Climate Change photo identifier

Climate Change

What YOU can do

We burn fossil fuels such as gasoline, oil, coal, and natural gas to run our vehicle engines and to heat and light our homes. Burning fossil fuels increases the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. CO2 is a major contributor to climate change, or "global warming." (More information on what climate change is)

Here are some easy actions you can take to reduce your use of fossil fuels and to help slow climate change. When you can make the choice, choose for climate.

Drive Less: More than half of our CO2 comes from vehicles, so use public transit, carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, or telework from home if possible. You save 1 pound of carbon dioxide for each mile of driving you eliminate. Choose a fuel efficient vehicle for your next car. (More information on ways to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from motor vehicles and Reduce your automobile’s impact on the environment.)

Stop Idling: Don't idle your vehicle engine if you are stopped for more than 10 seconds (unless you are in traffic). Turn off your engine when you are picking up your children at school or waiting in a drive-through line. This cuts fuel use and air pollution.

Weatherproof Your Home: Install storm windows and close curtains at night to reduce heat loss and energy use. Upgrade insulation in walls, basements and attics to save up to 30% of your energy bill.

Change Your Lights: Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs to eliminate 150 pounds or more of CO2 for each bulb per year. You also can cut costs, energy use and CO2 emissions by turning out lights when you leave a room.

Cut Hot Water Use: Turn your hot water heater thermostat down to 120 degrees and wrap your hot water heater in insulation. Use low-flow showerheads and wash clothes in cold or warm water. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads.

Adjust Your Thermostat: Moving your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer could eliminate about 2,000 pounds of CO2 a year by reducing power use. Install a programmable thermostat for best efficiency. Turn the heat down before sleep at night or when leaving the house.

Turn Off Power: Some TV models use more electricity when they're off than when they're operating. Plug them and other appliances into a surge protector; switch off the surge protector after you turn off the appliances. When you buy new appliances, look for power-saving Energy Star ratings.

Purchase Green Power from your utility to support clean, renewable electric power. For more efficient, clean energy, consider an energy-efficient furnace, geothermal heat pump, or solar roof top panels. Learn more about renewable energy.

Plant Trees and Vegetation: Trees absorb CO2 and give off oxygen. One tree will absorb over a ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. Trees and bushes make effective wind breaks; they can reduce winter heating costs by 40 percent and summer cooling costs by up to 50 percent. Just three properly placed trees can save homeowners between $100 and $250 a year in heating and cooling costs, according to some estimates.

Recycle and Reuse: Recycle your waste newsprint, cardboard, glass, metal, and recyclable plastic containers. Reuse items instead of discarding them, donate to charity, or sell them on 2 Good to Toss. It takes less energy to make products from recycled goods than from new raw materials.

Shop Smart: Buy products with less packaging and reusable or recyclable packaging. That means less energy is needed to produce packaging such as cardboard, which in turn reduces fewer oxygen-producing trees are cut down.

Additional Resources

Public Transportation

Bellingham | Grays Harbor | Island Co | Jefferson Co | Kitsap | Mason County | Moses Lake | Olympia | Pullman | Seattle | Skagit | Snohomish | Spokane | Tacoma | Tri-Cities | Vancouver | Walla Walla | Yakima | More public transportation choices

Renewable Energy Resources

General resources -
See Solar and Wind Resource Potential maps for Washington

Washington Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (searchable database)
Wind resources -
Wind maps and power tables

Puget Sound Energy wind power

Wind Navigator - Explore the free 2.5 km wind map or define and download 200 m resolution maps and data for your project area

American Wind Energy Association
Solar resources -
Solar estimator (state/county entry, use your electric bill for final calculations), other basic info.

Solar panels cost comparison maps

Energy conversion tool