What Is A Carbon Footprint And Why Does It Matter?
March 4, 2019
4 min read
What Is A Carbon Footprint
When talking about climate change, the term carbon footprint is thrown around a lot, but what does that actually mean? A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of a particular person, organization, community, etc. The carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is a harmful gas that is instrumental in adding to the greenhouse effect. For those of you who don’t know, the greenhouse effect is our atmosphere becoming thicker due to damaging gases such as carbon and methane. This thick lower atmosphere then begins to trap in the sun’s radiation which consequently contributes to a warmer Earth. This greenhouse effect is what contributes to problems such as global warming and climate change. You can increase or decrease your carbon footprint everyday. Some amount of carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere with virtually everything you do. This carbon dioxide you are responsible for is known as your carbon footprint.
Your Carbon Footprint
How big is your carbon footprint? The answer to that question is very complex as there are many things that can release those harmful gases and at varying rates. One of the biggest contributing factors is how you choose to travel every day. What kind of car are you driving, and how often do you drive it? How often do you travel via plane? These kinds of questions can be a good starting indication to the size of your carbon footprint. Smaller indicators would be things like how much you recycle vs. throw away or what kinds of foods you’re eating. Another obvious indicator of your carbon footprint size would be the energy efficiency of your home. How much electricity are you using per month? What kinds of lightbulbs are you using? Do you have the right kind of housing installation? To find out more on exactly how big your carbon print is, check out the Carbon Footprint Calculator.
A big change you can make is being smarter about your transportation. This means that you should walk, ride your bike, or take the bus when possible. Look for ways to carpool when the distance is too far for alternative transportation. Driving a low carbon vehicle such as an electric or high mileage car can help reduce the levels of carbon emissions you admit into the atmosphere.
A beneficial and more surprising way you can do your part is changing the foods that you eat. Since 13 percent of greenhouse emissions come from producing and transporting food, planting a garden or buying locally grown produce can be a huge help.
Your Home’s Carbon Footprint
There are many things that can be done to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Just to list a few:
-Composting: A valuable way to reduce your family’s waste and drastically cut the emission of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere is by composting. The benefits of composting go beyond just reducing your carbon footprint, it enriches your soil without using harmful chemicals or additives.
-Utilize Plants: Plants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Take advantage of these natural air purifiers and fill your house with plants. It’s a minor change, but simple adjustments like adding more plants can make the biggest difference.
-LED Light Bulbs: LED lights can be up to 80 percent more efficient than traditional lighting. Using less energy will decrease greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing your energy usage.
-Energy Efficient Appliances: Investing in energy efficient appliances can reduce your energy usage drastically. Did you know that your electrical appliances account for over 30 percent of your energy bill charges? Energy efficient appliances are designed to utilize the minimum amount of energy necessary. Not only will using energy efficient appliances reduce your home's carbon footprint, but also lower your monthly bills.
-Unplug Phantom Energy Electronics: Phantom energy is when electricity is drawn from outlets when your electronics are off but still plugged in. Avoid wasted energy by unplugging electronics when they are not being used. Taking a more ‘eco-smart’ housing approach will benefit the environment, our health, and even our household finances. Making more sustainable choices when it comes to your living standards will help you do your part to slow the climate change that has already affected our earth. Your home’s carbon footprint is a product of many different factors such as using electricity generated from coal, natural gas, and oil. Carbon emissions from energy usage in your home can be resolved by switching to solar when powering your home. Solar is the smarter, cleaner way to power your home. This might all seem very daunting but don’t worry we are here to give you the information you need to make the decision to switch to solar. Studies show that every kilowatt of solar installed can lower your home’s carbon footprint by 3,000 pounds every year! Let's work together to power change.
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