The first line of sustainability is to follow the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. We encourage all participants in the Carbon Offset program to follow these basic tenets. If you cannot, then we encourage you to offset.

Here are some helpful suggestions for reducing your carbon footprint:


  • Form a carpool to reduce impacts and costs of commuting. William & Mary offers carpool incentives.
  • If purchasing a new car invest in a high mpg vehicle. This will be cheaper to run especially given high gas prices.
  • Take public transport when you can. Williamsburg has a reliable bus service that is free to use with a W&M ID card. You can find out about routes and plan trips through Google Transit.
  • Consider calling in to a meeting or using a webcam instead of traveling.
  • Invest in a bike. Besides reaping health benefits, Williamsburg is bike-friendly and most local destinations are within just a few miles.

Home life

  • Adjust your thermostat to be a couple of degrees warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. A small difference in temperature can make a big difference to utility bills. Invest in a programmable thermostat so your home is not heated/cooled much when you are not home. This can also shave a substantial amount off your monthly heating/cooling bill.
  • Turn your water heater down by a few degrees. You probably won’t notice the difference in your shower, but you will on your energy bill.
  • Dry more of your clothes on a line or on racks to save using your tumble dryer.
  • Replace old light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs.
  • Weather strip and insulate windows and doors where possible.
  • Unplug appliances when you leave home—many appliances still use significant amounts of electricity when on standby; sometimes as much as 10% of your entire electricity bill.
  • Purchase re-usable shopping bags and water bottles to reduce use of disposable plastics.
  • Recycle as many objects as you can on campus or through your home recycling service. Almost every building on the William & Mary campus has recycling bins, and Environmental Health & Safety can handle electronics and battery recycling.
  • Try to reduce your consumption of meat, (even just by one meal a week) and look for options of buying more locally produced food in the grocery store. Food production (especially meat) and transportation are significant contributors to carbon emissions.