If you care about the environment, you are probably looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Here we discuss some of the effective ways to help you achieve your goal.
What is a carbon footprint?
Before we go into detail about how you can lower your carbon footprint, we will explain what carbon footprint actually is. As explained by Mike Berners-Lee, a professor at Lancaster University, it is ‘the sum total of all the greenhouse gas emissions that had to take place in order for a product to be produced or for an activity to take place.’
So, your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas you product expressed in units of carbon dioxide.
Generally speaking, most day to day activities generate emissions that contribute to one’s carbon footprint. This involves activities such as energy use, transport, food, or the use of electronic devices.
So, your total carbon footprint is a combination of all of the activities you engage in and products you buy. How high your carbon footprint is depends on your lifestyle.
If, for example, you use a car to drive to work every day, your carbon footprint will be larger than if you use a bike.
How to measure my carbon footprint?
If you are serious about carbon footprint reduction, you are probably wondering how to measure your carbon footprint. To calculate your individual carbon footprint, you need to divide the amount of energy your household uses by the number of people who live there.
There are also various online resources that can help you calculate your carbon footprint effort-lessly. And, there is a formula developed by Alexandra Shimo-Barry, the author of ‘The Environment Equation:’
- ‘Multiply your monthly electric bill by 105
- Multiply your monthly gas bill by 105
- Multiply your monthly oil bill by 113
- Multiply your total yearly mileage on your car by .79
- Multiply the number of flights you’ve taken in the past year (4 hours or less) by 1,100
- Multiply the number of flights you’ve taken in the past year (4 hours or more) by 4,400
- Add 184 if you do not recycle newspaper
- Add 166 if you do not recycle aluminium and tin
- Add 1-8 together for your total carbon footprint.’
The carbon footprint that you should aim to have is between 6,000 to 15,999 pounds per year. If your score is between 16,000-22,000, your result is average. Anything above 22,000 means you have a lot of work to do in terms of making your lifestyle greener.
If after the calculation, the result is higher than you thought it would be, do not worry. It is possible to reduce your carbon footprint. Keep reading to find out how to do it.
Carbon footprint reduction tips
Here are some steps to help you get started with carbon footprint reduction.
- Insulate your home or business premises
By insulating your building you can make sure that it retains as much heat as possible during cold months and stays cool during summer. Thanks to that you will be able to use less energy and consequently reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy bills.
- Source your energy from renewables
Nowadays almost all energy suppliers offer tariffs where energy is sourced from renewables such as solar or wind power. By using renewables, you can be sure that your energy supply represents clean energy and you can easily lower your carbon footprint.
- Use less water
Using a lot of water drives up your carbon footprint. If you start timing your showers and making sure that you do not leave the water running when you, for example, brush your teeth, you can reduce water waste. By doing so, you can also lower your carbon footprint.
- Recycle and reuse
Most people use things such as paper or plastic on a daily basis. All such products have a carbon footprint. By recycling or reusing them, you can reduce your carbon footprint, show your commitment to caring about the Planet, and make a real difference.
- Do not use single-use plastic
Using disposable coffee cups and reusable shopping bags is an easy way to make your everyday habits more sustainable.
Most of these tips are quick and easy to implement. If you follow our advice, you can start living a greener, more environmentally-friendly life. Thanks to that you will not only play a role in protecting the environment but you will also notice your energy bills getting lower, which means financial savings.
- Use local food
Locally-grown products require less organising in terms of transport so by using them you reduce your carbon footprint. Besides, you support your local economy.
- Use public transport
Petrol cars contribute greatly to your carbon footprint. By switching to public transport such as trains or buses you can significantly reduce your impact on the environment.
- Offset your missions
Many energy companies offer the opportunity to offset carbon emissions. If you decide to do so, the company will invest in certain environmental projects to even out the amount of greenhouse gases you release into the atmosphere.
- Turn the lights off
Many people wrongly assume that if they leave the room only for a short period of time, it is better to leave the lights on. In reality, however, doing so makes your carbon footprint higher. By making sure you turn the lights off every time you leave the room, you can reduce it and notice savings on your energy bills.
- Unplug electronic devices
Not everyone is aware of the fact that if they leave electronic devices plugged in, they keep consuming electricity. Of course, they use less of it than when they are actually in use. But still, devices that remain plugged in when they are not being used contribute to your carbon footprint and make your energy bills higher than they should be.
Important terms related to carbon footprint
To understand the broader context of climate change, you should take a minute to familiarise yourself with environmental terms related to carbon footprint.
|Greenhouse gases are gases in the atmosphere that block heat from escaping. The main ones are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.
|Increases in average temperatures on Earth caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
|Natural resources that emit carbon dioxide when burnt. Examples are coal, oil, and natural gas.
|Long-term change in temperature and weather conditions on Earth.
All these terms are connected to the idea of carbon footprint. By taking the time to understand what they mean, you can gain awareness of the impact your actions have on the environment.