Net-Zero Level 3: Advanced Actions to reduce your carbon footprint

If you're already doing all the items on the beginner and intermediate levels, then you're ready to tackle these advanced carbon-reducing actions. 


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.


Extra Credit! 

Encourage family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to take action with you. Together, we can create a better, brighter, and more beautiful city! 


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