their part to cut carbon.
Tips for Cutting Your Carbon
Austin is green and we all want to keep it that way! Commit to taking action to reduce your carbon footprint and help ensure a safe, healthy, vibrant Austin for many years to come.
Level 1 Actions: Start cutting carbon today!
1. Ditch the plastic water bottles.
Invest in a reusable water bottle. You’ll save money and the environment.
2. Use cold water for laundry.
And do your laundry in full loads. This will decrease the amount of water and energy used.
3. Drive efficiently.
Use the accelerator lightly, coast to red lights, stay near the speed limit, and go inside instead of idling in parking lots or drive-thrus.
4. Incorporate walking or biking into your daily routine.
Try to incorporate active travel at least once or twice daily. Walking one mile takes only about 20 minutes!
5. Adjust your thermostat.
Set to 78 degrees in the summer and 67 degrees in the winter. Be sure to turn off the heat and AC when you’re not at home.
6. Recycle and reuse.
Keep stuff out of the landfill and reduce emissions that come from methane.
7. Keep tires properly inflated.
When tire pressure is low, cars have to work harder and burn more gas.
8. Eat more locally-grown food.
Taste the difference, feel better and support the Austin economy!
8. Turn off lights and unplug devices.
Every little action adds up to energy savings.
10. Use sustainable transportation.
Aim for at least once a week! Enjoy time to yourself instead of testing your patience in traffic.
Level 2 Actions: Up your efforts!
1. Commit to riding the bus to work at least one day a week.
2. Replace your light bulbs with LEDs.
LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs (and five times longer than compact fluorescent bulbs). Save money on your energy bill and receive an Austin Energy rebate for your LED purchases – that’s a win-win!
3. Start composting at home.
Let nature recycle your coffee grounds, food scraps, and yard waste into fertilizer for your garden, lawn, or flower beds. Austin Resource Recovery offers classes to get you started.
4. Sign up for the GreenChoice program.
Be a wind fan. Choosing Austin Energy’s GreenChoice for your electricity adds clean energy to the grid every day with 100% renewable Texas wind.
5. Choose a greener car.
If it’s time to trade in that clunker, look for a car that's electric or hybrid, uses alternative fuel, or is highly fuel-efficient. AAA Texas offers a free guide to help you choose the vehicle that will work best for you and reduce your carbon footprint.
6. Weatherize your home.
Work with a qualified Energy Professional to inspect and test attic insulation, ductwork, heating and cooling equipment, weather stripping, plumbing penetrations, and windows. Identifying and fixing any problems will lower your monthly energy expenses, and rebates and loans can help with making the improvements.
7. Organize a neighborhood sharing / swapping pool.
Your trash might be someone else’s treasure. Give the things you no longer use a new home instead of sending them to the landfill.
8. Use less water.
Energy is needed to treat and process the water we use every day. Saving water uses less energy, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Track your water usage and be WaterWise – Austin Water offers rebates to help.
9. Take the slow road.
Why drive to Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio when you can take the bus or train instead? Free wifi, dining and lounge options, and seats with ample legroom are available on Amtrak, Megabus, or Greyhound for what you’d pay for gas to drive – and with none of the traffic headaches.
10. Upcycle + Reuse
Get creative. Make something new from something old that is functional or beautiful or BOTH! Need inspiration or some quick how-to’s? Check out the Upcycle That website for tips and tricks to give used items new life, and then visit Austin Creative Reuse to stock up on crafting supplies.
Level 3 Actions: Become a carbon-cutting superstar!
1. Become an EnergyStar superstar.
Time to upgrade that fridge or dishwasher? Looking for a new TV or DVD player? Choosing appliances or electronics that are Energy Star-rated will lower your energy bill and your carbon footprint.
2. Keep cool.
If your air conditioning system is more than ten years old, replace it with a more efficient one; newer models use up to 40% less energy. Austin Energy offers rebates for a variety of heating and cooling system options.
3. Harness the sun.
Installing rooftop solar panels to your home adds clean, renewable energy to the power grid – and you can get a credit on your electricity bill for the power that’s generated. Austin Energy offers solar incentives to help you get started.
4. Become a zero or one-car family.
The cost of owning a car can entail up to 1/3 of the average household budget. Think about all the trips you take and what alternative options are available. Between public transit, car share programs, and plain old biking and walking, you may not need that clunker after all.
5. Electrify your ride.
Driving an electric car creates zero emissions – and you’ll never have to fill that gas tank again! Austin Energy offers charging stations all over town that are powered by clean, renewable solar, as well as incentives and rebates for your electric car, bike, motorbike, scooter, or Segway purchase.
6. Offset those frequent flyer miles.
Neutralize the climate impacts associated with travel by purchasing carbon offsets. Paying an additional $5 to $25 will cover the emissions created from most trips, and the money will go toward carbon-capture or reduction projects that support green business, job creation, and biodiversity. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has partnered with The Good Traveler for carbon offset purchases.
7. Ditch the grass.
Plants and trees native to Central Texas require less water (and, therefore, less energy) to maintain. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, replacing turf grass with native plant beds could make you eligible for a WaterWise rebate. Forget about mowing and Grow Green!
8. Buy used most of the time.
For a fraction of the cost of buying new things, purchasing secondhand items requires no raw materials for production, no energy costs for manufacturing, and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.
9. Eat mostly plants.
1,850 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of meat, but only 39 gallons are needed for one pound of vegetables. The production of meat also results in 30 times more greenhouse gas emissions than vegetables. Go meatless whenever you can.
10. Get a programmable thermostat.
Heat and cool your home with an internet-connected thermostat and receive a rebate from Austin Energy. These nifty devices give you control over your home’s temperature from any location, save you money, and reduce the risk of power outages for everyone during peak demand periods.
Encourage family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to take action with you. Together, we can create a better, brighter, and more beautiful city!
Stories of Austinites doing simple things that collectively make a big difference.
View our Net-Zero Heroes archive.
Do you know a sustainability superstar who should be recognized as a Net-Zero Hero? Send your nomination to email@example.com.