Calculating Your Personal Carbon Footprint

April 21, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

There’s no better time than Earth Day to think about your personal carbon footprint and what impact your day-to-day activities have on the environment. There are several great carbon calculators online and many offer suggestions on how to reduce or even offset your carbon emissions.

Some calculators, like the EPA’s Household Emissions Calculator can take 15-20 minutes to complete. Carbon calculators usually start by asking for your location and the size of your home. Regardless of your personal consumption, your carbon footprint is
partly determined by the state you live in. That’s because states rely on different sources for power. Some states may use coal while others use larger percentages of renewable sources that produce less CO2. To get the most accurate results, gather your recent electric, gas, and/or oil bills so you can use real numbers for your household’s energy consumption. Remember that your energy bills vary by season, so use an average of winter and summer values if you can. Once you know your footprint, you can actually offset your impact on the environment through an online contribution or donation to a program like this one run by The Nature Conservancy .

As we continue to embrace more and more technology in our lives, we use more and more power. Think of that power strip beneath your computer. How many things do you have running at any given time during the day? Can you shut off the power strip when you leave your desk for the evening? Remember to unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them. Even when turned off, hairdryers (guilty), cell phone chargers (guilty again) and televisions (including that one in the spare bedroom) use energy.

Maybe you’re already buying organic, toting reusable shopping bags, and walking to work. But for those of us who need a friendly reminder of how technology is not only changing our lives, but impacting our planet, visit the Web site for An Inconvenient Truth and see what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint today.

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